AASCEND 10th Conference October 20!

NO Job Club August 4.  Paul Nussbaum’s Aug 4 check-in from PCT HERE.

AASCEND, with SFSU’s Autism Spectrum Studies Program, hosts its 10th conference on adult autism October 20 at SF StateJoin us for a day of exploring the adult autistic world, with artists and presenters on and off the spectrum!

Tickets & details HERE.

spotlightIn the Spotlight: Autism and the Media
October 20, 2018
9:00-4:30 (registration begins at 8:15)
Seven Hills Conference Center, 800 Font Blvd
San Francisco State University
SF, CA 94132

The influence of media has exploded, changing the world of autism. Autistic roles now feature prominently in movies, television and online, shaping and even distorting public perception of autism. At the same time, media literacy and media skills have become essential tools allowing autistic people to gain employment, find friends, and express themselves. The In the Spotlight conference exposes how media affect autistic life and employment, and gives practical guidance on effective social media use, creating digital content, autism-friendly acting techniques, latest research and much more!

Charlene Tilton In the Spotlight features Charlene Tilton, star of stage and screen and longtime President of Actors for Autism. Charlene is famous not only for her portrayal of Lucy Ewing on the influential television show Dallas, but also for her contributions to the autism community. Although Charlene’s life was often glamorous on screen, she had to learn to fend for herself at an early age. After her Dallas role brought her fame, Charlene was moved by personal tragedy to connect with Actors for Autism and soon became their president. At AFA Charlene witnessed the power of acting and improvisation in developing language, social skills, and self-confidence in both children and adults on the autism spectrum.

Thomas Iland ..and also Thomas Iland, diagnosed with autism when he was 13 years old. Tom worked hard to achieve his goals: learning to drive, living on his own, graduating from college, obtaining full-time employment and having a girlfriend. Now a Distinguished Toastmaster and member of the National Speakers Association, Tom is a best-selling author with wide experience in the media, having appeared on such TV shows as Beauty and the Geek, Bert the Conqueror, Ghost Whisperer, The Morning Blend, The Price Is Right, and Wheel of Fortune. Tom currently lives in Santa Clarita, California, with his dog, Bridget.

Plenary Sessions:

Hollywood Sign with Panel SilhouetteHollywood’s Autism Fantasies: Michael Bernick, former head of the California State Labor Department, moderates a panel of theater professionals and academics on and off the spectrum, exploring how Hollywood’s portrayal of autism affects autistic life and employment.

Plato's AcademyNew Research and the Future of Autism Scholarship, presented by autism professionals and graduate students, many on the autism spectrum. Hear what current research reveals about adult autism, plus developments enriching the lives of autistic adults. Learn about academic careers and training available to autistics and to all interested in the future of autism.

Breakout sessions: Improv for Interaction; Creating Digital Content on the Spectrum; Acting Techniques for Social Ease; Using Social Media for Success; Autistic Creative Intelligence in the Arts; Online Dating and Friendship on the Spectrum, and Media Addiction

Ticket price includes lunch and refreshments, and there will be live entertainment by artists on the autism spectrum. Conference registration begins at 8:15am, October 20. Please arrive early. Some program changes are possible. Follow AASCEND on the web and Facebook!

While this conference primarily addresses the needs of what have been termed Asperger’s or High Functioning Adults on the autism spectrum, AASCEND expresses solidarity with all who are living anywhere on the autism spectrum, their families and allies. Out of respect for attendees with sensory sensitivities please do not wear perfumes, colognes or overly scented products to the conference. Thanks!

AASCEND gratefully acknowledges the Joseph Padula Trust for its support of the In the Spotlight conference.                                                                     

Tickets and more details HERE.

Rehearsing Social Skills — Role-Playing in Social Situations

[ On July 20 Paul Nussbaum checked in from his epic attempt to demonstrate autistic ability on the Pacific Crest Trail. Click the Expedition-Autism button to the right (or here) for updates on Paul’s progress. ==> ] 

On July 21 AASCEND hosts a return visit from Mike Vaughn, with a follow-up on his popular Personal & Social Relationships: Goals, Boundaries and Connections presentation. (Click here to see what we came up with in the first session.) At this fun and interactive workshop participants will have an opportunity to examine and practice social interactions in a safe and friendly venue. We will explore the nature of different relationships; what are the expectations, boundaries, and social rules of these relationships? How can we build an honest, and healthy connection with others? How can we be supportive of others in our relationships? How can we self-advocate and also be flexible in relationships?

Mike has been the Social Skills Coordinator at College Internship Program, Berkeley, for five years. He teaches social skills, interpersonal & relationship skills, public speaking, filmmaking, communications, and soft skills in the workplace. CIP is a comprehensive program preparing adults (18-26) who have learning differences, including ASD, for success in college, employment, and life skills. They also have summer programs for teens.

Bring your questions and your imagination. And as always, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program.

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat July 21, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

Job Interview Woes and Wins

[ We have a fresh (July 4) report from Paul Nussbaum on the Pacific Crest Trail, with new photos, journal entries, and a progress map. Click the Expedition-Autism button to the right or go to expedition-autism.com for the latest updates as Paul heads into the High Sierra! –> ]

The job interview is a difficult hurdle for job hunters on the autism spectrum. Too often talent gets stopped at the door by an awkward interview experience. At the July 7 AASCEND Job Club  Natalie Dunnege will tackle this problem head-on. She will speak about job interviews—how to do them, and about specific issues that come up with neurodiversity interviewing.

Natalie will also talk about BINC, the Recruiting Service company where she works. BINC helps companies find the employees they need to grow in new directions. This job club meeting is a good opportunity to learn about the ins and outs of job interviewing from someone who interviews people all the time. Come with your experience and your questions!

As always, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program.

Special thanks to the Autism Studies Department at SFSU for volunteers!

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat July 7 10am – 1pm
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map


For more information about employment on the autism spectrum, join us at:
Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND on LinkedIn

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

Bulletin! + Relationships on the Spectrum

[ BULLETIN: And he’s off! Paul Nussbaum has begun his 2,650-mile solo trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. Paul says, “Just knowing you guys are behind me is a real inspiration for my trek. As I’m doing it this will give me a lot of strength to help keep me going, both hiking and with my own internal goals. I’ll be thinking of you all as I go!” Click the Expedition-Autism button to the right for updates on Paul’s progress. ==> ]

…Back to Relationships on the Spectrum…

On June 16, AASCEND hosts Mike Vaughn, speaking on Personal & Social Relationships: Goals, Boundaries and Connections. This will be a fun and interactive workshop on building stronger interpersonal relationship skills. Participants will examine the nature of different relationships; what are the expectations, boundaries, and social rules of these relationships? How can we build an honest, and healthy connection with others? How can we be supportive of others in our relationships? How can we self-advocate and also be flexible in relationships?

Mike has been the Social Skills Coordinator at College Internship Program, Berkeley, for five years. He teaches social skills, interpersonal & relationship skills, public speaking, filmmaking, communications, and soft skills in the workplace. CIP is a comprehensive program preparing adults (18-26) who have learning differences, including ASD, for success in college, employment, and life skills. They also have summer programs for teens.

Bring your questions and your imagination. And as always, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program.

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat June 16, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

AASCEND Project Round-up

On May 19 AASCEND presents a combined Job Club and General meeting honoring April’s Autism Awareness Month and showcasing recent and ongoing AASCEND projects.   (This is the May Job Club meeting .)

Come hear reports on AASCEND participation in:

  • World Autism Awareness Day at the United Nations
  • The San Francisco Human Rights Commission hearing on autistic needs
  • Michael Bernick’s Forbes Magazine Report on a New York autism employment meeting
  • Panel presentation at the San Francisco Resource Fair
  • Presentations at the Autism Awesomeness Event
  • Best Buddies Walk
  • Autism presentations in three cities in France (report at later date)

In the words of UN Secretary General António Guterres, “On World Autism Awareness Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to promote the full participation of all people with autism, and ensure they have the necessary support to be able to exercise their rights and fundamental freedoms.”

As always, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program.

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat May 19, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map


For more information about employment on the autism spectrum, join us at:
Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND on LinkedIn

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

Healthcare Employment Opportunities

Healthcare is one of the largest and fastest growing employment sectors in the Bay Area. The great majority of jobs do not require physician or nurse degrees—they are jobs available to adults in the autism community, who may not have these degrees—jobs as medical coders, health care assistants, aides in hospitals and health care facilities. On April 7, AASCEND will host two employment experts in health care jobs:  Michelle Wood, training coordinator at Jewish Vocational Services, and  Aryn Maitland, workforce readiness manager at Homebridge. This is a great opportunity to learn of jobs that offer greater stability and opportunities for advancement than most other jobs in the Bay Area today.

As always, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program.

For more information about employment on the autism spectrum, join us at:
Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND on LinkedIn

Special thanks to the Autism Studies Department at SFSU for volunteers!


Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Apr 7, 10am – 1pm
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

Live at the Roxie + Pacific Crest Trail Challenge

On March 27 AASCEND is co-sponsoring the San Francisco showing of the independent film Keep the Change, a romantic comedy featuring autistic actors, to be shown at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco on March 27 at 7pm. AASCEND is being offered a number of free tickets to the event so show up and get your free ticket while supplies last! After the screening there will be a panel discussion of the film, with participation from AASCEND, co-ponsors Creativity Explored, the Disability Superfest, and others. This will be a memorable event: Don’t miss it!

When:  Tue Mar 27, 7pm
Where: Roxie Theater 3117 16th St. SF, CA 94103 map

At the March 17 meeting AASCEND board member Paul Nussbaum previewed his latest outdoor challenge: Conquering the entire Pacific Crest Trail, extending from Mexico to Canada, starting this May! Those who came heard how Paul plans to accomplish this inspiring demonstration of autistic ability, and how to participate!

When: Sat Mar 17, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map


(The following event was cancelled due to the speaker being stuck in Sierra snows.)

The event is a presentation by Eric Zimmerman,  creator of the Buddy Project. The Buddy Project is a non-profit organization through which Eric reconditions out-of-service computers and makes them available to people with disabilities. To date he has placed over 400 computers. Come hear Eric tell how he came to create this valuable service, and what he has learned about thriving with autism from his own experience. Eric is also the author of two inspiring books available free online, Anything but Ordinary (pdf viewable online), and Dare to be Different (epub download). Eric has also recently taken up auto racing.

Parking is available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

Working in Film, on the Spectrum

(Click here for general information about our Job Club speaker series.)

AASCEND‘s February 3 Job Club presents Hester Wagner, Program Director of the Futures Explored Film Workshop.

Picture of Hester Wagner

The Futures Explored Film Workshop is a hand-on program that teaches all aspects of film-making and explores employment opportunities in film and media for adults with autism and developmental disabilities.

Futures Films Logo

As always, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program.

Noon-1:00 PM: Job interview practice, LinkedIn support, AS focus class

For more information about employment on the autism spectrum, join us at:
Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND on LinkedIn

Special thanks to the Autism Studies Department at SFSU for volunteers!


Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat February 3, 10am – 1pm
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

 

What Box? The Autism Advantage in Science

In Asperger’s they say, “What Box?” — Tony Atwood

The world we live in today would be radically different without the contributions of autistic scientists. Everything from spacecraft and computers to MRI scanners, cellphones, and the Internet can be traced through autistic minds. At AASCEND‘s January 20 meeting AASCEND Co-Chair Gregory Yates explores the history of autism as rocket fuel for scientific innovation — obvious in the lives of autistic scientists Henry Cavendish and Paul Dirac, and in the out-of-the-box thinking of autistic “cousins” like Newton, Darwin, Kurt Godel, Alan Turing, and even Albert Einstein. Without autism and strongly autistic traits we would be living in a dark age.

Greg will also take a brief tour through his own scientific work on how brains are built, as detailed in his book Dragon Puzzle Story, and trace in detail exactly where autism played a role in its development.  

As computer programmers like to say about their oddly-behaving programs, and that one might also say about some autism, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!” It’s the Autism Advantage in Science.

When: Sat Jan 20, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

Parking is often available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr

Job Club 2018 Brainstorming Session

Happy New Year! Start 2018 right! At AASCEND‘s January 6 Job Club set your individual employment goals and develop strategies for achieving them with fellow Job Club members. Discussion, ASD focus class and individualized LinkedIn and resume assistance.

As always, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program.

For more information about employment on the autism spectrum, join us at:
Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND on LinkedIn

Special thanks to the Autism Studies Department at SFSU for volunteers!


Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat January 67, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.