AASCEND Picnic September 17

info@aascend.org is temporarily down. Use aascend@hotmail.com for now.

The picnic was great! Thanks to all who made it a success—and spectacular BBQ, Jim! Click the picture for a larger view.

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Join the festivities at AASCEND‘s annual potluck picnic in the park September 17. All are welcome for an afternoon of informal socializing and games with our community. This year’s picnic will be held again at Hellman Hollow in Golden Gate Park. We will have food and drink, but bring something to share if you can. No RSVP is necessary. Set-up begins at 11:00 AM.

AASCEND Picnic 2014
Sat Sept 17, Noon-3pm in Hellman Hollow GG Park ( X on map, tables to be announced)
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                                              GG Park Map
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These picnics are a lot of fun, and a good way to get to know our community if you are new. See you there!

Who: Adults on the spectrum, family, professionals and friends all welcome!

When: Saturday, Sept 17, 2022, noon-3pm (setup at 11am)

Where: Hellman Hollow, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco


The Speech-Language Hearing Sciences (SLHS) Department at San Francisco State University is hosting a weekly Neurodiversity Conversation Club this Fall semester. The purpose of the group  is to encourage mutual learning and support between young autistic people and graduate/undergraduate students who are studying to become Speech-Language Therapists. If you would like more information about it or would like to participate, please visit this information & application page. You can also contact Betty Yu (she/her), bettyyu@sfsu.edu, Professor in the Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences Department.

  • Open to young autistic people ages 21-30 (self-diagnosed autistic people are welcomed)
  • Cost: FREE
  • Day/Time: Mondays 2:30-4:00 pm
  • September 19 – December 5
  • Burk Hall 114, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132
  • Spots for 6 participants, plus 6 SLHS graduate students & 2 SLHS undergraduate students,
  • Non-speaking communicators and AAC users are welcomed
  • The Neurodiversity Conversation Club offers a weekly space for jointly exploring creativity and authenticity in social communication. This is not a social skills therapy group. We respect and accommodate diverse sensory needs & preferences.
  • For more information or to apply to be a participant, visit https://forms.gle/dc3kiCzsN9mJ3X6TA.

PayPal talent Director talks about hiring

Here is the link to the recording of this event.


Summit Banner

An exciting line-up of speakers and topics is confirmed for the 2022 Stanford Neurodiversity Summit  to be held online Oct 23-25. Click HERE for details and to register. Free tickets are available for those unable to afford the $20 price. Email info@aascend.org if you wish to be considered for a free ticket.


The August 27 Tunnel Tops hike was beautiful as we made use of the new easy link from San Francisco’s Crissy Field up into the Presidio! The conversation and companionship were a joy and the glorious sunny weather held out right up to the blustery and foggy end. See below for pix.


On September 3 the AASCEND Job Club presents Neal Rosenblum, Head of Tech Talent Acquisition at PayPal. Neal will give an overview of PayPal and his role in it; talk about the numbers and types of jobs there; identify job opportunities at PayPal and other tech firms, assessing the role of LinkedIn and Job Boards. He will talk about referrals by someone who is a current PayPal employee; about the hiring process generally among major tech firms in the Bay Area, and how hiring has changed post-pandemic.

The Zoom meeting URL and password will be sent to people on our email list as the date approaches. If you are not on our email list, click here to sign up. No registration is necessary.

Neal Rosenblum headshot

Neil started his career as a recruiter and became a leader with expertise in building companies from the ground up. He loves to scale a process by combining data with the human component. He believes in transparency and authenticity. Neil says he’s been lucky to manage amazing teams and partner with other leaders to build processes that are “best in class”.

As usual at AASCEND meetings, attendees on the autism 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 Sept 3, 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Tunnel Top Hike + Free Tickets to Stanford Summit

Summit Banner

An exciting line-up of speakers and topics is confirmed for the 2022 Stanford Neurodiversity Summit  to be held online Oct 23-25. Click HERE for details and to register. A few complimentary tickets are available for those unable to afford the $20 price. Email info@aascend.org if you wish to be considered for a free ticket.


View of Tunnel Tops Park

Continuing with AASCEND‘s pushback against pandemic isolation we are planning an adventure to the new Tunnel Tops Park recently opened in San Francisco. We’ll meet at 11am on Saturday, August 27, at the St. Francis Yacht Club parking lot (X on the map). This is the same place we met for our Crissy Field hike last October. From the Tunnel Tops Park we’ll head into the Presidio to enjoy the view and nature there, and then take a beautiful loop back to Crissy Field for our return, with a stop to check out the amazing new playground they’ve built there. NOTE: The hike is on the 4th Saturday of the month, not the usual 3rd Saturday of AASCEND meetings, and at 11am, not the usual 10am. We plan to sit down together to eat along the way, so bring a lunch. It’s San Francisco, so dress accordingly!

Map to
 St. Francis Yacht Club Parking

Who: Adults on the spectrum, family, professionals and friends all welcome!

When: Saturday, Aug 27, 2022 at 11:00 AM

Where: Tunnel Tops Park, San Francisco, Meet at St. Francis Yacht Club parking (X on map above)

Steps to Finding Friendship, Love and Social Success in Autism

There is much conflicting advice for autistic people about how to socialize, make friends and start dating. It’s confusing! At AASCEND‘s July 16 program, dating and friendship coach Jeremy Hamburgh will show how to simplify the process with a simple, 5-step strategy that you can use to have more seamless conversations and social interactions that can lead to friendship, dates, and relationships.

The Zoom meeting URL and password will be sent as the date approaches. If you are not on our email list, click here. No registration is necessary.

Headshot of Jeremy Hamburgh

Jeremy Hamburgh is a dating and friendship coach who empowers autistic adults to make friends, build relationships, start dating and find love. He has over 12 years of experience coaching autistic adults into the social lives they want and deserve. He has collaborated with a variety of organizations on dating and friendship skills workshops, and he thoroughly enjoys that “aha moment” when a young adult or their parent realizes that a social life is possible. Jeremy’s main passion is his first-of-its-kind program, Social Life 360, a program that trains his clients to confidently meet new people in new places, while at the same time providing them and their families with a supporting and loving community that makes them feel embraced. You can learn more about the Social Life 360 program at MyBestSocialLife.com. (Jeremy offers a no-cost 90-minute Strategy Session to every family whose young adult wants to have a more vibrant social life. He can be contacted about this at Jeremy@MyBestSocialLife.com.)

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat July 16, 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Autism and LGBTQ+ Identity

The incidence of non-usual gender identities is much higher among autistics than in the rest of the population. AASCEND‘s June 25 program ( NOT the usual 3rd Saturday!) honors Gay Pride Month, respecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and other people. The AASCEND program (the day before San Francisco’s Gay Pride Parade) will feature a panel of autistics in the LGBTQ+ community, responding to questions from erstwhile AASCEND chairperson Jack Fagan. If you are not comfortable with discussion of gender and related issues then please feel free to sit this one out.

The Zoom meeting URL and password will be sent as the date approaches. If you are not on our email list, click here. No registration is necessary.

Do you identify as autistic and LGBTQ+? Please share your experience. We particularly invite attendees on the autism spectrum to offer their experience and perspectives in discussion of this important topic.

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat June 25, 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Mental Health in the Pandemic, and in Autism

Here are the slides to Jan’s talk. Her contact information is on the last slide.
Paul Nussbaum is at it again! He’s back from the Pacific Crest Trail, having completed a 200-mile section heading north from the border of Mexico. Pictures soon. Startoff
here.


AASCEND‘s May 28 program (NOTE: NOT the usual 3rd Saturday!) honors National Mental Health Awareness Month. The Pandemic has affected many people’s mental health, and the neurodivergent have been hit hard, too. On May 28 AASCEND friend Jan Johnston-Tyler will be speaking about the impact the Pandemic has had on mental health both in the larger community and on the neurodivergent community in particular, and how everyone can get back on their feet again.

The Zoom meeting URL and password will be sent as the date approaches. If you are not on our email list, click here. No registration is necessary.

Jan Johnston-Tyler was talking about transition and autism employment way back in 2007, when these concepts were barely spoken of anywhere. That’s when she started EvoLibri in Silicon Valley, following a 20-year career in high tech. Being a parent, a business woman, and with a freshly-minted MA in counseling psychology, she began to take on corporate American, school districts an antiquated public systems to help neurodivergent folks find success in the neurotypical world. And she hasn’t stopped since!

Has the pandemic affected your mental wellbeing? Come share your experience. As usual at AASCEND meetings, attendees on the autism 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 28, 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

How DOR Can Help Your Job Search Strategy

Supporting files from the May 7 meeting: DOR Information , DOR Application


On May 7 the AASCEND Job Club presents Theresa Woo, Regional Director of the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), serving San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin Counties. For 26 years Theresa has assisted jobseekers with disabilities. In her long tenure, she has built employment collaborations with universities, community colleges, high school districts, county mental health programs, and community agencies. Prior to working at DOR, she work as a program coordinator at HOPE Services of Santa Clara County, serving adults with intellectual disabilities.

The Zoom meeting URL and password will be sent to people on our email list as the date approaches. If you are not on our email list, click here to sign up. No registration is necessary.

Picture of Theresa Woo

The Department of Rehabilitation is a good resource for those enrolled in it. Theresa’s years of experience can benefit all autistic jobseekers.

As usual at AASCEND meetings, attendees on the autism 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 7, 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Hike April 23 is ON

UPDATE: The weather for the hike was sunny and perfect. We had welcome participation by the San Francisco Autism Society, and together we got to experience the natural beauty of Golden Gate Park’s wilder western end. Here’s a picture of the crew on the move:

AASCEND hikers in Golden Gate Park

The sun will be out and the hike is ON! sun will be out and the hike is ON! Greetings from AASCEND in honor of Autism Awareness-Acceptance-Advancement-Action Month! Continuing our initiative to bust out of pandemic isolation we’ll celebrate together with another hike on April 23, in San Francisco’s beautiful Golden Gate Park. (Note this is not the usual 3rd Saturday of the month.) We’ll gather in front of the Beach Chalet on the Great Highway at 10am * and then head to Stow Lake via trails — a distance of 1.8 miles as the crow flies. It’s pretty level the whole way. At Stow Lake we will energize at the snack bar and cafe, before looping back to the Beach Chalet. It will be great to be together in person once again! We look forward to seeing you.

* We’ll meet on the steps in front of the Beach Chalet, as marked by the X in this picture:

View of trail in Golden Gate Park, with a dozen or so people.

(Click the map to see a larger view.) The Beach Chalet is marked in orange at the left of the map. The Muni 5 Fulton and 38 Ocean Beach buses stop nearby. We will not necessarily be following the blue dotted path on the map.

Who: Adults on the spectrum, family, professionals and friends all welcome!

When: Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 10:00 AM to noonish

Where: Beach Chalet, GG Park San Francisco map

Autism in Girls and Women

For a recording of the March 19 talk on Autism in Girls and Women, by Suzanna Curtis, click here. The PowerPoint slides are here.

For a recording of the March 12 Job Club presentation by Kris Stadelman, click here.


On March 19 AASCEND addresses the important and timely subject of autism in girls and women. Presenting on the topic will be AASCEND board member Suzanna Curtis. Suzanna is an autistic graduate student in special education in a joint program between the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University.

Historically, autism has been regarded as an overwhelmingly male condition. However, early researchers clearly identified the condition in females as well as males, but the research was largely overlooked. Now many autistic women are seeking to correct this oversight and to have their experiences acknowledged and validated so that autism-related services are no longer directed away from them because of their gender. Suzanna will address the questions of how autism can present differently in women, what services can help autistic girls and women, and also other questions.

The Zoom meeting URL and password will be sent to people on our email list as the date approaches. If you are not on our email list, click here to sign up. No registration is necessary.

Picture of Suzanna Curtis

Suzanna Curtis’ research interests have included autism and giftedness, special interest areas, neurodiversity and neurodivergence, and the intersection of autism and femaleness. Suzanna is an alumna of the University of Chicago and also a martial arts instructor.

As usual at AASCEND meetings, attendees on the autism spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program. Please come with experience and your questions, particularly if you are an autistic woman! All autistic adults are welcome at AASCEND, regardless of their gender.

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat March 19, 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Why Today is One of the Best Times Ever for Job Search

On March 12 the AASCEND Job Club presents Kris Stadelman, one of California’s experts on job search and placement. She is based in Silicon Valley and will talk about job opportunities in both tech and non-tech fields.

Kris is the former Executive Director of the NOVA Workforce Development Board in the Silicon Valley, where she led a high performing team that connects unemployed and laid-off talent with recruiters and employers. NOVA serves job seekers and employers in seven northern Santa Clara County cities and all of San Mateo County. Previously, Ms. Stadelman was the founding CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, Washington.

The Zoom meeting URL and password will be sent to people on our email list as the date approaches. No registration is necessary. If you are not on our email list, click here to sign up. 

Kris Stadelman

As usual at AASCEND meetings, attendees on the autism spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program.

Who: Adults on the spectrum, family, professionals and friends all welcome!

When: Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 10 – 11 am

Where: Online via Zoom, URL and password will be emailed.