AASCEND Popup Support Group

Check out the casting call for a romance-on-the-spectrum documentary being produced. Are they looking for you? See below.

Click here to see recent Job Club presenter and social media specialist Sara Zendehnam‘s tips on using social media effectively.


Happy Autism Advancement Month! On April 17 the usual AASCEND meeting becomes a support group for all of us who are ready for this pandemic to be over! Let’s share with each other what’s on our minds and hearts these days, and our hopes for the post-pandemic era. AASCEND’s David Platzer will join us from Mexico as facilitator for this meeting. Which aspects of autism are giving you trouble these days, and which are giving you strength? We’ll open the floor to topic suggestions at the meeting, but if you know in advance any topics you’d like to be aired feel free to email them to info@aascend.org . It will be good to talk with each other!

The Zoom meeting URL and password will be sent as the date approaches. No registration is necessary.

Obviously, and 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 Apr 17 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Northern Pictures is making a TV documentary series in the US about dating and relationships featuring people on the autism spectrum. They are looking for SINGLE people, living near San Francisco, who are on the autism spectrum and interested in dating. You may have no history of dating, or you might be an experience dater, feel free to get in touch with them and say hello. They are also looking for ANYONE who is open to dating someone on the spectrum, and they are also looking for COUPLES, where either one or both of you are autistic.

There are many misconceptions out there about autism, one of them being that people aren’t interested in finding love. They want to show that this isn’t true, and to help people understand more about neurodiversity. They aim to make an honest, sensitive and insightful documentary series.

If you or someone you know might be interested in speaking with them, please send an email with a brief description of yourself, where you live and a photo to: production@northernpictures.com.au

The Power of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok in Developing Your Brand and Business and Employment Opportunities

On April 3 the AASCEND Job Club hears from Sara Zendehnam, an Emmy-award-winning journalist turned Senior Technical Writer. Sara is verified and active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok and has used those platforms to build her brand, collaborate with other businesses and is compensated for partnerships. She will talk about how to use social media to enhance your employment opportunities.

The Zoom meeting URL and password will be sent as the date approaches. No registration is necessary.

Sara worked in TV news for eight years as a reporter, anchor and weather forecaster and was most recently reporting for KTVU Channel 2 News in the Bay Area. Sara transitioned to tech in November of 2020 and is now writing documentation for one of the largest social media platforms in the world and also for an autonomous car company that’s revolutionizing the way we drive. With this wealth of experience Sara is a resource for anyone hoping to use the Internet to improve their employment prospects. 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 Apr 3 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Assistive Technology in Autism Employment

The March 6 AASCEND online Job Club, presents Doug Meeker, developer of the Life Sherpa autism employment platform. Life Sherpa is an assisstive technology platform that functions as a virtual coach to help educators, service organizations and employers—including DXC Technology, Best Buddies and Stanford University—train, support and sustain neurodiverse individuals into the workforce.

The Zoom meeting URL and password will be sent as the date approaches. No registration is necessary.

Doug has been involved in disability initiatives since his son was diagnosed with Autism at age 4. As a board member, for A Place To Be, a nationally recognized music therapy venture, he has played a key role in its growth. Doug also serves on the Verizon Consumer Advisory Board and on the board of AHEDD, a disability employment organization

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

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Mar 6 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Stanford Job Fair Lessons, and Autism in Germany

For a list of resources from AASCEND’s February 6 program by The Spectrum Works click HERE .


The February 20 AASCEND online meeting is a double-header. (The Zoom meeting URL and password will be sent to our newsletter subscribers as the date approaches. No registration is necessary.)

Leading off will be AASCEND board member and director of the Stanford Neurodiversity Project, Dr. Lawrence Fung, reporting on the success of the recently accomplished, path-breaking Stanford Neurodiversity Job Fair & Reverse Job Fair. Hundreds participated in this event. Dr. Fung will give the details, and say what worked well and what was learned for the future. Be particularly sure to attend if you were one of the Job Fair participants.

Stanford Neurodiversity Project Logo

The second part of the meeting will be a reprise of a report given at a recent International Autistic Leadership Summit, about the national autistics organization in Germany, Aspies e.V. (view in Google Chrome and turn on translate). Internet permitting, board member Rainer Döhle will join us from Germany to answer questions. The similarities and differences between autism organizations in Germany and the U.S. are fascinating and can inspire ideas about our own development at AASCEND.

Aspies e.V. logo

As usual at AASCEND meetings, attendees on the autism spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program. Come with your questions about the Job Fair (and your experience if you participated), and also questions for Rainer about autism in Germany.

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Feb 20 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Finding a Job in California as the Economy Recovers

For a list of resources from AASCEND’s February 6 program by The Spectrum Works click HERE .

For a list of resources from AASCEND’s January 16 program on autism-related legislative change in Washington click HERE .


The February 6 AASCEND Job Club, presents Jessica Lee, Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Spectrum Works, a non-profit organization helping gifted adults on the autism spectrum transition into meaningful talent for corporations. Through this organization, Jessica is eager to change business and society’s perceptions about autism, and to focus on integration and neurodiversity in the workplace as an impetus for societal change.

The Zoom meeting URL and password will be sent as the date approaches. No registration is necessary.

Jessica Lee

Prior to starting The Spectrum Works, Jessica was a management consultant and program manager for 8 years. Jessica earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business and International Relations at the University of Southern California and an Executive Certificate in Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania.

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

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Feb 6 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Washington Change = New Hope for Autism Policy?

Change is in the air! At our January 16 Zoom meeting AASCEND asks how the change of administration in Washington may affect legislation favorable to the autistic community. Kelly Israel, policy analyst for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network has a ringside seat in Washington DC. She will share the experience of the recent years, goals for the coming session of Congress, and thoughts on how organizations like AASCEND can best engage with national policy on autism. The Zoom link will be mailed the day before the meeting. No registration is required.

capitol building under rainbow and question mark

As usual, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program. Don’t miss this provocative program during these tumultuous times. Bring your own ideas and help make a better future!

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Jan 16, 10am – 11am (approx) Pacific Time
Where: Online via Zoom. The link will be emailed on January 15.

Job Fair Last Chance!


The registration deadline for the Stanford Neurodiversity Job Fair & Reverse Job Fair January 21-22 has been extended through Tuesday January 12, and you can now register without submitting a video. Get to it! Details below:


A Message from the Stanford Neurodiversity Project

We have extended the registration deadline to Tuesday, January 12 for the Stanford Neurodiversity Job Fair/ Reverse Job Fair. As a reminder, the fair is scheduled to take place on Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22, 2021. 

If you are a neurodiverse jobseeker, please complete the following form to register for the fair. If you are a parent or job coach, you may also fill out this form only if the jobseeker is planning to attend the fair.  

Update on accessibility: The previous requirement for a video presentation for the job fair is no longer mandatory. If you want to communicate by chat or audio only, or if you want to present a pre-recorded video to employers, these are all possible options. We will be sending out a survey with accessibility features once registration has closed. 

As new positions are being added to our website, we understand that you may want to update your preferences. We ask that you resubmit the registration form only once with your new preferences. If you choose to submit a new form, please note that we will use your second submission for our matching process. We will disregard all submissions after that point.

If you are an employer interested in participating in the job fair, please complete the following registration form.

We are continuing to update our page about the Job Fair/Reverse Job Fair. Please visit our website for the latest information, including updated jobs and tip sheets for jobseekers and employers. If you have any questions about the Job Fair/Reverse Job Fair, please email stanfordneurodiversityproject@stanford.edu

Best,

Stanford Neurodiversity Project Team

Transitions: Strategies to Help Young Adults with Autism into the Job World

On January 9 (not the customary 1st Saturday) the AASCEND Job Club meeting via Zoom presents Meristem, one of the leading post-secondary programs in the United States, focused on young adults with autism. Based outside of Sacramento, it emphasizes the practical arts and craft skills as a path to the job world and adulthood. Meristem will be represented by its president, Edmund Knighton. The Zoom link will be emailed a day or so before the event.

Edmund Knighton

Joining Edmund Knighton will be Meristem Work Skills Manager Eric Stewart. Together they will discuss the Meristem approach, and more broadly the transition programs and approaches available to young adults with autism in Northern California. AASCEND member Clara Chao Bierhaus, currently a student at Meristem, also will join the discussion.

As usual, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program. Bring your questions. The Zoom link will follow in an email a day or two before the event.

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Jan 9, 10am – 11am (approx)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Holiday PARTY December 19!

On Saturday December 19 at 2pm AASCEND will try something new—an online holiday party via Zoom! The Zoom link will be sent in an email to all newsletter subscribers. There is no need to register. If you don’t have Zoom installed, clicking the link in the email we send will lead you to a series of prompts so that you can install it. It’s pretty easy to do.

The party will use Zoom “breakout rooms” and to use these you need to have a recent version of Zoom. We recommend that if you already use Zoom you get the most recent version. To get it, go to Zoom.us, click on RESOURCES, and then select Download Zoom Client. (Then follow any prompts.)

We will all meet at first in the “Main Room” or “Hub”, where a Welcome Party will continue throughout the day. We’ll all start there, and do a “holiday check-in” like our usual check-ins at AASCEND meetings, but with a focus on your holiday doings.

Next, the breakout rooms will be opened, and you get to choose which one you want to go to first. To see the list of breakout rooms when you are on Zoom you need to click or tap the icon of four little squares at the bottom of your screen. (If you don’t see it, then try putting the window in Full Screen mode.) Then click near the name of the room you want to join until the word “Join” appears. Click that and in some seconds you’ll be in the room. You can move freely between breakout rooms, too. Remember, you must have the latest version of Zoom to use the breakout rooms.

The breakout rooms are:

DJ Music & Dance
Whiteboard Games
Quiet Meditation

DISCUSSION ROOMS:
Science Fiction/Fantasy
Anime
Video Game (Discussion)
Comics & Manga
Cats & Pets
Life with Autism
Movies/TV
Music
Technology
Literature

There will also be “Spare Rooms”. Using the chat feature, people can arrange to meet each other in any unoccupied Spare Room (there will be 10 of them) in order to have personal conversations.

At 3:30 in the Main Room there will be musical offerings by AASCEND members. Contact AASCEND (see below) if you want to sing or perform for 3 1/2 minutes or so at that time.

There is limited “seating capacity” at the party, so if you can’t get in, try again later.

That’s about it! This is a big experiment and we’ll just have to see how it goes. We invite you to dress up or decorate a little if you like. It should be a fun adventure however it does go, and remember that whatever happens AASCEND is very glad that you are here and wishes you the very best of holiday seasons!

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Dec 19, 2pm – 5pm 
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Finding a Job in Tough Times + Holiday Party!


If you are autistic and serious about employment, be sure to register for the Stanford Neurodiversity Job Fair & Reverse Job Fair to be held online on January 21 & 22, 2021. Click HERE for details and registration.

(See below about the December 19 Holiday Party)


The next AASCEND Job Club, to be held December 12, will feature Byran Dai, speaking on strategies to find employment in these economically fraught times. Byran is the co-founder and CEO of Daivergent, a technology platform that that evaluates and prepares job-seekers in the autism community for employment. The company provides autistic talent with “Success Plans” that consist of evidence-based assessments, job exploration, and skills training which can be completed on the Daivergent platform. Daivergent also connects employers to job-seekers through its career matchmaking service, successfully providing work opportunities to over 500 adults across the US.

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

The meeting URL and password will be sent as the date approaches. No registration is necessary.

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Dec 12, 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.


The December 19 AASCEND general meeting will be our annual Holiday Party, to be held online starting at 2pm on that Saturday. Be sure to update your Zoom app for the occasion, as we shall be using breakout rooms not supported in old versions of Zoom. (Go to Zoom.us>RESOURCES>Download Zoom Client for the update. It will overwrite your old version.) More about the party will be revealed as the date approaches…

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Dec 19, 2pm – Details to be announced
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.