Autism Look-Alikes (and tag-alongs)

(Read below for special invitation from BBC TV)

AASCEND‘s March 18 program will feature a panel of people who have experienced conditions that either look a bit like autism, or often occur with it. There are planned representatives of disorders in NonVerbal Learning, Social Pragmatic Communication, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity, Obsessive/Compulsion, and Depression.

Leonardo Portrait Rainbow

Do you have a condition that overlaps autism? Come share your story.

When: Sat March 18, 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/hr


Optomen Productions, the TV production company behind Employable Me on BBC television, is looking for neurodiverse job seekers to be involved in a new production of Employable Me in the US.

Employable Me is the series where extraordinary job seekers aim to prove that neurological differences should be viewed as an asset rather than an obstacle in the workplace. With the help of experts who serve as mentors, these neurodiverse candidates unlock their hidden talents and  nd the job that best suits their unique skill sets and strengths.

Optomen is currently developing the project in the US and are actively seeking individuals on the autism spectrum who have struggled to  find employment, and wish to be involved in the US program.

For clips and additional information on the UK series, please visit the following: password: job123

If you’re interested in being part of the show or learning more about the project, please contact Sarah Glaser at Optomen Productions for additional information.

Geek Club Books!

(AASCEND TV nabs prize! See below.)

At AASCEND’s February 18 meeting we’ll hear from Jodi Murphy, founder of Geek Club Booksan autism-centered nonprofit production company inspired by her son Jonathan, who will also present at the meeting. Geek Club Books seeks to change perceptions about autism and to put an end to the stigma surrounding the condition. Their approach is to be a part of modern popular culture—to educate children and adults about autism using storytelling and entertainment. Their goals are to engage and delight while increasing the public’s understanding about autism. Each project includes autistic contributors, educational specialists, and clinical partners. Current projects have included the production of digital comics, storybook app, curriculum, webisode series, digital content, classroom visits and online community engagement.

Geek Club Books logo

Jonathan, who is also an established SAG-AFTRA voice actor working under the professional name Jonathan Cormur, will also be present to talk about his involvement in projects at Geek Club Books.

Speaking of AASCEND, Jodi and Jonathan report they “would love to explore how we can support each other, collaborate and/or bring opportunities for others on the spectrum to share their talents with the world (and get paid for it).” This promises to be a fascinating presentation highlighting real opportunities for people on the autism spectrum. Don’t miss it!

When: Sat February 18, 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/hr.


Congratulations to the whole AASCEND team behind the cable TV and YouTube television show, Life on the Autism Spectrum, winners in the category of Best Education and Instruction Show – by viewer acclaim! – at the 2016 SF Commons Awards held this month in San Francisco. Kudos especially to stalwarts Stacey Kennedy, Will Bernick, Keith Halperin, Michael Bernick – and producer Matthew McIntyre here accepting the award for the crew:

Matthew McIntyre accepting award

Paul Nussbaum and the team fronted by Ascendigo has survived the grueling Greenland-prep trip between Aspen and Vail Colorado! A sequence of reports ran: 1. “This Sunday our team will begin their second trip to prepare for the Greenland expedition. Greenland is the vision of an autistic athlete [Paul Nussbaum] who will co-lead a neurodiverse team across the great icecap.” 2. “Conditions are proving to be difficult, but they are still continuing their hike with high spirits. Last night they camped around the Betty Bear Hut, near Thomasville. Four more days left of their 100 mile excursion!” 3. “Despite very challenging climate conditions, the Greenland Expedition team was able to travel in 6 days further than they did in Yellowstone [last year] and at 4,000-5,000 feet higher elevation, no one suffered any serious cold weather related injuries, and everyone’s spirits remained high.” Way to go, Paul! Here is some of his journey as relayed by (somewhat glitchy) satellite:

Aspen to Vail satellite route map

AASCEND friend Robin Steward has created a survey about education regarding menstruation, for autistic people, at She invites the participation of those interested.

If you are the parent of an autistic adult you may want to respond to a survey for a project titled, “Parental Factors Related to the Work Participation of Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder”. Details and the survey are here:

Finally, API Wellness in San Francisco has groups for transgender and gender non-conforming people on the neurodiversity spectrum, including autism. More information is available at


AASCEND at OCALI, DC Leaders Summit, and in France: 1st-hand reports

(Be sure to check out the news items following the meeting announcement.)

What’s happening in adult autism across the nation and across the seas? At AASCEND’s January 21 meeting hear first-hand reports by our members representing AASCEND and adult autism at the OCALI conference in Columbus Ohio, at the Autism Leaders Summit in Washington DC, and at personal meetings across France. There’s a lot going on across the nation and around the world: Don’t miss this informative and rather exciting report!

If there’s time we’ll also share with each other thoughts on autism-related New Year’s resolutions, or why we object to such silly things!

When: Sat January 21, 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/hr.


Prof. Betty Yu at San Francisco State is looking for participants in a study about this question:

Do you feel your experience with autism has been influenced by your cultural, racial, or ethnic identity?

Dr. Yu is reaching out to people in the autism community to interview them about this topic. If you are interested in sharing your perspective with her, please email her ( or call her at (510) 708-1923.


The AASCEND Job Club was very fortunate to arrange a presentation by Ann Weeby, Director of Workforce Innovation at Salesforce, this Saturday, January 14, 10am at the Arc of SF (address above). Salesforce is an international leader in cloud-based customer-relations management. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear what is sure to be a very worthwhile presentation on diversity hiring in this environment.

Happy Holidays!

AASCEND celebrated another of the great holiday parties for which it has become so well known. Once again the Arc of SF provided the lovely setting for the evening of food, games, conviviality — and inspiring musical performances by four AASCEND members, not counting the talented DJ! Thanks to all who helped make this celebration a success. AASCEND wishes all a holiday season filled with cheer, and a bright New Year!

Be sure to mark your calendar with the meeting dates listed to the right in UPCOMING  EVENTS.  Another season of great programs is in the works!

Holiday Party 2016!

It’s time again for that yearly favorite — the AASCEND Annual Holiday Potluck Party! Come join our community for food, conversation, music and good cheer. There will be Entertainment, Music, Santa D.J., Games, did we mention food, and a low-sensory space available. It’s a potluck, so bring food to share if you can — but if you can’t, show up anyway!

Be there and be cool like the reindude!

When:  Sat Dec 10,   2 – 5 pm
Where: The Arc of SF   1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103   map

Set up:    1:00 – 2:00
Party:        2:00 – 5:00
Food:        2:30 on
Cleanup:  5:00 – 5:30
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/hr.

SSI and ABLE Act Questions Answered

At AASCEND‘s November 19 meeting Michael Joyce, a Sacramento-area lawyer, will discuss the various stages of being awarded Supplemental Security Income, and the future of the Able Act in California.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a United States government program that provides stipends to low income people who are either aged 65 or older, blind, or disabled. Although administered by the Social Security Administration, SSI is funded from the U.S. Treasury general funds, not the Social Security trust fund.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act allows families with children with disabilities to save for college and other expenses in tax-deferred accounts. Recently signed into California law, the ABLE Act amends the Internal Revenue Service Code to allow use of tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. Families will be allowed to use the funds in the savings accounts to cover education, housing, medical and transportation expenses, among others.

ABLE Act logoBoth of these subjects are very important to the autism community. We look forward to hearing your questions about them at this informative event! All are welcome and as always it’s free – with no donations turned away for presence of funds!

When: Sat November 19, 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/hr.

Neurodiversity Conference a Hit!

AASCEND’s 9th conference on adult autism, Neurodiversity Leaders 2016, was an inspiring success! Keynote speakers Sondra Williams, winner of the Ohio State Governor’s award for her autism advocacy work, and Dr. Hackie Reitman, former heavyweight boxer, physician, and founder of the online neurodiversity community Different Brains, anchored the conference. The theme of autism as a form of neurodiversity rather than simply a disorder united the program. Panels and breakout sessions highlighted opportunities for autistic people in finance, employment, dating, sports, the arts, and other areas.

Main room at the conference

An array of remarkable people presented on panels and in a refreshing variety of breakout sessions. Many others worked behind the scenes to make the conference a success. Thank you to all!

Here are some pictures of the day. If we accidentally violated your privacy with any of the pictures please let us know so that we can fix the error, with our apologies. And if there isn’t a picture of you it’s likely we just didn’t have one!

Oct AASCEND meet and Job Club will be at the Conference

The October regular AASCEND meeting and Job Club meeting will be at the conference on October 8. See you there!

Calling Job Club participants and all adults on the autism spectrum: Come on down to the AASCEND Conference on October 8! We need your participation so spectrum voices are heard at the breakout sessions. Some free registrations are available to you thanks to mysterious benefactors, so act now and sign up here. Or just email and we’ll do it for you!

The Online Job Club will continue as usual.

Affordable Housing for the Autistic Community

Making Ground – Affordable Housing Solutions for the Autistic Community

At AASCEND’s Sept 17 meeting, Jamie Doyle of Oculus Architects will speak about affordable housing solutions for the autistic community in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. Jamie Doyle is an award-winning architect with 25 years of experience in the provision of social and affordable housing.  In the context of the current overall housing crisis and the shortage of suitable and affordable accommodation for the expanding autistic population, Oculus Architects, in collaboration with members of the autistic community, have developed a range of research design proposals, titled “Making Ground”.

These proposals include innovative ways of getting cheap land in the right locations, designing housing tailored to the needs of autism and using cost-efficient design solutions. The proposals look at different forms of supportive housing and the provision of support services. They also look at the integration of autistic housing within developments for the broader population and housing developments intended solely for the autistic community. The proposals illustrate the potential to create affordable uplifting homes and communities for the autistic population. Rather than defining this issue as a problem to be solved these proposals highlight this need as an opportunity to foster the positive contribution of autistics to the wider community.

Jamie will talk about these research proposals and hopes to start a conversation with the audience and wider autistic community to explore these and other potential solutions.

The general meeting will start at 10:00AM and conclude at 12:00PM.