Microsoft and Updates on Autism Hiring Initiatives

(See Employment Survey Request Below.)

The August 1 AASCEND Job Club will feature Microsoft’s Neil Barnett. Since the announcement at World Autism Day in 2015, Neil Barnett has been responsible for the program evolution of the Microsoft Autism Hiring Program. He leads the inclusive hiring strategy for people with disabilities across Microsoft. Neil is also responsible for the strategy and operational performance of Microsoft’s consumer and enterprise Disability Answer Desk. Neil also leads the Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable of more than 30 employers across industry that have active hiring initiatives. Prior to joining Microsoft, Neil worked at a start up in San Francisco.  He is graduated from Georgia Tech.

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

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact:
When: Sat Aug 1, 10am – 11am (approx)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Survey Request
Autism Career Pathways is currently gathering information to help create an App or web platform assembling autism-friendly community jobs, including remote jobs, in businesses. We want to get input and ideas from the neurodivergent community about their experiences in job seeking. Please take a short survey here. No personal data will be stored.

Autism & Self-Driving Cars

At the July 18 Zoom meeting AASCEND will explore how self-driving cars may effect and possibly benefit autistic people. Haley Morris, Director of Public Affairs at the self-driving car company Cruise, will lead us off with an account of Cruise’s efforts to make their products accessible to differently-abled people. At the AASCEND meeting Cruise hopes to hear our ideas and input.

Self-driving car internal parts

What are your thoughts on self-driving cars? Does your autism affect how or whether you might use a self-driving car?

Here are some Cruise design concepts:

Self-driving “stagecoach” design

Attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program. Cruise is very interested to hear our thoughts and feelings about transportation of the future. This is your chance to be heard!

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact:
When: Sat July 18, 10am – 11am (approx)
Where: Online via Zoom Link to follow in separate email.

Integrate Autism Employment Advisors is actively recruiting for a Fall internship program for a major motion picture company in the LA area. They are seeking autistic college students or college graduates with a GPA of 3.0 or higher for full-time (40 hours per week), paid internships.  Internships are located in Burbank, but given COVID-19, the internships will be remote and the company is willing to consider candidates in Northern CA.  The anticipated start date is September 14 and internships are about 10 weeks long. The application deadline is July 24, which is coming right up, so you’d need to act fast. If you are interested respond immediately to and we will email you details and the application forms.

July Activities at AASCEND

In lieu of the July Job Club  AASCEND  invites our members to join in several projects and presentations by autism friends around the world.

There will be no regular Job Club in July. Instead, AASCEND invites you to hear a timely (and free) online discussion via Zoom, on July 11 at 11am, and titled:

BEYOND THE TALK: Tools to Safely Navigate the Intersection of Race, Disability, and the Police

AASCEND friend and presenter Tom Iland will be on the panel. To register for the event click here. Registration closes Friday July 10 at Noon.

We will discuss the topics raised at a future AASCEND meeting.

Stay tuned for a July 18 AASCEND meeting featuring a presentation by the self-driving car manufacturer Cruise, which seeks input from our community about transportation needs and design issues.
Research Opportunity
Sara Schiattone, a graduate student at a university in Italy, is continuing her study of creativity in autism, and want to recruit more autistic adults to take two short tests about creativity, and to respond to a questionnaire. Privacy standards will be observed. As a student she has no budget to pay the participants, but in participating you may help the world see how autistic people can contribute their creativity. If you are on the autism spectrum, 18 to 70 years old, and are interested in participating please email and we will forward it to Sara.
Another Research Opportunity
The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) and the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network have partnered with researchers to start co-designing a potential diagnostic tool for autism based on the lived experience of the autistic community.
The work is in very early stages. Right now, they need autsitic beta-testers to test out the tool. They will use the results to figure out if the tool is reliable, and to help identify things we need to improve. Beta testers will be compensated for their time with a $20 e-gift card. If you would like to help with this critical work, you can find more information at this link
Yet Another Research Opportunity!
Gala Korniyenko, a Ph.D. Candidate at Ohio State University, is conducting a survey of the experience of autistic adults participating in public events and decision-making processes. The study is approved by the Institutional Review Board, and the survey can be found here.
Whew! We hope that’s enough to keep you busy and out of trouble during the pandemic!