Job Opportunities with California’s Disability Service Providers

Chase Bank is offering a FREE online class on finance fundamentals for neurodivergent people! It will be held from 3-4pm Pacific Time on Thursdays Feb 2, 9, 16 and 23. Click here for details and to register.


On February 4 the AASCEND Job Club presents Barry Jardini, Executive Director of the California Disability Services Association (CDSA), the association of major providers of services for our autism community. Barry will talk about the need for workers in this field, and the job opportunities available, for all workers including workers in our autism community. He also will address how our community in 2023 can more effectively access the employment-placement, housing and mental health services available.

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.

Barry Jardini headshot

As Executive Director for CDSA, Barry leads the association’s lobbying and public policy, as well as CDSA and CDS Institute operations. He cultivates strong relationships with Administration officials, legislators and relevant staff members, and colleagues at stakeholder organizations to ensure CDSA members are well represented in Sacramento. Barry previously served as the in-house counsel to a regional human rights and fair housing commission. A native Southern Californian, Barry has developed Northern California bona fides as an alumnus of UC Davis and the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

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 Feb 4, 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

“Love on the Spectrum” TV Comes to AASCEND, Seeking Participants!

When it rains it pours! (a little weather joke there) We have been flooded with opportunities from film and research this month. Be sure to scroll all the way down to see them all!


Love On The Spectrum US, an Emmy-Award winning documentary series on Netflix about dating and relationships, featuring people on the autism spectrum, is seeking participants for its second season. At the January 21 AASCEND meeting online, Dani Bowman, a first-year participant in the show, (also familiar to many as the autistic founder of Danimation Entertainment) and Sean Bowman, casting and field producer for the program, will join us to talk about the show. Please come with your questions and your own experience of romance and autism.

Dani Bowman with Emmy Award
Sean Bowman, casting and field producer

The aim of the series is to send a positive message, that people on the spectrum can and do find love, while helping educate the audience about ASD by breaking down some of the myths, misconceptions and stereotypical views, and celebrating difference. It’s important to them to tell the diverse stories of real people, in their own voices. Here is a Netflix trailer for the show.

The show is currently in pre-production for the 2nd US Season and they are looking to hear from ANYONE 18+ on the autism spectrum, who might be interested in being a part the series! 

(Flyer below)

The Zoom meeting URL and password for the AASCEND meeting will be sent as the date approaches. If you are not on our email list, click here. 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 Jan 21 10am – 11am (approx.) Pacific Time
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.


Inclusion Films will be filming a documentary about friendship and young adults on the autism spectrum. It will be filmed at a weeklong workshop to be held February 3-9 in Lodi, California. If you are single, on the spectrum, 21-30 years old and interested in meeting new people and exploring the community surrounded by supportive friends, then you can apply at https://lightscamerafriendship.com . They ask you to submit a 3-4 minute video of yourself. Contact info@aascend.org if you need help making the video.

(Flyer below)


A research project at the University of Pittsburg is looking for participants, and there is an $80 Amazon gift card in it for qualified participants. The purpose of the study is to develop a new survey tool, known as the Relationships Employment Autonomy and Life Satisfaction (REALS) scale. This scale is designed to measure aspects of adult life in autistic adults and adults with other intellectual and developmental disabilities. REALS was developed in partnership with autistic adults. The study is enrolling both individuals aged 18 and older who are autistic or have an intellectual or developmental disability and also parents/caregivers of adults on the autism spectrum.  Individuals must be current United States residents to participate.  This study should take 1-2 hours to complete (they may take breaks), and they will be compensated with a $80 Amazon e-gift card for their time and efforts within 5 business days of completing the surveys. See the flyer below for details.

(Flyer below)

NOTE: Clicking on a flyer will activate the contact link in the flyer.




Holiday Party Saturday Dec 17 2pm!

On Saturday December 17 at 2pm AASCEND will have the yearly holiday party online via Zoom —our new tradition we still hope will someday become a fond memory! (Hope, hope! Unfortunately, Covid is still affecting some of our membership.)The Zoom link will be sent in an email to all newsletter subscribers a day before the party. There is no need to register. 

The party will use Zoom breakout rooms, but first we will all meet 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 until the word “Join” appears. (You may have to move your mouse pointer to the right a bit to see the word “Join”.) Click that and in some seconds you’ll be in the room! You can move freely between breakout rooms, too.

After check-in, the Main Room will become a DISCUSSION ROOM, on Life with Autism, or on any subject of interest. 

The breakout rooms so far are:  Main Room Discussion, Whiteboard Games (back by popular demand!) and Quiet Meditation. Feel free to suggest another room!

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 a few of them) in order to have personal conversations.

At 3:15 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.

That’s about it! This worked well last year, and we expect it to go even better this year now that everybody really knows how to use Zoom. We invite you to dress up or decorate a little if you like. It should be a fun adventure, 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 17, 2pm – 3:30pm (or later, depending on activity. We’re keeping it low-key this year.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.

Who’s Hiring in 2023: Perspective from Bay Area Council Expert

The November 19 Ft Funston walk was spectacular, with perfect sunny weather and perfect company. After a scenic tour of the verdant bluffs overlooking the Pacific we circled back and settled in for lunch and stimulating conversation on a sheltered platform overlooking the sea. Canine friends Timber and Lucy had the most fun of all! The wind was offshore, so no hang gliders were to be seen. See below for pix.


On December 3 the AASCEND Job Club presents Matt Regan, Vice President of Public Policy at the Bay Area Council. Matt will discuss hiring in the Bay Area as we go into 2023. The Council is an organization of over 300 major companies in the Bay Area. Matt has lead responsibility for the Council’s federal, state and local government relations as well as workforce development.

Matt is a native of Ireland. He attended the Middlesex University School of Law in London where he earned his LLB and the University of Ulster School of Business where he graduated with a Post Graduate Degree in Marketing.   Matt lives in Pleasant Hill with his family, where he serves as a Commissioner on the Contra Costa First Five Commission

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.

Matt Regan headshot

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 Dec 3, 10am – 11am (approx.)
Where: Online via Zoom. URL and password will be emailed.


Pictures of hike at Ft. Funston in San Francisco.

Get-Together with Easy Walk at Ft. Funston in SF

Continuing AASCEND‘s tradition of enjoyable walks together (while we await a return to our pandemic-closed meeting space), on Saturday November 19th we’ll explore Ft Funston, in the southwest corner of San Francisco. This will be a pleasant and easy walk in a beautiful seaside location. We’ll convene at 11am in the parking lot by the hang-glider launch point (X on the maps, here’s a map link). The Muni 58 bus stops at Lakewood Apartments across Skyline Blvd (be careful when crossing). We plan to sit down to eat together at the Lake Merced picnic tables, so bring a lunch. The weather looks to be partly sunny with highs in the low 60’s and ocean breezes. Dress accordingly. It will be great to see each other in person again and to have a chance to talk and catch up! Newcomers are welcome.

View of Ft. Funston with people walking on a trail by trees.

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

When: Saturday, Nov 19, 2022 at 11:00 AM

Where: Ft Funston, San Francisco, Meet at hang-glider launch site (X on maps above)

The Stanford Summit is Here

Summit Banner

REGISTER NOW for the Oct 23-25 Stanford Neurodiversity Summit
 ($20 cheap online!)
It’s coming right up, so don’t miss out. Click here for the program, and see the flyer below.

It’s Fall and AASCEND‘s focus is shifting to the Stanford Neurodiversity Summit, which strongly advances AASCEND’s ends to aid autistic adults and their allies.  AASCEND is a sponsor of the program, and AASCEND members will be participating in it. Please support this important event!


—> At AASCEND’s October 15 meeting online we’ll give an overview of the Summit program, and then open things up for social talk on topics of participants’ choosing.

Here is the Zoom link for the October 15 AASCEND meeting. As usual, please do not share this link.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81389829828?pwd=cWVsVG00eGlZWEZ4S25uOGVQV0Erdz09

Meeting ID: 813 8982 9828
Passcode: 579718

Phone: 669-444-9171

Who: Adults on the spectrum, family, professionals and friends all welcome!
When: Saturday, Oct 15, 2022 10am
Where: Online via Zoom, URL and password above


AASCEND Picnic September 17

info@aascend.org is back up!

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

See page bottom for more events.


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.