Paul Reports from the Wilderness! + no Oct Job Club

Paul Nussbaum continues his epic trek on the Pacific Crest Trail, highlighting autistic abilities. He’s been at it for 3 1/2 months!  Go to  expedition-autism.com  or Click HERE to follow his latest journal entries and see cool pictures! And send him good vibes to help him on his challenging and big-time helpful way!

ALSO, in place of the usual Job Club this month of October, instead register for the October 20 AASCEND Conference  → (Click HERE) and show up there to join in the proceedings and festivities: There will be Hollywood Hijinks, Virtual Reality, Autistic Improv, Live Music, Food and Much More! There are still some free grant-sponsored tickets available. Act fast to reserve your spot, and tell a friend.

AASCEND Picnic in the Park

[ Sep 20 update: Paul on the PCT has made it to Sierra City! Details HERE ]

It’s time again for AASCEND‘s annual potluck picnic in the park Saturday September 15.  All are welcome for an afternoon of informal socializing and games with our community. This year’s picnic will be held at Lindley Meadow 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.

badminton at picnic

Sat Sep 15, Noon-3pm at Tables 6 to 9 in Lindley Meadow GG Park (see map)

See you there!

Successful Transitions in Jobs & Life

[ Aug 17 update: Paul on the PCT presses onward toward fire! Details HERE ]

Do you feel like you’ve hit a wall in your job, and are looking to transition? Have you lost a job and need to find a new one? Are you leaving a school environment and transitioning into the job world for the first time? At AASCEND‘s Sept 8 Job Club, Mary Hurlbut, a transition specialist and autism advocate in the Bay Area will lead a discussion on making effective transitions in the job world. She will draw from her work with individual transitions over the past decade.

Mary Hurlbut is a Bay Area based Transition Specialist and autism advocate with a Master’s in Education from Stanford University. With a deep belief in the value of neurodiversity, she works with students, adults and their families to help them prepare for and navigate small and large life transitions. Mary focuses on engaging and accommodating each individual’s unique cognitive qualities and capacities whether pursuing education, employment, residential independence, social integration or more. Mary will provide advice and resources and answer questions about transitioning toward a personally fulfilling and socially meaningful pathway.

cat jumping across river

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

Special thanks to the Autism Studies Department at SFSU for volunteers!

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Sept 8 10am – 1pm
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map


For more information about employment on the autism spectrum, join us at:
Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND on LinkedIn

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

AASCEND Picnic in the Park

[ Aug 17 update: Paul on the PCT presses onward toward fire! Details HERE ]

It’s time again for AASCEND‘s annual potluck picnic in the park Saturday September 15.  All are welcome for an afternoon of informal socializing and games with our community. This year’s picnic will be held at Lindley Meadow 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.

badminton at picnic

Sat Sep 15, Noon-3pm at Tables 6 to 9 in Lindley Meadow GG Park (see map)

See you there!

AASCEND 10th Conference October 20!

NO Job Club August 4.  Paul Nussbaum’s Aug 4 check-in from PCT HERE.

AASCEND, with SFSU’s Autism Spectrum Studies Program, hosts its 10th conference on adult autism October 20 at SF StateJoin us for a day of exploring the adult autistic world, with artists and presenters on and off the spectrum!

Tickets & details HERE.

spotlightIn the Spotlight: Autism and the Media
October 20, 2018
9:00-4:30 (registration begins at 8:15)
Seven Hills Conference Center, 800 Font Blvd
San Francisco State University
SF, CA 94132

The influence of media has exploded, changing the world of autism. Autistic roles now feature prominently in movies, television and online, shaping and even distorting public perception of autism. At the same time, media literacy and media skills have become essential tools allowing autistic people to gain employment, find friends, and express themselves. The In the Spotlight conference exposes how media affect autistic life and employment, and gives practical guidance on effective social media use, creating digital content, autism-friendly acting techniques, latest research and much more!

Charlene Tilton In the Spotlight features Charlene Tilton, star of stage and screen and longtime President of Actors for Autism. Charlene is famous not only for her portrayal of Lucy Ewing on the influential television show Dallas, but also for her contributions to the autism community. Although Charlene’s life was often glamorous on screen, she had to learn to fend for herself at an early age. After her Dallas role brought her fame, Charlene was moved by personal tragedy to connect with Actors for Autism and soon became their president. At AFA Charlene witnessed the power of acting and improvisation in developing language, social skills, and self-confidence in both children and adults on the autism spectrum.

Thomas Iland ..and also Thomas Iland, diagnosed with autism when he was 13 years old. Tom worked hard to achieve his goals: learning to drive, living on his own, graduating from college, obtaining full-time employment and having a girlfriend. Now a Distinguished Toastmaster and member of the National Speakers Association, Tom is a best-selling author with wide experience in the media, having appeared on such TV shows as Beauty and the Geek, Bert the Conqueror, Ghost Whisperer, The Morning Blend, The Price Is Right, and Wheel of Fortune. Tom currently lives in Santa Clarita, California, with his dog, Bridget.

Plenary Sessions:

Hollywood Sign with Panel SilhouetteHollywood’s Autism Fantasies: Michael Bernick, former head of the California State Labor Department, moderates a panel of theater professionals and academics on and off the spectrum, exploring how Hollywood’s portrayal of autism affects autistic life and employment.

Plato's AcademyNew Research and the Future of Autism Scholarship, presented by autism professionals and graduate students, many on the autism spectrum. Hear what current research reveals about adult autism, plus developments enriching the lives of autistic adults. Learn about academic careers and training available to autistics and to all interested in the future of autism.

Breakout sessions: Improv for Interaction; Creating Digital Content on the Spectrum; Acting Techniques for Social Ease; Using Social Media for Success; Autistic Creative Intelligence in the Arts; Online Dating and Friendship on the Spectrum, and Media Addiction

Ticket price includes lunch and refreshments, and there will be live entertainment by artists on the autism spectrum. Conference registration begins at 8:15am, October 20. Please arrive early. Some program changes are possible. Follow AASCEND on the web and Facebook!

While this conference primarily addresses the needs of what have been termed Asperger’s or High Functioning Adults on the autism spectrum, AASCEND expresses solidarity with all who are living anywhere on the autism spectrum, their families and allies. Out of respect for attendees with sensory sensitivities please do not wear perfumes, colognes or overly scented products to the conference. Thanks!

AASCEND gratefully acknowledges the Joseph Padula Trust for its support of the In the Spotlight conference.                                                                     

Tickets and more details HERE.

Rehearsing Social Skills — Role-Playing in Social Situations

[ On July 20 Paul Nussbaum checked in from his epic attempt to demonstrate autistic ability on the Pacific Crest Trail. Click the Expedition-Autism button to the right (or here) for updates on Paul’s progress. ==> ] 

On July 21 AASCEND hosts a return visit from Mike Vaughn, with a follow-up on his popular Personal & Social Relationships: Goals, Boundaries and Connections presentation. (Click here to see what we came up with in the first session.) At this fun and interactive workshop participants will have an opportunity to examine and practice social interactions in a safe and friendly venue. We will explore the nature of different relationships; what are the expectations, boundaries, and social rules of these relationships? How can we build an honest, and healthy connection with others? How can we be supportive of others in our relationships? How can we self-advocate and also be flexible in relationships?

Mike has been the Social Skills Coordinator at College Internship Program, Berkeley, for five years. He teaches social skills, interpersonal & relationship skills, public speaking, filmmaking, communications, and soft skills in the workplace. CIP is a comprehensive program preparing adults (18-26) who have learning differences, including ASD, for success in college, employment, and life skills. They also have summer programs for teens.

Bring your questions and your imagination. And as always, attendees on the 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 July 21, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

Job Interview Woes and Wins

[ We have a fresh (July 4) report from Paul Nussbaum on the Pacific Crest Trail, with new photos, journal entries, and a progress map. Click the Expedition-Autism button to the right or go to expedition-autism.com for the latest updates as Paul heads into the High Sierra! –> ]

The job interview is a difficult hurdle for job hunters on the autism spectrum. Too often talent gets stopped at the door by an awkward interview experience. At the July 7 AASCEND Job Club  Natalie Dunnege will tackle this problem head-on. She will speak about job interviews—how to do them, and about specific issues that come up with neurodiversity interviewing.

Natalie will also talk about BINC, the Recruiting Service company where she works. BINC helps companies find the employees they need to grow in new directions. This job club meeting is a good opportunity to learn about the ins and outs of job interviewing from someone who interviews people all the time. Come with your experience and your questions!

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

Special thanks to the Autism Studies Department at SFSU for volunteers!

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat July 7 10am – 1pm
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map


For more information about employment on the autism spectrum, join us at:
Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND on LinkedIn

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

Bulletin! + Relationships on the Spectrum

[ BULLETIN: And he’s off! Paul Nussbaum has begun his 2,650-mile solo trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. Paul says, “Just knowing you guys are behind me is a real inspiration for my trek. As I’m doing it this will give me a lot of strength to help keep me going, both hiking and with my own internal goals. I’ll be thinking of you all as I go!” Click the Expedition-Autism button to the right for updates on Paul’s progress. ==> ]

…Back to Relationships on the Spectrum…

On June 16, AASCEND hosts Mike Vaughn, speaking on Personal & Social Relationships: Goals, Boundaries and Connections. This will be a fun and interactive workshop on building stronger interpersonal relationship skills. Participants will examine the nature of different relationships; what are the expectations, boundaries, and social rules of these relationships? How can we build an honest, and healthy connection with others? How can we be supportive of others in our relationships? How can we self-advocate and also be flexible in relationships?

Mike has been the Social Skills Coordinator at College Internship Program, Berkeley, for five years. He teaches social skills, interpersonal & relationship skills, public speaking, filmmaking, communications, and soft skills in the workplace. CIP is a comprehensive program preparing adults (18-26) who have learning differences, including ASD, for success in college, employment, and life skills. They also have summer programs for teens.

Bring your questions and your imagination. And as always, attendees on the 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 June 16, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

AASCEND Project Round-up

On May 19 AASCEND presents a combined Job Club and General meeting honoring April’s Autism Awareness Month and showcasing recent and ongoing AASCEND projects.   (This is the May Job Club meeting .)

Come hear reports on AASCEND participation in:

  • World Autism Awareness Day at the United Nations
  • The San Francisco Human Rights Commission hearing on autistic needs
  • Michael Bernick’s Forbes Magazine Report on a New York autism employment meeting
  • Panel presentation at the San Francisco Resource Fair
  • Presentations at the Autism Awesomeness Event
  • Best Buddies Walk
  • Autism presentations in three cities in France (report at later date)

In the words of UN Secretary General António Guterres, “On World Autism Awareness Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to promote the full participation of all people with autism, and ensure they have the necessary support to be able to exercise their rights and fundamental freedoms.”

As always, attendees on the 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 19, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map


For more information about employment on the autism spectrum, join us at:
Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND on LinkedIn

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

Healthcare Employment Opportunities

Healthcare is one of the largest and fastest growing employment sectors in the Bay Area. The great majority of jobs do not require physician or nurse degrees—they are jobs available to adults in the autism community, who may not have these degrees—jobs as medical coders, health care assistants, aides in hospitals and health care facilities. On April 7, AASCEND will host two employment experts in health care jobs:  Michelle Wood, training coordinator at Jewish Vocational Services, and  Aryn Maitland, workforce readiness manager at Homebridge. This is a great opportunity to learn of jobs that offer greater stability and opportunities for advancement than most other jobs in the Bay Area today.

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

For more information about employment on the autism spectrum, join us at:
Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND on LinkedIn

Special thanks to the Autism Studies Department at SFSU for volunteers!


Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Apr 7, 10am – 1pm
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.