Disclosure: Why, When and How

At AASCEND‘s November 4 Job Club Brian Jacobs of Emergence Capital Partners will lead a program on the topic of Disclosure. For many job candidates on the autism spectrum, it is better to proactively discuss how they are impacted by autism and how it will affect their employment.

Disrsclosing autism takes confidence and practice, but if done properly, it can help employers understand your capabilities and accommodate your particular needs. We’ll tall about how to have a productive discussion with potential employers.

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

Noon-1:00 PM: Job interview practice, LinkedIn support, AS focus class

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 November 4, 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/hr.


Security Checks, Pat Downs and the Autism Spectrum

Security screening has become a regular element of public life. We encounter security checks at public buildings, stadiums and airports. These procedures can be extremely difficult for spectrum adults and can lead to difficulties with security personnel.

At AASCEND‘s October 21 meeting, in an interactive presentation, Liz McDonough MFT/RDT will begin to explore these issues through discussion and role play. We will also identify next steps for educating security guards and their employers about the autism spectrum.

Come with your own stories of going through security checks, and what you would like  security officers to know about you. This is our chance to learn and to teach.

When: Sat Oct 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

The Superfest International Disability Film Festival is coming to Berkeley November 4, and San Francisco November 5. Every film will be captioned and audio described, and all live dialogue will be available with American Sign Language and live captioning, no requests required! Details at Superfestfilm.com.

AASCEND Picnic in the Park!

AASCEND‘s 2017 picnic was a heartwarming success, with over fifty revelers attending, including a handful of welcome newcomers. There were piles of tasty food, with amazing barbecue courtesy of Jim Ullrey. The sun brought welcome warmth to winds that sent baseballs and birdies flying  and made us wish we’d brought kites. Conviviality and spirited conversation abounded, and it was a fine day all around!



















It’s that time again! Join the festivities at AASCEND‘s annual potluck picnic in the park Saturday September 16. 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 (formerly Speedway 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.

AASCEND Picnic 2014
Sat Sept 16, Noon-3pmat Tables 1 to 6 in Hellman Hollow GG Park ( X on map)
              GG Park Map
These picnics are a lot of fun, and a good way to get to know our community if you are new. See you there!


Coping with Anxiety on the Spectrum

Are you autistic and often nervous or anxious? You are not alone. At AASCEND‘s August 19 combined general and Job Club meeting we will explore how to cope with autistic anxiety. Flying in from Australia to lead the discussion will be Holly Bridges, author of the book Reframing Your Thinking About Autism — in which she traces much of autistic anxiety to disregulation of a very old part of the nervous system, specifically involving the vagus nerve. She will share her experience working with autistic people to improve regulation of their stress response.

Holly has worked with various autism organisations in a variety of roles and she is now working in a private practice teaching people with autism how to help regulate and calm their nervous system. Holly founded a business called License to Think, so bring your own license to think and share what you think, and feel, about this or any other approaches to autistic anxiety that you have found helpful.

Around 11am the program will transition from coping with job-related anxiety, into our usual Job Club.

When: Sat Aug 19, 10am – 1pm (including Job Club)
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

Credit on the Spectrum

Are you mystified by how to get and use credit cards wisely, or do you have trouble managing the credit you already have? If so AASCEND‘s July 15 meeting is for you. Understanding and managing credit is an important part of financial life, but it is a part that  confuses and troubles many people on the autism spectrum. At our next general meeting Balance, the consumer credit counseling nonprofit at work in San Francisco for 45 years, will present a workshop on credit management. Come get your questions answered and get pointed in a good direction to have your credit problems solved.

cartoon man flattened by debt turns to smiley face

Please bring your stories of trouble getting, managing and keeping credit so we can all benefit from your experience!

When: Sat July 15, 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

Land’s End Hike

UPDATE: See below for a couple of pix from a day with perfect hike weather, great conviviality all around, and Garbo the dog!

Let’s do it again! Last year AASCEND‘s hike at Land’s End was a lot of fun and a great chance to get to know each other better. So in response to popular demand, on June 17 we’re strapping on our walking shoes and heading out again. The destination is San Francisco’s beautiful and easy-walkin’ Lands End. Come revel together in the calming natural world so many autistic people enjoy.

Land's End

There is food at the Lookout Cafe and Visitor Center where we’ll meet, but you might want to bring a snack. Come enjoy together one of the most lovely spots on this beautiful round world!

The Irresistible Force (AASCEND hikers!) meets the Immovable Object (the hill):

Hikers going up hill

Will takes a shift with Garbo:

Garbo the dog

When: Sat June 17, 10am – noon(+)
Where: Lands End Lookout Cafe and Visitor Center 680 Point Lobos Ave, SF,CA 94121 – located in the parking lot near 48th Ave & Pt. Lobos Ave. map

There is parking in the mentioned lot by the Visitor’s Center and also a smaller lot across the street and along El Camino del Mar. The 38 bus line stops at 48th Ave & Pt Lobos Ave. about 100 yards up from the Lookout.

Neurodiversity at Pinterest, in Combined Job Club and General Meeting May 20

(Be sure to read all announcements below…)

After a great brunch celebrating “Autism Advancement Month” in April, come have a closer look at AASCEND‘s renowned Job Club on May 20, when in a special one-time event we move the Job Club from its usual date to our general meeting so that all can see how it’s run, and benefit from a discussion on neurodiversity employment by Abby Maldonado of internet powerhouse Pinterest.

Abby MaldonadoAbby Maldonado is a Diversity Programs Manager at Pinterest. She helps lead Pinterest’s efforts to diversify its workforce through external outreach and by implementing data driven internal programs. Prior to her diversity role, Abby managed Pinterest’s intern program as a member of the University Recruiting team and travelled to campuses to recruit the next generation of Pinterest employees. She is a member of the Workforce Investment San Francisco Board. Abby earned a degree in labor relations from Cornell University’s ILR School.

The Job Club will continue as usual after the Pinterest presentation.

When: Sat May 20, 10am – 1pm
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

AND… (Note special event Wednesday May 3, 6pm) 

There will be a book signing and library discussion by AASCEND friend Donna Levin, author of the new novel There’s More Than One Way Home about a family with a child on the autism spectrum who is accused of the murder of a classmate. Join Donna at her book launch on Sunday, April 30, 2017 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm at the main Books Inc. store, Opera Plaza in San Francisco, on Van Ness between Golden Gate and Turk. Food and wine will be served; please RSVP to DonnaLevinsf@gmail.com.

Then on May 3rd, Donna will be giving a talk at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library on “Translating Your Experiences with Autism into Memoir or Fiction”, encouraging adults on the autism spectrum and family members to write about their experiences. Her presentation will begin at 6:00 pm. For more information, contact SF Librarian Laura Lay at laura.lay@sfpl.org or Donna at DonnaLevinsf@gmail.com.


AASCEND has received an invitation from  LinkedIn for Job Club members to visit its San Francisco offices for a general presentation on how to use LinkedIn and develop a profile, followed by lunch, then one-to-one work with LinkedIn employees on profile development. This should be an informative and fun outing! The date will be Friday May 19 and the time (not yet firm) will be about noon to 2.  Space is limited, so if you’re interested RSVP right away to info@aascend.org.

Autism Advancement Month Brunch + Virtual Job Fair!

The Autism Look-Alikes panel in March was remarkable for its courage, candor, and insight. Coming up on April 15 (taxes aren’t due till after the weekend) AASCEND honors Autism Awareness Month, or as we have come to call it Autism Advancement Month, with a brunch celebrating all autism has to offer. Come to meet, and stay for the warmth and the fun!

We will have some food but it’s a potluck, so bring something to share if you can. As always all are welcome and it’s free. No RSVP is necessary. If this is your first visit to AASCEND then a special welcome to you!

Please note later than usual start time.

When: Sat Apr 15, 11am – 1:30pm (10am set-up)
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map


Software giants SAP, Microsoft and others are sponsoring an Autism at Work Summit in Silicon Valley April 12 – 14. They are also hosting a Virtual Job Fair along with the Summit. Grab this employment opportunity! It all happens online. Find further information here:

Job Fair Description

Job Fair Signup

When: Thursday Apr 13, noon – 2pm
Where: Online


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:

https://vimeo.com/162540081 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 https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QHJ38GH 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: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PFWPASD

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 apiwellness.org