2016 AASCEND’s ENDs Awards

The “END” in our name stands for Education, Networking and Development. In 2006, the AASCEND’s ENDs Awards were created to honor individuals who have made significant contriutions to Education within and beyond the adult autism community, created Networks of advocacy and support for the AS community, and fostered the Development of resources and programs for adults with Asperger’s and autism, their friends and family, as well as professionals and educators who work with adult autism. We are proud to present the 2016 awards to The San Francisco Police Department for Education, Laura Shumaker for Networking and Dr. Hackie Reitman for Development.

AASCEND Education Award

AASCEND is honoring The San Francisco Police Department for its proactive work keeping the autism community safe. SFPD has educated our members on effective and safe interaction with law enforcement officers. SFPD has worked with AASCEND to develop and produce an authentic autism training video for use at the San Francisco Police Academy. The video features autism professionals discussing the autism spectrum, adults on the spectrum speaking for themselves and SFPD officers responding to a call and resolving the issue. SFPD’s collaboration with the adult autism community is a model for law enforcement agencies across the nation.

AASCEND Networking Award

For nearly a decade, author Laura Shumaker has written a blog for SFGate that focuses on employment, healthcare access, services, and all over inclusion for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. She is currently the Marketing Director for Menlo Technologies, and is also the Communications Director for The Special Hope Foundation. Laura is the parent of three adult sons. The oldest, Matthew, is autistic


AASCEND Development Award

Harold “Hackie” Reitman, M.D. is a neurodiversity advocate, author and filmmaker. He is also the founder of the neurodiversity community site DifferentBrains.com. Dr. Reitman is an orthopedic surgeon, a former professional heavyweight boxer, the previous chair and present board member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County, Florida and the father of an “Aspie” diagnosed later in life. Dr. Reitman has been speaking around the country to raise awareness for neurodiversity.