Job Club Date Change

Due to a special Autism Advancement* Month meeting of the AASCEND Board of Directors the regularly scheduled Job Club will NOT be held April 6. Stay tuned for further developments.

*Our little joke. We think Autism Awareness and Acceptance are great, but at AASCEND we aim for Autism Advancement!

Neurodiversity and Autism Science at Stanford

UPDATE: Dr. Fung’s March 16 talk, titled “Strengths-Based Model of Neurodiversity and the Stanford Neurodiversity Project” was ambitious, detailed, and well-received by a full house at AASCEND’s general meeting. Click here to see slides from his PowerPoint presentation. (It’s a 29Mb pdf and may take a minute to load). Thank you, Dr. Fung!


On March 16 AASCEND  hosts an appearance by Dr. Lawrence Fung,  a clinical assistant professor at Stanford University. Dr. Fung is a researcher and clinician specializing in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the father of a neurodiverse teenager with ASD. Dr. Fung is the director of the Stanford Neurodiversity Project, which strives to uncover the strengths of neurodiverse individuals and utilize their talents to increase innovation and productivity of the society as a whole. Dr. Fung directs the Adult Neurodevelopment Clinic, which specializes in assessing and treating adults with ASD.

Lawrence Fung

Dr. Fung serves as the principal investigator of studies investigating the neurobiology of ASD by state-of-the-art molecular neuroimaging and bioanalytical technologies. He is the recipient of several awards including the Pilot Research Award from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Clinical Investigator Award from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and Outstanding Resident Award from the NIMH.

Be sure to attend this fascinating presentation, and bring your insights and questions.

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 March 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.

Job Placement and Success Advice from a Pro

At the March 2 Job Club,  AASCEND  hosts Patrick Regan, Director of Business Development with Toolworks , a San Francisco-based non-profit agency dedicated to helping  all people with disabilities connect with the opportunities in their community. Mr. Regan is an experienced professional in workforce development who began working in the field at a nonprofit social enterprise called Community Vocational Enterprises (CVE) in 1999. CVE focused on job training and placement for people with mental health disabilities.

Picture of Patrick Regan

In 2008, Mr. Regan and CVE started working closely with the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) through the Disability Program Navigator grant. In 2013 Patrick joined Toolworks and continues to work with OEWD and the Comprehensive and Neighborhood Access Points as well as working closely with the California Department of Rehabilitation.

Patrick has also participated in many community collaborative groups such as the San Francisco Mayors Committee on Employment of Persons with Disabilities, the JOBS Group, the Mental Health Contractors Association, and as both Secretary and Treasurer for the San Francisco Mental Health Association.

Come with your questions for this experienced presenter! 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 Mar 2, 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.

Parenting & Care-Giving on the Spectrum

…the joys, challenges—and resources. Join AASCEND members for a fascinating panel of autistic and NT adults. An autistic-NT couple discuss  their  experiences raising their autistic child. An autistic adult presents the challenges of caring for an aging parent. An autistic parent will discuss caring for NT children. Resources provided.

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 Feb 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.

What I learned along the way

UPDATE: Come also to hear a report on new job openings at Amazon.


At the February 2 Job Club,  AASCEND  board stalwart Steve Medina will share his experience as an older, non-technical product manager navigating the job market in small and large tech companies, and working with many types of teams over his career.

Steve is a product management and product marketing professional working in the technology industry for over two decades. He has led teams in the US and Asia to design, build and ship a wide range of products.

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 Feb 2, 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.

Autism in the Media, Take Two

At AASCEND‘s January 19 meeting, we will continue our exploration of Autism in the Media begun at our conference of the same title at SFSU in October. At the conference we presented a compilation of video clips of autistic characters in film and TV and heard perspectives from some of the speakers. Now, this will be your chance to share opinions about how accurate, effective, entertaining or problematic you find these representations. We’ll watch excerpts from recent movies and shows, and erstwhile AASCEND president Jack Fagan will moderate the discussion. 

Click HERE for an excellent and colorful pdf Jack has assembled on the topic. Check it out to get your opinions rolling, or roiling as the case may be!

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 Jan 19, 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.

Platzer to Speak

UPDATE: Check out this excellent January 5 Wall Street Journal article about AASCEND, penned by AASCEND board member Michael Bernick.

On January 5 David Platzer led a lively discussion of autism employment, with the room filled to overflowing. A main theme was the need to broaden employer perceptions of autism beyond the “computer whiz” stereotype, and to highlight the benefits autistic employees have to offer in other areas. There is also a need to show that accommodations for autistic employees need not be onerous legal burdens but rather are investmentments in success that often cost very little to implement.


Join us at the AASCEND Job Club on Saturday, January 5, as Job Club force  David Platzer returns from the East Coast, bringing fresh insights.

David Platzer, PhD, is a recent graduate of the anthropology program at Johns Hopkins University. His dissertation research explored employment for adults on the autism spectrum, with a focus on the tech industry. While completing his dissertation, David spent nearly two years working as an experience researcher with Adobe’s Design Research and Strategy group in San Francisco. This role included work on Adobe’s recently launched Inclusive Design initiative, a program which seeks to make the full suite of Adobe creative tools accessible to diversely disabled creatives. Starting in January 2019, David will be a Research Fellow with the Berggruen Institute’s Transformations of the Human program, under whose auspices he will begin a new research project on the human ramifications of artificial intelligence in society. 

David will speak about his recent and upcoming endeavors related to autism employment.

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 Jan 5, 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.


ALSO: 
Check out autism advocate Paul Nussbaum‘s concluding reflections on his 4 1/2 – month epic trek on the Pacific Crest Trail here. Paul’s journey was a spectacular and moving demonstration of autistic ability.

Holiday Party + More

Next up for AASCEND is the December 8 Holiday Potluck Party! (preceded by a brief Job Club downstairs for those who come early—details below). Come join our community for food, conversation, music and good cheer. There will be Entertainment, Music, Games, Santa D.J., did we mention food, and a low-sensory space available. It’s a potluck, so bring food to share if you can — but if you can’t, show up anyway!

Be there and in the square!

When (Party): Sat Dec 8,   1 – 4 pm (upstairs)
Party Setup:    12:00 – 1:00 
Party:                  1:00 – 4:00,   Food: 1:30 on
Cleanup:             4:00 – 4:30

Where: The Arc of SF   1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103   map


The Job Club meeting at noon downstairs features Jacob Lindsay, an instructor at the Computer Technologies Program in Berkeley, CA where he helps to prepare students with a wide range of cognitive and physical diversity for the workplace. In addition to teaching at CTP, Jacob also teaches martial arts and self-defense classes for youth, adults, and seniors; as well as clarinet and music.  At CTP Jacob uses his extensive experience in retail, customer service, and office administration to help prepare students for jobs in similar fields.

When (Job Club): Sat Dec 8,   noon – 1 pm (downstairs)

Parking is 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.

Paul Back From Epic 4 1/2-Month Trek!

Way back at the March 17 AASCEND meeting board member Paul Nussbaum previewed his next outdoor challenge—conquering the Pacific Crest Trail, which extends from Mexico to Canada. Those who came heard how Paul planned to accomplish this inspiring demonstration of autistic ability, and how to participate. Four and a half gruelling trail months later, thanks to his effort and your support, Paul is back from this epic adventure and ready to tell all about the experience. Come to the November 17 meeting to hear the saga, and bring your questions about surviving in the grit and wilds on the spectrum!

Paul on PCTALSO at the meeting AASCEND members Anlor Davin and Greg Yates will be freshly back from the World Autism Organization conference in Houston, where they will have presented on meditation in autism. They bring news from the world of adult autism worldwide, and of meetings with AASCEND friends at the conference.
WAO logoIn addition, and time permitting, we will also look ahead to the coming year and brainstorm about future programs. Come with your inspirations and your willingness to pitch in!

brainstorm

When: Sat Nov 17, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

A Prominent Tech Executive Focuses on Autism Employment

Join us at the AASCEND Job Club on Saturday, November 3, for a discussion with Ranga Jayaraman, a prominent tech executive, who is now working full-time on increasing employment opportunities for adults on the autism spectrum, in tech and a range of other fields.

Ranga Jayaraman

Ranga’s current passion is to empower neurodivergent individuals with the desire and ability to contribute, to find meaningful, rewarding, and sustained employment and to help organizations in their journey to embrace neurodiversity inclusion in their workplaces. In a past life, Ranga was an accomplished Senior Executive of digital transformation  (Stanford University, Nvidia, Hitachi), with expertise in providing innovative and cost effective solutions and services to enable and support business strategy and growth in the Higher Education and Information Technology industry. 

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 Nov 3, 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.