Autistry Newsletter – November 15, 2010

| November 15, 2010

Picture 044What a whirlwind of activity around here! We just finished our first week of workshops in the new studio and it was awesome. We are quickly converting this huge cavernous space into a warm, cozy workplace. As we look around at all the power tools, hand tools, wood, paints, supplies, and miscellaneous materials it is hard to believe we had all that in the barn!

We have had lots of offers to help us get settled into the new space. It has been difficult to organize work parties as we have been working around the workshop schedule. If you are available on Wednesdays please let me know as that is the day we have no workshops and we can get work done on the space.

And – if you have any of the following items you would like to donate that would be very helpful:

Picture 057Couches (small and large)
Easy chairs
Office chairs
Book shelves
Lamps (floor lamps and desk lamps)

Autistry in the News: Sean Havey wrote a nice article about us for the new San Rafael Patch online newspaper. You can find the article here and join the discussion: Nonprofit Serving Autistic Teens Opens in San Rafael. (Of course we have workshops for adults too!)

Picture 021Friday Build Stuff with Dan: The Friday guys helped move in this week – unpacking boxes and setting up work spaces. We did manage to get some project work done. Adam is working on our IT infrastructure and trying to figure out how to get all our computers online. Ian G. dug through the mountain of boxes to find the pieces necessary to work on a new diorama. Ross’ is working on his very creative conceptual piece based on World War I. Corey has been building a sketch model of a movie theater reflecting his passion for films.

Peter and StevenSaturday Film Stuff with Nate: We added a new student this week – David. He jumped right in with story ideas, wrote a treatment and began a storyboard. Great energy! Peter’s film project is amazing – a spoof on the Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky movies. Steven finished one background and began a second for his new animated epic. Ian finished his storyboard for his new Holiday Classic – Kung Fu Santa!

Picture 088Saturday Build Stuff with Dan: And another two new students, Connor and Dominic joined Andrew for this new Saturday afternoon Build Stuff workshop. Connor and Andrew are working on a train layout. I heard rumors that it could be a Harry Potter themed diorama with the Hogwarts Express. Dominic is creating fabulous cloth dolls. He is very talented and has been working with a hot glue gun but is looking forward to learning to sew and to create life size dolls. Lots of fun!

Picture 025Sunday Build Stuff with Dan: Is Sunday workshop turning into an exercise & build stuff class? Devon, Sawyer, Ryan and Daniel all worked on their projects but also took time out for some energetic pugil stick competitions. We all had such a great time we’re figuring out how to add this to our regular schedule – and get our project work done!

AbeTuesday Build Stuff with Dan: Welcome Katharine! The program is truly expanding and Katharine fits right in. She is an ardent fan of Tim Burton films, especially Beetlejuice, and wants to create a diorama of the graveyard scene. Owen has finished the drawings for Eunice the Unicorn and is now hard at work on Alvin & The Chipmunks meet the Rugrats. Abe created a wonderful new holiday card in a style quite unlike any of his earlier work – truly moving forward.

Rinny and LizThursday Build Stuff with Dan: Our new Thursday workshop has familiar faces but will soon have some new ones. Rinny is back with new project ideas. Lots of great brainstorming happening. I heard mention of shadow play and stop action with bears and elves. We are all looking forward to her next creation. Erik and Dan are talking trains. The Sausalito layout is coming along great and now that we have this bigger space they are both dreaming about grander train ideas.

Our Autistry staff has grown too! Liz McDonough has joined us and is currently working Saturday, Sunday and Thursday. This week we had two volunteers, Dan Weil and Michael Breard. This is all very exciting!

-The Autistry Team

Sobering new study by Easter Seals describes the state of disabled adults in the U.S.

| November 7, 2010

Easter Seals focuses on many disabilities and especially Autism Spectrum Disorders. Their Living With Disability Study paints a startling picture of the life-long challenges surrounding everyday life and future concerns for parents of adult children with disabilities and adults with disabilities.

Many parents worry their adult children’s basic needs for employment, housing, transportation, social interactions, recreation, healthcare and financial security will not be met:

  • Only 11% of parents of adult children with disabilities report their child is employed full time.
  • Just 6 in 10 parents of adult children with a disability rate their child’s quality of life as excellent or good (61%), compared to 8 in 10 parents of adults without a disability (82%).
  • Huge gaps exist in parents of adults with disabilities’ assessment of their child’s ability to manage their own finances (34% vs. 82% parents of adults without disabilities) and have the life skills necessary to live independently (30% vs. 83% parents of adults without disabilities).
  • Nearly 7 in 10 adults with disabilities (69%) live with their parent(s) or guardian; only 17% live independently compared to more than half of adult children without disabilities (51%).

These are the very concerns that we hope Autistry Studios can help address for individuals and families living with ASD and other related communication/social disorders.

Talk at North Bay Regional Center in Santa Rosa

| November 2, 2010

Janet and I are really happy about the presentations we did this Tuesday and Wednesday for the North Bay Regional Center about Building Social Skills and Networking for People with ASD. Here’s a link to the slides we used.

Best Practices slide deck

If you attended, please comment on any resources you’d like us to add and I’ll expand this post.