Reflections on a Great Year

| December 31, 2011

With only a few hours to go before the new year we want to look back on Autistry’s tremendous growth and achievement in 2011.

Picture 044We survived the great move. It was a big risk to take the program out of the small barn and into the huge warehouse. We all crossed our fingers and held our breaths each month as rent time drew near. But with all the new students, the new classes, grants from foundations and generous donations from families we were able to meet our obligations and grow our program. We are going into 2012 with strong backing and very strong prospects for growth.

We had great events and activities. We started off the year in January with our first warehouse party to celebrate Ian’s 16th birthday. And we discovered that the warehouse makes a very cool dance hall.

It also makes a great art studio as we found in February when portrait artist Robert Evans came for a Painting Day. 10 amazing paintings were created that day and auctioned at our March fundraiser.

Picture 100After learning that our studio wasn’t quite up to fire code for large public gatherings our March fundraiser, Dancin’ at Duffy Place actually took place at the Marin Art and Garden Center. A perfect example of “falling upwards”. The event was gorgeous and the sparkly fireplace added a charm and warmth that made the change of location seem like a stroke of genius rather than a Hail Mary pass. (Huge thank you goes to Diane Doodha for graciously saving our event)

Team brawny raftIn July we had the first Autistry Camping Trip – an adventure in Willets. Staff and students hiked, built rafts, and did some target practice. A crazy, wonderful time was had by all and it was unanimously decided to make this an annual event. There is talk of a trip to the High Sierras. So, look for announcements for Camping Summer 2012!

The October Spin ‘n Sizzle fundraising spinathon at Body Image Fitness Center in Mill Valley was a great success and it too will be an annual, if not semi-annual event. Michael and Christine Lopez were wonderful hosts and Chris and Mindy Schreil kept the BBQ blazing. We love these spinning events – easy to do, healthy and fun.

The students produced amazing projects. Over 75 people attended our end-of-semester Holiday Party and Open House and they were greeted with the premiere showing of the Deadly Diamond, improvisational theater, original comedy sketches, dioramas, handmade guitars, paintings and other incredible Autistry student creations.

And we have grown. We now offer 9 Core Workshops, monthly Parent Support Meetings, Sibling Groups, the Gaming Group and on-site individual counseling. We have over 30 students and more join the waiting list every day. We went from a staff of 3 to a staff of 8. The new Autistry staff bring a wealth of talent and skills and they make our program richer.

We have lots of plans for 2012 but I will leave that for the next newsletter. Tonight we raise a toast to our wonderful Autistry community and thank you all for helping us build a program we can all be proud of.

Happy New Year!

Janet, Dan, Courtenay, Sara, Anna, Jeremy, Caitlin and Melissa

Autistry Newsletter – December 12, 2011

| December 12, 2011

2011 was the year of new spaces. 2012 will be the year of the new faces!

Our Autistry team is growing again. We welcome Caitlin O’Brien, an LPCC intern with an MA in Psychology from Antioch University. Caitlin is interested in Art Therapy and PhotoTherapy, the use of photography as a means of communication. She is also interested in gluten-free/dairy-free cooking so she will fit right in at the Autistry lunch table.

Jeremy Gaunt joins us as a workshop assistant. Jeremy is a talented model builder, RPG gamer, and has lots of experience with the business side of things (like accounting!). Jeremy will be a great asset as we set up the accounting infrastructure to support the launch of our Autistry enterprises. Jeremy also knows his way around a workshop filled with power tools – always a plus at Autistry.

Melissa Diaz-Infante will co-lead with Courtenay Bell our first Puppet Theater Workshop beginning Saturday January 7th. Melissa worked for several years at Art Institute of California. She is well known for her theater work with Bindlestiff, the San Francisco based Filipino American performing arts center. Melissa brings a wide array of talents to Autistry and we are all looking forward to helping her create puppets with attitude.

TALKING ABOUT AUTISTRY: There have been several news articles recently about Autistry Studios. The latest was the November 23rd article in the Tiburon Ark. Reporter Michelle Aschwald interviewed one of our students, Jon Wootton and together they did a great job of describing the Autistry program. Unfortunatly the article is not online.

Tyler Barbee also came to Autistry and interviewed Janet about autism and life as a mother of a son with autism. This was a project for a high school class but the questions he asked came from his heart and Janet responded with honest, heart-felt answers:

SUPPORTING AUTISTRY: We have posted our Holiday Wish List. The Autistry workshops are always in need of supplies and equipment. Many of you have asked how you can help so we put together a wish list on Amazon. Purchases do not need to be made at Amazon and they have provided a link to confirm outside purchases so they will be reflected on the list. There is a wide range of choices from saw blades to KitchenAides!

Also, The Miranda Lux Foundation has just offered Autistry Studios a $10,000 matching grant. Please help us meet this exciting challenge. Our services are expensive to provide and the program costs exceed the fees that we charge families. Fundraising efforts such as this are essential for us to provide services to all of our families. If you have been considering an end-of-year donation to Autistry this would be a great time to do it.

Donations can be made online on our website:
http://www.autistrystudios.com/blog/index.php/donate/

Or, sent to our office at:

Autistry Studios
137 Granada Drive
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Donations are tax deductible to the extent your tax situation allows. Pledges made now count toward the matching grant and may be paid at a later date and count towards either the 2011 or 2012 tax year.

Happy Holidays from the Autistry Team!

$10,000 Matching Grant from Miranda Lux Foundation

| December 11, 2011

Help us meet the $10,000 challenge from the Miranda Lux Foundation. This is a great time to support Autistry Studios – your donation will count twice! And it will help us continue to provide unique programs for our teens and adults with ASD and other learning challenges.

Donations can be made online on our Donate page or sent to our office at:

Autistry Studios
137 Granada Drive
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Donations are tax deductible to the extent your tax situation allows.

Interview with Janet

| December 7, 2011

Tyler Barbee, the brother of one of our Autistry students interviewed Janet for a high school project. He did a wonderful job!

2011 Holiday Wish List

| December 6, 2011

Makin’ a list and checkin’ it twice – Autistry has been very, very nice!
(OK – maybe a bit naughty but generally nice.)

Check out our wish list on Amazon - a range of items from saw blades to mixers, robot bits to green screen set ups! Gift certificates at local hardware and lumber stores and art supply stores are hugely appreciated.