| June 30, 2013

I am asked frequently about my choices and decisions about my son ( referred to as C in this blog) who is now approaching 20.  I do not want this blog to be about him but more about what I have learned that might help others as they start to think about post high school options.  I will speak about C  in this first blog but will then transition to just general topics on transition.

Another goal of this blog is to follow C’s development and growth as a participant in Autistry Model Employment Program. Focus will not so much be on C but more specific to the goals of the program and the important skills that are developed.

Connor cutting plywoodI always believed that a diploma was the most important goal for him. He was on that track until at 17 I realized that he would be better served with school services until he reaches 21. I truly believed that a diploma would give him more credibility and recognition and provide more options. In reality C will always need support.  A diploma would not give him access to what he really would need to become independent. While we can get focused on cognitive abilities there are many things to truly consider when evaluating options post high school. Pushing further academics was also creating a lot of anxiety which interfered with overall growth for C.  There is a lot to  consider as well with services such as supplemental social security, golden gate regional center and how to ensure that our kids get the right support to move toward independence

043 Although C is 20 I am not so focused on his chronological age as he is still developing and may reach milestones at different times. Our goal is to work toward employment and Independent living. He changes every year and I have always tried to emphasize this to other families when considering options for their own kids.  Unfortunately we are forced to make many decisions when they reach 18 because that is the legal age that they are considered adults.

Conservatorship, partial conservatorship are definitely things to start considering long before our kids turn 18.  C is very self aware of what he can and cannot do and knows that he needs assistance.  You need to determine whether or not your son or daughter’s decision making at 18 is safe and whether they will involve you or be susceptible to others. I can offer more on this topic at a later date.

Ian and Connor building the trailerTransitions are as much about the family as about the child. As parents we need to work on fostering independence.  This does mean taking safe risks . For C this is allowing him to walk home from local venues, riding the bus  and purchasing items at a store on his own.  He is also letting us know that he “knows what he is doing” and we are working on listening and allowing him to make these decisions. For so long he did what we all asked him to do as we structured his day and had him learn what we knew was important for him. Now we are allowing him to tell us more about who he wants to be  which means not always wanting to please us or others when given a choice.

So this is my first entry on this blog.  I will post weekly and each blog will cover a different topic.

Autistry Model Employment Program has started and is going really well.  The 2 employees are really understanding collaboration and how important it is to work as a team.

Autistry Newsletter – June 10, 2013

| June 10, 2013

050This has been an amazing spring semester. The Autistry families, including our new friends from Oak Hill School and Star Academy celebrated all the cool projects with a warm and wonderful Open House. These end-of-semester gatherings bring us together to share our work and admire the work of our fellow students.


So much to share with you all
. But first the big news: a generous donor has pledged $20,000 to Autistry. This is a matching 2:1 donation so for every $1 donated we receive an additional $2. These funds will go toward the launch of the Autistry Model Employment Program and the Opportunity Fund which supports sliding scale fees and scholarships. This is a great time to donate to Autistry – a lot of bang for the buck. Donations can be made online, on the Autistry Donate Page or sent to Autistry Studios, 37 Duffy Place, San Rafael, CA 94925.

April - Ken's biggest fanLast week Ken Pontac, writer and animator of childrens shows ToddWorld and LazyTown and the darker cartoon Happy Tree Friends visited Autistry. He regaled us with behind-the-scenes stories and shared his wisdom and experience of the world of animated storytelling. And the students shared their creations with Ken. It was a love fest and we hope he will visit again soon.

Highlights from the Thursday workshop:


Owen’s book, Ketinga the Cat is now available on! Owen is on a roll. Birthday Surprise, his tale of a birthday party gone awry will appear on Amazon next. And then follows several more in the Ketinga series. He is also working on the Ketinga Clock, perfect companion to the book, which will be available for purchase soon.


Rinny on the drill press
Rinny rocks the power tools. She made a beautiful napkin holder with a flower pattern engraving. This could be the prototype for new line of Autistry products. She is now working on a spice rack for the Autistry kitchen and she takes care of the new Autistry garden.
Julia has finished her stellar box lovingly decorated with galaxies, stars, and the Aurora Borealis. This has been a project of patience, detail, research, experiment and dedication. Julia made several tests to develop the application technique that gave her just the right look. A stunning piece!

April, also known as Tank Girl, has completed four tank models – a US M3 Stuart, a Russian T-34/76 1943, a US M4A1 Sherman, a US M1 Abrams, and finally she’s currently building a WWII 6×6 cargo truck. April has created several different diorama environments – winter snow-scape, desert sands, and lush European hedges. Perfect homes for her tanks.

Jon at workJon is working on the The Making of…. book for a film existing only in his wild and wonderful imagination. He has created a film poster and drawn several pages of illustrations documenting this imaginary world. Jon’s work is original, funny, and filled with twisted phrases and perfect descriptions of highly improbable realities.

We are looking forward to a summer filled with new projects and the launch of the Autistry Model Employment Program. Stay tuned….