Autistry Newsletter – June 2, 2015

Posted By on June 2, 2015

Time flies when you’re so busy you can’t see the calendar! So much happened at Autistry in April and May that it is a bit of a blur but I will try to describe the clearest moments. Pour yourself a cup of coffee – this is a long one!


Ross presents2The Scientists & Artists…Party!#4 was a huge success. Brian Kennedy, CEO of the Buck Institute, introduced two Autistry interns, Ross Jacobs and Eli Pilcher. Ross and Eli won over the crowd with fascinating and eloquent presentations on their work in the Buck Institute labs. In the last few years we have placed 6 students in internship positions at the Buck. For each of the students the experience has been a catalyst to fundamental shifts in the way they view themselves and their future goals.

Natalie Mann, Outreach Programs Manager of the Walt Disney Family Museum showed us all how to build a multi-plane camera. Her presentation and hands-on demonstration inspired us to build our own. We have had a blast creating stop-motion animation videos!

Ken sings Ken Pontac shared riveting and instructional stories about working in the world of animation and graphic arts. Ken is a long-time supporter of Autistry and has donated several bookshelves of graphic novels and, one of our prized possessions, the original Squishington from Bump in the Night. A born storyteller, Ken is always entertaining but also thoughtful, respectful, and inspiring. His rallying cry of “We are weird. We are proud.” resonated with every person present!

The Orishas Among UsAngelique Benicio and Autistry students from the Orisha’s Among Us workshop strutted down the catwalk in their outrageous finery. Angelique had created amazing background slides for each of the students. We have collected them all in a Flickr album. They are truly wonderful and so in harmony with the Autistry philosophy of holding our students to high standards and helping them achieve great work.

Matt with multiplane
A new staff member:
Matt Kerslake joined Autistry! Matt is a recent graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he majored in Film/Television Production. He also minored in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. Matt is also an accomplished musician. And, he knows his way around power tools. His first project was building the multi-plane camera.

Nats aliensA new tool: the MicroMark LaserKnife arrived! This is fast becoming our go-to tool for cutting out complex shapes in light wood, plastic, paper, and fabric. It can use the same CAD program, PartWorks, that the ShopBot uses to create sophisticated designs. Matt and Nat are using the laser cutter to make 2D shapes for their stop-motion project on the multi-plane camera.

2015 MAC panelMAY

Began with a bang! Several of our Autistry students were on the panel at the Marin Autism Collaborative Annual Meeting. The panel was made up of individuals on the autism spectrum. The topic for this year’s meeting and for the panel was Autism and Sensory Processing. The members on the panel were articulate, honest, and absolutely gracious. A huge thank you to Avery Lauver, Marin Xiques, Matt Kratoville, Alex Held, Anlor Davin, and Tamsin Kearns. They won over every heart in the audience!


151We ‘b’ Makers: Autistry was invited to share the ShopBot booth at the 10th Annual Maker Faire in San Mateo. We had a blast!! We demonstrated the ShopBot and explained how we use the robotic cutter with our students. We had several student projects on display, including Pierce’s Pirate Ship. It was estimated that nearly 100,000 people attended the Faire over the 3-day period and I think we talked to most of them. Our hosts, Bill Young and Jeanne Taylor of ShopBot, were surprised at how well we knew their product and they loved meeting the Autistry families. We put together a Maker Faire album on Flickr. We have great plans for next year!

ASN Housing PanelASN on housing: the Autistry Support Network, spearheaded by Barbara Waite and Sarah Horowitz hosted an evening of housing experts at Autistry. The event was well attended and well recieved. Panelists, Nancy Dow Moody of Lifehouse, Barry Benda of Brilliant Corners, Irma Velasquez of Rident Park, and Carmen Soruco of Marin Housing Authority answered questions and provided invaluable information on housing options for our ASD adults. Housing is just one of the issues that Autistry families are facing. The Autistry Support Network, not only supports the work of the studio, but also supports the families as we work through the many obstacles and explore the opportunities for independence for our kids. The next ASN event will be on Financial Planning. Stay tuned for more info!

To keep up to date on the happenings at Autistry Studios join us on Facebook. We post photos of the student projects, announce events, and share information.

Let summer begin!

About The Author

Janet is the Executive Director and co-founder of Autistry Studios (also known as SuperMom). She co-leads many of the workshops, counsels individuals and groups, supervises MFT interns, makes brownies, sews costumes, edits video projects, builds websites, and mops the floor.