Autistry Newsletter February 29, 2016

| February 29, 2016

Bryant and Michael

Bryant and Michael

So many new things happening at Autistry. We welcome two new mentors to our Autistry staff, Bryant Luong and Matt Glenwright.
Bryant has a degree in psychology from California State University, Fullerton and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in occupational therapy at Dominican University of California. He also plays the violin so there may be more musical projects in Autistry’s future!
Matt and Reed

Matt and Reed

Matt is a graduate of Cal Poly, also with a degree in psychology. He has experience as an ABA instructor working with autistic children. Both Bryant and Matt fit right in to the workshops helping build Lego Mindstorm robots and radio controlled cars. And the Autistry students were happy to teach them how! It is always fun to watch new staff as they come to realize how capable and knowledgeable our students are, and just how fun it is to learn alongside them.
Nat creates Stop-Motion Animation Movie

Nat creates Stop-Motion Animation Movie

New student projects
will be highlighted at the Maker Banquet on Saturday, March 19th. Students will give short presentations on their current works and show how they use high tech tools to create amazing films, dioramas, robots, artwork, and RC cars.
They are excited to showcase their skills with the laser cutter, the full suite of Adobe Creative graphic software, 3D printer, robotics, stop-motion animation, and much more.
Caroline with her RC Truck

Caroline with her RC Truck

This is a great opportunity to meet our Autistry students, tour the studio, and experience the excitement and pride of the Maker Spirit. And, to raise a glass to show our gratitude to Nathan Ballard (Keegen & Coppin) and Craig Scheidt (Independent Holdings) for finding us this wonderful new studio.
Please reserve your tickets online now so we can get a fair estimate of attendees – this helps us with our planning!

Janet and Rohan

Janet and Rohan

We welcome our newest addition to the Autistry Family: Rohan Gardner.
Born under a full moon, Sunday, Feb 21 to proud parents Steve and Sara Gardner. Sara is on maternity leave, returning to Autistry in April and we hope Rohan will be able to join her. At Autistry we believe in inclusion – and that includes babies!
We are all excited to have this new face at our lunch table. The changing table is stocked with provisions. The playpen is poised for action. The baby monitors are charged up. Rohan – we are ready for you!


MF16_BA_150x150Coming up:
ShopBot Tools will sponsor Autistry at Maker Faire 2016 in San Mateo, May 20 – 22. This is a fabulous event and a super experience for makers of all ages. ShopBot Tools is sending out a Desktop ShopBot for us to use at the Faire as our big guy doesn’t travel well. We welcome Autistry students to join us at the tent, help us with the maker demonstrations, and be Ambassadors for Autistry. Last year we had a great time and found that folks were really interested in our Maker program.

Autistry Newsletter – February 2, 2016

| February 2, 2016

Lauren reflectedAcknowledging Mastery at Autistry: Certification. We teach skills as an integral part of working with students at Autistry. If students want to make pillows, they learn to sew. If a student wants a bookshelf, he or she learns woodworking. A model tank? Learn model building, painting, decaling, weathering techniques, and usually a bit of history. If they want cookies, they learn a bit of cooking. Every project has a set of skills that go with it.

We were invited last week to watch a movie Programming Hope about a program called Nonpareil in Texas operating a school/software company as a way to train and employ people with autism. They grew in almost exactly the same timeframe as Autistry and there were so many ways their program echoes the goals and what we do at Autistry. There was a scene where they were giving out certificates for classes completed and skills achieved, and we were strongly inspired. (Dan will write a separate review of the movie in a blog post Real Soon Now.)

alex and danThere are so many skills we teach at Autistry. Dan and I quickly filled three pages with just the brainstormed list of broad skill areas — not even all the more granular particular skills. We are going to start drawing boxes around those skills and creating curricula to address each skill set. When a student has mastered a set of skills, he or she will receive a Certificate of Achievement. This will have many benefits. The list of skills acquired and the timeframe will provide direct measurements of student progress. The skills that students achieve will become line items on their resumes and things they can add to job or school applications. Simply codifying all the skills into teachable atomic units with a defined progression will make it easier to train staff and manage student projects.

library1Settling In:I had no idea when we moved from the large warehouse that the actual moving – boxing up everything, hauling it to the new studio, offloading the trucks – would be the easier part of this transition. The settling in, unboxing, creating new spaces and places for all our tools and equipment — this is the hard part. But it is so satisfying to see the 448 Du Bois warehouse transform into a warm, inviting, exciting, and versatile studio. This week the sofas arrived for the library — yes, we have an actual lending library. Our students now have a great place to study and browse an awesome collection of books, everything from The Making of Star Wars to Introduction to Calculus, with shelves of art books, modeling books, history, psychology… and, of course, graphic novels.

IMG_7060Welcoming the World: The new studio has a wonderful large room with a stage, wall-mounted monitor, and refrigerated refreshment drawers that make it perfect for all sorts of occasions. In the past 6 months we have hosted an author talk, a presentation on setting up special needs trusts, a CPR training, and some great parties. We also regularly host the monthly Marin Autism Collaborative Parent Support Group.

669906-250Autistry annual fundraiser: Mark your calendars and buy your tickets! “The Next Lap” Maker Banquet on Saturday, March 19 will feature a custom-built obstacle race course for remote controlled model cars, catered food stations with something for everybody, open bar, tech and tool demos given by staff and students, amazing student projects, and a silent auction. The Autistry students have been building cars and honing their driving skills getting ready for the challenge. If you or your company would like to sponsor a car please see our sponsorship page.

2016 – off to a great start!