Autistry Newsletter August 15, 2016

| August 15, 2016

FestivalLogo1web-768x390What a great summer! New faces, cool excursions, and lots of great news. But before we look back, let’s look forward to this coming weekend. Steve Gatlin of Special Affects Films has organized a film festival “dedicated to showcasing the finest films being produced for, by and about the special needs community in the world today“. Autistry has one entry this year: Nat Snell’s Alphabet Mission to Mars. Information on the festival can be found on the festival website. Tickets for the event and for the individual screenings can be purchased online.

nats150Nat’s film will be shown in the Short Film group which starts at 4:45pm on Saturday (note that is after the Autistry Saturday workshop!). Please join us as we support Nat and all the filmmakers at the Special Affects Film Festival.

EMBoard Business: In July we welcomed Emily Woods to the Autistry Board of Directors. Emily grew up in the heart of the maker movement helping her family create MAKE Magazine, the Maker Faire, and TechShop. Emily graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz. She is the Member Ambassador for TechShop, Inc., oversees the member experience at TechShop San Francisco, and is currently part of the advance team launching a new TechShop in St. Louis, MO. Emily brings enthusiasm and a full tank of Maker Spirit.

Summer Fun:
This year we began a new program of adventure – Autistry Excursions. Hosted and organized by the Autistry Support Network, these day trips were a huge hit. As president of the ASN, Dick Dinkelspiel took the lead and coordinated trips to Alcatraz, the California Academy of Sciences, a train trip to the California State Railroad Museum, and a day at Stinson Beach. We started these as summer outings but will continue the excursions throughout the year. Oh, the places we’ll go!

whitewaterWhitewater Side Trip:One trip that we will definitely organize is a spring or summer weekend of whitewater rafting on the South Fork of the American River. In July, Betty Lituanio organized an event through Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC) in Placerville. Ian, Janet, Lisa, and Reed went with a group of about 25 eager rafters. It was fabulous. The campsite was pristine. The sun was shining. And the river was refreshingly cool (OK, it was damn cold!). Spiraling through the rapids is an unforgettable and exhilarating experience. This should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Writing on the Wall: “We must write about this” has become a mantra at Autistry. Unfortunately we are so busy that we rarely get the quiet, uninterrupted time necessary to compose coherent missives. However, Dan did manage to write a post about Ian leaving home. Yes, almost 2 years ago Ian moved into a house with 3 other young men. Launching our autistic kids is not for the faint of heart. You can read Dan’s post, Oh Yeah, Ian Moved Out on the Autistry website.

Two of our Dominican University OT mentors have written a great article about their work at Autistry. Erin Chaffee and Bryant Luong worked with a young man, Michael for several months. They were very impressed with Michael’s ability to incorporate new strategies that helped him with self-regulation, posture, focus, and attention. Their article also highlights the power and effectiveness of Autistry’s Project-Based Therapy. Michael’s R3ptor – an OT Perspective can also be found on the website.

We have several new initiatives planned for Autistry. But talk of those will have to wait until the next newsletter.

Janet, Dan, and the Autistry Team

Autistry Newsletter – May 13, 2016

| May 13, 2016

Spring is rushing into summer, schools are letting out, and vacations are being planned. But before we hit the beaches let’s celebrate some awesome achievements.

GradAcademic Milestones: Ross J. and Steven W. will graduate from Sonoma State University this month – both with degrees in Applied Mathematics. Ross will continue to work as a System Administrator for John Ash & Company as he figures out his next moves. Steven is enjoying his first break from school in over 16 years. He is developing his considerable artistic talents while he scans the horizon for career opportunities.

Chris D.
graduates from Terra Linda High School in June. Chris has a strong interest in history and will enroll in classes at College of Marin in the fall. So look out for that smiling redhead on campus!

Ian S. finished his fourth semester at COM with a B in his first college English class. But Danielle H. goes to the head of the class with an A in Math! We are so proud of all our students. We have watched them study hard, overcome obstacles, and keep their focus through piles of homework and endless exams. Well done!

006Employment: Finding a job is always a challenge but our Autistry students are having success. Alex and Danny started work at a local bookstore this week. They will be stocking shelves and ringing customers up at the register. Lots of new skills to learn.

April and Amanda continue to work at the preschool and they are finishing up their online course in Early Childhood Education. These credits will go toward an ECE certificate which will help them launch their careers.

Ian and MichaelIan and Lauren are interning at Renew Computers. Ian is learning the fine points of customer service from greeting clients to making change. Lauren has found a great outlet for her passion for taking apart computers and sorting all the parts.

I want to thank Michael Reynolds for the high level of support and instruction he is giving to Ian and Lauren. They are blossoming under his tutelage.

And a round of applause for Corey!! He has not only passed the one-year mark at his job in Novato, he is up for a raise. Corey is proof that if at first (second, third, or fourth) you don’t succeed, just keep on trying.

MF16_BA_300x300Coming up: Next weekend, May 20, 21, and 22 Autistry will be at the Maker Faire in San Mateo. This year ShopBot Tools, makers of our beloved CNC cutting machine, is sponsoring the Autistry Studios booth. The Maker Faire is a truly amazing event with attendance of over 150,000 throughout the weekend. Exhibitors showcase everything from high tech 3d printers to do-it-yourself marshmallow guns! There are enormous metal sculptures, roving bands of robots, and interactive booths of every sort. With our fundamental maker spirit, Autistry feels right at home. Visit us at the Faire where we will be creating a 10’ high archway of gears.

On Thursday, May 19, four Autistry students will be on a panel, Hearing Our Voices at the Marin and North Bay Lecture Series. Danielle, Ryan, Ian, and Steven will speak about their experiences living on the spectrum. The series is organized by Karen Kaplan of Offerings. The event will be held at the Marin County Office of Education, 1111 Las Gallinas, San Rafael. Tickets can be purchased online.

Lux MatchSupport Autistry: Do twice the good with one donation! Help us meet a $10,000 challenge from the Miranda Lux Foundation. To unlock this $10,000 grant we need to raise $10,000 to match. Your donations will be matched dollar for dollar. Donations can be made online.

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!

Autistry Newsletter – November 11, 2015

| November 10, 2015

We are still getting settled into the new studio. So many boxes to unpack and tools to find places for.
The kitchen is looking good, the library shelves are going up, the digital arts studio is pretty much up and running, and the shop is back online. A lot of work but the move was a good one. The space is warm and welcoming – very homey.

Steve Silberman and Ian

Steve Silberman and Ian

The large workroom also allows us to host public events. Last month 65 people joined us to hear Steve Silberman discuss his new book, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity with Dan Swearingen. The talk, interview, and question session afterward were fabulous. Chikara Motomura and Rupert Stechman videotaped the entire event – nearly 2 hours.

We posted the video in a series of short (9 – 12 minutes) segments on YouTube. At the head of each segment is a brief outline of the topics covered.

Nghi and CarolineAutistry has developed a strong relationship with Dominican University Occupational Therapy Department. So much of what the students do at Autistry involves fine motor skills, self regulation, and sensory integration and we are always open to learning new approaches to support them. Last month Nghi Tran, DU OT grad student joined us and brings, not only OT knowledge, but an enormous amount of enthusiasm.

d0a08b_3375bc2f8aa64863a02eff37c8d23273Autism in Love, a documentary film by Matt Fuller will be screened by the California Film Institute in San Rafael. “Four adults at different places on the autism spectrum open up their personal lives as they navigate dating and romantic relationships. Eye-opening, first-person portrayals show that despite many challenges faced by those with autism, love can find a way.”

Janet will moderate a panel of autistic adults – Dan Swearingen, Ross Jacobs, and Tamsin Kearns. They will share their response to the film and their own experiences with relationships. Monday, November 30 at Smith Rafael Film Center, 1118 Fourth St., San Rafael 12:00pm – 1:30pm. Tickets available online at Eventbrite (price = FREE)

Radio Controlled vehicles are popular in the studio right now. A group of our Saturday students are building cars and trucks and having a blast driving them around the parking lot. They will be building the custom vehicles for sponsors of our March 2016 Maker Banquet and Racetrack Gala – stay tuned for more info.

Victoria builds RC 1Alex James RCcaroline and lauren rc

Or, email Sarah Horowitz today, send in your donation, and give our students more time to build you something special!


With so much going on in the studio I don’t get much time to write newsletters. But we do regularly post photos on Facebook as a way of staying connected with the community. Please join us to follow the progress of student projects, get info on upcoming events, and generally stay in touch.

Autistry Newsletter – September 21, 2015

| September 21, 2015

013Autistry has moved! We have found a fabulous place at 448 Du Bois in San Rafael, just 3 blocks away from the warehouse, that fits us to a T. We have dedicated rooms for the Shop, the Digital Arts Studios, the Fabrication Studio, the Library/Chill Room, and, of course, the kitchen! As well as offices and a large Resource Room for storing the crazy odds and ends we have collected over the years. Oh, did I mention we now have air conditioning – with the heat these last few weeks that alone was worth the move.

025But this move would not have been possible without the help of our Autistry families. They packed boxes, lifted boxes, loaded boxes, unloaded boxes, and unpacked boxes – all with a smile. We perfected the Conga Line Moving Method. There is still a lot of work to do before we are totally settled in.

The new space also includes a large presentation room where we can host events. Last month the Autistry Support Network hosted three financial experts for a wonderful and very informative evening on Financial Planning for Special Needs. The ASN will be hosting more events on issues we are all dealing with. If you would like to be kept informed of these events, email Sarah Horowitz to be put on the mailing list.

Steve with coverUpcoming Events: Steve Silberman, New York Times bestselling author of NeuroTribes: the Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, will be at Autistry on Saturday, October 17th. Dan Swearingen, co-founder of Autistry and an Aspie himself, will interview Steve and take questions from the audience. Seating is limited and tickets are selling quickly so order your tickets online soon.

MAC - OctoberMarin Autism Collaborative Parent Support Group will be held at Autistry Studios on Thursday, October 1st, 6:30 – 8:00 pm. This meeting will be facilitated by Julia Wilbarger, PhD, OTR/L, Associate Professor at the Occupational Therapy Department at Dominican University. The general topic will be Sharing Sensory Solutions, though other topics may be discussed depending on parent input, discussion, and questions. For more information see the Marin Autism Collaborative website.

Workshop Projects Abound: The moving slowed down project production for a week or so, but we are bouncing back. There are amazing stop-motion films being made, as well as Halloween costumes, RC cars, quilts, dioramas, swords, and all the other cool things Autistry students dream up!

[ezcol_1quarter]Claire 150[/ezcol_1quarter] [ezcol_1quarter]nats150[/ezcol_1quarter] [ezcol_1quarter]Michael smiles[/ezcol_1quarter] [ezcol_1quarter_end]fastcar150[/ezcol_1quarter_end]

We have also added Online College Course Support. This semester we have a cohort of students taking an online college course together at Autistry. Sara Gardner is helping with homework, study skills, and test preparation. Many of our students have difficulty with large classes at college and the feeling of being lost in a crowd. By doing the courses at Autistry, they can help each other through the hard times and celebrate the good times together! We will be doing more of these courses next semester.

BTW – the summer camps were fabulous, and we will do them again next year. Ian is dreaming up new places to explore so stay tuned.

Hope to see you at Autistry Studios soon!

The Autistry Team

Autistry Newsletter – June 2, 2015

| 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!

Autistry Newsletter – March 31, 2015

| March 31, 2015

BAADApril is Autism Awareness Month: Well, for some of us every month is Autism Awareness Month. But I am all for people learning more about how ASD minds work and what programs work for ASD minds. Thursday, April 2nd, Nicole Hitchcock has organized Bay Area Autism Awareness Day. Temple Grandin and Congressman Jared Huffman will be speaking, and a month-long art exhibit will be launched. The event will begin at 6:00 pm with the art display at the NH2 Salon in Vintage Oaks shopping center in Novato. Then continue at 7:30 pm at HopMonk Tavern to hear the guest speakers. Several of our Autistry students will have beautifully mounted photos of their projects for sale. So, come down, see the art, hear the speakers, and support local ASD programs!

2015 GrowingAnd talking about support for local ASD programs: The Jonathan and Kathleen Altman Foundation will match all contributions to Autistry Studios in the month of April, up to a maximum of $20,000! I took this photo the other day of a plant growing in our back yard. For the last couple of weeks I have watched this plant slowly push aside the rock that was in its way. Inch by inch it has worked its way around the obstacles and continued to grow. I know how it feels! Seven years ago we started Autistry Studios and we continue to grow – inch by inch. Building a nonprofit program is a lesson in patience, persistence, and partnership. Your donation is crucial to help us meet the Altmans’ challenge and sustain the growth of Autistry.

SA Party IV squareScientists and Artists…Party IV: Yes, it’s back! Our favorite Autistry party will be Saturday, April 11th, at 7 pm. Don’t miss the great presentations by Brian Kennedy of the Buck Institute, with Eli Pilcher and Ross Jacobs, Autistry students who will share their Buck internship experiences. Natalie Mann of the The Walt Disney Family Museum will give a cool presentation on animation. Ken Pontac, screenwriter and animation director, will talk about his latest and greatest adventures in Hollywood. Angelique Benicio, artist and sculptor, will show highlights from her very popular Autistry Orisha Workshopfreeing the spirit within. And, it wouldn’t be a party without Greg Nett and his fabulous Karaoke Machine. Join us for lots of fun.

camp1Summer is coming! We just posted our 2015 Summer Camp schedule. Last year was so much fun we just had to do it again. This year we are offering 5 week-long camps – Cooking I and II, City Explorers I and II, and Hero’s Journey. Camp sessions are 10 am – 3 pm, Monday through Friday (except Cooking I, which is just 4 days). Sign up early as we keep the groups small to ensure a great time is had by all. Enrollment deadline is May 8, 2015.

Hope to see you all soon!

Autistry Newsletter – March 9, 2015

| March 9, 2015

SA Party IV squareMark your calendars: Autistry Scientists & Artists …Party! IV – Saturday, April 11th – 7pm – 10pm at the Studio. You can RSVP to Sarah Horowitz or go to the Facebook events page. On the event page click on the Invite button and let all your Facebook friends know about this great party. Guest presenters will be:
* Brian Kennedy, President and CEO of the Buck Institute, will give an overview of the research happening at the Buck. He will also introduce Ross Jacobs and Eli Pilcher. Ross and Eli are both Autistry clients and have recently completed successful internships at the Buck. They will talk about their work experience.
*Ken Pontac will entertain us with his fabulous stories as a writer on Happy Tree Friends, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, Arthur, and many other film and TV projects.
*Angelique Benicio, local painter and sculptor, will present the cool creations made in the March special costume workshop by the Autistry students. Angelique is one of several local artists who provide inspiration and hands-on seminars at the studio.
*Natalie Mann, Outreach Program Manager of the Walt Disney Family Museum, will speak about their Animation Access Program and give a demonstration on creating animation. She is also bringing an ‘animation station’ for a hands-on demo!

* And the fabulous Autistry Student Projects will be on display!
Ben Filingnat hat unfinishedKitty at the Parkmichaels butterflyOliver shooting Percy - CopyJohn adjust ShopBot

Autistry Digital Arts Studio:
Yes! Thanks to a generous grant from the Feshbach family, we are creating a digital arts studio at Autistry. The downstairs conference room is being transformed – new carpet, fresh paint, 5 workstations, a 60″ monitor for screening, and state-of-the-art design and animation software. The new studio provides yet another ‘toolset’ for our students. We are also working closely with local animation and digital arts professionals who have helped us with the design – both physical and virtual – of this studio. Many of these professionals will be giving seminars to our students throughout the year, answering questions and sharing their career experiences.

imagineProductive partnering: You may have seen the IMAGINE tile on our Facebook page. And, yes, we loved John Lennon but we also love Buddy Rhodes! Buddy is recognized as a pioneer in the use and creation of decorative concrete. We will be working with Buddy and the students of Oak Hill School to create “message tiles”. We will carve the master blocks on the ShopBot, make rubber molds, and then pour in Buddy’s special concrete mixture. Imagine all the messages…it’s easy if you try!

Testing…hello…hello…testing: Starting this summer the Autistry staff will offer ASD assessment and diagnostic testing. Tests include: Vineland II, Autism Diagnostic Interview™, Revised (ADI™-R); Checklist for Autism Spectrum Disorder (CASD); and The Autistry Studios Life Skills Inventory (based on the inventory developed by Washington State Department of Social and Health Services). Besides giving families information about their child (and individuals information about themselves), performing these evaluations on a regular basis will provide us valuable insight into the efficacy of the Autistry program. We have collected wonderful anecdotal reports on how Project-Based Therapy has helped teens and adults become more resilient, self-reliant, and independent, but having standardized measures will help us fine-tune our approach and highlight areas that need more concentration.

March highlights for your calendar:

March 14th – Congratulations to Marin (Rinny) Xiques, Jon Wootton, Connor Barbee, April Evans, and Alex Phillips—all five of these Autistry students submitted photographs of their artwork to Art Slam 2015 and were accepted. A slide show of their work and many others will be shown during Art Slam at the de Young Museum on March 14.

For free admission to the de Young that day, RSVP by this coming Wednesday, March 11, to or (415) 750-7645.

Connor’s photograph will be shown in the Koret Auditorium during Presentation #2 at approximately 1:09–1:16 pm. The other four will be shown during Presentation #4, around 1:25–1:32 pm.

March 19 – Autistry Support Network meeting. 7pm at Autistry Studios. Topic: Transition. Guest Speaker: Jacob Lapides from Integrated Community Services. Jacob will be speaking and answering questions about employment training and opportunities for ASD individuals.

March 20 – Due date to have your Autistry student’s artwork photographed for the Bay Area Autism Awareness day event in Novato. Please contact Sarah Horowitz for more details.

Autistry Newsletter – January 14, 2015

| January 14, 2015

2015 has opened with a bang at Autistry! Lots of new faces: students and staff. New projects are starting and older projects are being completed. We are all overcoming the temptation to linger in projects that we love so we don’t have to strike out into the unknown territory of a new project. So the motto for 2015 is Done is Good!

Here are just a few of the wonderful things being created (and finished) in the workshops:


Brook and Josh w/train

Josh finished the Amtrak F40. He has mastered the art of decals.



Nat and his hat

Nat wearing the mock-up of his new hat design. He’ll make it out of thin foam and cover with felt.



Alex with legos

Alex painted a Lego still life for Play-Well TEKnologies (aka the Lego Store).



Oliver takes a CU

Oliver takes photos for a comic book story with Thomas the Tank Engine.



Pierce making a pirate ship

Pierce working on a pirate ship that we hope will be a prototype for more to come.



Dan and Lauren w/phones

Lauren teaches Dan how to program his new iPhone!



Ben and his house

Ben finished his bird house – an exact replica of his home.



Claire at the bandsaw

Claire learned to use the bandsaw to create a cool diorama.



Avery with hatchet

Avery with his hatchet.
Watch out world!



John mockup

John with the first pass at a sword. More work to do!



Jacob with sword

Jacob cut a large sword on the ShopBot – not quite finished yet!


This is just a small selection of the many amazing projects happening in the Studio. My personal resolution for 2015: Post More Newsletters!