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.
lunch2
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!

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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!

Claire 150
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Michael smiles
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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!

APRIL

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

Lisapaints1
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 access@famsf.org 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!

Autistry Newsletter – December 9, 2014

| December 8, 2014

Wow – the holidays are here. How did that happen when only yesterday we were doing summer camps. Maybe the time flew by because we were so busy.

Rachel Brem S and A #3: One of the events that kept us hopping was our third Scientists & Artists…Party! This is one of my favorite events as it brings together amazing talents from many different fields. The party also gives our students a chance to show off their work and mingle with cool people. Dr. Rachel Brem represented the Buck Institute and gave us a fabulous glimpse into the world of research science. She described her work, Finding Genes that Make Fruit Flies Fat, in such a clear, entertaining way that we were all ready to sign up for science class.

John HerseyWe welcomed a new face to our Autistry extended family, John Hersey. John is considered one of the founders of digital illustration. Though you might not recognize John on the street many of you are familiar with his work. For example the sugar skull sports team illustrations which began when the SF Giants won the World Series in 2010 on the Day of the Dead and John created the now iconic Dia de los Gigantes! He is a great speaker and we look forward to many return appearances at Autistry.

Cliff SaronA dear friend and longtime Autistry supporter, Cliff Saron gave us a preview of the TEDx talk that he will give in the spring. We were mesmerized as he challenged our understanding of reality and opened up whole new ways of seeing the world. Cliff is a research scientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain. His work in sensory processing, multisensory integration and contemplative practice sheds light on some of the more complex underlying processes of autism … and neuro-typicalism as well!

032We also had a demonstration of martial arts by Al Loren and his students, April and Chris. They brought us to our feet cheering the lightning fast fists and the high kicks. And then we raced the remote control cars around the track! And, with the help and talent of Greg Nett, we karaoke’d the night away! We may do another Scientists & Artists…Party in the spring. So stay tuned!

Rhys visits2Entertaining illustrious visitors: Author Rhys Bowen (Royal Spyness Series, The Evan Evans Series and the Molly Murphy Mysteries) toured the studio. Rhys is from Bath, England but now makes her home in Marin County. She has followed the growth of Autistry and donated several signed books for our silent auction. The Autistry Support Network (ASN) is hoping to host a Tea with Rhys in the spring.
 

OConnell visits2The word is getting out about Autistry! Dr. Karen O’Connell, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia was in Berkeley delivering a paper on disability discrimination in the law when someone mentioned the work we do at Autistry. She immediately arranged a visit. We spent a wonderful morning discussing the issues facing our ASD clients as they grow older and go out into the world. Dr. O’Connell is part of an international effort to reexamine legal systems and the institutionalized discrimination of those with disabilities.

End of the Year Challenge: It’s that time of the year when we reach out and ask our community for support. This year we have a $15,000 challenge to match and we are confident that with your help we can do it. Using our Powers for Good is our rallying cry! Check out some of the accomplishments of our Autistry Superstars and help us continue to provide these vital independence building programs.

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Next week a round up of the amazing Autistry projects of 2014!

Janet, Dan and the Autistry Team

Autistry Newsletter – October 24, 2014

| October 24, 2014

This has been a whirlwind few months of events, activities, and amazing projects. We host our annual fundraising event in October because the spring is so filled with nonprofit events and because we love the feel of fall – warm yet hinting at cool weather to come, leaves turning and plants slowly settling in for a long nap. The perfect time to gather together and strengthen community bonds. And that is what we we have been busy doing!

20140913_113214_resizedMini Maker Faire: On Sept 13th Autistry hosted the Creation Station at the Greenbrae Mini-Maker Faire. It was a huge hit! Amelia, with help from members of the Autistry Support Network, created unique costumes, role-play weapons, creatures, and jewelry for children of all ages. The Autistry team worked with cardboard, hot glue, glitter and all sorts of other wonderful stuff to help make real the fantastical ideas that the children and adults brought to them. At the end of the day we realized that the Creation Station is a actually mini-Autistry! We have been asked to return next year and we most certainly will. We can also take the Creation Station to other events.

AutistyEcho-TechFaire_45This Faire brought to you by: At the VIP Social Saturday October 18th for our major sponsors we turned the messy warehouse into an elegant fairy-lit dream world – complete with cardboard racetrack, white linen tablecloths and professional flower arrangements (thank you Mindy!). Our sponsors, Nissan Infiniti Marin, The Waite Family, Marin Sanitary Service, Presence Product Group, and the Murphy Family enjoyed racing the specially crafted remote control cars around the track. An exquisite array of hors d’oeuvres provided by Whole Foods of San Rafael followed by scrumptious lemon squares from Mariposa Baking Company fueled the race car drivers. Sara’s secret recipe sangria kept their spirits up.

AutistyEcho-TechFaire_2352014 Autistry Eco-Tech Faire: we used our powers for good! Our eco-friendly themed faire was a huge success. Not only did we raise a healthy amount for the Autistry Opportunity Fund we all had a great time. The racetrack was the big draw as kids large and small powered around the domes and flew through the straight away.

This year we added the Obstacle Course where the low speed crawlers climbed over piles of debris in their attempt to reach the domes.

AutistyEcho-TechFaire_18

Amelia’s Rainwater Reclamation Garden Shed was on display. With donations from The Urban Farmer Amelia created a shed perfect for these current drought conditions. The Faire Food was also special – DeeDee Vierra of Renewable Energy Products brought down one of her Louisiana Pellet Grills and grilled chicken, sausages, and portobello mushrooms so tender that even the paper knives cut right through! Sara Gardner added her culinary touch with yummy salads! And, we have to send a huge thank you to Brook Leone and her sister Jordan for painting so many awesome faces. Lions and kitties and sharks, oh my!

AutistyEcho-TechFaire_284AutistyEcho-TechFaire_200kitty and shark

Coming up next: The Scientists & Artists…Party #3! Join us for science, art, and fun on Saturday, November 8th. 7pm at Autistry Studios. This is our biannual celebration of creativity. Party #3 presenters include Rachel Brem, PhD, Buck Institute on Aging • Ken Pontac, screenwriter and animation director • Cliff Saron, PhD, UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain and the MIND Institute • Artist and costume designer Angelique BenicioPLUS a demo of martial arts from Al Loren and his students; and a human-sized Jenga game. And, yes, there will be karaoke!

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Autistry Newsletter – September 8, 2014

| September 8, 2014

herocampThat was an awesome summer! Both staff and campers loved the Autistry Summer Camps and we will definitely offer them again in Summer 2015. The camps introduced many new families to Autistry and we are doing lots of new intake interviews. Now schools are back in session and Autistry is returning to the rhythm of the workshops and our focus is again on projects (and, of course the Faire!).

Amazing projects: There are so many projects going on that I will highlight just a few in each newsletter:

067April’s sculpture of The Thing. We often use books and illustrations as inspiration for projects. April loved the short story The Lost Thing in Shaun Tan’s collection Lost and Found. She is putting the finishing touches on her sculpture of The Thing. She created The Thing using the techniques we learned in the mask workshop taught by Angelique Benicio. She created a structure with chicken wire and covered it with rosin paper dipped in white glue. Many layers of texturing followed. April also used found objects like a small computer fan and various bits of shop detritus for the ground cover.

ianinarmorMedieval armor by Danny S. and Ian G. This is a complex piece of costuming made from rubber floor mats! Danny and Ian are still working out the panel-and-slash sleeves for the shirt and pants that will go under the armor. They have researched the costume design as well as the methods for making armor out of foam. They cut the breastplate logo into the rubber foam with a sharp knife and then used a hot air gun to gently widen the grooves. We love making things that we have never made before out of material that we have never used. We found several online tutorial that have helped us learn new techniques for working with E.V.A foam. Danny and Ian have a ways to go on this project but it is truly a labor of love and learning.

MonopolyManMonopoly Man versus Wall Street Bull. Alex has taken a break from his epic graphic novel to paint a piece of social commentary. The Monopoly Man teases and encourages the raging Wall Street Bull using a $100 bill in place of a red cape. The painting is acrylic on canvas and, as with all the projects, will be on display at the 3rd Annual Autistry Faire on Sunday October 19th.

FaireFlyerThe 3rd Annual Autistry Faire – EcoTech: Using our Powers for Good. It’s Faire time! We are so excited about this year’s faire. The 40′ cardboard racetrack will return. We now have two levels of remote control cars – the super fast and the off-road crawler. There will be designated race times for each type of car. We found the racers were a little too fast for some of our faire-goers so Dan has made some special modifications and he is constructing an obstacle course to make this even more fun.

We are thrilled to have Marin Nissan, Infiniti of Marin, Marin Sanitary Service, the Ryder Foundation, Presence Product Group, and Renewable Energy Products as sponsors this year. We are building custom cars for our event sponsors – there is still time for your company to race! You can find the Event Sponsor information here.

What would a carnival be without games? Not much fun. So we are bringing back last year’s favorites and adding a couple new ones. Ashley is making the classic carnival High Striker, test of strength booth. There will also be face painting, bean bag toss, the shooting gallery (the La Porta family is designing another unique experience!), and the ring toss. Booth sponsorship is another great way to support Autistry!

There is so much happening at Autistry and one way to keep up with all the news is to join us on Facebook. We post photos of projects, news, and upcoming event info.

Stay tuned – there is much more to come.

-Janet, Dan, and the Autistry Team