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

Autistry Newsletter – August 9, 2014

| August 9, 2014

Either summers are getting shorter or time is passing faster but August’s arrival caught me by surprise. Or perhaps it’s just that the old adage “Time flies when you’re having fun” is true. In which case, after the amazing fun of the Autistry Summer Camps it is a wonder that we aren’t in August 2015!

city explorers
We kicked off the summer with City Explorers Camps 1 and 2 led by Ashley Gries. The campers hiked the Marin headlands, took the ferry to San Francisco, and experienced the Exploratorium, the Aquarium by the Bay, Fort Point and other cool local locations. They revisited familiar places and discovered new ones.

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The Letterboxing Camp led by Sara Gardner took the students in search of hidden treasures and cached messages. Letterboxing combines several skills – navigation, art, and puzzle solving. Letterboxing hobbyists hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly accessible places. Our campers traveled the length and breadth of Marin County from Heart’s Desire Beach to China Camp looking for these treasure troves. They created unique stamps of their own and travel journals and had a fabulous time.
 

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Brook Leone was the head chef of Cooking Camps 1 and 2. Brook and her sous-chefs, Ashley Gries, Dayna Camden and Danny Waite kept the campers busy with shopping, cooking and, of course, eating! They also did blind-folded taste tests, learned kitchen safety, customized chef hats, made a recipe book, and, of course, did the dishes. And, at the end of each week they not only made yummy snacks but they also fixed a three course meal for the Thursday Autistry Workshop students – a sit-down meal for 22 people! And it was very tasty.
 

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Next week Sara Gardner returns with a very special camp – The Hero’s Journey. Campers will explore their animal spirits, create unique shields, and hike to one of Marin’s most beautiful waterfalls. You can follow their journey on our Facebook Page.
 

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The staff and students of Autistry are gearing up for our 3rd Annual Fundraising Faire. This year the theme is Eco-Tech: Using our Powers for Good! On display will be student projects like a lightweight teardrop trailer, a “green” demonstration shed, models of ecologically savvy small-footprint houses, and more.

The Faire benefits the Autistry Opportunity Fund, which allows Autistry to offer sliding-scale fees and scholarships to low- and moderate-income individuals and families who would not otherwise be able to access our innovative programs. There are several ways you can help us make this the best faire yet:

Partner with Autistry by becoming an Event Sponsor – check out the custom remote control cars we build for our Event Sponsors – not to mention the VIP dinner!

Or, be a Booth Sponsor and put your name on one of the many cool carnival booths or on the crash wall of the racetrack.

Or, donate items to the Autistry Silent Auction Handmade crafts, wines, items to include in baskets (Spa basket, date night, culinary delights, etc). We are looking for fun, exciting, exquisite or just plain cool items!

Thank you for supporting Autistry Studios!

Janet, Dan, Sarah, Sara, Amelia, Ashley, Brook, Dayna, Allison, Danny, and Katia

Autistry Newsletter June 24, 2014

| June 25, 2014

399Summer is heating up! We celebrated the end of the Autistry Spring semester and applauded our high school graduates with a dance party on June 7th. This is the third time that we have had Greg Nett bring his karaoke equipment and DJ the dance floor. He got us all singing and dancing! Greg has become an Autistry tradition and we will bring him back as often as we can. And – who knew? – our Autistry gang can really belt out songs. Even some of our shyer students found their voices. Perhaps we should start a new organization: Autism Sings!

mattBrookIanDaynaemma

Ashley, Dayna, and Brook

Ashley, Dayna, and Brook


Next Monday (June 30th) is the first day of our first Autistry 2014 Summer Camp – City Explorers I. Led by Ashley Gries, Brook Leone and Dayna Camden this camp will feature trips to the Marin Headlands, the Aquarium by the Bay, a hike along the Larkspur coast, and a ferry trip to explore the San Francisco Ferry Building shops! Something for everybody. We’ll be posting photos on our Facebook page so check in often.

288While the campers are exploring the city, the Autistry Model Employment Program folks will be busy creating an inventory of wonderful things to offer for sale in the fall. They are making wooden banker boxes, pirate ship kits, Gear-Heart kits, and even a clever tilted board to stretch the calf muscles! Many of these will be ready to purchase at the next Autistry Faire on Sunday, October 19.

EcoTechLogoSpeaking of which….we are in full faire preparation now. This year’s theme is Eco-Tech: Using our Powers for Good! The staff and students of Autistry chose this theme as they feel it reflects their concerns for the environment and their desire to help create a sustainable world. We are very proud of their commitment! On display will be student projects like a lightweight teardrop trailer, planter box gardens, models of ecologically savvy small-footprint houses, and more. And, the very popular recycled cardboard racetrack will return – bigger and better!

The fall faire is our annual fundraising event. The revenue raised supports our Opportunity Fund which allows us to offer sliding scale and scholarships to families who would not otherwise be able to access our programs. You can help by spreading the word! Download our sponsorship forms:

130Event Sponsorship – a range of sponsorship levels. At the Patron and Inventor Levels we will build you a custom radio controlled car! Event sponsors will also be invited to a VIP Racetrack Social the night before the Faire where they can enjoy cocktails as they race their cars on the custom cardboard raceway. Last year’s Social was awesome with cars whirling around the track at speeds of more than 20 miles an hour. And yes, crashes did happen!

Katelyn and Jackson taking aimBooth Sponsorship – put your name on a Fair Booth! Our favorite fun booths are returning – Ring Toss, the Fishing Wall, Creation Station, Shooting Gallery – and we have added a couple new games as well. You can support Autistry with a Booth Sponsorship and help us create an event that is fun for the whole family!

Autistry Newsletter – April 25, 2014

| April 25, 2014

April – Autism Acceptance Month is winding down but, oddly, we’re all still here – gloriously ASD!

Dan Swearingen Janet LawsonOn Saturday, April 26th at 4pm (PST) Dan and Janet will be speaking at the Autism College Web Conference. Our topic: Autistry Studios – building a working ASD community. Join us – we would love to hear your questions and your comments. We have an hour and half to talk about why we created Autistry, how we created it, and where it’s all going. There are several other very cool speakers too. Log in and register – it’s free.

Ian at the RiverTHANK YOU!! Our Autistry network of supporters has nearly met the April matching grant challenge. In honor of Autism Acceptance Month, the Jonathan and Kathleen Altman Foundation will match all contributions to Autistry in April, up to $20,000!! We have raised $18,225 toward the $20,000 matching challenge. Just need another $1,775 to reach our goal! Thank you all so much. These funds will help us expand our programming. There is still one week left in April so if the spirit moves you please donate online.

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Summertime! Registration for the very cool Autistry Summer Camps is open until April 30th. So, if you haven’t sent in your registration forms do so now. The camps are small, fun, and packed with creative potential. There are nine 4-day camps to choose from. Each camp was designed by an Autistry member and will be staffed by our fabulous mentors. Check them out and get your registration forms in!


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Also this month: Janet Miller asked the Mill Valley City Council to proclaim April as Autism Awareness Month. She highlighted the crises now facing the ASD community – employment and housing for our ASD young adults. Janet was eloquent in her appeal to the business community to partner with Autistry and other Marin organizations. Janet Lawson also spoke adding her support and her commitment to finding solutions.


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Following Janet Miller’s lead, Barbara Waite addressed the San Rafael City Council and they too proclaimed April as Autism Awareness Month. And, in a passionate plea to the Council and to local business leaders Barbara and Janet Lawson asked the council to help ASD families form lasting partnerships with the business community. Mayor Gary Phillips agreed and invited them to address the next meeting of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce. The door has been opened and it is time for us to walk through and begin to make the connections and form the relationships that will create successful opportunities for our ASD children.

It takes a village: Barbara Waite and Mary Anne McCarthy have launched the Autistry Support Network (ASN). The ASN will be our booster group and will coordinate auxiliary activities such as field trips, fundraisers, social get-togethers, and more. If you are the parent or guardian of an Autistry student, congratulations–you are automatically a member of the ASN! For more information on ASN please contact Barbara Waite.