1. Plug into Some Podcasts
I am a podcast-a-holic, and here are two of my favorites from the autism realm:
Autism Science Foundation Weekly Science Podcast. Alycia Halladay, PhD, does a great job of translating trending autism research topics for a lay audience. www.asfpodcast.org
Autastic: A Comedian's Guide to Autism with Kirk Smith and Graham Kay. On the lighter side, here's a new podcast featuring two comedians. Kirk has a son with autism, Graham has a brother with autism. Put them together and you get both guffaws and insights, tapping into the challenges and joys of having autism in the family. (By the way, Kirk is doing a fundraiser for us and other local autism nonprofits in February 2016, in Palo Alto. Stay tuned!)
2. Listen to Some Lectures
UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series lets you geek out to your heart's content, for example:
• Pathways for Treatments in Autism Spectrum Disorders
• Genetics of Autism Spectrum Disorders
And here's an informative one on California's new self-determination program:
• Self-Determination: A New Service Model for Regional Center Clients
If you missed our October 2015 conference, "Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom: Bay Area Adult Autism Programs and Housing Summit," it's never too late to attend it "virtually":
(By the way, please help us plan our 2016 events by taking our two-minute survey here: http://www.sfautismsociety.org/survey.html)
For help at home, the Porchlight Autism series is an online series for caregivers of people living with autism. The series focuses on education and solutions to help with behavioral change at home.
3. Take an ASD Holiday Hike or Shopping Excursion
Autism Fun Bay Area sponsors all sorts of events for autism and special needs families. If it's not raining, join in a hike Dec 20 (The Dish at Stanford), Dec 24 (negative tide beachwalk in Santa Cruz), and Jan 1 (Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail). See details and rsvp info at http://www.autismfunbayarea.org/events.html
Our website also lists an Autism Arts Gift Guide, for brick-and-mortar and online exploring of fun stuff made by adults with autism and other special needs. http://www.sfautismsociety.org/autism-arts-gift-guide.html
4. Carve Out a Fantasy Day for Your ASD Kid
What does your ASD kid really love to do? Roll in the sand? Immerse in a hot tub? Count planes taking off? Watch movies? Take a whole day to indulge his or her delights, without any therapeutic mindset or judgment. Just have fun with it.
(Btw, you can catch a Sensory Friendly Star Wars at AMC December 22d at 7pm and 26th at 10am: https://www.amctheatres.com/programs/sensory-friendly-films.)
5. Donate to Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area
Do you have an Andrew Jackson or two worthy of supporting our work to strengthen our local autism community and create more robust lifecare options for our special children? We charge no membership fees for our work, so our popular conference, events, website, advocacy and outreach depend on our community's annual generosity. Please make a tax-deductible donation today: http://www.sfautismsociety.org/donate.html.
Wishing you all a very happy and relaxing holiday!
—Jill Escher, president, on behalf of the Board of Directors, Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area