ASCEND's Board

Providing guidance and support for ASCEND

Elena Perri, President (Delaware County)
Steven Glazier, M.A, Vice President (Montgomery County)
Ginger S. Rowan, M.S., Secretary (Delaware County)
Michael Fogel, MA, ATR-BC, LPC (Philadelphia County)
Carol Weinman, Esq. (Montgomery County)
Robert Schmus, LSW (Camden County NJ)
Thia Jackson Baugh, ABR, BPOR (Montgomery County)
Marc Davies,Esq. (Montgomery County)
Randi Rentz (Montgomery County)
George McKinley - (Montgomery County)
Deirdre Cummins Wright, Founder and Emeritus

ASCEND’s board is comprised of family members, individuals with ASD, and professionals who work in the field of autism. See bios below.

 

Elena Perri is a public relations specialist who has a communications degree from Temple University and also received training in journalism and photography while serving in the U.S. Army Reserve. She has extensive journalism, public relations, editing and public speaking experience. Elena has been a board member of the Philadelphia chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators for more than 15 years and served in many capacities on its executive board. She is also a member of the Catholic Press Association. Elena’s personal experience with autism comes from raising a young son with Asperger Syndrome, which has given her a great understanding of the needs and challenges faced by families in our region. She and her family live in Havertown, PA.

Steven Glazier, M.A. is a Psychologist who has been working with individuals with developmental, emotional, and behavioral challenges for 30 years.  Since 1995, he has been in private practice, specializing in treating Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Steve has been on the faculty of Widener University’s Early Childhood Mental Health Program and the Boards of the Philadelphia Preschool Early Intervention Autism Committee and the Delaware Valley Chapter of the World Association for Infant Mental Health.  He currently is a Faculty member of Profectum Academy, an international agency dedicated to training professionals who work with special needs and he is designated an “Expert Practitioner” by the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders. In his spare time, Steve directs the Challenger Program for children with special needs in Cheltenham Little League and spends time with his wife, three teenage children, and four pets.

Carol S. Weinman, Esq., has spent 20 years as a domestic relations lawyer and trial attorney. She has advocated for clients in juvenile, adult, family and dependency courts. Recently, Carol shifted her focus to being a life coach and mediator for parents of children with Asperger Syndrome (AS) and women going through divorce. Carol has authored and edited educational reference books on special education law, employment law, and higher education law, and is well versed on the law in the area of special needs and available accommodations. She has instructed classes at Temple University and served as a Philadelphia prosecutor. Carol earned her law degree and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Temple University. She became an authority on Asperger Syndrome after conducting extensive research in her effort to successfully diagnose a family member and from months of teaching Applied Behavioral Analysis techniques to a child with Asperger's. She grew up in Philadelphia and lives in Fort Washington, PA, with her twin boys.

Michael Fogel, MA, ATR-BC, LPC

Bob Schmus, LSW is a young man in his mid-20’s who was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 10. Bob currently works as a program counselor at Albert “Bo” Robinson Assessment and Treatment Center in Trenton NJ, counseling the corrections population. In his spare time, he is a volunteer speaker at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Reach for the Future program; helping adolescents on the spectrum transition to adulthood. Bob is also an advisory board member on a research project at Drexel University’s Autism Institute, as well as a member of the institute’s community workgroup. Bob earned his B.S. Degree in Social Work from Concordia College of New York in 2011 and an MSW degree in 2012 from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and is working towards attaining his LCSW license

Ginger S. Rowan, M.S. is a marriage and family therapist with over 15 years of experience working with children with developmental differences.  MFT’s look at families differently than most therapists, they view things systemically.  What happens to one person, like a diagnosis of autism, effects everyone else in the family, even other generations.  So treatment of the individual can, and often does, include family members.  Encouraged by local families in 2008 to establish an agency that provided social skills groups at a reduced cost (and wanting to play more herself), Ginger founded a not-for-profit, Let’s Go Play, Inc., located in Media.  It’s a family affair and Ginger’s two sons have both worked there.  Originally starting off with Lego building, Let’s Go Play has expanded to Pokemon and “Heroes”, an original game that’s like video games only “live”.  In 2014, with a 10 year background as a Behavior Specialist in BHRS, she received her license as a Behavior Specialist. Ginger has also been an adjunct professor at LaSalle University in their Autism Certificate Program.  She has volunteered for and taken classes at Laurel House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.  Ginger lives in Newtown Square with her very supportive husband and enjoys painting, cooking and travel. 

Thia Jackson Baugh is a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. She received her degree in Chemistry from Cornell University and subsequently worked in the pharmaceutical industry for more than 24 years. During her time in pharma, Thea focused on the mental health field for many years. Her interests include special education and transition to college and "life" as well as the role meditation and mindfulness play in mental health. Thia resides in Harleysville and is the mother of three boys ages 13, 16 and 20. One of her sons was diagnosed with Aspergers and is in middle school.

Marc Davies is a father of three boys, including one on the spectrum. He believes that his son and many adolescents like him have so much to offer society, but they need tremendous support to thrive, along with a knowledgeable parent and community base. Marc recently left 15 years of big firm law to open his own practice, Marc Davies Law, which focuses on special needs law. His goal is to blend the insight of a special needs parent with the knowledge of a lawyer and advocate to help families understand and properly enforce their rights and acquire the resources needed for their special needs children. Marc works with families to get ABA services covered and effective IEPs in place. He earned his JD, cum laude, from Temple University and his MA in Environmental Science, with distinction, from UPenn. He lives in Wyncote PA with his wife, son, a dog, cat and three chickens.          

Randi Rentz, MS, is a special educator who has worked in the public school setting since 1993. She understands how to create success with individuals with ASD and the importance of accepting people with differences. Randi developed a newscast for children with Asperger’s Syndrome to teach skills related to modulating behavior, developing social and communication skills, and how to turn differences into assets. She has coordinated and presented workshops nationally and locally on a variety of special education topics. Randi has been published in The Autism File and has been featured in regional news, including articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Main Line Today and on 6ABC ‘s Fast Forward. In 2014, Randi was named a “Woman of Note” by the Wall Street Journal for her work in autism. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS and received her MS in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University.

George McKinley - coming soon

Deirdre Cummins Wright (Founder and Emeritus) launched ASCEND in 2001 with the help of many parents of children with Asperger Syndrome. She recognized a need for support for family members during a time when Asperger Syndrome was a little known disorder. ASCEND was her passion for more than 10 years. Deirdre retired from the board in 2012 knowing that the organization was in good hands and proud of all that ASCEND has accomplished in terms of providing resources, raising awareness, and building a community. Deirdre is now the Quality Manager for PA’s Adult Autism Waiver, a program that serves 300+ participants across the state.