Welcome to ASCEND Group


To improve the lives of individuals
     and families in the Greater Philadelphia area impacted by Asperger Syndrome
and Autism through connections,
community and support.

 ASCEND Events: 

Chips, Chocolate and Chat Adult Social Group 

A group of adult self-advocates who with the help of a facilitator, discuss topics chosen by the group. Topics that have been addressed include dating, co-workers, break-ups, meet-ups, interviewing for jobs, etc. In the past, we have had a few guest speakers who have addressed the group as well. 

Attendees: Adults on the autism spectrum, ages 18+

Sun., Sept. 22nd from 4-5 PM 
Ruttenberg Autism Center
1740 Walton Road, 1st Floor, Blue Bell, PA 19422


Discussion Group for Caregivers
Runs simultaneously but in a different room than the adult social group.
Attendees: Caregivers of adults on the autism spectrum

Sun., Sept. 22nd from 4-5 PM 
Ruttenberg Autism Center
1740 Walton Road, 1st Floor, Blue Bell, PA 19422

SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday, October 16

Preparing for College: Supports and Panel Discussion
for Students with Asperger's / Autism Spectrum Disorder
& Their Caregivers

Wednesday, October 16, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Bucks County Community College 
Gene and Marlene Epstein Campus at Lower Bucks
1304 Veteran Hwy, Bristol, PA 19007

Bucks County Community College and Kutztown University are confirmed so far; stay tuned for info on additional colleges participating in this event.


 Professional Events and Ongoing Groups:


Next Steps Workshop for Families

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND), The Center for Autism Research and the Regional Autism Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia invite you to:

A Workshop for Parents/Caregivers Supporting Young Children Newly Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

This workshop is geared towards parents/caregivers of toddlers through elementary school-aged children who have recently been diagnosed with ASD. Topics will include an overview of ASD, available therapies and treatments, how to decide what interventions to pursue, and tips for accessing community supports and resources.
Presenters will include experts in developmental and behavioral pediatrics, speech and language pathology, occupational therapy, social work and psychology. There will be an opportunity for question and answer dialogue with these presenters.  Participants will also engage in a discussion with a panel of parents who have made the next steps with their children.

Cost: $25 for parents/guardians or $45 for professionals includes continental breakfast, coffee, tea, and assorted beverages.
*Lunch is not included with the registration and we ask that all participants pack and bring their lunch. There are a few limited options for purchasing lunch in the vicinity.
*Price does not include parking, which is available in the visitor’s lot at a reduced rate.

Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2019 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Roberts Center for Pediatric Research, 2716 South St., 1st Floor Conference Center, Room 1-120B, Philadelphia, PA 19146



Our complimentary workshops are focused on empowering and educating families who have dependents with special needs giving them clear, actionable information that can be used to understand and build a responsible financial lifestyle. Our small and interactive seminars will be led by popular financial speaker, Pat Bergmaier, and will provide a comfortable setting in which attendees can learn how to take control of their present and future financial planning. As a follow-up, individual meetings may be scheduled to focus on your personal financial situation without distraction.

Upcoming Fall Workshops:

1) Saturday September 14th 9am
2019 Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation Annual Conference at Loews Hotel Philadelphia
** Breakout session 9am-10am, Conference registration link

2) Thursday, September 19th 6pm
Hosted by: ABA2DAY, 3744 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, PA 19073

Interested in hosting a workshop for your families? Should your employer be offering something similar? Please reach out to Pat!


Openings for Children ages 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, & 13-15. Children will be grouped by age, language abilities, and social skills goals.
Lego®-Based Therapy, or Lego®-Club as it called by group members, is an evidenced based treatment where children develop skills through collaboration on group projects through the use of Lego®. Group members collaborate on building sets, free style projects, and creating and producing short stop-action films. Children with ASD, ADHD, anxiety, and other social challenges are welcome! 

Groups will be run on Monday afternoons/evenings for 1 hour per session for 8 sessions starting Monday, October 7, 2019 at Autism Spectrum Diagnostics & Consulting, 259 Veterans Ln, Doylestown, PA 18901.
Contact Dr. Brittany Lyman at [email protected] for more information.

Mike Fogel's
 Art of Friendship


Social-Coping Skills Groups are currently enrolling girls, boys and co-ed groups between 4-18 years old in: Paoli, Haverford, Plymouth Meeting and Center City Philadelphia.


Autism Diagnostics
Autism Spectrum Diagnostics & Consulting: Tech-Based Vocational Skills Group 

Research has shown that individuals with ASD can not only perform proficiently in the workplace, they can do so independently if the job matches their personal strengths and capabilities and specific job tasks are taught to mastery. The goal of this group is to not only develop participant proficiency in technology use, but to also teach key "soft-skills" such as; job searching, understanding workplace norms, routines and etiquette, social communication at work and workplace problem-solving skills.

If interested, contact Reggie Candio at  
[email protected]

Kristina Vacha's Groups

Kristina Vacha, Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I have two groups now meeting twice a month at my office in Media. 
The first group is for adults on the spectrum both men and women who are fully employed or full time college students.   We meet at my office and also have social outings in the community which the group members are helping to plan..  You must do both because the group is working on skills to plan the outings and then discusses how it went at the next meeting.  There is an additional fee for group outings.  
My second group which is now meeting every other Wednesday evening is for men with ASD, may be employed FT or PT, or between jobs, and struggling with social isolation.  
The first step is to meet with me individually to determine fit for a group.  The cost for that consultation is $50. The group fees right now are $40 private pay and $50 if you will submit to insurance.
Please contact me if you have any questions or interest: [email protected] or 484-274-8957
I am a good listener and will give you time and space to share your concerns. I specialize in supporting transitioning teens and adults with ASD and parents/caretakers. I offer a comprehensive strengths-based approach that also utilizes evidence-based interventions to address issues related to anxiety and depression, life transitions, family and relationship dynamics, self-advocacy, work/employment, co-morbid mental health issues, healthy lifestyle, independent living, contact with law enforcement, and sexuality/dating. I work across the spectrum including nonverbal individuals to high functioning professionals.

ASCEND Group Membership Levels...Membership options that make sense

As a nonprofit organization, we depend solely on the support of our members as
we work to fulfill our mission to raise public awareness about AS and related disorders, advocate for improved education and services, and provide support and information to the Asperger and autism community.

Access to some of the content on this website is available only to subscribing members. Various membership options and benefits are shown below:

Member Benefits include:

  • Free admission to one or more meet-ups. To view our 2017 Meet Ups list click here. To view our 2018 Meet Ups click here.
  • Free or discounted registration for ASCEND webinars and educational sessions.
  • Posting of events, research, camps and groups (organizational members only)
  • Referrals (organizational members only)
  • Invitation or join our professionals elist (listserv) for message posting (organizational members only)
  • Inclusion in our Membership Directory (optional and available only to member families)
  • Invitation to join our families e-lists (listservs) for message posting (member families only)
  • Access to our Members Only "Cybrary" containing: Autism & Employment Networking &  Interviewing Webinars, SAP: Autism at Work Session Recording,  College Panel Night hand-outs and our e-newsletter archive (all members)

ASCEND Individual Membership $25/year

ASCEND Family Membership $45/year

ASCEND Organizational Membership $160/year

Need to Pay
by Check?

Download our Word membership form and simply send us your registration by US Mail: 

ASCEND Group, Inc., PO Box 2097, Media PA 19063

GIFT MEMBERSHIPS: Give an ASCEND Membership as a gift to a loved on or colleague. Select one of the new membership options below, and indicate during checkout that the membership is a gift. Please note that you’ll need to have enough of the recipients contact information on hand to complete the required fields for their member profile.