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:
ASCEND's Social Gathering for Adults on the Spectrum

This is a gathering of adults who may be interested in connecting with other self-advocates. While staff are available to help facilitate, participants will collectively guide the nature of the group and how they may like to see the group evolve from a gathering moving forward. Instead of becoming a therapeutic group, this group is intended to provide opportunities for connection and discussion among participants, possibly leading to additional activities based on common interests.

Sun., 4/8 from 4 - 5 PM
Ruttenberg Autism Center
1740 Walton Road, 1st Floor
Blue Bell, PA 19422
Attendance is free but please RSVP to [email protected]

Discussion Group for Caregivers of Adults 

This free group for parents/ caregivers will be held in a different room but at the same time as the adult group session, Chips, Chocolate & Chat.

Sun., 4/8 from 4 - 5 PM
Ruttenberg Autism Center
1740 Walton Road, 1st Floor
Blue Bell, PA 19422
Attendance is free but please RSVP to [email protected]

ASCEND Professional Events Calendar & Professional Directory

ASCEND Professional Member Events
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If you are an ASCEND Organizational Professional Member and would like to submit a listing for our website, simply click below to complete one/more of the following forms:

Submit an Event       Submit Research      Submit a Service

Professional Members' Offerings:

Social Groups, Support Groups & Workshops     

Summer Camps/Programs   

Research Opportunities (New studies added!)

 Support ASCEND today!

 As a nonprofit organization, we depend solely on the support of our members. There are membership level options that make sense and are affordable for just about anyone.

ASCEND Membership

Member Benefits include:

    • Free admission to one or more meet-ups. To view our 2017 Meet Ups list click here.
    • Invitations to ASCEND-sponsored social events
    • 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)
    • Invitation or join our professionals e-list (listserv) for message posting (professional members only)
    • Free, unlimited posting of events, sessions, camps, social groups, etc on our calendar as well as our free, monthly e-newsletter which has 4000+ subscribers (posting for professional members only)
    • Access to the online e-newsletter archive

ASCEND Individual Membership $25/year

ASCEND Family Membership  $45/year

ASCEND Professional Membership $160/year

Click to get a printable Membership Form in Word format.

Interested in volunteering? We welcome ASCEND members and non-members to sign up to volunteer on one of our committees. It's a great way to meet other people in our community and to give back! Please click here to sign up to volunteer.

ASCEND Professionals' Research Studies

Research Study Form
In the interest of promoting autism awareness, we feel it is important to help spread the word about autism spectrum research studies that are being conducted in our area. For the first time, we are giving individuals and organizations the opportunity to advertise their research studies in future ASCEND e-newsletters and on our website, for a nominal fee without first becoming ASCEND members. Use this Research Study Form to submit your study. 

We are looking for people who are 18 years and older with developmental disabilities to complete a survey asking questions about transportation. Developmental disabilities: 1) start at birth or during childhood; 2) are expected to continue throughout the person’s life; and 3) impact the person’s ability to perform in major life activities. Please click on above link for more information.
 Description: autismMatch is a research registry in which children and adults with or without ASD are asked to create a profile in order to be matched with currently enrolling research studies. The profile requests basic contact and background information. Participants will be contacted through email periodically when their profile matches the recruitment criteria for a new research study.

Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS)
In an attempt to learn about patterns of brain development in children, we are studying the differences in brain patterns between children with autism spectrum disorders and typically developing children. Infants between 3-6 months of age with an older sibling who is diagnosed with an ASD are invited to participate. At the end of the study, you will receive an ASD diagnostic assessment and recommendations from our clinician. Families are compensated for time and travel. Please click on title link above for more information.

Research on Autism and Developmental Disorders (ROADD) 
Because there is very little research about the early development of ASD in young children, this study will observe young children to learn more about the biological underpinnings of ASD. Children ages 3-5 with or without a diagnosis of ASD may be eligible to participate. A comprehensive evaluation and written feedback report with recommendations for treatment will be given. Families are compensated for time and travel. Please click on above title link for more information.

Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI)
This ground-breaking study is looking at possible environmental and genetic links to autism. Mothers who have a biological child with ASD or who less than 28 weeks pregnant and who live in the tristate area are being invited to participate in this study. Mothers will be asked to complete questionnaires, do phone interviews and provide biological samples through pregnancy, at delivery and afterward. Two study visits, one in the clinic with your child with ASD for behavioral and developmental assessments and one at home are required. You will receive autism assessments from clinicians and compensation. Please click on title link for more information.

JAKE App Study
With the use of new mobile app technology, this study aims to develop a mobile app-based system to monitor clinical outcomes in children and adults with ASD vs. typically developing children and adults. Children and adults ages 6 and older with or without ASD may take part. The total time commitment for the study varies depending whether you are typically developing or have ASD. Please click on above title link for more information.

Facing Puberty: Understanding Menses in Females with ASD 
The purpose of this study is to understand the onset, symptoms, and experience of menses for girls with ASD compared to typically developing peers. Girls with and without ASD and one of their parents are being asked to participate. The girls and their parents will be asked to complete several online surveys about their menstrual cycle, level of activity, food preferences and intake, and symptoms of anxiety.

Would you like the chance to talk about your experiences during birth?  Autistic Women are being sought for a study focusing on the childbirth experience. Autistic Women with who have given birth within the past 10 years in an acute care setting such as a hospital and had no complications in themselves or with their baby are invited to participate. All participants will receive a $50.00 Amazon gift at the interview. For more information, please click on the title link above.

A Study of the Successes and Challenges of Same-Sex relationships for Men with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Eligibility:  Adults (18+) with ASD who identify as male and who have had at least one same-sex intimate-partner relationship. Participants should have a professional diagnosis of ASD, as well as at least a High School Diploma/GED, or international equivalent. There is no geographic limitation.
Compensation:  Each participant who successfully completes the interview will receive a $10.00 gift card in appreciation from the Principal Investigator. Participants may also receive the results of the study. For more information please click on the title link above.