Issue 8 / Volume 4

April 2017


As you are probably aware, April is designated as Autism Awareness Month. Awareness of Asperger syndrome and autism has dramatically increased in the past 20 years, and efforts to promote acceptance of individuals on the autism spectrum continue today.

A positive trend is the inclusion of characters with autism spectrum disorders on TV shows such as House, Boy Meets World and Parenthood. The character Sheldon in Big Bang Theory certainly has Asperger-like characteristics, although the writers have not officially confirmed that he has Asperger's. The most recent example is Sesame Street creating a character named Julia who has autism. Julia was initially introduced as a friend of Elmo and Abby in Sesame Street's digital storybook, We're Amazing, 1, 2, 3! The goal of the character is to reduce the stigma of autism and increase empathy for those on the spectrum.

With the spotlight on autism spectrum disorders in April, there are several educational events and social activities happening in the Philadelphia area this month and in early May. Check out the calendar of activities which is included in this e-newsletter.

To help facilitate connections among professional members, ASCEND will host its first networking event for professionals on Friday, April 21 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at 5 Sentry Parkway East, Suite 110 in Blue Bell. Bring your lunch, and we will provide dessert.

The ASCEND Group is also holding a daylong fundraising event  on Saturday, April 22 from 11 a.m. to midnight at Gullifty's Restaurant, 1149 E. Lancaster Ave. in Rosemont. Present a printed flyer to your server or display it on your smartphone, and 20 percent of your check will be donated to ASCEND. Purchases include dine-in, takeout, catering and all beverages. We hope you can come out and support us! 

Warm regards,

Elena Perri
ASCEND President




Autism Acceptance Calendar of Events


In the Media

Genetic Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder Linked to Evolutionary Benefit 
From: by Bill Hathaway
Genetic variants linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have been postively selected during human evolution because they also contribute to enhanced cognition, a new Yale study suggests.

Autism Jobs Program Wants to Cut Disabled Unemployment Record
From: by John Magdaleno
Adrienne Walls is in the middle of her third internship thanks to the Project Search Program, a job training initiative in Philadelphia for people on the autism spectrum that's being hosted by Drexel University.

UCD, UNC Researchers Might Have Found Autism Biomarker
From: by Special To The Enterprise
Researchers from the UC Davis Mind Institute, University of North Carolina and other institutions have found that altered distribution of cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, in high-risk infants can predict whether they will develop autism spectrum disorders.


Things We Like

William Shatner Helps Boy with Autism Find His Favorite Discontinued Star Wars Mac & Cheese
From:,by Serge Bielanko
Reed Botwright is a really cool dad. Recently, the Nanaimo, British Columbia resident was in a pickle. According to CBC News, his 6-year-old son with autism, Everett, ran out of his favorite food: Kraft Star Wars Mac and Cheese. No big deal, right? Just go down to the grocery store and buy some more. Wrong.

Saving the Day: Watch an amazing group of firefighters deliver a birthday surprise for an 11-year-old boy struggling to make friends as he copes with being on the autism spectrum.

A Muppet with autism to be welcomed soon on 'Sesame Street'
New York (AP)- Folks on Sesame Street have a way of making everyone feel accepted.

In This Issue...

  1. ASCEND News
  2. Autism Acceptance Calendar of Events
  3. In the Media
  4. Things We Like



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 but are you an ASCEND Member?

ASCEND Members know that their annual subscription fees are being used responsibly and effectively to further the ASCEND mission.

ASCEND Group Inc.
610-449-6776 via email


ASCEND Group Inc. 
P.O. Box 2097

Media, PA 19063
[email protected]


Legal Disclaimer: ASCEND maintains the Professional Services Resource Directory as a service to families and professionals as a reference tool. ASCEND does not endorse or claim to have personal knowledge of the abilities of those listed. The resources listed on this page are not intended as a recommendation, referral, or endorsement of any resource or as a tool for verifying the credentials, qualifications, or abilities of any organization, product or professional. Users are urged to use independent judgment when considering any resource associated with diagnosis or treatment of autism, or the provision of services related to autism.

ASCEND Group Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. We do not endorse any specific professional or therapeutic treatment. We are not meant to be a replacement for medical or legal advice. Our mission is to raise public awareness about Asperger Syndrome and related disorders, to advocate for improved education and services, and to provide support and information to the Asperger and autism community. This web site is for informational purposes only. Any link or mention on our web site should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation. If you have questions about Autism or Asperger Syndrome, please consult with a qualified medical professional.