October 2020






Chips, Chocolate
and Chat Gatherings (Free and Virtual)

Chips, Chocolate and Chat is a group of adults on the autism spectrum (ages 18+), 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.

For the past few years, parents and caregivers also have been meeting in a separate room to discuss various issues and provide support to one another.

If you are an adult on the spectrum or a parent/caregiver who wants to participate in this virtual gathering, please send an e-mail to [email protected] to receive the Zoom links.

Fall dates: Sundays, 4:00-5:00 PM on Oct. 4, Nov. 1 and Dec. 6, via Zoom.

Virtual Support Group for Parents/Caregivers

Begins Tues., Oct. 20, 7:00 - 8:15 p.m.
ASCEND Members: FREE; non-members, $10/session.

Please note: This support group is for parents and caregivers with children under 18. See information above about our Chips Chocolate and Chat group which is for adults on the spectrum and their parents/caregivers.

Click here to view our video with Margot Stein, marriage and family therapist, who will facilitate this group.

Click here to register for this session.

Join ASCEND Group now to attend this and other sessions for free).



Save the Dates for Fall Webinars:

Surfing The Stress And Keeping Your Balance: When Your Child Has Autism
Thursday, October 29
7:00-8:15 p.m.
Dr. Robert Naseef, psychologist and author


Get That Job with Winning Interview Strategies  
Tuesday, November 17
7:00-8:15 p.m.
Ed Hunter, Career and Executive Coach

Both sessions are free for members and $10 for non-members.

ASCEND Professional Events




Virtual Next Steps for Professionals Wednesday, Oct. 14 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM

Virtual Next Steps into Adolescence Thursday, Oct. 22 from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM




CFATC's unique therapy approach treats a wide range of childhood emotional, behavioral, and social challenges

1) Individual Therapy with Parent Support and Training

2) The Art of Friendship Social-Coping Program @Home


Upcoming Special Needs Zoom Workshops

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. 

Thursday, October 8 - time TBD
Hosted by HMS School

Wednesday, October 14 - 6:00 PM
Hosted by CCIU

** Details to follow - please email to be kept in loop!


Kristina Vacha's Groups

Kristina Vacha
, Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW, LBS, MSS, MA, 

All groups promote increased understanding of living as an adult on the spectrum, address adult issues like employment, independent living, relationships and dating, and provide peer support. 

Group Therapy Sessions:

Co-ed Working Professionals,Women on the Spectrum, Men on the Spectrum and PEERS Social Skills Group for young adults.

Social Groups

Virtual Movie Group, Virtual Craft Group, Social Distance Walk and Virtual Book Club. 

Other Resources

AECOM is Recruiting Qualified Individuals with Disabilities at its Conshohocken Office

AECOM is a premier, fully integrated infrastructure and support services firm. - AECOM brochure 
AECOM "How To Apply Online Guide"  

Some include intern, management and engineering positions. 

 Vote Ability

Increasing voter education and participation among people with intellectual and developmental
disabilities. You can make sure that you and those you care about can vote in the upcoming election.


Research Studies

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. Use this Research Study Form to submit If you would like to submit your study.

  • CHOP Study: Social Communication Skills in Children with Older Siblings
    PARSEC aimed at young adults (18-25) to increase their community participation activities in non-urban areas of PA.
  • The Prevalence of Genetically Linked Autism & Vitamin D Deficiency in Hispanic Families
  • The Experiences of Stigma, Stress, and Social Support Among Fathers of Children on the Autism Spectrum 
  • SPARK for Autism
  • Police Safety Study
  • Social and Motor Communication Study
  • Orbiting - For Repetitive and Restrictive Behaviors
  • Transportation Research Study 
  • Wandering Research Study
Click here for more information on these studies.


 Local Events 

 Youth and Family Sessions

ASERT Youth and Young Adult Virtual Coffee Drop-in
Calling all youth and young adults! Looking for ways to speak up? Check out the next Youth Virtual Coffee Drop-In! Join here on Thursdays from 12:00 - 12:30 PM. If you need accommodations, please email [email protected]

ASERT Family Workshops
ASERT offers free workshops as well as tools: Download the Trajectory and the Integrated Support.

Transition Tuesdays: A Webinar Series- Steps for Successful Secondary Transition Planning

The PEAL Center is hosting a webinar series throughout the 2020-2021 school year to share information about the in-depth process of secondary transition planning. Learn more here.

A Bit of Advocacy: A Chat with Two Autistic Self Advocates
Come join Nick St. Clair and Bob Schmus as they discuss how their experiences on the autism spectrum, from their early childhood memories to their daily obstacles as adults, led them to become self-advocates.

Attend in person at the New Avenue Cafe or watch virtually on Sat., Oct. 3 from 2:00-3:00 PM. 

Introducing Transition Discoveries

Connect Virtually, Thurs., Oct. 8, 10:00 - 11:30 AM

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education is pleased to announce this training opportunity as improving secondary transition practices in Pennsylvania has the potential to positively impact the post-school outcomes of transitioning youth with disabilities.

Online Autism Conference 2020

Join Dr. Temple Grandin and other international experts in autism at this year's ONLINE Autism Conference, Autism: Beyond Behaviours, October 11. Please note that is an international event in a different time zone, and payment is not listed in US dollars.

This CEU accredited training for social and health care professionals will give you the practical strategies, resourceful tools and actionable insights to support you with your students.

Family Resources for Students with Complex Learning Needs

It is recognized that everyone is doing their best to manage work, self-care, children’s online education, and more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and professionals supporting children with disabilities face additional challenges. You are not in this alone.

New PaTTAN Publications

1) Family Q and A on Evaluation/Reevaluation During COVID-19
2)Health and Safety Plans in Pennsylvania Schools: What Families Need to Know
3) Pennsylvania COVID-19 Compensatory Services

In the Media

© Copyright 2020 ASCEND Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Legal Disclaimer: ASCEND maintains the Professional Services Resource Directory and e-newsletter 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.

Privacy Policy