September 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.

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

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


Tips for Answering Common Job Interview Questions 
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


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


 Note from Hill Top Prep School

I am reaching out to let you know that there is financial assistance available for families who may be on the fence about considering private school/Hill Top Prep because of the cost. Thank you for continuing to send us extraordinary students!

Kind regards,

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. 

Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 12:00 Noon
Details to follow, please email 

Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 5 PM

Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 7 PM
Details to follow - please email


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. 

Fall 2020 Groups For Adults with Autism Spectrum Differences

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, Virtual Book Club and Virtual Paint Night (see below).

Virtual Paint Party for Adults with Autism Differences

With Christine Burke - Artist, Author, Health Coach and Former Special Education Teacher
& Kristina Vacha, LCSW

Sunday, Sept 20 from 3-5 PM

$20 per person or $30 per couple

Must be able to participate independently. Email 
[email protected] to register. 

Other Resources

AECOM is Recruiting Qualified Individuals with Disabilities at its Conshohocken Office

AECOM is a premier, fully integrated infrastructure and support services firm. For more information about AECOM please refer to our brochure or visit our website at To view our "How To Apply Online Guide," click here. 

You can view the Conshohocken job postings here. Some include intern, management and engineering positions. 


ASAN has updated its voting centerThis is where you can find accessible information about voting, how to register to vote, and how to request a mail-in ballot. If you need to learn more about how to make your voice heard by voting, check it out!


Films featuring people with developmental disabilities


To the Mom Who Said Her Kids Were Going 'Further in Life' Than 'Special Ed' Kids 


Let's drop the act that this pandemic affects us all equally.
By Richard Engel for

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.

  • 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 

Call for Art!
The Philadelphia Autism Project will be facilitating an art show as a part of the Youth Art Gallery at the Philadelphia International Airport. Deadline for submissions is 9/30.

 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.

ASPEN's Fall 2020 Conference: Autism Spectrum over the Lifespan
Virtual Pre-recorded Video Conference. Registrants will receive links to all nine presentations (Keynote plus eight workshops).

CASEL- The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning 

Recorded WebinarCASEL Cares Initiative: Return to School During COVID 19: Helping Children and Families Manage Stress and Build Resilience.

Downloadable list of resources to support your return to school from Dr. Perry and CASEL.

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., 10/3 from 2-3 PM. 

In the Media

By Veonna King for, courtesy photo of Roman Salamon participating in virtual speech therapy

At Devereux, the nation's leading behavioral health nonprofit for youth, staff abused children in their care for years, while red flags were dismissed.

Adaptive Disney Halloween Costumes Now Available on


Dog sleeps with autistic "brother" and comforts him when he has nightmares
By The German Shepherd Dog Community