Issue 8 / Volume 12

Decmber 2017



 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., 12/17, 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 

The parent/caretaker group will be facilitated by Carol Weinman, Esq., with the theme: "Workplace Discrimination and the ADA". This discussion will be held same time as the adult group session, "Chips, Chocolate and Chat," but in a different room. 
Sun., 12/17, from 4 - 5 PM
Ruttenberg Autism Center1740 Walton Road, 1st Floor, Blue Bell, PA 19422
Attendance is free, but please RSVP to [email protected]


ASCEND Group Meet Up: PEP Bowl

ASCEND Group has reserved two lanes for two hours for an all - age Bowling Outing on Thursday, 12/28 from 1-3 pm.  The lanes are at 1200 S Broad Street (Broad and Federal Streets.) in South Philly. This particular location has only 6 lanes, so it could be less overwhelming and a bit more sensory-friendly than most bowling alleys.  

Conveniently located in South Philadelphia just minutes from Center City, PEP Bowl offers a state-of-the-art bowling experience in an authentic "vintage" bowling alley dating back to the 1950s. You can feel good bowling at PEP Bowl knowing that you are helping support PEP's mission of providing much-needed employment and services to people with developmental disabilities in the Philadelphia area.

Fee is $8 for ASCEND members, $15 for non-members (includes shoes). 

Save the Date: Sixers Game

ASCEND is teaming up with New Avenue Foundation to host a group outing to the Sixers vs. Toronto Raptors game on Mon., Jan 15, 2018 at 1 PM (Martin Luther King holiday). The seats are in Section 222. Cost: $20 per ticket. Limited tickets available. For more information or to reserve a ticket, contact Elena Perri at [email protected].


ASCEND Professional Member Events, Services & News

Women's Group

Kara McDonald, a therapist at Spectra Support Services in Broomall, is reaching out regarding a group she will be facilitating for young adult females with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is trying to find individuals who may be interested in this opportunity to connect with other women who experience similar struggles and wish to improve skills in socializing and advocating for themselves. Contact: Kara W McDonald, MSW, Enhanced Community Integration Specialist & Behavior Therapist



Local ASD News & Events

Autism Society Greater Philadelphia and AMC: Sensory Friendly Movies

AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to bring you unique movie showings where you can feel free to be you! We turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! 

12/9 Coco
12/12 Wonder
12/23 & 12/26 Star Wars: The Last Jedi



Pequeno Mundo Free Family Workshops in Spanish and English

This workshop is held at
Sat., 12/9 from 10 AM - 11:15 AM. Click here for flyerEmail for more information. No registration necessary.

2nd Annual Special Needs - Friendly Santa Event for Children and Adults!

Autism Spectrum Diagnostics & Consulting and Kiwanis Club of Central Bucks is inviting families to have a private 10-minute session with Santa without the noises and crowds that typically occur when getting your picture taken with Santa. Bring your camera to capture your favorite picture!
This event is free of cost; however, we are asking for donations to serve the children and families of Bucks County Children & Youth this holiday season.

If interested, please email to schedule your appointment with Santa. You must have a pre-scheduled appointment confirmation to visit with Santa.

Sat., 12/9 from 9 AM - 4 PM
200 S. Clinton Street., Doylestown, PA 18901

Greenridge Free Parenting Supports Workshop Series  Thursdays from 6-7 PM in  December. RSVP with Jessica at 215-487-1330 or email


Philadelphia Autism Project announces a call for art for the upcoming art show Philadelphia: A Spectrum of Experiences to be held in March 2018! Artists of all ages from the autism community in Philadelphia and surrounding counties are invited to submit for inclusion in the March - April 2018 exhibit. This inaugural event is aimed at recognizing the talent of individuals with autism and increasing awareness of autism within the Philadelphia community. 
Please view our flyer and visit our website for more details on theme, guidelines and submission information.

Announcement from the FSRTC

Easterseals and the University of Illinois-Chicago Family Support Research and Training Center (FSRTC) announces a request for applications for community based organizations interested in implementing  The Future is Now: A Future Planning Training Curriculum for Families and Their Adult Relatives with Developmental Disabilities, an evidence-based educational program aimed at helping individuals with disabilities and their families plan for the future.  Three (3) seed grants in the amount of $5,000 each will be awarded to community-based organizations that provide services and supports to people with disabilities and their families.
On Tues.,12/12 from 4 PM - 5PM, Easterseals will host an informational webinar about  The Future is Now and the goals and expectations of the project. We encourage interested parties to register for the webinar here. A full description and seed grant application for  The Future is Now can also be found on this page. The application is at the following linkApplications are due by 5pm EST on Mon., 1/8/2018. For questions regarding the application process, please contact Jed Johnson via email.

Office of Minority Health: Roadmap to Behavioral Health

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH), in partnership with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), released The Roadmap to Behavioral Health.

This guide offers important information about mental health and substance use disorder services, finding a behavioral health provider, defining behavioral health terms, receiving services, and following up on care.

The resource walks through the 8 Steps of the Roadmap to offer information specific to behavioral health, and offers a glossary and links to other HHS resources.   


In the Media


Sex, Lies, and Autism Research - getting value for our money How to get tangible benefit from the millions we spend on autism science. 
John Elder Robison - My Life With Asperger's for


The U.S. government is the world's biggest funder of autism research.  For the past decade, I have had the honor of advising various agencies and committees on how that money should be spent. As an adult with autism, sometimes I've been pleased at our government's choices. Other times I've been disappointed. Every now and then I turn to reflect: What have we gotten for our investment? 


A Show Redefines the TV Hero:  The recipe for the surprise ABC hit about a doctor with autism that has outperformed 'This Is Us' and 'NCIS'
By John Jurgensen for WSJ

Few TV lovers would associate broadcast networks with innovation in 2017. But ABC's "The Good Doctor" is the latest proof that the old networks still can conjure a new drama that resonates with viewers, just like HBO and Netflix do, every so often.

Target Expands Its Cat & Jack Line to Include Adaptive Clothing for Kids With Disabilities
By: Elizabeth Cassidy for

Target will begin selling adaptive apparel for children with disabilities on its website, the major retailer announced. The 40-piece assortment is an expansion of Target's popular Cat & Jack kids' clothing line.

The line will include puffer jackets, long-sleeve and short-sleeve T-shirts, bodysuits, sweatshirts and leggings. Each item is equipped with different adaptive features like side and back snaps, zippers and a hidden midsection opening for easy access. While the clothing is adaptive, the pieces are made to blend in with the rest of the Cat & Jack line. 

The clothing will range in sizes from 2T to 5T.


Unexpected expenses are a regular fact of life for many parents of children with disabilities, but for parents with children entangled in juvenile jail systems, the additional costs can be exorbitant.

According to a March report from the Marshall Project and The Washington Post, 19 state juvenile jail systems regularly bill parents for costs associated with their children's stays in juvenile jail facilities. Twenty-eight other states allow individual counties to do the same, although California just passed legislation banning the practice statewide. Until recently, the city of Philadelphia charged parents up to $1,000 monthly for juvenile jail costs. Fees in California can run from $513 to $6,000 for each incarcerated child.


Things We Like


Denzel Washington on his new role: 'I love this guy more than any character I've played in my life.'
By: Gary Thompson for

When Denzel Washington said he took the role in Roman J. Israel, Esq. to improve as an actor, I thought he was kidding.

But the two-time Oscar winner insisted that playing Roman - a neurodiverse, on-the-spectrum attorney - gave him the kind of career challenge he needs to stay sharp.

In This Issue...

  1. ASCEND Events
  2. Professional Member Events & Services
  3. Local ASD Happenings
  4. In the Media
  5. Things We LIke



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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.