March 2019






ASCEND's Upcoming Events 

Chips, Chocolate & Chat Adult Social Group
A group of adult self-advocates 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. In the past, we have had a few guest speakers who have addressed the group as well. 

Attendees: Adults on the autism spectrum, ages 18+
Sun., 3/10 from 4-5 PM 
Ruttenberg Autism Center
1740 Walton Road, 1st Floor, Blue Bell, PA 19422


Discussion Group for Caregivers
Runs simultaneously but in a different room than the adult social group.
Attendees: Caregivers of adults on the autism spectrum
Sun., 3/10 from 4-5 PM 
Ruttenberg Autism Center
1740 Walton Road, 1st Floor, Blue Bell, PA 19422


*Free ASCEND Game MeetUp for Tweens & Teens

Attendees: 10-17 years old
Social Enrichment Center, 542 Wesley Rd., Springfield, PA 19064
When: Sunday, March 31 from 2-4 PM
This event is for kids age 10 to 17, and we will have Legos, board games, WII video games, Nintendo DS and other video games, foosball and air hockey. We encourage participants to bring their favorite games to share and for parents to stay and socialize. Light refreshments will be available.
How to find us: 
The Social Enrichment Center is located at Hancock Methodist Church in Springfield. Entrance has green doors.
*Free event but RSVP required via  (free) and SEARCH for ASCENDGroup Event.


Help the ASCEND Group
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The stores make this possible because they want you to like them and shop with them over and over again. There are 2,036 socially-responsible stores helping to make donations happen. Examples include Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Best Buy, Target, Macy's, QVC and HSN, Land's End, Avon, 1800-Pet-Meds, PETCO, Enterprise Rent-a-Car (and other rental companies), Best Western (and other hotels) and even Caesar's Entertainment Atlantic City,

We hope you'll give it a try! To learn more or sign up now click here. Thanks in advance for supporting ASCEND Group!

Highlight on ASCEND Professional Member: 

Steve Glazier
Steven Glazier, Psychology Practice

Steve is a psychologist in solo practice specializing in children and adolescents with special needs. Individual psychotherapy, relationship-building small groups, facilitated play dates, parent coaching, and school consultations are offered for individuals across the range of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The approach is individualized to each child/adolescent and their family's needs and integrates strategies from various models of intervention (e.g. DIR/Floortime, Cognitive-Behavioral, Systems Theories and Sensory Integration).

Steve is located at 201 N. Presidential Blvd., Ste 201, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 and can be reached at [email protected] or 215-782-3160.

New Professional Member

Robin Tate
Autism / Asperger Coach Neurodiverse Couples Coach

As a coach, Robin understands the impacts of living with an Asperger Profile in a neurodiverse world. She provides a client-centered, strength-based approach to working through obstacles and solving problems that are related to an Asperger Profile.

Often a person's struggles are rooted in their neurological differences which impact communication, executive function, and regulation. Robin provides individualized coaching services to persons displaying an Asperger Profile. She may also be hired to coach family members of an adult with an Asperger Profile, either together or separately.

Robin provides coaching services to people in neurodiverse marriages/relationships. In a neurodiverse relationship, one or both people identify as having an Asperger Profile. Robin uses strategies centered on understanding each person's unique neurological perspective and provides skills to build communication and emotional intimacy. She meets with partners both together and individually to help them learn skills to bridge their neurological differences.

In addition to having 10 years of experience working in special education, Robin has earned a Masters of Arts in Counseling degree and a Masters of Science in Reading Education degree. Robin is trained through the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) as an AsperCoach. She has received training in using AANE's proven LifeMap Curriculum. Robin has completed Neurology Matters in Couples Counseling Training 101 and is becoming certified by The Peter M. Friedman Neurodiverse Couples Institute to coach neurodiverse couples.

Robin easily collaborates with other professionals and family members to provide the most individual client-centered solutions to a variety of life challenges. She provides coaching sessions in person (Greater Philadelphia Area) or via online video call (worldwide). Robin meets within an office space, clients homes and other natural environments to best facilitate, observe and problem-solve life and relationship goals.

Contact Robin at [email protected]
or call 267-935-9032. 


ASCEND Professional Events


 Family Education Support Groups at Three Locations plus a Peer Support Group


1) New Lancaster Family Education Support Group!

Understanding the ABLE Act
Diance Fishlock from the PA Treasury will explaing the PA ABLE Savings Program which helps eligible individuals with disabilities save money for a wide range of qualified disability expenses without jeopardizing government benfefits.

Wednesday, March 20 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Kaleidoscope Family Solutions, 805 Estelle Drive, Ste 110, Lancaster, PA 17601

2) Bryn Mawr Family Education Support Group

Work Incentives and Assistance Program
Welcoming Norma E. Realpe, MBA, CWIC (Community Work Incentive Coordinator) from Disability Rights Pennsylvania to discuss disability incentive programs and how you can manage and maximize your benefits while on disability.

Tuesday, March 26 from 6:30 - 8:00 PM
Bethel AME Church, 50 S. Merion Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Peer Support Groups ... now every Tuesday from 6:30 - 8:00 PM

March 5:
Independent Living: Cooking Class - Turkey Shepherd's Pie

March 12: Health & Wellness: Hip Hop Dancing with Chris

March 19: Social Skills: Karaoke Night

March 26: About Me Board Game: Let's Go!

Bethel AME Church, 50 S. Merion Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

RSVP: Pam Frebowitz at [email protected] or call 215-681-0172.

All groups are open to the community! Family Support Groups are free however there is a $5 fee for peer support groups if you are not receiving waiver services from Kaleidoscope.
Refreshments and Coffee Served

Bethel AME Church, 50 S. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

3) Chester County Family Education Support Group

Managing Challenging Behaviors

Led by Kaleidoscope's own Clinical Development Director, Jordan Hollander, M.Ed., BCBA, this workshop will focus on effective techniques and tools to help you begin the process of managing any behaviors and/or actions that may be challenging for your child with autism or developmental disabilities. Jordan will provide an overview of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and provide some simple examples of how to implement positive changes that meet your child's needs.

Thursday, March 21 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM
: Coatesville Area Public Library, 501 E. Lincoln Hwy. Coatesville, PA 19320

RSVP: Pam Frebowitz at [email protected] or call 215-681-0172.


1847 financial logo



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. Our small and interactive seminars will be led by popular financial speaker, Pat Bergmaier, and will provide a comfortable setting in which attendees can learn how to take control of their present and future financial planning. As a follow-up, individual meetings may be scheduled to focus on your personal financial situation without distraction.

Tuesday, March 5, 6:30 PM
Autism Cares Foundation, 816 S. 2nd Street Pike Southampton, PA 18966

Friday, March 8, 8:30 AM
Pennsbury High School West Campus

608 S Olds Blvd Fairless Hills, PA 19030



Mike Fogel's Art of Friendship Workshop

Cyber Social Skills:  Guidelines for Social Media Safety, Etiquette, and Success
Plymouth Meeting on Thursday, March 28 at  5 Sentry Pkwy, Blue Bell, PA 19422



Ongoing Professional Groups:


New Social Groups Forming

Fick Educational Services has started forming Social Skills groups with new Saturday groups for ages 5-18 available! If your child struggles to make friends and could use some practice with team work or coping skills, consider a social skills group at FES. Each week the class plan is made with the individual students in mind. Skills worked on include coping strategies, verbal presenation skills, self-regulation, and more. We form groups based on need and age and will tailor activities to suit the child's needs. Call us at 610-457-2199 for more information. 



 Mike Fogel's Art of Friendship

Social skills groups SHOULD NOT be one-size-fits-all. Different kids have different challenges!  AoF differentiates Social-Coping Skills into the following skill areas to meet the needs of your client or student.
Girls' groups, boys' groups, and co-ed groups are offered for ages 4-18 years old in Paoli, Haverford, Plymouth Meeting and Center City Philadelphia. Contact the Art of Friendship admissions coordinator, Debbie DeBenedictis, at 610-649-1080, ext 1.
Pegasus Summer Camp Application & Registration Open!
We have started the application and registration process for summer 2019! As a reminder, Camp Pegasus provides a structured and successful day camp experience with an intensive social skills training component. Our camp is designed to support campers with social skill challenges- click below for more information. We welcome your referrals and would love to collaborate with YOU!
Who are our campers? 

Referring clients and students to CP is simple! Email camp administrative director  Aviva Moore here.


 Autism Spectrum Diagnostics & Consulting

1) Tech-Based Vocational Skills Group 
Research has shown that individuals with ASD can not only perform proficiently in the workplace, they can do so independently if the job matches their personal strengths and capabilities and specific job tasks are taught to mastery. The goal of this group is to not only develop participant proficiency in technology use, but to also teach key "soft-skills" such as; job searching, understanding workplace norms, routines and etiquette, social communication at work and workplace problem-solving skills. If interested, contact Reggie Candio at  [email protected]

2)  Lego®-based Social Skills Group Winter Sessions
Doylestown, PA 
Openings for Children ages 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, & 13-15.Children will be grouped by age, language abilities, and social skills goals.
Lego®-Based Therapy, or Lego®-Club as it called by group members, is an evidenced based treatment where children develop skills through collaboration on group projects through the use of Lego®. Group members collaborate on building sets, free style projects, and creating and producing short stop-action films. Children with ASD, ADHD, anxiety, and other social challenges are welcome!
Adult Social Groups

Kristina Vacha, LCSW, LBS, MSS, MA Applied Behavior Analysis, Therapist, Behavior Support Specialist is forming an ongoing therapeutic support group for adults on the spectrum ages 25 and up. The purpose of the group is to talk about your experiences living as an adult with ASD and to discuss topics the group is interested in like employment and dating. Cost is $30 to attend. This group is appropriate for adults who are employed and or pursuing higher education. RSVP, completed registration form and facilitator approval are required to attend.
Kristina is also forming other therapy groups,contact  [email protected] or 484-274-8957.

Local ASD News & Events

Please click on the links to open flyers to RSVP.

ODP Waiver Workshop 
Saturday, March 9 from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM (*Snowdate March 30) South Mall 3300 Lehigh Street Allentown, PA 18103.


Philadelphia Interagency Coordinating Council hosts this event. One Adult family member is required to attend, limit is 5 members/family.
Vegan, veggie and gluten-free options available upon request.
Saturday, March 23  from 11 AM - 3 PM
RSVP: Jen Fischer, 215-731-2464,  [email protected]

Montgomery County Intermediate Unit MCIU Intermediate Unit Resource Fair
The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit is pleased to present an evening of resources for families, educators, and students. As many as 50 vendors will be on hand to discuss supports for students with disabilities, their families and educators.

Transition to adult life agency information
For families and students with special needs moving beyond high school can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. Take this opportunity to personally meet and speak with representatives from colleges, technical programs, advocacy groups, employment supports, community resources, special needs financial planners, supports coordination providers, recreation and leisure groups, and more!
Thursday, March 28 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM at  Perkiomen Valley High School Cafeteria
For more information contact: Kris Koberlein.

altSocial Skills for Adolescents and Adults with ASD Webinar

The Organization for Autsim Research hosts this free webinar.

Social skills are an elusive target of intervention for ASD, especially for adolescents and adults. It is imperative that clinicians define and achieve outcomes that matter, including community engagement, independence, and real integration into multiple environments. It is also imperative that these outcomes are identified by the individual with ASD and reflect their interests, values, and goals. This presentation will focus on those outcomes, and on skill building that fosters desired social connections, meaningful engagement, and reduced vulnerability. 

Attendees will be able to...

  • Identify ways to determine meaningful outcomes for adolescents and adults with ASD
  • Identify ways to teach social skills that are evidence-based
  • Define ways to measure socially significant outcomes in this curricular domain
  • Review areas of vulnerability for these individuals and ways to reduce risk

Thursday, March 28 from 2:00 - 3:15 PM
Register now.

View a past OAR recording of Sexuality on the Spectrum: What We Know and What We Don't Know.



Nether Swarthmore Buddy Ball Program: Baseball for Everyone!

This year, we are thrilled to introduce to our area The Bambino Buddy-Ball Division. The league encompasses players ages 5-19 who are either physically and/or mentally challenged. This division makes allowance for a "buddy" to help the player swing a bat, round the bases, catch a ball, etc. There are no restrictions to the age of the "buddy."
When: Sundays, 2 pm to 4 pm, May 5 to June 9 (*Special Opening Day scheduled for 4/6/19, with more information to follow regarding specific games. Weather permitting.
Cost: There is no cost to participate in this league. Please click on title link for full details.

Spring is prom and graduation season. Help us celebrate the accomplishments of students in our out-of-school programs by helping to  make prom happen on Thursday, April 11.

To make this night magical, we need you!

We're looking for donated prom dresses and accessories, décor, party favors and volunteers to help with hair and makeup and decorate. You can help underwrite the cost with a donation to sponsor a prom-goer: 

If you would like to sponsor a prom-goer, have 
a dress or decor to donate or would like to volunteer, please click here.


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. 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.


The Family Experiences with Wandering Study
The purpose of the Family Experiences with Wandering ("FEW") study is to improve the medical community's understanding of why wandering behavior occurs and how to prevent it. Compensation for your time.


Transportation Survey
We are looking for people who are 18 years and older with developmental disabilities to complete a survey asking questions about transportation.

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. 

Research on Autism and Developmental Disorders (ROADD) 
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. 

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. 

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. 

 In the Media 


Philly Artist Who Just Happens To Be Autistic is Gaining Praise for his Massive Building Sculptures

An artist of few words catches art world's eye.
By Stephanie Farr, Staff Writer for, Tim Tai, Staff Photographer
As Lonnie Smith was fixing a vent in his home about 20 years ago, his son Kambel's drawings - crumpled and perfect - came tumbling out.

The drawings Kambel had hidden in the vent told the story of a superhero character he named Survivor. But more important for Lonnie - who had struggled for so long to understand his autistic son - they told Kambel's story too.

Based on those sketches, Lonnie began telling a story to Kambel and his younger brother, Kantai, who is also autistic, about how autism is a superpower, not a disorder. That story, The Autisarian, is one the single dad and his sons still tell one another to this day.


Why 'High Functioning' Autism Is So Challenging
'High functioning' isn't synonymous with 'mild'
By Lisa Jo Rudy for
Lisa Jo Rudy is an autism advocate and author of "Get Out, Explore and Have Fun.." | Reviewed by Joel Forman, MD

At this point in history, there is disagreement about how many people on the autism spectrum are on the high or low end of the spectrum (or whether most people with autism are "somewhere in the middle"). It is clear, however, that the lion's share of media attention goes to folks at the high and the low ends of the spectrum-that is, the profoundly disabled and the very high functioning.

The fact is that life with severe autism is extraordinarily difficult. Logic would suggest that people on the high end of the spectrum have it easy-as do their families and teachers. After all, people with high functioning autism are often very bright and may have impressive talents. But the reality is quite different. Meet the Artists with Autism Creating Effects for Oscar-Nomiated Films. 

Video Link

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.