May/June  2015
Volume 7, Issue 5

In This Issue...

  1. Henault Train the Trainer In June
  2. Fill out survey for chance to win free conference registration
  3. Jed Baker chosen for ASCEND Fall Conference
  4. Professional Member News & Events
  5. Other ASD news & events
  6. In the Media
  7. Things we like


You may be receiving ASCEND Group's E-newsletter, 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




Train the Trainer - Autism and Sexuality with Isabelle Henault, PhD

Early Bird Discount on: 
Train the Trainer Session! 
Two-day session: Friday & Saturday,
June 26-June 27, 2015.
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, 4170 City Ave, Philadelphia PA 19131

ASCEND is co-sponsoring a unique learning opportunity for psychologists and other mental health professionals.

In return, the first 20 ASCEND enews readers who register by June 5 will receive an early-bird discount. Register here.

After these 20 discounts have been applied through the ASCEND website, all other attendees  will need to register here via The Center for Autism’s registration page.  



 Message from ASCEND's President

ASCEND Needs Your Guidance
Help us to focus on YOUR needs by completing a brief survey.

To all: ASCEND is asking for your feedback to help guide us on organizational decision making. Founded in 2000, we’re “growing up” and we want to ensure that we’re moving in a direction that meets the needs of our members and the greater community. 

Fifteen years ago, autism awareness was on the rise, but Asperger Syndrome was relatively unknown. ASCEND sought to fill the void by offering forums to share information and provide support. We held support meetings for family members in church basements and offered free workshops for professionals who were supporting our kids. At that time, social skills groups were hard to find so we encouraged families to seek each other out via our member directory and meet face-to-face at our annual picnic. 

Fast-forward to 2015 and we realize that the needs of our community have changed. ASCEND is ready to reexamine its mission with the help of a board that no longer includes any of its original members. To remain a relevant and useful resource, we need your help!

Please take a moment to complete a brief survey that will influence our future and impact our mission. Do we want to expand our focus to include the whole autism spectrum? Are our speaker meetings appreciated? And if so, which topics would matter most to you? In addition, which stage(s) of life are of most interest for conferences and other ASCEND events? 

We want to hear from as many of our enews readers as possible. Let your voice be heard! 

Family/Individual Member Survey
Individual Professional/Student Member Survey
Organizational Professional Member Survey
Non-member survey


Maleita Olson
ASCEND President 

PS—Remember, one lucky ASCEND member who completes the survey will be randomly selected to receive a free 2015 ASCEND Conference admission! 

 ASCEND News & Events

Jed Baker chosen for ASCEND’s Annual Fall Conference! Save the Date!

Jed Baker, Ph.D., is the director of the Social Skills Training Project, an organization serving individuals with autism and social communication problems.

Title: All Kids Can Succeed: Effective Interventions for Behavioral and Social Challenges
Friday, 11/6/15
Williamson Caterers
500 Blair Mill Rd, Horsham, PA

More details coming soon! 



Professional Member News & Events

Sky Zone in Glen Mills
Thursday, 6/21, 10-11am
10 Conchester Road Glen Mills,
PA 19342
Offering sensory-friendly hour for jumpers with special needs.


To Our Professional Members: Please be sure to submit listings for the enews by logging in to the ASCEND website and completing a "Submit Event" or "Submit Service" form. Please submit those events and services no later than the last day of the month prior to the next month’s enews.  

Professional Member Support Groups,
Social Groups & Workshops




Professional Member 
Summer Programs & Camps 


 Other ASD Events

Elwyn Seedlings presentsElwyn Logo
“Autism and Behaviors in the Community”
Wednesday, 6/10, 6-8pm
3300 Henry Ave, Phila, PA
Is it hard to find childcare for your child with Autism? Is it hard to manage your child’s behaviors in the community or school setting? Learn what to look for and how to help. Presented by Annemarie Clarke, PhD,  SPIN Behavioral and Developmental Services. ACT 48 credits available for those who register in advance. Attendees who do not need credits do not need to register.
More info: [email protected] or 215-460-7725


DHS’s Bureau of Autism Services presents
PA Autism Training Conference
Wed-Thurs, 6/9-6/11
Eden Resort Inn & Suites, 222 Eden Rd, Lancaster, PA
This conference is designed to provide professionals with the tools to support individuals with ASD. It will focus on addressing real-life situations by those who work directly with individuals with autism, with an emphasis on supporting transition-age individuals and adults. The presenters will share strategies that exemplify the best and most current practices developed in PA and by nationally recognized autism experts. Each session will offer practical strategies and solutions that can improve the quality of life for individuals with ASD and their families.


UPenn is Seeking Adults with ASD for Study on Improving Social Functioning
The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine is offering an opportunity to participate in a study to test the effectiveness of a new treatment program to improve social functioning in adults (18+) with ASD who are not intellectually disabled. Participants will be asked to participate in interviews and fill out questionnaires to assess autism symptoms, social understanding, and social skills. In addition, participants will attend weekly meetings for approximately 6 months. Click here for a flyer with more info. 
More info: Ashley Pallathra, Research Assistant, 215-573-8342 or [email protected]
Click here for flyer.


 In the Media

How These 4 Major Companies Are Tackling the Autism Unemployment RateMICROSOFT HEADQUARTERS
Huffington Post, 5/7/15
From the article: “For adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, employment prospects are often 
disappointingly few and far between. According to a 2013 report published in the Journal of the American Academy of  Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the underemployment 
starts early.”

Unseen agony: Dismantling autism's house of pain                   
SFARI News, 5/21/15
From the article: “As a child, Noah hated when his mother vacuumed the house. ‘She would put the vacuum on the wood floor, not the carpet,’ he remembers. ‘And that’s really loud, so it would really freak me out.’ … Now  in his early 30s, he counsels other men with autism and teaches psychology in Boston. But as a child, he didn’t realize his sensory world was different from other people’s experiences.”

China’s Uncounted Children with Autism
Wall Street Journal, 5/18/15On the last day of the session, parents and teachers work together on a simple sketch of the children in the class, to be hung with other class sketches on the walls of the center.
From the article: “When her son still
wasn’t speaking at 26 months old,
Li Li Juan brought him to a local
hospital near their home in 
China’s Henan province. She was told he had mild autism. Ms. Li,a middle-school teacher, couldn’t find an autism specialist in their hometown, Ningling Xian, or a school that could handle his special needs, so she received training to teach kindergarten in order for her son to attend her class.”

Why Autism Is Different in the Brains of Girls than in Boys
TIME, 5/12/15
From the article: “Autism, already a mysterious disorder, is even more puzzling when it comes to gender differences. For every girl diagnosed with autism, four boys are diagnosed, a disparity researchers don’t yet fully understand. In a new study published in the journal Molecular Autism, researchers from the UC Davis MIND Institute tried to figure out a reason why.”

Diagnosed With Autism at 21—and OK with It
Wall Street Journal, 5/12/15
From the article: “It took 21 years for Lydia Wayman to understand why she was different. At 2, she was discussing the life cycles of insects with her mother. At 4, she was reading chapter books… When her parents consulted doctors and psychologists, they were told their daughter suffered from anxiety and would outgrow her food aversions. Teachers said she was bright but self-centered.”

Young Children May Lose Autism Label, but Learning Challenges Continue
Special Education Week, 4/29/15
From the article: “A small percentage of children who had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as toddlers no longer showed symptoms of the disorder four years later, but most continued to have emotional or learning disorders, according to a study that was presented at a recent meeting of researchers in child health.”

D.L. Hughley chokes up while sharing sweet story about son with Asperger's
NBC Today, 4/28/15
From the article: “Parents whose children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum understand that they often have to recalibrate their expectations for their children's accomplishments. Yes, those kids can do wonderful things, but often on their own schedules. Comedian D.L. Hughley is one such parent.” 


Things We Like

 New Research on Animals Easing Anxiety in Children with ASD

A recent posting on WebMD’s Tools & Resources shares what many of already know. “Being around animals may help reduce social anxiety in children with autism.” But now there’s research to prove it! “The findings could lead to new treatment approaches that use pets such as dogs, cats and guinea pigs to help children with autism improve their social skills and interactions with other people, the researchers said.”



“Go Team Kate” Blog Picture
This blog from the life of a Canadian family is described as follows: “Stories about a mom, a dad, a little ninja girl, her sweet big sister and the autism service dog that keeps us going. (Oh, and a cat that thinks he owns us all.)” We especially like Kate’s photos and the “Diary of a Dad.”



ASCEND Group Inc. P.O. Box 2097
Media, PA 19063
[email protected]