October 2018



Save the Dates! Upcoming ASCEND Events:

Sunday, 11/18
ASCEND Workshop at Congregation Or Ami, Lafayette Hill


ASCEND's Upcoming Events 


ASCEND Game MeetUp for Tweens & Teens - Full!
This free 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.
We apologize, but all slots in this MeetUp have been filled. Please check back for our next one; this MeetUp will be held monthly.

ASCEND Group College Panel Discussion - Only a few spots left!
ASCEND Group presents a panel discussion with college staff members as well as students on the autism spectrum who attend these colleges. The panel will discuss resources, share their experiences, and offer their advice and insight into college life. 

Wed., 10/3 from 6:30-8:30 PM
West Chester University - Graduate Center, Room 325, 
1160 McDermott Drive, West Chester, PA 19383
Fee: Free for ASCEND members; $10.00 for non-members families (one student & two accompanying adults)
Registration required by Mon., Oct. 1...we are almost at capacity!
Audience: Individuals on the autism spectrum who wish to pursue higher education and their caregivers
Parking: free

 Register online here. 

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.,10/21 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., 10/21 from 4-5 PM 
Ruttenberg Autism Center
1740 Walton Road, 1st Floor, Blue Bell, PA 19422

Welcome our Newest Professional Member

When kids on the autism spectrum also struggle with OCD, anxiety, depression or other mood disorders, families can turn to a unique program at Rogers Behavioral Health in Philadelphia.

Rogers Behavioral Health, a national leader in mental healthcare, understand the needs of children and teens with high-functioning ASD and co-occurring mental health conditions. Our specialized outpatient program helps reduce debilitating symptoms while increasing overall functioning and quality of life through:

  • Evidence-based therapies including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, exposure therapy and more
  • Leadership of board-certified psychiatrists with expertise in the field

Dr. Marty Franklin, PhD, explains at Rogers Behavioral Health in this article..

Learn about the four aspects of Rogers' program for children and adolescents with ASD and other mental health disorders by watching a short video interview with Dr. Franklin.

Supportive care teams work one-on-one with your child each day.

To learn more, call today or request a free, confidential screening at rogersbh.org.

Contact: Andrea Picariello, National Outreach Representative - Philadelphia

Rogers Behavioral Health, 1 Winding Drive, Suite 106, Philadelphia, PA 19131

P. 267-787-6642
C. 215-443-659


Professional Events

Autism Spectrum Diagnostics & Consulting Presents: Teen Girls' Paint Night
Purpose: To meet other teen girls and build friendships
When: A Friday Night in October
Where: ASDC Office in Doylestown
Cost: $40 to cover painting class (snacks and drinks will be provided)
To RSVP (we need 10 girls to hold the painting class) please contact Dr. Brittany Lyman



Valley Forge Educational Services 4th Annual Resource Fair for Adults with Special Needs

Valley Forge Educational Services Resource Fair brings together fifty of the area's best programs, services and resources for transition-age youth and adults with special needs and their families. Explore a variety of supportive employment organizations, residential services, community support services, continuing education programs, benefits counselors, family advocates, special needs financial planning experts and recreational and leisure programs-all in one location.. The event is free and open to the public.
Thurs., 10/11 from 6:30-8:30 PM 
VFES 1777N. Valley Rd., Malvern, PA 19355



Image result for 1847 financial


Fall 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. 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.

Thurs., 10/11 at 6:00 PM
Clearview Regional High School, 625 Breakneck Rd Mullica Hill, NJ


Free JAFCO Star Group (SIblings Together Are Remarkable)

This support group provides typical siblings of children with developmental disabilities a safe space to talk about their feelings with other children who share their experience.We are offering this free service in two locations: 

ABINGTON Fall 2018 Dates (Sundays):  10/21, 11/18, 12/16
Location: Old York Road Temple-Beth Am (Rovinsky Family Youth Lounge) 971 Old York Road, Abington, PA 19001 Time: 1:15-2:15 PM (ages 7-11) 2:30-4:00 PM (ages 12-17)

MAIN LINE Fall 2018 Dates (Wednesdays): 10/24, 11/28, 12/19 Location: JAFCO Office 215 N. Presidential Blvd (2nd floor) Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
Time: 4:00-5:00 PM (ages 12-17)
Registration Required! To register, please contact: 610-525-1040 or [email protected]


Kaleidoscope Family/Caregiver Support Groups with Simultaneous Peer Support Group

Our First Location:
Family Support Group: Charting the LifeCourse with Darcy Elks from the PA Family Network

Together we will see how the Lifecourse Framework can be used to think about the big vision for a good life and tools to focus on life domains such as transition, employment, community living, safety and security, citizenship and advocacy.

Peer Support Group: Reciprocal Conversations to Create Lasting Relationships
Pizza Served
Individuals often have challenges forming lasting relationships that include meaningful and reciprocal conversations. This group will use role-modeling to practice effective dialogues with others.

Please RSVP to Pam Frebowitz, MS
[email protected] or call 215-681-0172
Refreshments and Coffee Served
Bethel AME Church 50 S. Merion Avenue Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Tues.,10/23 from 7:00-8:30 PM

Our Second Location:
Family/Caregiver Support Group :Reframing Expectations: Setting and Achieving Realistic Outcomes in Postsecondary Living

Jordan Hollander, M.Ed BCBA, Clinical Development Director of Kaleidoscope Family Solutions. Using a person-centered approach combined with the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis, Jordan Hollander will focus on rethinking values, identifying strengths, and how to start teaching your family skills that are essential for success in the real world.

Peer Support Group: Reciprocal Conversations to Create Lasting Relationships Pizza Served Individuals often have challenges forming lasting relationships that include meaningful and reciprocal conversations. This group will use role-modeling to practice effective dialogues with others.

Thurs., 10/18 from 6:00-7:30 PM
Coatesville Area Public Library, 501 E. Lincoln Hwy. Coatesville, PA 19320
Refreshments and Coffee Served

Center for Autism (CAR) Next Steps for Families

Register to attend in person or to participate online! The Center for Autism Research is excited to announce a NEW virtual participation option for this workshop!
Space is limited, so registration today!

This workshop is geared towards parents/caregivers of toddlers through elementary school-aged children who have recently been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Topics will include an overview of ASD, available therapies and treatments, how to decide what interventions to pursue, and tips for accessing community supports and resources.

Wed.,9/26 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM


Calling All Train Buffs! 
Join CAR at the Colebrookdale Railroad for a special sensory-friendly train ride!

Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust  is teaming up with autism experts from the  Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Autism Research (CAR) on  10/6  for a special autism awareness & education event complete with a sensory-friendly scenic train ride.
CAR staff will be on hand to answer questions about autism spectrum disorder, research, and services- and there will be fun raffle prizes and giveaways before the ride!
For more info and to register,  click here.

Kristina Vaccha, LCSW, MSS, MA Applied Behavior Analysis, LBS, Therapist, Behavior Support Specialist is forming a therapeutic support group for adults on the spectrum.. 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.. It will also be an opportunity to socialize but the focus is more on support versus social skill instruction. The first meeting is free and once the group forms the fee will be $30 per group. Invoices provided for insurance and sliding scale available if needed. Contact via email or 484-274-8957.


Local ASD News & Events

First Topical Training Session: Is it Sensory or is it Behavior?

  • Learn the differences - because if you aren't looking at the right cause, the intervention may not work.
  • Develop techniques to help your child build self-control and increase his or her attention span.
  • Explore hands-on sensory materials.
  • Create visual supports for behavior-make it, take it!
  • Childcare reimbursement for qualified participants
  • Onsite childcare - RSVP by Oct. 9
  • Prizes and refreshments
  • Sessions in other languages upon request
Thursday 5:30-8 PM, ELWYN Seedlings, 3300 Henry Ave., Phila 19129

For more information and to register: Call 215-204-1772 or email: [email protected]

Special Olympics Philly

Research has found that children with special needs who participate in physical exercise and activities in the community have the best outcomes...and so do their families...so get moving and connect to the amazing programs in your neighborhood through the Special Olympics...volunteers are also always welcome!

Competence and Confidence Partners in Policymaking- Early Intervention (C2P2EI)
Free training for families of children who receive infant-toddler early intervention- Navigate the Pennsylvania Early Intervention System, identify best practice supports and connect with community resources.

Applicants should be Pennsylvania family members who:

  • Have a child-infant to school age­-who receives Early Intervention services.
  • Desire to advocate for themselves and others by building leadership skills.
  • Are willing to commit to ALL 4 two-day trainings. (Friday 1 to 9 PM and Saturday 8:30 AM to 3 PM)

Dates: 10/26/18-10/27/18, 12/7/18-12/8/18, 3/8/19-3/9/19, 4/5/19-4/6/19
Location: The Sheraton Hershey Harrisburg Hotel, 4650 Lindle Rd., Harrisburg, PA 17111

  • Travel and childcare expenses reimbursed
  • Meals included
  • Overnight lodging (for those traveling 40+ miles)

For more information, contact Cathy Roccia-Meier, 215-204-1772Register now.

Get On Board: Free Skateboarding Lessons

Get on Board is coming back to Ambler to provide free 1:1 skateboarding lessons to kids with special needs.  

Sun., 10/14 10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Ambler Skateboarding Academy: 300 Brookside Avenue, Bldg. 19, Unit C, Ambler PA (best gate to enter is D)
No experience or equipment is needed - but if your child has their own pads or helmet, feel free to bring them along! Signs ups are available now at this link.

Any questions, please contact Karen Salomon at [email protected] or at 215-499-5981.


Research Studies 

Mealtime Experiences Study
For young adults (18-23 yrs.) on the autism spectrum who have food selective behaviors (i.e., dislike a lot of foods or eat fewer foods than most people their age).

Young Children's Knowledge About General Event Representations
This will allow us to better understand the way children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) aged 6-12 years old think about routine social events.


The Traits and Social Cognition Study
The goal of this Drexel University study is to learn how people understand moving shapes. This includes how thoughts, feelings, and experiences influence what people see. We are looking for volunteers between the ages 16-35 years who meet one of the following criteria: 1) identify as on the autism spectrum, or 2) have a parent or sibling on the autism spectrum.


Young Children's Knowledge About Categories of Foods
A study on the ability of children, ages 7-12, with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis to categorize food items.


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


This is a research registry in which children and adults with or without ASD are asked to create a profile in order to be matched with currently enrolling research studies.

Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS)
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)  
Children ages 3-5 with or without a diagnosis of ASD may be eligible to participate.

Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) 
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
Children and adults ages 6 and older with or without ASD may take part.


 In the Media

The Educational Tyranny of the Neurotypicals
By Joi Ito for wired.com

Structured learning didn't serve me particularly well. I was kicked out of kindergarten for running away too many times, and I have the dubious distinction of having dropped out of two undergraduate programs and a doctoral business and administration program. I haven't been tested, but have come to think of myself as "neuroatypical" in some way.

"Neurotypical" is a term used by the autism community to describe what society refers to as "normal." According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 59 children, and one in 34 boys, are on the autism spectrum-in other words, neuroatypical. That's 3 percent of the male population. If you add ADHD-attention deficit hyperactivity disorder-and dyslexia, roughly one out of four people are not "neurotypicals."


When Children Don't Leave the Nest
From pressreader.com: The Reporter

We're living in a time where statistically, more young adults are opting to stay at home with mom and dad longer. Of course, a variety of factors are contributing to this trend and I'm sure some parents are more comfortable with it than others. After all, raising financially independent children should be one of our many goals as parents.

For parents of children with special needs, raising little ones who will one day grow up and leave the nest often isn't an option. These parents must begin coping with the reality that their son or daughter may likely never achieve this kind of independence.


Some Twin Cities Churches Learning/Striving to Accommodate Children with Disabilities
By Jean Hopfensperger for Star Tribune

Children with conditions such as autism, attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities are far less likely than others to show up in church on weekends, according to a new study that says faith communities have been slow to accommodate them.

One in four children who have learning disabilities, developmental delays, anxiety and behavioral disorders never attend church, the national study indicated. Likewise one in three children with autism, speech problems and depression are absent.

Can Charter Schools Afford to Welcome Students in Special Education?
by Sharon Lurye, The Hechinger Report

NEW ORLEANS - A bubble machine and a table lined with cookies and coloring books welcomed families coming for a midsummer meet-and-greet at Noble Minds Institute for Whole Child Learning, a new charter school in the Carrollton neighborhood. One new student, a 5-year-old boy wearing an eyepatch, seemed scared by the new surroundings; he clung to his father and made noises of distress. This didn't faze the school director, Vera Triplett, at all.

"He's fine," she said cheerfully. "We're quite used to this."

Noble Minds is the kind of school that takes every kind of child, Triplett said. This approach stands out in this city just three years after local and state school officials settled a lawsuit that alleged massive and systemic discrimination against students with disabilities.


Sproutflix Movies
Here are two of the latest films added to www.Sproutflix.org, the largest (over 275 films) and most diverse assortment of films featuring people with I/DD:

100% Myself  / 6 ½ minutes / documentary / USA
Climbing has helped Georgia, a young woman on the autism spectrum, to confront her issues and realize that, for her, 'normal' just isn't.


A Different Kind of Day / 5 minutes / narrative / Ireland
A random encounter between 2 young adults with Down syndrome and a group of youths, has unexpected consequences which change the day for everyone.


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.