October 2021






Transition into Adulthood image


Transition into Adulthood

Friday, October 15 from 12:00 - 1:00 PM

As children on the spectrum transition into adulthood, there is a whole new landscape for parents and caregivers to navigate. Join us for a free webinar on Friday, October 15 at 12:00 PM (EST) with Dr. Jessica Joseph, BABA, PhD, and Alyssa Hernandez, BCBA, from the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support. They will discuss the options families have for transition planning and post-21 life.

Jessica and Alyssa will discuss:

  • Resources available before and after high school
  • Essential skills to practice before age 21
  • Special needs planning
  • Transitional day programs
  • Housing and living options
  • Navigating finances both with and without a waiver funding 

JCHAI CenterWe are back in person at the JCHAI Education Center, 274 S. Bryn Mawr Avenue in Bryn Mawr, PA on Sunday, October 17 at 4:00 PM. We look forward to seeing you all then! All participants are required to be vaccinated, and masks are required indoors for everyone.

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.  

Parents/caregivers meet in a separate room to discuss various issues and provide support to one another. 


Margot Stein Virtual Support Group for Parents/Caregivers of Teens 

Third Tuesday of the month (October 19)

7:00 - 8:30 PM

Watch video with Margot.

Margot Stein, marriage and family therapist, will facilitate these                    groups. Register at main link above: ASCEND members free, non-members: $10/session.

The Philadelphia Autism Project funded this program. To learn more, visit


Happy birthday
Celebrating a birthday this fall?

Support the ASCEND Group by hosting a Facebook Fundraiser!
It's easy to set up and doesn't cost anything!

We greatly appreciate your support!


Professional Member
Sessions & Events




Special Needs Workshop:

Some topics of discussion:

-SECURE Act and it's tax-planning ramifications
Roth Conversions - why to not let COVID create a diversion on a potentially timely conversion!
-Estate Planning in a virtual world - yes you can!
-What will insurance planning look like on the other side of Coronavirus?
-Let 2020 be a learning lesson on how to navigate this again when it matters - IN retirement.
-Grandparents - the do's the don'ts to -Multigenerational Legacy Planning
-Plus more!

Thursday, October 7 at 6:30 PM
Hosted by Kingsway Regional School District!
Zoom link

Friday, October 15 at 12:15 PM
Wednesday, October 27 at 12:15 PM
Facebook Live hosted by Theraplay! Email Pat for details!


Tuesday, October 26 at 7:00 PM
Hosted by Families of Children with Disabilities!
Zoom link. Meeting ID: 828 3307 9502 Passcode: 864017





Next Steps into Adolescence
Thursday, October 28
10:00 AM-12:30 PM

This online workshop is geared toward parents, caregivers and professionals supporting individuals with ASD who are between the ages 9-15. As children approach and enter the teenage years, they must deal with physical growth spurts, mind-boggling hormone releases, and ever-changing and challenging social relationships. We will hear from a psychologist, developmental pediatrician and several parents who have successfully navigated this phase with their own children.




The Growth Opportunity Center in Southampton and Huntingdon Valley

New groups starting September!

We are running in-person social groups: children and teen groups for ages 5 to 18, creating a positive and fun, welcoming climate. We are also putting together a young adult group, focusing on the challenges of transitioning from high school to higher education or the work world, as well as navigating relationships of all kinds.



    Learn how you can redirect your      PA state taxes to scholarships at      Hill Top



Did you know that if you pay $3,500 or more in PA State Taxes, you can redirect up to 90% of that to help fund scholarships for qualifying students at Hill Top Prep? Anyone with an adjusted gross income of more than $115,000 annually qualifies. Join us in this live webinar to learn more. Participants can have their questions answered live through the chat feature. First time participants from last year will also be in attendance to talk about their experience. A call in (listen only) option is available. 

Webinar: Tuesday, October 5 at 12:00 PM.

Register here.

To find out more about Hilltop Prep click here.



 Free Webinar


The 7 Social Skills and Awareness Your Child Needs to Succeed: Featuring Social Cognition, The Unwritten Rules of Friendship, Flexibility, & Assertiveness

This Thursday: October 7th - 7:00-8:15 EST
A FREE virtual workshop empowering parents, educators, & professionals to help children socialize, cope, & thrive. 
Zoom link.

Mike Fogel, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, presents three social skills seminars celebrating the national release of The Social-Emotional Guidebook, which is now available for purchase here.

Mike will teach participants social training language parents and professionals can use to teach social skills for their child. Not only will you learn how to coach a child to read social cues and empathically consider others' feelings, but you will learn how to motivate a child to practice these skills. Children and teens buy into social skills training & practice when they learn WHY they should use certain social skills; what's in it for them? We will develop language you can use that help your child choose flexibility, employ healthy assertiveness, and solve conflicts.

Next session: October 21st: Part 1: Create Positive Feedback Cycles to Motivate Your Child to Practice Social Skills & Emotional Coping Skills 




  Coffee Lovers and Employees Needed!

Local nonprofit New Avenue Foundation has opened its second business in Newtown Square. It is called Our Community Cup Coffee where they roast coffee with kindness. Stop by for your coffee needs. They also are looking for employees with disabilities. Reach out directly to Jim Wurster about openings. 

There also will be a re-opening of Our Community Cup Coffeehouse on Friday nights. It has been a great place for more than six and a half years for families and caregivers and people with disabilities and the entire community.


Philadelphia Family Voices (PFV) is hiring for an ASD Family Peer Navigator!

PFV is Philadelphia’s first and only family-legacy organization. As a family legacy organization, the mission of Philadelphia Family Voices is families helping families navigate and improve child-serving systems by creating opportunities for education, empowerment, and support. Learn more about this position here! 



Employment for individuals with disabilities

Bender Consulting Services, Inc. provides disability employment expertise in the areas of recruitment, workplace mentoring, strategic planning, training, and digital accessibility to drive innovation and realize business value for customers.



Currently Recruiting Qualified Individuals with Disabilities 

AECOM brochure 

AECOM "How To Apply Online Guide"  



Have you or someone in your family attended a free webinar or program that ASCEND offered this year?

If so, please consider making a donation to the ASCEND Group!

All contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extend of the law. 

Ways You Can Support ASCEND


~ Make an online donation today!

~ Host a Facebook Fundraiser on your Birthday.
It's easy to set up and costs nothing!

~ Participate in United Way's Donor Choice Program (ASCEND's Donor Code is 15008)

~ Double the impact of your gift through your company's matching gift program.

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iGive website

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Autism Connection of Pennsylvania Free Virtual Workshop:

 A Different Approach To Getting A Job

Did you know that there are employers who want to hire more people with disabilities?

Presenter Bill Frase, Assistant Director of Achieve Business Services, will help you learn how to gain access to employment professionals who help progressive organizations hire, retain, and advance more people with disabilities.

At the completion of this session, learners will be able to:

Access disability employment professionals who are embedded within organizations that want to hire, retain, and advance more people with disabilities.
Learn about the specific companies who have these embedded disability employment professionals and how to access them.
Know how to get more information.
Take the next step.
This workshop is for job seekers with disabilities and those who support them.

Wednesday, October 6, 6:30-8:00 PM

Contact info: Autism Connection of PA
[email protected]


SNUGS is a non-profit, national organization, with a student group chapter of the organization at the University of Pennsylvania. Our group's core mission will focus on decreasing the number of drownings among children with special needs, which is the number one cause of death for children with intellectual disabilities. By providing free swim instruction, we believe we can make a huge difference.

Many university campuses, such as the University of Pennsylvania, are situated near low-income communities, where specialized swimming lessons are too expensive for financially-burdened parents with disabled children. Special Needs Undergraduate Swim Lessons (SNUGS) brings free, one-on-one, personalized water safety and technique clinics to these areas. SNUGS is also currently active at Yale University, University of California-Davis, Amherst College, Cornell University, Georgetown University, Rutgers University, MIT and Wagner College and is still expanding.

See flyer for more details. 


Aceing Autism


Aceing Autism Tennis Program

The Aceing Autism tennis program will be offered at Idle Hour Tennis Club in Drexel Hill on six consecutive Saturdays, through October 23, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM. The program is open to participants who are five to 18 years old.

Click here for more details. Registration link. ACEing Autism is on a mission for children with autism to grow, develop and benefit from social connections and fitness through affordable tennis programming, uniquely serving individual needs while filling a national void for this growing and worthy population.

For more information, contact Dan Sears at 540-538-7543.


Intersecting Identities: Autism & Gender

Intersecting Identities: Autism & Gender will consist of two workshops in the month of October. The first workshop, on Autism in Women, will be held on Wednesday, October 13 from 10:00 - 11:30 AM. This workshop will feature Dr. Hannah Belcher, who will provide a brief presentation on her research on autism spectrum disorder in women, followed by a panel conversation of women discussing their lived experience as women on the spectrum.


The second workshop, Autism and Transgender Identity, will be held on Saturday, October 23 from 2:00-3:30 PM. Autism and Transgender Identity will consist of a panel conversation of transgender autistic individuals discussing their lived experiences, featuring topics such as: identity, navigating transition, healthcare, and the legal system.

View flyer for more details.

You can register for one or both workshops here.

 ASPEN'S Virtual Fall Conference

Autism through the lifespan

Educators attending this virtual video conference will earn eight professional development hours.
NJDOE Professional Development Provider #1619

CLICK HERE to download the full Conference Brochure.
CLICK HERE to download only the mail-in conference registration form.


Sponge Bob the Musical at Footlighters Theater 

The show is running at the Footlighters Theater in Berwin from 10/15-10/30. The relaxed performance is in Berwyn on 10/23 at 2 PM.

Theater events page.

Link to Tickets.




The High School Youth Preparation for Higher Education Program (HYPE)

The Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center (SPARC) and Devereux Pennsylvania Community Adult Autism Partnership Program (CAAPP) programs have partnered with West Chester University to create a specialized program for high school students with
autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

The goal of our High School Youth Preparation for Higher Education (HYPE) program is to provide students with ASD meaningful educational activities and supports, enabling them to maximize their independence and help them become
prepared for university life.

For more information and how to contact us, please click link above.

Back to School: Knowing the hierarchy of the school system can make your path to an answer easy and smooth
from Parenting Special Needs Digital Magazine

Survey on Alternative Ways of Communicating

We are writing to invite all caregivers (e.g., parents, guardians, relatives) to participate in a survey related to your experiences caring for an individual who uses augmentative or alternative ways of communicating (AAC). Our goal is to better understand how your experiences can influence their use of AAC.
This survey should take 15 minutes and all of those who complete the survey will be entered to a drawing to win $100 cash.

At the end of the survey, we will ask if you would like to participate in a follow-up interview. We will pay all of those who interview $10 for your time.

Questions about this survey? Feel free to contact Dr. Natalie Andzik at [email protected] or Dr. Allison Gladfelter [email protected].


Survey link.

Father's Autism Support Group 

The AJ Drexel Autism Institute is excited to offer a free support group for fathers with children on the autism spectrum in partnership with Dr. Robert Naseef, and Dr. Michael Hannon.  The group meets virtually at 11am on the third Saturday of every month.  Email [email protected] for more information. Learn more about upcoming meeting dates here.


2021 Pennsylvania Autism Training (Virtual) Conference (PATC 2021) October 5 - 7

Registration is now open! Free admission for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Full admission is $10 for professionals and allows access to all conference sessions over all three days. Register here.

Call for artists! - Inviting artists on the autism spectrum to exhibit their artwork virtually during PATC 2021. The art show will consist of images of artwork and links to the artist's website or email address for more information about works that are for sale. If you're interested in exhibiting your work contact: [email protected]. For more information, please click here.


Families CCAN hosts a free virtual cooking class on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 5:30 PM. Recipe & supplies list will be sent once you register. Register here.

Competence and Confidence Partners in Policymaking Early Intervention 

C2P2 EI applications are open! Free training to help caregivers learn the Early Intervention System and actively participate in their child’s team. Virtual and In-person sessions are planned. Apply Now! Applications must be completed and submitted by October 8.

Eagles Autism Foundation 2021 Community Grant

Eagles Autism Foundation 2021 Community Grant application is now open! The goal of these community grants is to promote local services that enhance the lives of those affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD), expand the capacity of organizations to effectively serve the ASD community, and increase the services available to individuals with ASD. To access the application, please visit; the deadline to apply is October 18.


The MyODP Podcast

This is the latest form of outreach and capacity building from ODP. Families, direct support professionals and other supporters are encouraged to follow this podcast to gain additional tools to support people with disabilities. Each podcast in the first series, A Supporter's Toolbox, has a duration of 7-10 minutes and focuses on getting tools to Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and other supporters.

Transition Tuesdays - Engaging Families in Transition Planning

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education is pleased to announce this series which will provide families, students, and educators with information and insights to enhance family members’ participation within the transition process of the IEP. Interviews with families and students, sharing their experiences with transition planning and will be used to guide discussions and learning. Participants will experience how to be active members in transition planning - before the IEP, during the IEP, and after the IEP.

Before the IEP
Tuesday, October 26
2:00 - 3:00 PM

An IEP meeting to discuss the transition process can be overwhelming. Doing some work to prepare for the meeting can make the IEP meeting more productive. What questions should you be ready to answer? What information can you share about your student? During this session, the presenters will discuss how to effectively prepare for the IEP meeting. They will share resources to assist families, students, and educators prepare for the IEP meeting.

Diane Perry, Family Resource Specialist, PEAL Center
Khaleya Spence, Youth Training and Leadership Coordinator, PEAL Center

Please register online by visiting the PaTTAN website at

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar, including the Zoom link.

For questions regarding registration, contact:
PaTTAN Pittsburgh – Paula Quinn, [email protected], 412-826-6880



              Adult Group Meetup:
           Zoom Conferencing Chat

This group provides an opportunity for older teens and adults (around age 18 and up) with an Autism Spectrum Disorder to meet for support, self-advocacy, networking, conversation, and fun.



  ASERT Youth and Young Adult
      Virtual Coffee Drop-in

Calling all youth and young adults! Looking for ways to speak up? Join us on Thursdays from 12:00 - 12:30 PM. Email for accommodations.. 

Free ASERT Workshops
Download the Trajectory and the Integrated Support.


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