April 2016
Volume 8, Issue 5

In This Issue...

  1. Message from ASCEND's President
  2. ASCEND News
  3. New Professional Members
  4. Professional Member News & Events
  5. Other ASD Events
  6. In the Media
  7. Things we Like


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ASCEND Group Inc.
610-449-6776 via email www.ascendgroup.org




Message from ASCEND's President


To all: ASCEND's board of directors has been working hard on revising our mission statement so we can focus our organization's energies in ways that will be most beneficial to the community we support. Here's our new mission statement:

"To improve the lives of individuals and families in the Greater Philadelphia area impacted by Asperger Syndrome and Autism through connections, community and support."   
Things have changed for the better since our founding in 2001! In the past 15 years, we've contributed to raising public awareness about Asperger Syndrome and related disorders. And we've worked hard toward one of our early goals--"to advocate for improved education and services"--via focused workshops and conferences where we consciously sought to engage teachers and service providers. 

This new mission statement seeks to refocus our efforts on supporting individuals and families. For example, we intend to return to providing more face-to-face opportunities to connect and share information. Please stay tuned for future announcements about ASCEND activities!


Maleita Olson
ASCEND President 



ASCEND Family Fun Night Update 
Please note that ASCEND's Family Fun Night scheduled for 5/14 at the Ambler YMCA has been postponed. Please stay tuned for updates on this event, which we hope to reschedule for this Fall. If you have not already done so,  please subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive up to date information on our events. 

Thank you!!
Many thanks to Brelyn Harris at RapidWristbands.com  for sending autism wristbands for our Family Fun Day.  We received the colorful "I love someone with autism" bands and the double-sided "Please leave me alone, Happy to talk" bands!


More thanks go to White Pines Productions for donating a portion of their proceeds from their Christmas Shindig to ASCEND. White Pines is an ASCEND Professional Member organization that is dedicated to transforming people's lives through performance creativity.


New Professional Members


Ruttenberg Autism Center
Mary Torres,Administrative Coordinator
1740 Walton Road Suite 100, Blue Bell, PA 19422
Contact: 484- 567-3317 or [email protected]
This provider offers evaluations, assessments and treatment and is committed to helping people with ASD throughout their lifetime via experienced clinicians. Its work is guided by the values and principles of Dr. Bertram A. Ruttenberg, the founder of RAC'S affiliate, The Center for Autism in Philadelphia. RAC considers family involvement and community support to be the core components of each individual's autism treatment. 

Anjana Bhat, Associate Professor in Physical Therapy

University of Delaware
540 S College Ave, Newark, DE 19713
[email protected] or 443-523-8680
Dr. Bhat's research goals are the following: 1) to evaluate effects of creative interventions (robotics, rhythm, yoga, dance, and hippotherapy) for infants, children, and adults with autism; and 2) to examine motor, social communication, and cognitive development in individuals with autism. See the research section below for a link to current studies and how to participate in research.


Professional Member News & Events

Professional Members' Research 

Adults with Quality of Life Survey

Facing Puberty: Girls under 18 years old

Center for Autism (CAR) Research Studies Flyer

University of Delaware's Move to Learn (M2L) - Autism Lab



 Professional Members' Calendar of Events                                      




Strategies for Developing Assertiveness & Problem Solving Skills in Children
Child and Family Art Therapy Center
Thu, 5/5, 11:30am

Next Steps Into Adulthood: One Day Workshop and Resource Fair
Center for Autism Research
Sat, 5/7, 9am

How to Hang Out Program
Center for Social and Executive Function
Sat, 5/14, 3pm

Open House
Quaker School 
Mon, 5/16, 9am


Professional Member Social Groups, 
Support Groups and Workshops



To Our ASCEND 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.


 Other ASD News & Events

The Barley Sheaf Players' Spring Drama: "Lucy"
Directed by Cindy Schneider of Acting Antics
Fri-Sat, 8pm, 5/6-7
This show, by Damien Atkins, centers on a 13-year-old girl diagnosed with autism. This evening of theater, rated PG-13, promises "laugher, tears and sparked conversation about the impact of autism."

Montgomery County Community College
Bridge to College Program

340 DeKalb Pike PH50 Blue Bell, PA
Mon-Thur, 10am-2pm, 7/5-8/15
Being held for the seventh year, this program is offered to high school juniors and seniors with HFA/Aspergers along with other students with special needs who are considering attending any college.
Contact: Denise Garrigus, Program Coordinator, 215-619-7403 or [email protected] 


Kids' Tennis Program: Aceing Autism

Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA
Starts Sat, 5/7
This volunteer-based nonprofit program is open to and specifically designed for children with ASD. This spring will be the first time this nationally accredited program will be offered in the Philadelphia region.
Contact: Pam Rende' at [email protected]

 In the Media

The 'Dr. Ruth of the autism world' wants frank conversations around sex and autism
PhillyVoice.com, 4/21/16
From the article: "Amy Gravino wants people to understand: Adults with autism-gasp!-have sex. Most resources for people with autism are aimed at children, says the 33-year-old public speaker and consultant from North Jersey. The resource she wants to offer is very much for grown-ups: advice on dating, relationships and sex - all based on her own experience as a woman with autism." 

Electric Currents And An 'Emotional Awakening' For One Man With Autism

NPR, 4/21/16 
From the broadcast: "As someone with autism spectrum disorder, John Elder Robison knows what it's like to feel emotionally removed from situations. Robison tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that throughout his life people have told him, 'There's this emotional language you're missing. There are stories in people's eyes. There are messages.' Robison didn't fully understand what they meant until he received transcranial magnetic stimulation, a noninvasive procedure in which areas of the brain are stimulated with electromagnetic fields to alter its circuitry."

Study: Autism Costs More Than Double As People Age
Disability Scoop, 4/19/16
From the article: "State spending on adults with autism is dramatically higher than for children, according to a new analysis that may offer hints of what's to come as more people on the spectrum grow up."

Autistic Adults Shouldn't Be Children of a Lesser God

Huffington Post, 4/5/16
From the article: "While I am aware that autism is diagnosed in childhood for the majority of autistic individuals (myself included) and many crucial services are necessary in childhood, here's the thing: autistic people are not perpetual children like Peter Pan. For the most part, children become adults." 

Technology firms explore benefits of "neurodiversity" hiring

Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/4/16
From the article: "'Give me a broken system, and I see the problem really easily,' says Mark Jessen, a Palo Alto, Calif.- based IT technology consultant for global business - software maker SAP, on a visit last week to the company's North America headquarters in Newtown Square. Jessen is one of 100 people SAP has hired in its Autism at Work program since 2012."

CDC reports no change in autism prevalence

CNN.com, 4/1/16
From the article: "One in 68 children has autism, according to the latest government report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the current report (showing data from 2012) shows no change in prevalence from the 2014 report (showing data from 2010 to 2012), the prevalence continues to remain higher than expected, said Dr. Catherine Rice, director of the Emory Autism Center. And it might be too soon to tell if autism prevalence in the United States is starting to stabilize."


Things We Like 

PBS's Mack & Moxy
An 11-year-old on the spectrum will appear on a brand new PBS children's show in an episode focusing on inclusion. The show "Mack & Moxy" will debut on many PBS stations across the country starting April 1. Aimed at kids ages 3 to 7, each episode includes two segments exploring a different cause. Charlie Owens, who has autism and lives in the St. Louis area, will appear on an episode called "A Spectrum of Possibilities" about the importance of inclusion.


Pa Becomes the First State to Name April Autism Acceptance Month 
As autism awareness continues to grow, PA is taking a step forward in the education and inclusion of individuals with autism as Governor Tom Wolf proclaims April "Autism Acceptance Month." Pennsylvania is one of the first states in the country to change from "awareness" to "acceptance." This furthers the work of many families and self-advocates who have expressed the importance of moving from simply raising awareness about autism, to also include, better understand and accept individuals with autism into full participation in community life. Read all about it in the ASERT newsletter! 



ASCEND Group Inc.
P.O. Box 2097

Media, PA 19063
[email protected]