January 2017, Volume 8, Issue 1                                                                                                                       


A New Year, a New President

The presidential election has certainly been a predominant news story in recent months. While many people have grown weary of the non-stop coverage, I do have election news to share with you. I'm pleased to report the ASCEND board elected me as the next president of the ASCEND Group during our annual meeting this month. In addition, the board elected Steve Glazier to serve as vice president.

My affiliation with ASCEND began when I joined as a family member, and I have been on the board since 2012. My oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome in 2008, and like many parents with children on the autism spectrum, I looked for organizations that provided support and educational opportunities for families. The ASCEND Group has been a valuable source of education and support for families and professionals since 2001, and I look forward to helping ASCEND continue to fulfill its mission of creating a community of support for families, individuals and professionals.

The board expresses its sincere appreciation to Maleita Olson who has served as ASCEND president for the past three years.  As many of you know, Maleita is very dedicated to helping people with disabilities, and we wish her the best.

As the new president of ASCEND, I welcome your input on how we can best support families, individuals and professionals. You can send me messages at president@ascendgroup.org. Also, if you are interested in volunteering with our organization, please let me know. I'd be happy to talk with you about ways you can help us.

Warm regards,

Elena Perri



Professional Member Events

ASCEND Professional Member Dr. Robert Naseef's latest speech on autism can be seen here

Center for Autism Research (CAR)
One Book, One Philadelphia Event: Curious About Autism? Exploring Myths and Facts About the Spectrum 
This panel discussion and Q&A will challenge your preconceptions about autism, encourage understanding, and explore differences as an opportunity to build bridges. Sensory-friendly activities for children will be offered during the panel discussion and light refreshments will be available. Wednesday, February 1, from 6:30 p.m.- 7:45 p.m. at the Free Library, South Philadelphia Branch, South Philadelphia Community Health & Literacy Ctr 1700 S Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145. Register here.

Child and Family Art Therapy Center - Camp Pegasus: Lunchtime Workshops- Paoli  No More Meltdowns! Helping Your Child Learn Frustration Tolerance and Anger Management
Station Square 2, Suite 109, 37 North Valley Rd. Paoli, PA 19301
Thursday, February 2, from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Quaker School at Horsham: Know Your Family's Rights: A Survival Guide for Parents Navigating the Special Education System
Please join us for an evening with David Thalheimer of Thalheimer & Palumbo, P.C. David will be providing parents with information to navigate the special education system. This event is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there! Join us:  Monday, February 6, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. admissions@quakerschool.org 

JCHAI: Open House and Apartment Visits
JCHAI at Home Personalized holistic 1:1 support & skills training by highly trained social workers in your family home or independent apartment, and in the community on an à la carte basis. Open to all ages, 18 to 80! JCHAI Apartment Program: our supported residential apartment program in Bryn Mawr. Enjoy green space, pool, fitness center & communal dinners as desired. Individualized daily program of supports for daily living skills, socializing & vocational engagement. Visit on Thursday, February 23, at 6:00 p.m.

Free 30 Minute Consultation- Ruttenberg Autism Center Psychologists and clinicians are available to review a host of service options to best match needs with resources. To schedule a free 30 minute consultation with one of our experienced clinicians, call 484-567-4725. Ruttenberg Autism Center, 1740 Walton Road, 1st Floor, Blue Bell, PA 19422

Free Open Forum for Families of Individuals Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Please join us for a free opportunity to openly discuss raising an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder, facilitated by Dr. Eric Mitchell, Director of the  Ruttenberg Autism Center. Sunday, February 26, 3:30 p.m. at 1740 Walton Road, 1st Floor, Blue Bell, PA 19422. Space is limited! RSVP today to Mary Torres at 484-567-4725 or  info@ruttenberg.com

ASD Happenings In & Around Our Area

From: ASAPhilly.org: I am an autistic entrepreneur, who is looking to tap into autistic gifts. I am looking to start a house cleaning business and need a website for that. The decision to seek an autistic adult isn't because it is the right thing to do. It is because it makes the most business sense. By effectively tapping into autistic gifts, I create higher quality work at a lower price. For more information and to apply click on the link above. 


Asian Family Workshop
Topic: Transition to school and beyond. FREE Workshop held in Mandarin and English, other language interpreters available with advanced request. Saturday, February 4, from 10:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. at the Chinese Christian Church, 225N. 10th St. Philadelphia, PA 19107. Childcare provided and Act 48 available. Email: krivitk@elwyn.org or cyichan@yahoo.com.


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) is now accepting applications for the 2017 Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) Leadership Academy. The ACI summer leadership training prepares autistic students to engage in disability advocacy on their college campuses. Accepted applicants will travel to Washington, DC and participate in advocacy training. To apply, submit a completed application by Sunday, February 19, to Reid Caplan at rcaplan@autisticadvocacy.org.

CAN Initial Pop-Up Bowling Event 
This event, held on Saturday, February 18, will be sensory friendly, with a break room to use when needed. Not crazy about bowling? They will have board games and other fun activities to engage in. Food and drink will be included.They will also have giveaways and a raffle. Meet at Thunderbird Lanes, 3075 Holme Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19136 from 3:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. Tickets: $5 for kids 12 & under, $7 for Adults. Email: communityautismnetwork@gmail.com Website: www.cancenter.org.

Foundations Presents Educational Workshops for Professionals
Roma A. Vasa, M.D., Director of Education and Training at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, will give a presentation on "Co-Occurring Psychiatric Conditions in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder." This informative workshop will cover common mental health conditions that occur in youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 
Workshop will be held on Wednesday, March 1, from 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the Doylestown  Health & Wellness Center Auditorium, 847 Easton Rd./Rt. 611, Warrington, PA 18976. Cost is $65 for each workshop.   
For more information or to register,  call Foundations Community Partnership, 267-247-5584 or visit www.fcpartnership.org


In the Media 

In ASCEND's December enewsletter we mentioned the Tony Award-winning National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will run from February 28 through March 5, 2017 at the The Kimmel Center. Now One Book, One Philadelphia at the Free Library will center around this book as well.
From the site: https://libwww.freelibrary.org/onebook/ 
Celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2017, One Book, One Philadelphia is a signature event of the Free Library of Philadelphia that promotes literacy, library usage, and citywide conversation by encouraging the entire greater Philadelphia area to come together through reading and discussing a single book. From January 25 to March 23, nearly 100 events and programs will center around The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, the 2017 One Book, One Philadelphia featured selection.

From: The New York Times: by Margaret Carlson
Since the days when my mother wouldn't let my older brother go out to play stickball if I wasn't with him, there's been a lot of progress in attitudes toward those we now call developmentally or intellectually challenged. There's mainstreaming them into public schools, the Special Olympics, TV shows like "Speechless," Down syndrome children in clothing ads.

Jory Fleming is headed to Oxford, thanks to home schooling that tapped into his sense of curiosity. 
From: NBCnews.com by Douglas Belkin
Kelly Fleming remembers the low point of raising her son, Jory. He was eight years old when he spent an entire morning, afternoon and evening wailing uncontrollably. She still doesn't know what set off the boy, who has autism and a metabolic disorder. 

Computer uses facial cues to spot if people have autism
An algorithm that analyzes facial expressions and head movements could help doctors diagnose autism-like conditions and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
From: Newscientist.com by Matthew Reynolds
There is no simple test for autism or ADHD, but clinicians usually observe someone's behaviour as part of the assessment. "These are frequently co-occurring conditions and the visual behaviours that come with them are similar," says Michel Valstar at the University of Nottingham, UK.


From: www.disabilityscoop.com by Michelle Diament
Federal officials are chiming in on how to balance independence and safety for people with disabilities who have a tendency to wander.

Stress linked to gastrointestinal issues in children with autism.

Study finds increased reaction to stress may cause gastrointestinal issues in children with autism.
From: http://www.upi.com by Amy Wallace 
COLUMBIA, Mo., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Researchers pinpoint the increased reaction to stress as the possible cause of the high prevalence of gastrointestinal issues in children with autism.

IEPs vs. 504 plans: Pediatrician's office often first stop for families navigating educational issues
From: AAP News by Kristy Kennedy, correspondent
A school principal was pushing for a kindergartner diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome to attend school in a regular classroom, despite a report from Jeffrey K. Okamoto, M.D., FAAP, explaining the severity of the boy's developmental delays and behavioral issues caused in part by constant hunger pangs.


Things We Like

ELWYN's 2016 A-ListElwyn's Philadelphia Special Needs Resource Guide updated annually. 

Toy Sellers and Makers Offer More Options for Autistic Kids
From: AP Business Writer b y Joseph Pisani 
New York - Toy stores, with bright lights, loud sounds and crowded aisles, can be hard to manage for children with autism or other sensory issues. For parents, finding toys that match their kids' skill sets and will hold their attention can be a process of trial and error. Big toy sellers and specialists are both trying to provide some better options.

Learning to Drive: 
Dr. Temple Grandin, U.S. Autism & Asperger Association conference excerpt, "Learning to drive."


Why Aspies Need Space After Work and School
From: Aspie Miss' Blog
Imagine you're working abroad. You have some language skills but you're by no means fluent. You can get on with your daily job but every conversation is fraught with difficulties, misunderstood phrases and confusing body language. By the time you get home, you're exhausted and quite ready to relax in peace and quiet without confusing conversations.



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ASCEND Group Inc.
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Media, PA 19063