October 2015
Volume 7, Issue 8

In This Issue...

  1. Message from ASCEND President
  2. ASCEND's Conference 
  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

Time and time again, ASCEND hears from members and non-members alike about the high quality of our annual conference. We strive to present world-class speakers who offer proven strategies for enabling people with autism to participate successfully in life at school, at home and in the community.

This year, we’re hosting Jed Baker, the internationally celebrated author, speaker, presenter and director of the Social Skills Training Project. Jed has crisscrossed the country and hopscotched over the globe to Norway and Australia in the past year. After his stop in Horsham for ASCEND, Jed will take his teachings to Ireland to present a week of workshops. Jed’s practice is based in New Jersey, but he’s renowned worldwide for his positive strategies focused on managing and preventing out-of-control behavior.

Whether you’re a family member, educator, professional, or on the spectrum yourself, this is a must-attend event. I hope to see YOU on Friday, November 6th!


Maleita Olson
ASCEND President 


ASCEND’s Annual Fall Conference! 

All Can Succeed: Effective Interventions for Behavioral and Social Challenges
Presented by Jed Baker, PhD, internationally recognized writer, lecturer & trainer
Friday, 11/6, 9am-3pm
Williamson Caterers, 500 Blair Mill Rd
Horsham, PA 19044
Click here for Conference Schedule.

Who should go: Family members, individuals with ASD, educators, social workers, psychologists, and professionals who support people across the spectrum, including transitioning teens and young adults

Professional credits: 4.5 credits available for educators, psychologists, social workers and counselors.

Pennsylvania Psychological Association Members can obtain a discount of 15% off Conference Fees. Please email [email protected] with your PPA ID number to obtain the discount code.

About the presentation: Students on the autism spectrum and those with behavioral challenges often present with difficulty regulating their feelings and interacting socially. This workshop describes:

  • How to handle meltdowns and design effective behavior plans;
  • Ways to prevent those stressful moments and reduce frustration and anxiety;
  • Detailed strategies to motivate students to learn;
  • Ways to teach social skills and how to generalize skills;
  • Promoting increased acceptance and tolerance from peers.

About Dr. Baker: Jed is the director of the Social Skills Training Project, an organization serving individuals with autism and social communication problems in Springfield, NJ. He serves on many professional advisory boards, including Autism Today and ASPEN. Jed’s main focus is on social skills training and managing challenging behaviors. He is an award winning author of six books, including Social Skills Training for Children and Adolescents, Preparing for Life: The Complete Handbook for the Transition to Adulthood, The Social Skills Picture Book and his most recent book, Overcoming Anxiety in Children and Teens. Jed’s work has been featured on ABC World News, Nightline, Fox News, the CBS Early Show, and the Discovery Health Channel.

To receive a discount for this conference as well our other membership benefitsjoin now!



 ASCEND Hosted Screening: "The Family Next Door"

altFriday, 11/20/15, 7:30pm 
Hill Top Preparatory School 
737 S Ithan Ave, Rosemont, PA 19010

This feature-length documentary focuses
on the Lund family from the Pittsburgh area.The family of six is made up of two girlsand two boys on the autism spectrum, Donny, 14, and Brian, 7, who were followed by a film crew for 16 months. Barry Reese,the film's director has said in an interview, “The movie shows what it’s like to live in a family that deals with autism.”

Click here for the trailer.

Click here  for an in-depth profile in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Donations benefit ASCEND Group as well as movie creators.

Signup here


New Professional Members

Patience’s Behavior Therapy
Contact: Patience Domowski, LCSW
211 Towyn Court, Exton, PA 19341
443-850-1232 or [email protected]

Patience is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in working with preschool and young elementary school age children using a variety of behavioral therapy techniques and creative interventions tailored to the child's interests. She offers private in-home and school-based behavioral consultation and therapy for children and families in Chester County, PA, and surrounding areas. In addition, FAN Club is an event-based meet-up group that provides opportunities for kids to make new friends and for parents to have support from other parents in similar situations.

MSM Social Coaching (formerly My Social Mentor)
Contact: Beth Janoff at 267-217-3833 or [email protected]
PO Box 1384, Blue Bell, PA 19422

Beth Janoff, Karen McManness and Sally Linder, owners and consultants of MSM, offers customized training and workshops for schools, employers and families as well as individual coaching and social skills groups. They work to provide solutions for teens and adults with social challenges by focusing on transition to college or technical school, social skills, employment support, and family consultation. Referencing the work of Jed Baker, they cover a variety of topics such as soft skills for employment and beyond, understanding dating and friendship issues, improving family relationships, managing "out of control" feelings, self-advocacy, resiliency and flexibility.

Erin Crowley, LMFT, Psychotherapist  
Contact: [email protected] or
57 W Durham St, Philadelphia, PA 19119

Erin provides adolescent, and family psychotherapy and specializes in attentional and social deficits, autism depression and anxiety with a commitment to helping families thrive. She has 20 years of experience as a youth educator and counselor. Erin is also a certified school counselor and a certified yoga instructor. She earned her Master's Degree in Counseling from California State University, East Bay.   

Autism Spectrum Diagnostics & Consulting
Contact: Mary Cohen at 215-230-3616 or [email protected]
200 S Clinton St, Ste 201, Doylestown, PA 18901

This practice supports individuals on the autism spectrum and their families throughout the lifespan. The focus is on services that improve outcomes through early identification, education, inclusion, advocacy and increased independence. ASDG provides comprehensive diagnostic, psychoeducational and neuropsychological evaluations of children, adolescents and adults as well as social skills groups and facilitated play groups for children. In addition, they provide sexuality education groups for adolescents and adults, classes on social literacy, adult support groups and educational workshops The clinical team has more than 20 years of experience providing therapeutic support and promoting autism awareness and education in the Philadelphia community.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia
Contact: 267-256-2000 or [email protected]
2100 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

With a rich tradition spanning 160 years, JFCS supports the five-county region with an array of services. The JFCS mission is to strengthen families and individuals throughout the life cycle and across generations and cultures to achieve stability, independence, and community.  The agency carries out this mission through preventive services, family-life education programming, counseling,care management, chaplaincy, and immediate emergency assistance, both through its own programs and in collaboration with other community agencies. Services provided are based on the immediate and long-term needs of each client to ensure an uninterrupted continuum of care.


Professional Member News & Events

Professional Member Social Groups,
Support Groups and Workshops



 Professional Member Events: 




1847 Financial:  Special Needs Planning Workshops

10/27 and 11/17:
Spectra hosts: Transition Planning Speaker Series

Center for Autism Research (CAR) Dr. Yoder who will discuss speech & language delays in children

10/20 - 12/8
Center for Autism Research (CAR) :
New Series: Next Steps Into Adulthood 

11/5 Child and Family Art:
emPower Lunch- A monthly series of FREE presentations to help parents and professionals.

11/11 Quaker School Speaker Series: 
Marlyn Vogel, Ed.D., discusses "Effective Use of Psycho-educational Evaluations"

11/15 Communication Imaging: 
Open House at Communication Imaging (Speech Therapy)

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.  


Other ASD Events

PA Family Members of Adults with Autism
"Getting Together" Event
Friday, 11/13, 1pm
Corner Bakery Café, 3 West Rd, Newtown, PA

This event is for family members of adults (ages 16+) with ASD and related disabilities. From 1pm to 2pm, Mike Mercadante, MS, of The Modern Driver Institute will discuss his agency’s mission to offer professional defensive driver education, specializing in individuals with autism, anxiety and learning disabilities. The meeting will continue afterwards as a get-together. This group provides an opportunity to socialize, support, share information and resources, and develop relationships. Family members from outside Bucks County are welcome to join.
More info: [email protected] or o
n Facebook

Sensory Friendly Movie: The Peanuts Movie
AMC Theaters in Neshaminy, Franklin Mills, Marple
Saturday, 11/14, 10am

AMC partners with the Autism Society for unique movie showings with the lights up and the sound down. The Silence is Golden rule will not be enforced so kids can jump, talk, stim, and sing in a friendly supportive atmosphere. There will be no ads so arrive on time and feel free to bring your own snacks.


In the Media

Autism finds a friend on Sesame Street
USA Today, 10/25/15

A series of new videos from Sesame Street star a Muppet with a magic wand, pink wings and friends with autism. The videos are part of a new effort aimed at "normalizing" autism, making families with the condition feel included and reducing the bullying that is five times more often aimed at autistic children than neurotypical ones.


The Myth of the ‘Autistic Shooter’ 
NY Times, 10/12/15 

From the article: “The biggest challenge in cases where autism and psychopathy exist simultaneously is that the former is usually diagnosed and the latter is not, and parents who have received a diagnosis for their child tend to assign everything to autism. So a mother who knows her son has autism may presume that all his aberrant behavior reflects that condition, and may not seek evidence of other problems. Autism can be distracting.”


Standard Approach to Autism Education May Actually Impair Learning 
Medscape, 10/8/15

From the article: “Repetitive training, used widely in autism education, may hinder the learning process by promoting inflexibility, a new study with potentially ‘earthshaking’ implications shows. The study … was published online October 5 in Nature Neuroscience.” Note: To access articles on Medscape, readers will need to create a free account.


Why It’s So Difficult to Diagnose Autism in Girls 
Slate, 10/6/15

From the article: “Some researchers theorize that girls are better than boys at camouflaging their symptoms, particularly during highly structured interactions such as clinic visits. For instance, a colleague of mine described girls with autism as “caricatures” in social interactions. These girls may be motivated to interact, but their behaviors seem exaggerated.”


Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center features young artist with Asperger's
Newsworks, 10/6/15

From the article: “Emily Burke, 11, has been an artist since she could pick up a drawing utensil and last month, her art was featured every weekend at the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center. The show, named Art on the Spectrum, features artists diagnosed on different levels of the Asperger's/Autism scale, "MRAC Board Member Mike Muir said.


How a Child With Autism Became 'His Own Man' After Treatment
ABC News, 10/6/15

From the broadcast: “When he was 2 years old, Jake Exkorn couldn't talk, make eye contact or follow instructions because he had autism. But today, Exkorn is a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Michigan and hardly even remembers what it was like to have autism.”


Theater Training May Boost Skills In Kids With Autism
Disability Scoop, 10/5/15

From the article: “Children with autism
can see big gains in socialization, communication and other skills by learning to perform on stage, researchers say. Kids on the spectrum who participated in a 10-week, 40-hour theater program saw an increase in everyday skills like communication and the ability to recognize faces as compared to children with autism who did not attend the lessons, according to findings published in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.”

 Things We Like

Spectrum News

Spectrum began in 2008 as the News & Opinion section of SFARI.org, but is now an independent online identity. On this site visitors can search by autism topics such as “Genes,” “Treatments,” and “Science and Society.” Also featured are special “Editor’s Picks” and “This Week’s Newsletter” sections. From the site: “We provide comprehensive news and analysis of advances in autism research. Through our work, we hope to catalyze new collaborations and perspectives on autism.”

Autism Coming-of-Age Documentary to Debuted on HBO 

“How to Dance in Ohio” debuted on 10/26 and follows a group of young women on the spectrum as they prepare for the social challenges of attending a dance. In Columbus, OH, the women work with a psychologist for 12 weeks leading up to a spring formal. Detailed preparations include reviewing the layout of the venue, understanding how to accept an invitation to dance and learning to touch another person. At the link you’ll find the schedule and a Screening Guide with tips on organizing a home screening, discussion questions, and background information.

“Storytelling Activist” Rosie King’s TED Talk

This six-minute TED Talk features the very charming Rosie King. She challenges stereotypes and labels and encourages celebrating uniqueness. From the site: “When she was nine years old, doctors confirmed Rosie King’s self-diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. With two younger siblings severely affected by autism, Rosie had a burning desire to help make the world a more tolerant place for people with autism ever since she was a young girl.”

 Pentimento: Journal of All Things Disability

Managing Editor Lori A. Brozek says this literary magazine is meant “to see beyond disability.” She continues, “I want the world to see my son, to see past the hand flapping, cryptic speech, and odd behavior. Someone is inside if only you took the time to look.” Check it out to read works of fiction and non-fiction, interviews, poetry and much more! The current issue of Pentimento features cover art by Hassan Boyouk, son of ASCEND’s own Sandy Thapsem.



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