About Us

What We Do

 

We provide information and referral to parents and professionals about diagnosis, care, treatment, educational, medical and habilitative services.

We provide names of facilities and individuals locally who can provide such services to those with autism spectrum disorders and their families.

We provide advice and guidance to parents and families seeking necessary appropriate services for the family member.
We solicit funds to help support these programs to the maximum extent possible.

We advise facilities and/or professionals who are unfamiliar with autism and put them in touch with other professionals able to supplement their efforts.

We encourage development and improvement of new and existing programs.

We co-founded, in 2000, the SPECTRUM CHARTER SCHOOL, providing community based school-to-work education and training for students ages 12-21, including those with autism spectrum disorders.

We advocate for the rights of those with autism to a free and appropriate education, appropriate care and treatment, and the rights of parents and families to obtain appropriate services for their family member with autism.

We seek to enhance the effectiveness of existing programs by providing a forum for continuing education and the exchange of new ideas and approaches.

We founded S.P.E.A.K. in 1974, a specialized summer program of education and community awareness building to prevent academic and social regression in children with autism spectrum disorders during summer months.

We try to assist parents in resolving problems and obtaining appropriate services, or who feel that their family member has been excluded from an appropriate program.

We prepare and deliver testimony on all autism-related topics, including those issues that are being litigated or considered for legislative action.

We provide autism training to businesses and organizations wishing to gain further information about autism.

We founded the “Higher Contact” program to assist businesses in providing transitional services and pair them with individuals with autism and/or autism organizations.

Our Mission

Since 1967, the Autism Society of Pittsburgh has been the local action unit of the Autism Society of America, the foremost voice and resource of the nation’s autism community. We are comprised of volunteers, parents and professionals, working on behalf of all children and those of adult age on the autism spectrum. Our objective is to improve the lives of those with autism and related disorders of behavior and communication.

Autism Society of Pittsburgh’s operational imperative is the Options Policy of the Autism Society of America — “that parents have a right to learn about all resources and service options and to choose those they feel are most appropriate for their family member with autism.” This is as basic as the family itself, rooted deeply in the very foundation of our American republic.

As such, our Mission in the greater Pittsburgh area is:

  • To provide advocacy, support and thorough information on care, treatment, educational and habilitative service options available for those with autism spectrum disorders, autism-involved parents and families, and to professionals who work with them.

  • To encourage expansion and develop excellence in a continuum of appropriate service options.

  • To provide unbiased information for ALL such options to parents, families and to the caring professionals who work with them to reduce or overcome autism-disabling characteristics.

  • To help autism-involved parents, families and professionals grow by providing as much relevant information on autism spectrum disorders as is known to us.

Our Goal

The goal of our Chapter is to help parents and professionals grow by providing as much relevant information on autism spectrum disorders as is known to us.

We cannot take your place. Parents are with their children for a lifetime: professionals for a career. Our efforts are aimed at helping both become as proficient as possible in evaluating and choosing the services, options and approaches that will enhance the growth and development of individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

We urge, if you have not already done so, to join the Autism Society of America, the voice for autism at the national level — in the Administration, Congress, and in the court system. Joining will entitle you to receive pertinent information from the ASA national headquarters on a regular basis through its publications and national resources.  Click here to join the Autism Society of America.

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  • 1966

    HEED Parents Group

    HEED Parents Group

    March 2, 1966

    Help and Education for Exceptional Dependents –the first parents’ group in Pennsylvania to represent all individuals with developmental disabilities including those with autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, specific learning disabilities and mental retardation.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 1966

    Senate Bill 50

    Senate Bill 50

    March 14, 1966

    Relieved parents of financial liability for developmentally disabled family members in institutions or other out-of-home residential care and treatment facilities or receiving treatment under various Federal and State mandates for their specific impairments.Provisions later incorporated into the first Federal Developmental Disabilities and Bill of Rights Act.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 1967

    Western Center Parents’ Group

    Western Center Parents’ Group

    March 14, 1967

    Co-founded the first parents’ group at an institution in the state of Pennsylvania, and led to the founding of parents’ groups at all institutions in Pennsylvania, resulting in institutional reform as well as improvement of services and quality of life for individuals receiving residential care, treatment and habilitation at such centers —public and private

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 1967

    Camp Chipeewee

    Camp Chipeewee

    March 14, 1967

    A product of the HEED Parents Group in Monroeville, PA, serving individuals with developmental disabilities in a summer program of recreational activities

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 1968

    Nine Special Education Centers

    Nine Special Education Centers

    March 15, 1968

    Co-founded special education schools for students with developmental disabilities, ages 6 through 21, including jointure boards leading to construction and staffing of these schools by the Allegheny (County) Intermediate Unit.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 1969

    Monroeville Developmental Center

    Monroeville Developmental Center

    March 15, 1969

    Co-founded a program of pre-school experience for individuals with developmental disabilities regardless of diagnosis or specific label.It later became a licensed pre-school program, called the St. Peter’s Child Development Center.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 1970

    First Group Home

    First Group Home

    March 15, 1970

    Co-founded Pennsylvania’s, and the nation’s, first community group home —on Thomas Boulevard in Point Breeze, Pittsburgh, PA –and eight more group homes thereafter.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 1972

    Autistic Children’s Program

    Autistic Children’s Program

    March 15, 1972

    Co-founded with Allegheny Intermediate Unit; the state’s first specialized program of elementary and secondary education forchildren with autism, Pathfinder School in Bethel Park, PA

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 1974

    Summer Program for the Education of Autistic Kids (S.P.E.A.K.)

    Summer Program for the Education of Autistic Kids (S.P.E.A.K.)

    March 15, 1974

    Summer program of education, recreation and community awareness building for individuals with autism, ages 5 through 21.This program prevents or significantly reduces summertime learning regression.S.P.E.A.K. is recognized as the region’s premier Federally-mandated extended school year program.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 1979

    Armstrong-Kline

    Armstrong-Kline

    March 14, 1979

    This US Supreme Court decision mandated extended school year education for those individuals with disabilities determined as likely to regress in learning during the summer months.The pivotal amicus curiae brief supporting this concept was written by Connie and Dan Torisky of the Autism Society of Pittsburgh; it became law in 1984

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 1979

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

    March 15, 1979

    Members of our chapter represented ASA on the task force that enabled the expansion of the Education of All Handicapped Act (EHA) to include all individuals with autism and related disorders of behavior and communication.Further, in 1990, we provided Diagnostic Statistical Manual Fourth Edition (DSM IV) language defining autism clearly, enabling appropriate addressing of the special needs of individuals with autism.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 1979

    Combined Parents Legislative Action Committee

    Combined Parents Legislative Action Committee

    April 1, 1979

    Co-founded with other special interest parent’s groups, to educate and assist legislators in creating and passing legislation relevant to better serve the needs of all those with disabilities.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 1980

    Autism Support Classrooms

    Autism Support Classrooms

    March 15, 1980

    Individually, as well as in a consulting capacity, we have been responsible for the creation of autism support classrooms in Allegheny County school districts, we well as in the City of Pittsburgh –addressing school boards, as well as providing information and support for parents and other professionals in the school systems seeking to create such classrooms.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2000

    SPECTRUM Charter School

    SPECTRUM Charter School

    March 15, 2000

    Co-founded first charter school in the country to combine classroom education with vocational instruction and training for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, ages 13-21, enabling them to be graduated into community-based employment.

    See Full Timeline Here

     

     

  • 2001

    Police Training Film and Curriculum

    Police Training Film and Curriculum

    March 15, 2001

    At the invitation of the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Education and Training Center (MPOETC), prepared classroom curriculum and a 30-minute training tape describing characteristics of autism to enable law enforcement officers to deal appropriately with individuals with autism in custody after arrest or apprehension.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2004

    Transitioning to Adulthood

    Transitioning to Adulthood

    March 15, 2004

    Based on PA Autism Task Force findings, prepared guidelines for overcoming governmental obstacles to effective transitioning to adulthood of those with autism.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2004

    Pennsylvania Education Code Revisions

    Pennsylvania Education Code Revisions

    March 15, 2004

    Created Special Education Work Group that worked with PA House Speaker and PADepartment of Education to update the code with autism appropriate regulatory revisions.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2006

    Pennsylvania Autism Showcase Conference

    Pennsylvania Autism Showcase Conference

    March 15, 2006

    Organized and chaired, highlighted the urgency and speeded up the implementation of key imperatives of the PA Autism Task Force, including establishment of the PA Bureau of Autism Services, and other groundbreaking initiatives.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2009

    Keystone Autism Information System (KAIS)

    Keystone Autism Information System (KAIS)

    March 15, 2009

    Established a web-based, parent-fed, statistical autism information exchange, listing, statewide,services and establishments felt by parents to be accommodating to those with autism and their families.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2014

    Autism Takes Flight Film

    Autism Takes Flight Film

    September 26, 2014

    The 12-minute film was produced by the Autism Society of Pittsburgh in cooperation with Delta Airlines, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Allegheny County Airport Authority. It is a compilation of video footage of recent training sessions for autism families held at the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport. It provides enlightening educational tips to make flying easier for those with autism.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2015

    “The Family Next Door” Documentary and Film Curriculum

    “The Family Next Door” Documentary and Film Curriculum

    March 15, 2015
    The Family Next door is a feature-length documentary about an Upper St. Clair Family with two sons on the autism spectrum. It is a genuine, powerful portrayal of the challenges families face in the daily struggle with autism. Over a thousand people have viewed the movie locally and over $38,000 has been donated to the Autism Society of Pittsburgh by generous supporters of this incredible film.

    If you’d like, you may read coverage of the premiere by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette here.

    It is a living example of “training in autism, understanding and acceptance” especially suitable for middle school student audiences.  Showing arranged on request.

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2015

    Autism Training for PA Magistrates

    Autism Training for PA Magistrates

    March 15, 2015

    Autism Training for all 540 Pennsylvania Magistrates, as well as, Probation Officers and K-9 First-Responders.

     

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2015

    Arts for Autism Foundation of Pittsburgh

    Arts for Autism Foundation of Pittsburgh

    March 15, 2015

    Arts for Autism Foundation of Pittsburgh and the “Joey Travolta” Summer Autism Film Camp

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2017

    Merger with the Autism Society of Butler

    Merger with the Autism Society of Butler

    March 15, 2017

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2017

    Created App for Autism Society of Pittsburgh

    Created App for Autism Society of Pittsburgh

    March 15, 2017

    To allow our mobile followers an easier way to follow our progress and receive updates an application was developed for both Android and Apple phones could use.

     

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2017

    Developed ESY End of Summer Camp

    Developed ESY End of Summer Camp

    March 15, 2017

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2017

    Created “Higher Contact” Transition Program

    Created “Higher Contact” Transition Program

    March 15, 2017

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2017

    Develop STEM Mentoring Program

    Develop STEM Mentoring Program

    March 15, 2017

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2018

    Partnership with CAI’s Autism2Work Program

    Partnership with CAI’s Autism2Work Program

    March 15, 2018

    See Full Timeline Here

  • 2018

    Service Dog Grants Awarded

    Service Dog Grants Awarded

    March 15, 2018

    The Autism Society of Pittsburgh is pleased to offer a specific program that assists with funding for families or individuals with autism to receive service dogs. This funding covers the purchase and training of the autism service dogs. This is an excellent opportunity to discover how a service dog could help your child lead a more stress-free life. For more details on the dogs and the training program, please contact K9s for Kids via email at k9sforkids@hotmail.com, or call 412-670-5939.

    See Full Timeline Here

Monroeville Office

4903 Old William Penn Highway

Monroeville, PA  15146

Wexford Office

Wexford Professional Building #1

Suite 1106

11676 Perry Hwy

Wexford, PA 15090

Butler County Office

PO Box 275

202 E Main Street

Evans City, PA 16033

Telephone Us




Amazon Smile

How would you like to help out our organization with additional funds, and not take any money out of your pocket?  Instead of buying from the regular Amazon website store, go to https://smile.amazon.com/ch/23-7350636 or Amazon Smile.  The prices are the same, however Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to a Non-Profit of your choice!  After using the above link, or just click on the Amazonsmile Icon above to select the Autism Society of Pittsburgh.

Guidestar

The Autism Society of Pittsburgh, Inc. is recognized by Guidestar as a non-profit organization.  Our Bridge # is 1371707968. Our Objective is to improve the lives of those struggling with autism and to help autism involved parents, families and professionals grow by providing as much relevant information on autism spectrum disorders as is known to us.