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"The Family Next Door" Great Film Success

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. Plans are underway to show "The Family Next Door" in the North Hills in early 2015. For more information, please contact Heidi Hess at

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



  • For more information on our "Autism Takes Flight" airport training program, click on this slide.

  • Run for Autism

    WVU's Alpha Phi Omega undertook the 44th Annual Run for Autism on
    Saturday, November 8, 2014.

  • The Autism Society of Pittsburgh is the local chapter of the Autism Society of America.
    Our objective is to improve the lives of those struggling with autism.

  • S.P.E.A.K. Summer Programs begin each July.

  • Cope Fazio Memorial Golf Tournament Winners

  • S.P.E.A.K. Family Day 2012 Performance

  • The proceeds from the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix benefit the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School. Courtesy Matthew Little Photography

  • Myron Cope (1929–2008) — parent, writer, broadcaster, Autism Society of Pittsburgh charter board member, booster, fundraiser since 1967.

  • Serafino "Foge" Fazio — (1938–2009).
    Accomplished football player, coach,
    parent, autism fundraiser, founder (with Myron Cope) —
    longest running charity golf event in Pennsylvania.

Autism Takes Flight – So Does Fear, with New Film


Announcing the availability of a new training film "Autism Takes Flight," Autism Society of Pittsburgh President Dan Torisky said, “Parents will learn if travelling by air with their autistic family member is feasible – or not. Airports can be hectic and most challenging for people with autism.”

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.

The film shows families and those with autism what air travel entails – from ticketing through security to boarding and baggage claim. It is also a realistic onsite training tool, helping airport employees recognize and handle challenges their air travelers with autism face.
The widely recognized fear of flying is even more difficult for those with autism who are especially sensitive to noise, movement, and crowded spaces. Many families do not attempt to fly with their children on the spectrum because of their fears.

The video Autism Takes Flight is available on the Autism Society of Pittsburgh’s website at Also available in closed caption, copies may be requested by calling Autism Society of Pittsburgh at 412-856-7223.

Of Immediate Interest:

Autism Pittsburgh Memorial Contribution Benefits Spectrum Charter School

The Autism Society of Pittsburgh founder, Constance Van Dine Torisky, passed away in 1996. Since then, contributions in her memory have totaled more than $4,000. Its Board of Directors voted this week to use the memorial funds to purchase seven computers for the Spectrum Charter School to increase instructional and operational productivity.

Read more.

Virginia Tech Autism Clinic – Sibling Study

Through August 31, 2015, the Virginia Tech Autism Clinic in Blacksburg, VA is recruiting siblings of children with autism to participate in a long-distance research study.

Read more.

Local Students with Autism Paint Penguins Mural

Nickolas Wildman joins other autistic students from Pressley Ridge School for Autism, students from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and artists from M.L.K. Mural to paint a mural of the Pittsburgh Penguins greats on the side of a building located across from the Consol Energy Center at the corner of 5th Avenue and Magee Street, Pittsburgh. October, 2014. Nickolas is the son of Davy & Mary Wildman founders of the Autism Society of Butler County.

See photos.

A Most Responsible Position on Vaccination — Diane Schmitt Nails it!

Dear Editor:

I would like to contribute my opinion to State Senator Daylin Leach’s intention to introduce legislation to strip philosophical vaccine exemption from the PA code, “Under Pennsylvania bill, exemptions granted on vaccines stand to plummet”

Read more.

Autism Society of America — 50 Years and Counting…

In 1965, concerned parents of children who were diagnosed with autism, came together to form what is now called the Autism Society of America. In 1965, parents such as Dr. Bernie Rimland, Dr. Ruth Christ Sullivan, and Dan Torisky, knew that often times the only option for helping their child who was diagnosed with autism was to place their child in an institutional setting.

Read more.

Does Your Family Member with Autism Now — or Perhaps Could — Receive Medicaid-Reimbursed Services?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have released a notice clarifying the rules on Medicaid autism coverage for children and adolescents. This CMS bulletin, released Monday, has information about the services covered by the Medicaid state plan and how to qualify for coverage. It may also affect individuals’ eligibility for Medicaid waivers.

Breaking News

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