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“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.

  • Please Join Us for the
    South Hills Parent Support Group and Discussion

    Strategies for Adjustment to Disabilities and Allergies
    Presented by a Jennifer Koehler Fandray, Med, CRC, LPC

    7:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 4, 2014
    Whitehall Public Library
    100 Borough Park Drive

    For more information, please call Heidi Hess at 412-856-7223 or 412-915-4492
  • Download PDF flyer
  • 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 43rd Annual Run for Autism on
    Saturday, November 2, 2013.

  • 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.

  • 2013 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.

Of Immediate Interest:

For Parents: Preparing for the School Year

Contributed by Dr. Cathy Pratt, BCBA-D, Director, Indiana Resource Center for Autism

Anticipating the beginning of the school year can create anxiety for both family members and for their sons/daughters on the autism spectrum. Concerns surround whether your son/daughter will be successful in school and whether the new staff will have a solid understanding of autism spectrum disorders and of your son/daughter. At times, you may know staff and have a good working relationship with them. At other times, staff is unknown and expectations for your son/daughter are unclear. Follow this link for a few tips to help you become a proactive and positive advocate for your son/daughter.

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.

“System 1-2-3” Addresses Severe Behaviors

Sharon Rupert, recently retired from Westmoreland Intermediate Unit 7, Supervisor for early intervention, was awarded a grant to fund a two-year project with “System 1-2-3” that provides intensive professional development in the form of a workshop series, in-services, and ongoing supportive services in individual classroom settings.

All staff members are included in the process of building teams that meet and deal effectively with the social-emotional needs of students with even the most challenging behaviors.

Head of the innovative System 1-2-3 is Dan Richardson, behavior analyst who has been providing services related to the social and emotional development of preschool children in the Pittsburgh City Schools early intervention program for a number of years. In doing so he has become highly regarded by the district’s early intervention administration.

WIU #7 staff has been highly responsive to the first year of Ms. Rupert’s highly sustainable and capacity building effort. Recently, Dr. Richardson’s group provided presentations for the Building Blocks Conference in Westmoreland County and the Early Childhood Conference for ARIN (Armstrong/Indiana Counties) IU. Additionally, he and his staff are in the process of developing a year-long social skills training program that provides teachers with 20 minute daily activities.

Further information may be obtained from Sharon Rupert at

Upcoming Events

7:00 pm Haunted Hills Hayride @ Haunted Hills
Haunted Hills Hayride @ Haunted Hills
Nov 1 @ 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
A portion of the proceeds benefits the Autism Society of Pittsburgh. Free parking.
7:00 pm South Hills Parent Support Group an... @ Whitehall Public Library
South Hills Parent Support Group an... @ Whitehall Public Library
Nov 4 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Strategies for Adjustment to Disabilities and Allergies Presented by a Jennifer Koehler Fandray, Med, CRC, LPC
5:30 pm Red Carpet Charity Premiere @ David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Red Carpet Charity Premiere @ David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Feb 12 @ 5:30 pm
SAVE THE DATE! Details to follow. This Premiere is open to all PVGP fans. Mingle with Pittsburgh’s elite and walk the Red Carpet with fellow auto enthusiasts. We have a limited quantity of special discount tickets at $200 each for PVGP supporters (normal price is $250). This is[...]

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Call us at 412.856.7223, or email us at . For our address or more specific contact information, or if you'd like to fill out our simple contact form, go here.