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In the Courts

Senate Bill 50 – 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.

Combined Parents Legislative Action Committee – 1966 to 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.

Armstrong-Kline – 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.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – 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.

Pennsylvania Education Code Revisions – 2004 to 2007

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