Welcome to The Autism Society of Pittsburgh
The Autism Society of Pittsburgh, since its founding in 1966, has had a rather productive existence. Many of the programs and initiatives started here in Pittsburgh have inspired the establishment of similar endeavors far beyond our Western Pennsylvania borders.
Check out our Newsletter
Please consider designating your United Way donations to the Autism Society of Pittsburgh.
Follow up to our PA Autism Capstone Conference
Held at the Priory Hotel Ballroom,
April 4, 2019
A special "thank you" to our event speakers:
Nina Wall, Director of the PA
Bureau of Autism Services
Carla A. Mazefsky, PhD.,
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Also, a big "thank you" to our event sponsors:
The Hussman Foundation
The University of Pittsburgh
School of Social Work
What we've done, and are doing...
As we begin a new year, 2019, we are pleased to report that we are consistently ranked at the top in providing autism awareness along with a continuum of appropriate service options that families, as primary caregivers, may access. Our existing programs have continued to prove beneficial over the years - some since 1967, in fact. These include:
Information and Referral -- Our quarterly newsletters - in addition to our instant email "blasts", website, and Facebook - continues the production and dissemination of information on autism, guardianship, wills and trusts, autism friendly social events, support groups, identification, research, relevant news, statutory and regulatory changes, new and pending legislation, and other key issues affecting our autism community.
Autism Policy Work Group -- We continue to be the nerve center and initiator of "alerts" to a local and statewide autism community list of 22,000 autism families and supporters. We continue the ongoing education and enlightenment of elected and appointed officials locally and statewide.
Autism Training -- Commercial, business, retail, museums, libraries, and job sites across the board. Adapting our existing "traits of autism" video and re-scripting existing training videos for given audiences. We have conducted training for a variety of audiences, including:
-Boy Scouts of America
-YMCA, Cranberry Twp.
-Bella Capelli Beauty Academy (Hairstylists)
-Family Pathways, Butler
-Police and First Responder Training
-Westmoreland Case Management & Supports Coordinators
-Professors, College Staff & Students (Slippery Rock University,
Bethany College, & La Roche)
-Various other businesses and organizations (Rotary, Community
Life, Highmark, etc.
Ongoing Legal Professional Training -- Continuing our Autism Juvenile Justice Training program and expanding it to include professionals in corrections, probation, parole, defense, and prosecution lawyers and judges at all levels. We have trained all 540 magistrates across the state and continue to educate others in law enforcement, in addition to training for first responders.
Job Placement for those with Autism -- Our partnership with CAI (Computer Aid Incorporated) has helped to place individuals with autism in jobs/careers with support, training and job coaching.
Legislative Advocacy – We attend the annual autism “Day on the Hill” in Washington DC with our parent organization, the Autism Society of America to meet with our legislators to advocate for legislation that will benefit those on the spectrum. In addition, we advocate at the state and local levels for autism friendly legislation.
Legal Assistance – We have compiled and maintain an ongoing list of attorneys who are willing to provide initial free consultation and in some cases pro bono representation in the following areas: (a) guardianship, (b) wills and trusts, (c) other representation in court.
Pennsylvania Capstone Symposium – In the spring, we offer a seminar and review of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Autism and a look forward to what services Pennsylvania has to offer to families, caregivers, and individuals with autism.
S.P.E.A.K. (Summer Program for the Education of Autistic Kids) Summer Camp – Autism ESY summer program for school-age students.
Co-sponsor of the Joey Travolta Summer Film Camp – Partnership with Arts for Autism to bring this autism friendly drama/filming experience to those on the spectrum.
ESY² Summer Camp at PISA (Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena) – We are utilizing PISA, which is an exceptional facility for our summer camp during the month of August. This ESY² emphasizes goals for physical education, recreation, and socialization.
“Higher Contact” Program – We are connecting area businesses with high school students and young adults with autism who need assistance with finding employment for internship-type work experience.
Autism “Open Mic” – We have partnered with Band Together Pittsburgh to offer a social outing for individuals with autism and their families giving them a chance to perform (if they want) at an “open mic” setting. The individuals with autism have gotten up and sang songs, recited poetry, told jokes, etc.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers – is an educational program designed to help family caregivers. This program will help you take care of yourself while caring for a child or adult with autism. You will benefit from this class whether you are helping a parent, spouse, friend or someone who lives at home, in a group home, or across the country.
Online Support Group – We administer a Facebook support group—"Autism Pittsburgh – Caregivers of Adults with Autism.” This online group allows parents and caregivers the opportunity to access help and support from others who are going through the same type issues.
Autism Community Outings -- We facilitate community outings for individuals with autism and their families and caregivers. Examples include hayrides to the pumpkin patch, petting zoos, swim parties, baseball games, bowling, Easter egg hunts, and picnics in the park. These outings provide an opportunity for networking. The entire family is invited to provide family togetherness—mothers, fathers, sibling, and the individual with autism get to see they are not alone in their autism journey. At this time, our community outings are only offered by the Butler County Office. We are planning to expand this to other areas in the near future.
Autism Society of Pittsburgh App – Please download our app to get up-to-date information about our organization. We advertise and promote upcoming events and communicate ongoing activities with app users.
Autism Society of Pittsburgh—Sponsored Therapy Dog – We have a therapy dog that we will send out to various autism organizations/schools to provide therapy and calming.
Autism Society of Pittsburgh—Service Dog Grant – In 2018, we partnered with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and K9’s for Kids to award two service dog grants. Two families are going through the extensive training with their new service dogs. We are planning to award more grants for service dogs this year.
Special Needs Scouting Initiative – This program involves our staff developing an autism training module for Boy and Girl Scout leaders. We visited scout troop activities, lent assistance and helped to find responsible sectional leadership. We also continue to purchase materials for special needs scout troops.
Transition U - For transitioning adult age special needs individuals to incrementally higher levels of competence and cope ability; includes autism and ID (intellectual disabilities). Not unlike the original Autism Society "continuing education" dream, we are in the process of securing funding which would enable Autism-Pittsburgh to prepare recommendation for a physical site in compliance with codes and regulations; as well as arrange cooperative agreements with Departments of Education, Labor & Industry, Human Services, Aging - all of which have influence and resources.
“The Family Next Door” Documentary – We are available to show this movie and following, lead a group discussion. The family in this movie share the laughs and tears of raising two children on the autism spectrum and their two typical siblings. The documentary exposes the impact autism has on the family.
Our Therapy Dog
Our Autism Therapy dog, Ajax, made some new friends at the Merck Adult Outpatient Clinic on the North-side on August 1st! Ajax got to meet 25 consumers and staff. If you would like Ajax to visit with your clients or event, please give us a call.
Thank you to all the volunteers who made our 2019 Blues & Roots Festival a huge success! Watch this amazing video!
PA Department of Transportation
"Yellow Dot" Program
This program assists citizens in the "golden hour" of emergency care following a traffic crash when they may not be able to communicate their needs themselves. Placing a Yellow Dot decal in your vehicle's rear window alerts first responders to check your glove compartment for vital information to ensure you receive the medical attention you need. The program is a cooperative effort between PennDOT, the state departments of Health and Aging, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, first responders, and local law enforcement.
For more information about the Yellow Dot program, click here to visit PENNDOT's website.
With appreciation for all you do! It is only through the generosity of our community that
we can continue to assist individuals with autism and their families.
Many thanks to PA Rainbow Girls for their generous donation, July 2019.
Mountaineers Make a Difference--Continued appreciation to West Virginia University's Alpha Phi Omega who made their 48th annual relay run from Pittsburgh to WVU to support our organization. For more information, click here.
Thatcher Stevens, Chairman of the 2018 WVU APO Autism Awareness Run, presents a check to Eddie Torisky at the APO Banquet. Many thanks for their continuous efforts!
Robert Morris University Teddy Bear Toss
A big "Thank You" to the Robert Morris University Women's Hockey team for holding their annual Teddy Bear Toss fundraiser on November 30, 2018 to benefit the Autism Society of Pittsburgh.
Fun was had by all!!!
September, 2019--Many thanks to the Cranberry Township, PA Walmart for their generous donation!
Autism Service Dogs
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 412-670-5939.
Make sure to follow our K9s for Kids Facebook page @https://www.facebook.com/autismsocietypghK9forKids/
Feel free to contact us for any information or questions regarding our service dogs, training, etc.
at 412-856-7223 or email us at
K9 Grant Update
We are pleased to announce the recipient of the service dog grant provided through a partnership between the Allegheny District Attorney, Stephen Zappala Jr.’s office and K9s for Kids. Jackson and Kendal each received a puppy on Sunday, December 30th. These pups along with Jackson and Kendal have started their yearlong training process.
As part of our commitment to helping those with autism to find meaningful employment opportunities, we have partnered with CAI (Computer Aid Inc.) and their Autism2Work program.
Please watch the following video to get more information about the Autism2Work program:
CAI’s Autism2Work interview on KDKA's TechVibe Radio
Click HERE to listen.
On Friday, May 18, 2018, TechVibe Radio featured our partners at Computer Aid Inc. and the Autism2Work program as it is helping people with Autism get the right skills for IT-related positions. Hit the 18:30 mark in the podcast to listen to interview. TechVibe Radio brings you the best of Pittsburgh’s tech sector every Friday night at 7 on KDKA 1020 AM.
Computer Aid, Inc. - Autism2Work is hiring multiple full-time Mainframe Developers in Harrisburg, PA!
Check out the full Job Description - https://bit.ly/2NcaMok
- Must have diagnosis/disclosure of Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science is preferred
- Includes a paid, 8 Day Job Training Course & 5 week Cobol programming course
Interested in applying? Send your resume to Autism2Work@compaid.com.