Extended School Year (ESY)
S.P.E.A.K. was founded by the Autism Society of Pittsburgh in 1974 as an extension of the school year to prevent or reduce learning regression common to children with autism.
Four years later, Extended School Year (ESY) education became a mandated option for every child for whom it is deemed appropriate. Today there are many ESY programs, public and private. S.P.E.A.K. was the first, and remains the standard for quality community-based instruction.
The purpose of S.P.E.A.K. is to provide extended school year (ESY) services to autistic children as determined by their IEPs, thus preventing summertime regression and ensuring their smooth transition into the upcoming school year.
Curriculum places emphasis on strengthening social skills through Community Based Instruction (CBI). Each classroom consists of a certified lead teacher, assistant teacher and multiple classroom aides.
Currently, S.P.E.A.K. is held in Munhall at the Steel Valley High School, which provides an expanded setting for the kids, with large grounds, an indoor pool and other athletic and recreational venues as well as close walking access to main shopping areas. Our dedicated program leadership and experienced team of teachers return every year with the goal of making each year better than the last.
The goals of the program:
Develop and maintain community awareness and interaction through structured community based experiences.
Develop and maintain recreation and leisure skills.
Develop appropriate social and behavioral skills and interactions.
Provide art and music enrichment activities.
Provide CBI language experiences that correlate with classroom CBI.
Provide classroom instruction based on individual ESY and transition goals.
To request an application packet, please contact our office at 412-856-7223.
SPECTRUM CHARTER SCHOOL
The mission of the Spectrum School is to provide school-to-work transition instruction in the classroom, on-site business, and community-based, work sites for students aged 13-21. The program is structured to meet the needs of students who do not learn well in typical classroom settings due to unique cognitive, communication, and sensory challenges, including students with autism spectrum disorders. The nation’s first public school to provide equal measures of classroom education and vocational training for those with autism – from middle school to graduation.
High teacher-to-student ratio.
compiled of traditional (i.e., science, math), independent living, and transitional academics
includes on-line general and college prep courses
meets the students’ strengths, interests, and needs
aligned with the PA Academic Standards
Established community organization and corporation relationships
All students are provided vocational exploration, assessment, and training opportunities
Working, volunteering, and learning in the community are an integral part of our mission.
Spectrum students are a reliable employment pool
Provides community-based learning opportunities where students can refine community living, social, and work skills (banks, stores, restaurants…)
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Spectrum Charter School, Inc. Your financial efforts will help provide student education and community experiences. Your donation will also help students grow to be proud, productive citizens.
Thank you in advance!
Please make checks payable to:
Spectrum Charter School, Inc.
4369 Northern Pike
Monroeville, PA 15146
For more information, please call 412-374-8130.
Sensory-friendly movie screenings
Sensory-Friendly Screenings Offered Monthly at AMC Lowes Waterfront 22
AMC Theatres (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other disabilities a special opportunity to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment on a monthly basis with the “Sensory Friendly Films” program.
To provide a more comfortable setting for this unique audience, the lights are brought up and the sound turned down. Families are able to bring in their own gluten-free, casein-free snacks. Additionally, audience members are welcome to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced unless the safety of the audience is questioned.
Call us at 412-856-7223 or AMC Loews Waterfront Theater 22 at 412-462-6550 for more information.
One of the biggest challenges autism families face is a routine trip to the dentist. With unusual smells, sounds and sensations, dental treatments can be overwhelming and unbearable to an autistic child or teenager. With this in mind, the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine offers a dental clinic through its Center for Patients with Special Needs (CSPN).
The CSPN provides a full range of services including cleanings, x-rays, restorative dentistry, and oral surgery.
Emphasis is put on providing appropriate, compassionate care with modifications made to equipment and the setting to make it more comfortable and safe for the special needs patient. Behavior guidance and pharmacological management through nitrous oxide, IV sedation and general anesthesia are offered in conjunction with the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and the Anesthesiology Department.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine at 412-648-3039 for patients 15 years or older or 412-648-8930 for infants to age 14. Most insurance plans, including Medicaid, are accepted.
free diaper assistance
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services reports that if your child is over the age of 3 and is still not potty trained, you may be eligible to obtain free diapers through Medical Assistance.
Medicaid and Medicaid HMO’s will only cover the supplies if the child is older than 3 years of age and if a physician deems them medically necessary. You will be required to obtain a prescription, authorization, or a referral, in lieu of a prescription from your primary care physician. Contact your managed care organization for specific information.
Tri-Medical Rehab Supply is a supplier of diapers that accepts Medicaid. You can contact them toll-free 800-541-0734. Please keep in mind that Tri-Med only services Pennsylvania and Ohio.
see amazing in all children
About This Initiative
In the U.S., 1 in 68 children is diagnosed on the autism spectrum (ASD). In fact, almost every school and university in the country has students with autism. While the diagnosis is common, public understanding of autism is not. The lack of understanding about the condition can make life even more difficult for children with autism. A recent study reveals that they are five times more likely to be bullied than their peers—treatment no child should endure. While it’s true there can be significant differences between people with autism and their peers, all children want the same things: to feel safe, happy, and loved. And all children have something to contribute—unique perspectives and talents that help make the world a richer and more interesting place.
That’s why Sesame Workshop created Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, a nationwide initiative aimed at communities with children ages 2 to 5. Developed with input from parents, people who serve the autism community, and people with autism, See Amazing in All Children offers families ways to manage common challenges, to simplify everyday activities, and to grow connections and support from family, friends, and community.
One of God’s pioneers in this area is Dr. Larry Sutton, an employee of the PA State Autism Bureau, and a Deacon at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Scott Township. He recently served at a mass in Washington, DC, with Cardinal Donald Wuehrl that focused on the inclusion of those with disabilities in Catholic worship.
Dr. Sutton also played a critical role in the formation of practices and recommendations for the special needs population in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. He currently is working with 25 families in a program that provides religious instruction, preparation for the sacraments, and an inclusive worship service at 9:30 each Sunday.
Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Peters Township continues to offer a special needs worship service the second Sunday of each month at 1 p.m. Westminster Church in Upper St. Clair has formed a committee to address the needs of autistic students in their Sunday school classes and youth group with the hope of improving their worship experience.