Autism is a neurological disorder that impairs behavior and communication; often tragically. More than 4,000 families in Southwestern Pennsylvania have children with this disability. Their families are often overwhelmed by the enormous task of discerning and providing for their complex needs.
Existing solely on donated funds, the Autism Society of Pittsburgh – a chapter of the Autism Society of America – addresses the needs of these children through a comprehensive array of information, advocacy and referral services, which are provided to their families and the caring professionals and service providers who work with them. This includes creating, developing and improving programs and approaches in diagnosis, treatment, education, training and social adjustment. Typical resources are the S.P.E.A.K. Program (Summer Program for the Education of Autistic Kids), which has served over 2,000 children since 1974, and Spectrum Charter School now in its eleventh year, combining classroom education with on-site job training so students age 13-21 can graduate with employable skills.