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Sophie's Potluck logo peacock with a cooking pot

Empowering Connections: Sophie’s Potluck, A Special Journey

In this uplifting interview with Amy Hart, the driving force behind Sophie’s Potluck, we delve into the story of Sophie, a vibrant 14-year-old on the autism spectrum. Amy shares the inspiration behind starting Sophie’s Potluck and the unique experiences they offer to the  community. From the adorable blue peacock logo to the diverse array of activities, this initiative aims to create a supportive and inclusive space for families. Discover how Sophie’s Potluck is fostering connections and providing opportunities for growth. read more

autism logo with infinity symbol and heart

Showing Love through Multiple Connections

Love Is in the Air is more than just a one (American) hit wonder by John Paul Young. It’s also a sentiment spurred by the made-up holiday of Valentine’s Day. I’d like to take advantage of this sometimes over-commercialized day to seize the opportunity to show love for people in the autism community. And as you are reading this, that means you are part of the crowd we love! Are you a past or present board member, founder, paid professional, read more

Black History Will Forever By My hsitory

Black History Will Forever Be My History – By Joseph Smith, Autism Connection of PA Trustee

This month, we celebrate Black History. It is a time to remember the innovation and accomplishments of trailblazers in the United States. A lot of people are inquiring about why Black History Month is important. Here are some reasons from my point of view.  All of American history needs to be learned regardless of skin hue. There is too much division in this country. As a result, people of my hue are not getting recognition for the inventions and accomplishments read more

Kate looking over her shoulder holding a vase of flowers and smiling

Pittsburgh Marathon Runner Profile: Kate Alsaihati

As Kate prepares to bid farewell to her twenties, she is embracing a new challenge that goes beyond personal achievement. The 2024 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon run is a testament to her resilience, determination, and the belief that we can overcome any obstacle. Her motivation is deeply rooted in her desire to be a strong and healthy mom for her two children, demonstrating that we can conquer challenges and do hard things. Get to know Kate through her interview read more

Miss B smiling into the camera wearing long dark hair and glasses

Pittsburgh Marathon Runner Profile: Nina Barbero

Welcome to our first Pittsburgh Marathon runner profile featuring Nina Barbero, or “Miss B” as her health and physical education students know her. Nina agreed to an interview all the way from snowy Rochester, NY where she trains regularly and is a member of Rochester Area Triathletes (RATS), her hometown’s triathlon club.   Get to know Nina through her interview here: Hey, thank you for deciding to run for Autism Connection of PA!  Tell us about your experience supporting people with read more

Industrial door opening to a hallway with lockers

Aversive Practices are Abuse

We work to provide hope and encouraging information across all of our media, events, and articles. Occasionally, though, we become aware of negative news that compels us to respond. The recent case of educators abusing three young students with disabilities is some of that bad news. Over the past several decades of our work, we have been consulted on or informed about aversive practices in classrooms all around the state of Pennsylvania. Based on that experience, we are sharing some read more

fries and chicken nuggets with sauces on side

Four Quick Tips for Picky Eaters

People have all kinds of reasons for food aversions or avoidance.  Sensory (like experiencing strong or “weird” tastes, loud noises that crunchy foods make when chewed, uncomfortable pressure on teeth and jaws when chewing), motor (slippery or soft foods may hard for a person to control in their mouth without accidentally gagging) or negative memories like choking or being at a sad event when eating a food, all may affect one’s “food future”. Some people may also have obsessive compulsive read more

giving Tuesday and autism connection logos

Giving Tuesday 2023

The Meaning Behind Giving Tuesday Giving Tuesday, (#GivingTuesday) began in 2012 in response to the commercialization of the holiday season. It is a powerful reminder that the true essence of the season is about giving. This global day of generosity encourages people to contribute to charitable organizations, volunteer their time, and lend a helping hand to others. Autism Connection of Pennsylvania: A Lifeline and Hub for Families and Adults Autism affects millions of families worldwide. Autism Connection of PA is read more

Charcoal drawing of a grief stricken man standing next to a washer and dryer

Who Will Do the Laundry? The Double Empathy Problem

The Double Empathy Problem “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” – Peter Drucker The double empathy problem posits that difficulties in social interaction are not solely the responsibility of the autistic person, but also result from a lack of understanding and empathy from people who are not autistic. Explaining the double empathy problem poses its own challenges, so I’m quite literally illustrating the concept with a question: Who will do the laundry? Who read more

SNAP logo

SNAP: Bridging Friendships by Lydia Wayman and Zachary Miller

What is SNAP? SNAP, officially known as the Spreading Neurodiversity Acceptance Project for Social Engagement, was conceived by Zachary A. Miller. This project was born out of a heartfelt mission: to establish an inclusive platform where neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals could stand together on equal ground, fostering a sense of unity and acceptance. At its core, SNAP is all about community engagement through a diverse array of events and activities. They extend warm invitations to people of all backgrounds, embracing read more

children using an iPad for assistive technology in a classroom

Guest Blog Post: Autism and Assistive Technology

When my son was 4 years old and had no verbal words, I knew we needed to find a communication method that worked for him. Getting over the barriers to access AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) didn’t come fast or easy, but because we were unrelenting in the belief that he had the right to communicate, we are here.   So where are we? Well, he – and we – are on the second day of the new adventure of middle read more

Four colorful squares on clothespins showing different facial expressions happy, sad, excited and meh

Interoception: Body Awareness Exercises

What is Interoception? Many of us understand and explore the world through the five senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. But there’s another important sense called interoception. This sense helps us become aware of signals from inside our body, like feeling our heartbeat, noticing when we’re hungry, or realizing we need to use the bathroom.  Interoception means feeling and making sense of (sensing) messages from inside our body, like when our stomach tells us it’s time for a snack, read more

Three Rivers Community Care logo and Kiwanis Club International logo

Aktion Club: Where Development has No Disability

Volunteering provides opportunities to give back to our communities, and it helps us to feel involved with those in our communities. However, how do you know which volunteer opportunities work best for you? This question can pose significant difficulty for some individuals with disabilities as organizations may not feel equipped to work with people with special needs in a volunteer capacity. However, Aktion Club creates a safe space with opportunities for service where people with disabilities make the decisions and read more

peaches cut up into a bowl of cream

The Peaches and Cream Autism

Years ago, my autistic daughter participated in what they called a special needs sporting event. I was quietly cheering her on, and another parent asked, “What is she doing here? Helping?” I shook my head and explained that she, too, was playing as a child with a disability. “What’s wrong with her?” “Nothing is wrong with her. She just has autism.” The other parent’s eyes glazed over as she remarked, “Not the real autism. She has the ‘peaches and cream’ read more

Tammi and Tanaya standing in front of the Community Food Bank sign

Greater Pittsburgh Community Foodbank Creates Flexible Space for People with Autism and Hidden Differences

Autism Connection has made a couple visits to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to talk about hidden differences. Maria Montaro, Corporate and Community Engagement Manager, organized the sessions, and she surprised us with adjustments the organization has made over the past few months. Creating an inclusive, flexible environment has become a force that drives the Food Bank’s mission. Training and Consultation Maria recognizes the importance of getting multiple perspectives, and training is one of her top priorities. Autism Connection read more

Image of a person wearing a volunteer shirt holding out a globe toward the camera

Autism, Hidden Disabilities and Volunteering

Running an organization that accommodates volunteers with autism or hidden disabilities requires understanding, empathy, and flexibility. Here are some tips to create an inclusive and supportive environment for all volunteers: Educate all staff and volunteers: Provide training to all staff and volunteers about autism and hidden disabilities. This can help create awareness and promote understanding among team members. Flexible scheduling: Be open to flexible scheduling to accommodate volunteers’ needs. Some volunteers may thrive with consistent schedules, while others may prefer read more

Background soapy bubbles with towels and soap in foreground

Autism Guide for Bathing and Showering

Helping an autistic adult who is struggling with bathing can be a gradual and patient process. Here are some strategies to provide support and encourage personal hygiene: Understand their sensory needs: Sensory sensitivities can make the bathing experience uncomfortable or overwhelming. Take note of any specific sensory triggers and try to minimize them. For example, they might prefer a certain water temperature or specific bathing products. Establish a consistent routine: Set up a daily or weekly bathing schedule to create read more

parent sitting behind an infant who is in a crawling position. Mom is looking at the baby and the baby is smiling broadly both facing the camera

Crawling – An Important Milestone in Human Brain Development

Parents of autistic children often share that their child did not crawl, and this factor is commonly underestimated. Those who have little ones who seem to simply sprout from scooting to standing to walking (even delayed) may feel as if the child has made great strides, but it’s important to recognize that crawling helps the brain develop. While scooting is absolutely adorable, crawling affects the brain in different ways.  Crawling as a Foundation for Cognitive and Motor Skills Crawling plays read more

Light box with JJ Sedelmaier logo beneath

Light Box Activities for Autistic People: J.J. Sedelmaier Shows us the Light

Autism Connection of PA received a special donation from J.J. Sedelmaier Productions in White Planes, New York. Sedelmaier is an animator, film producer, author, illustrator, and a creative force who understands the importance attention, art, and design. He donated a light box for Autism Connection to use for activities for people of all ages and stages on the autism spectrum.  How Light Boxes Help Using a light table can be a highly beneficial tool for supporting the development and engagement read more

Photo of Megan Cash holding her Certificate of Appreciation

Megan Montague Cash Receives Autism Connection of PA Certificate of Appreciation

Megan Montague Cash has dedicated her career to illustrating and designing for children – all children. She routinely asks for insight and feedback from the autism and disability communities as part of her project, Designing for Children with Learning Differences at Pratt Institute School of Design in Brooklyn, New York. Autism Connection of PA is thrilled to be part of the feedback loop, and we look forward to Megan’s future projects as well as the amazing designs her students create. read more

IEP booklet

Measurable IEP Goals that Address Executive Functioning: Enhancing Student Success

In the realm of special education, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) play a crucial role in supporting students with diverse learning needs. When it comes to addressing executive functioning skills, creating measurable goals within the IEP is essential. Executive functioning refers to a set of cognitive processes that enable people to plan, organize, manage time, pay attention, regulate emotions, and demonstrate self-control. By incorporating measurable IEP goals that target executive functioning, educators can provide effective interventions and support students in achieving read more

Gingerbread Man Running Co logo

Gingerbread Man Running Company Hosts Run for Autism Connection

The Gingerbread Man Running Company’s Run for Autism Connection of PA is open for registration and volunteers. Autism Connection recently visited the new GBM store location in Shadyside, where sales associate, Aaron and store manager, Luke, showed us the process of finding the right running shoes. We also talked about the Labor Day Run for Autism Connection, and why it is important to Gingerbread Man Running Company. GBM Shares Some Memories from the First Run for Autism Connection One of read more

two empty coffee cups on a red background

Bereft of Coffee

While waiting for the coffee to finish brewing in the office kitchenette, my eyes fixated on the stream of coffee entering the carafe and the tranquil sounds it made in anticipation of the final surge of steam as the brewing finished.  This concentrated focus drowned out a number of elements that flooded the surroundings, flickering lights, multiple distant voices, phones ringing, and the general energy of movement within the maze of cubicles. During the reverie, I saw a peripheral figure read more

colorful twine tied together forming the profile of a face in the negative space

Identifying Autism in Adults

The autism spectrum is broad, varying features that are sometimes difficult to recognize on the surface. Some adults may have lived their lives without a full awareness that some of the barriers and struggles they have faced are a result of undiagnosed autism. Reports include those who have been stunned by the direct question, “When were you diagnosed with autism?” Other reports specify experiencing difficulty understanding social interactions, difficulty with tolerating textures, changes in routines, and being genuinely dumbfounded by read more

Image of a spiral shaping into a person's head

Interoception: Recognizing Internal Signals in Autism

Interoception refers to the sense and perception of internal bodily sensations, an inner compass that helps us recognize internal sensory experiences. It is the ability to detect and interpret signals from within our own bodies, allowing us to be aware of various physiological processes such as heart rate, breathing, temperature, hunger, thirst, bathroom urges, and the feeling of pain or discomfort. Interpreting these signals allows us to gain awareness of physical and emotional states, aiding in self-regulation and decision-making. Through read more

photo of a lawnmower on green grass

Landscape: Lessons Learned

Looking for a way to positively impact an autistic teen or adult in your orbit? Consider hiring them to cut your grass. I’ve done this twice and here is what I have learned so far: Grass cutting is a social skill. Grass cutting requires knowing what the boss wants the lawn to look like. My first employee was a man with intense support needs who is non-speaking and always thinking! He loved cutting with a rotary mower – the old read more

Classroom with children sitting on a circle mat eagerly raising hands

Opinion: Sorted Children Lead to Sorted Adults

I walk into school on my first day of kindergarten and an adult points me in the direction of my classroom.  Whew.  Made it!  I’m in the “Trauma, Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Autism classroom”.  It’s where people like me go to get the support they need. Next door is the “Hearing Impaired Wheelchair User classroom”. Okay, so yes, I’m being over the top. Realistically, when I was in kindergarten 30 years ago, we didn’t talk about mental health and anyone with read more

no one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another. Thank you volunteers

Volunteer Appreciation Week 2023

Volunteers! Where would we be without you? Your contributions of time, energy, and expertise have helped us in so many ways. From organizing events, providing support to families, raising awareness, and fundraising, you have been there for us every step of the way. Your hard work and dedication have enabled us to reach out to more people and provide them with the resources and support they need. Your generosity and kindness have touched the hearts of many families in our read more

Photo of Mr Messado in top hat

Mr. Messado Delivers Sensory-Friendly Magic

On April 2, 2023, Liberty Magic hosted Mr. Messado’s School of Magic’s first sensory-friendly show. This performance was part of a collaboration between Autism Connection of PA, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Liberty Magic, and Mr. Messado himself. His show required minimal changes because he is a natural working with all children. During the hour long performance, audience members took active roles in the magic tricks, and Mr. Messado seamlessly flowed with participants’ excited responses, and reveled in their joy.  Learn read more

Image of a head silhouette with colorful crumbled papers raising above it

You Can’t Accomplish Just Anything You Want

Thanks to our great support network we were able to do a quick turnaround and prevent the likely loss of a career for someone who recently reached out to us for help. We were so grateful for all the forces that combined and allowed us to be our mission of “a lifeline of support.”    M. had been “in love” with a young person they met over ten years ago. While they never had an in-person dating relationship, a heart read more

Jack Butler wearing workout clothes and sunglasses smiling into the camera and making peace signs

We Got Your Back, Jack! 2023 Pittsburgh Marathon Runner Runs for a Reason

I was diagnosed with ADHD at 43.  I always knew that I was different from my peers. Looking back, that difference created barriers and annoyed people at times.  My non-stop chatter and impulsivity would lead to fights, self medication, and forced isolation during adolescence and early adulthood. I reflect now and I realize that physical activity helped regulate me; you may say it saved me. The structure and expectation of sports was key in my day-to-day success and when it read more

photo of a drawing of two children standing alongside a third child in a wheelchair. It's a child's sketch and it's lying on a table surrounded by colored pencils and markers.

Let the Children Lead Us and Teach Us

One day a week I take myself to the office, the rest of the week I work remotely. The fluorescent lights in the office are not kind, and it takes me an hour to de-escalate myself once I get home. Sensory overload is real and it is hard. I wasn’t always aware of my sensory needs, and I still struggle with coping, but my son taught me how to identify obstacles in the environment. They were always there, and sensory read more

close up of textured wall at Presley's Place at the Pittsburgh International Airport

Creating an Affordable Sensory-Friendly Room

A sensory-friendly room can be a crucial step toward providing comfort and relaxation for people with sensory sensitivities. However, the idea of taking on this task may seem overwhelming because of the high costs associated with it. Recently, Autism Connection of Pennsylvania visited our friends at Three Rivers Community Care, where CEO, Allison Broaddrick, demonstrated that many of the elements found in our region’s large, sensory-friendly spaces can be replicated on a smaller, more affordable scale. Examining larger projects in read more

Photo of Tracy Lynn singing and Steve Haberman with a crystal ball

A Magical Connection Fundraiser for Autism Connection of PA

On Saturday, April 29, 2023, our friends at A Magical Fundraiser are hosting 13th Hour Entertainment and Autism Connection of PA for a casual night out at the Tonidale Pub in Robinson Township. A Magical Connection is a fun, high-sensory event that benefits the region’s autism community.  This event features: Dinner Mindwarp Show featuring Mentalist/Magician Steve Haberman with the vocal talents of Tracy Lynn   Disc Jockey and Dancing by Nite Life DJz Basket Raffle and 50/50 drawing  Autism Connection of Pennsylvania spoke read more

blue lines that look like light in the shape of a brain with dots connecting neurons International Epilepsy Day

International Epilepsy Day February 13, 2023

International Epilepsy Day is observed annually on the second Monday of February to raise awareness and to promote understanding and acceptance. The theme for International Epilepsy Day 2023 is “Epilepsy in the Workplace,” which highlights the challenges people with epilepsy face at work, and the importance of creating inclusive and supportive environments. The earliest mentions of epilepsy can be traced back to Babylonian tablets from around 2000 BCE, where it was referred to as the “sacred disease.”* In ancient Greece, read more

Woman facing camera holding a mirror that reflects her eyes back into the camera

Is That All You Got?

We learn a lot from individual histories and situations thanks to people trusting us with their personal stories and advocacy needs. Over the years, some situations have revealed that an additional medical or psychological diagnosis, or both (often a psych diagnosis is rooted in medical issues) may be the real culprits causing someone’s suffering. Autism is not the only difference a person can have, and we need to look closely at ourselves, and the people we care about. We also need to help read more

Photo of ballet dancers on a softly blue lit stage in mid dance of the Nutcracker

A Progression of Sensory-Friendly Performances in Pittsburgh, PA

Sensory-Friendly performances have become a relatively new tradition for many families in the Pittsburgh area. The venues offer a “relaxed” atmosphere that is calm and welcoming. The accessible performances emerged in 2013, and have continued to create lifelong memories for people with autism or sensory processing disorders ever since, and the Pittsburgh CLO has adopted the tradition with its sensory-friendly A Musical Christmas Carol. Autism Connection spoke with Vanessa Braun from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Lindsey Kaine from the read more

Judge Jennifer McCrady in sensory room next to bubble tube

Family Division of the Allegheny County Courthouse Initiates Sensory-Friendly Areas

Autism Connection of Pennsylvania is thrilled to announce sensory-friendly areas in development at the Family Division of the Allegheny County Courthouse. We explored the facility with The Honorable Jennifer McCrady, the judge who initiated the project, who also took time to answer our questions about the importance of sensory-sensitive spaces. Autism Connection: What prompted you to create the sensory-friendly areas? Judge McCrady: The Family Division is a chaotic environment and can be very overwhelming for members of the community to read more

Cover of Behavioral Health Commission Special Report

Behavioral Health Commission Special Report 2022

We are powered by an amazing board of trustees who actively engage in the work we need to in order to be a lifeline for families and adults, which is our mission. One of our unsung heroes is the Hon. William F. Ward (Bill) who serves on the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). As PCCD’s representative, Bill was key in creating funding opportunities in this Behavioral Health Commission Special Report. Follow the link below to read the full read more

Final runner posing with four support runners in the party group

Gingerbread Man Running Company’s Labor Day Run for Autism Connection

We met up with some friends from the Gingerbread Man Running Company, who so generously donate proceeds from their annual half marathon to support you, the autism community in PA. Distance events – the rolling, swimming, bike, or running kinds – and autism may have more in common than you might imagine. They require practice, repetition, a slow building of endurance and technique to accomplish things over time. Sometimes we fall, get a sprain, strain, become overheated or freezing cold. We can read more

Renaissance style painting of a cat putting something in a jewelry box. The cat is wearing a peach toga sitting sideways and peering into the golden box.

The Most Important Thing

This is really important is usually that last passing thought I remember about the very important thing I was holding before my memory goes stark white. The phenomenon of blanking out after placing an important item (amusement park tickets in the upcoming scenario) isn’t uncommon. I mean, they even make memes about it. So when Autism Connection received an email from a parent in the aftermath of absentmindedness, we completely understood. Parent: “We were an hour into our drive to read more

Photo of Toy Story characters facing away from the camera looking toward a young boy with a Captain America backpack on in the background waiting for the school bus

Ways To Decrease Back-to-School Anxiety

By Sally Dean, M.S., BCBA, LBS Many children experience anxiety when it is time to go back to school. For kids with an autism spectrum disorder this can be especially true. Families can make this transition easier by doing a few simple things to decrease the worries and fears associated with the return to school. Parents and caregivers can reduce a child’s “back to school” anxiety by using the following techniques: Mark on the family calendar when the first day of school read more

colorful floating bubble with reflections of a landscape trees and water inside

Circle of Life

Recently we were reminded of how small the world can be, in a good way. A lovely family decided to choose us as an honorarium beneficiary at the passing of their very successful, graceful, and beloved father. We gratefully received contributions from friends and family for several weeks. More recently, one friend of the family sent a check to the man’s son, who then mailed it to us. The family noticed an astounding coincidence – our business address is the read more

Colorful image of five multicolored hands meeting in a circle. Autism Connection logo in bottom right corner

Familiar Voices: Autism Support Groups

One of the most comforting experiences is the sound of a familiar voice, especially one you haven’t heard in a long time. There are those who look for help, and in the process, help others. Nichole Givner leads the Grandmothers with Love Autism Support Group in Pittsburgh, and I met her five years ago when she was seeking help, not only for her family, but for grandparents experiencing the same struggles. We initially met in person at Eat-n-Park in the read more

1afraid to drive

Afraid to Drive: Look to the Helpers

My daughter, 17 years old and autistic, was crying inconsolably last night. It’s one of the most difficult things for a parent to experience, especially when the reason for the upset isn’t readily apparent. “What happened?” I asked. Tear flooded eyes locked just past my gaze. “I’m afraid to drive.” And I knew what she meant. “Me too,” I said. “But I know that there’s people who can help.” The Helpers Times of despair such as we as a nation read more

golden flickering lights that seem to extend into an endless black voic

Editorial: Wings and Things

Note:  I am a slow processor, especially around trauma, in large part because I have PTSD from witnessing one murder, seeing news coverage of two friends’ murders, and being assaulted with the threat of being killed — all random stranger crimes. Lots of people have PTSD for lots of reasons – it’s not just for veterans! I didn’t know that for over 30 years and I credit my friend Kris Veenis and his amazing documentary for waking me up to my read more

Pittsburgh Marathon logo

Pittsburgh Marathon 2022: Water

Autism Connection’s team joined forces with a slew of dedicated volunteers at the 2022 Pittsburgh Marathon. It was 6:00 in the morning, and we were surrounded by water; gallons and gallons of water waiting to fill paper cups. There were heavy clouds weighted with water above us. Under Fluid Captain, Norm’s, direction, volunteers quickly assembled paper cups, filled them, then placed cardboard slats on them so we could layer the cups in stacks three layers high. We were cold. Large read more

Rachel and her husband with daughters Lydia and Charlotte standing closely together and smiling into the camera at Universal Studios in Florida

A Reason to Run by Rachel Sivley

I love running, but there are still many days I wonder why I punish myself by running non-stop for hours at a time.  When I get discouraged or lose my motivation, I remember my daughters and how I want to be an example of not only a healthy lifestyle for them, but I want them to challenge themselves. That looks different for each of them as Lydia is a neurotypical, outgoing 10-year-old who has a heart the size of a read more

Photo of Curtis with Autism Connection Board President

Reverent Gratitude: Saying Goodbye to Curtis Upsher, Jr. 1949 – 2022

Our dear friend and brilliant board member, Curtis Upsher Jr., died suddenly a little over one month ago. A person’s value and their connection to us is in part measured in how many times we reach for the phone or think of sending an email to check in with them, hear their thoughts, and listen to their latest story about their family or a project.  By that measure, we hold Curtis in very high regard, he being a key figure read more

autism connection logo on auction banner nestled in bright green sensory balls

Monday’s Spontaneous Promise

This post-Easter Monday morning started with grey skies and a black cup of coffee, but things became colorful in an instant. What I thought would be a quiet beginning to my fourth week as Director of Operations for Autism Connection turned out to be delightfully busy, and quite literally, energetic. I was settled at my desk, setting priorities for the upcoming week, but the morning had other plans. We had an unexpected visit from a local father and son who read more

WESA logo

Essential Pittsburgh: Placing Pittsburgh Adults with Mental Health Issues in STEM Jobs

In commemoration of World Autism Awareness Day, Lu Randall, Executive Director at Autism Connection of PA, and April Artz, Coordinator for the EmployAble program at the Squirrel Hill Career Development Center, are working to place adults with mental health issues in STEM jobs. The EmployAble program, which provides supportive services along with their job placements, acquired the funds to include services for adults on the autism spectrum in 2014. READ MORE

Kerry Magro as a toddler

The Letter I Would Have Written for My Parents When I Was Still Nonverbal

Dear Mom and Dad, I know it’s breaking your heart to see me as I am now. Most of the kids we know are starting to talk while I’m just making sounds. I’m lashing out because I’m struggling. I can’t communicate my needs, and things are just not going the way I wish they would. I scream and fight with you every time you try and bathe me because I can’t stand the feeling of water. I cringe anytime I read more

Understanding: teachers appreciate having more information about autism spectrum disorder.

Website teaches schools, parents about autism

A new website will give teachers information and guidance to understand, help and deal with students on the autism spectrum. A new website is providing a free one-stop shop for teachers and parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), offering guidance about how best to manage the learning disability in schools. The website, called Amaze Online Classroom, is the product of a joint initiative by Amaze, the peak body for ASD in Victoria, and the Department of Education and Early Childhood read more

Temple Grandin, one of the leading experts on autism in the U.S. and autistic herself, spoke on the subject on Monday at JSU’s Mississippi e-Center.
(Photo: Joe Ellis/The Clarion-Ledger)

Temple Grandin: Don’t give up on children with autism

She’s not finished. “Now, I’m seeing the bolts on the ground that they cut off the mailbox I have now. They moved the mailbox across the street, but the post office doesn’t have keys for them. I have to pick up my mail at the post office (in Fort Collins, Colorado), and now I see myself standing in line at the post office and the guy is going, ‘We don’t have the keys yet.’ It’s really stupid.” Grandin has written read more

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