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Here are some resources to get started. 
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Extended School Year (ESY)

S.P.E.A.K. was founded by Autism-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.

2019 SPEAK Application

2019 SPEAK Brochure

Explore Autism Pittsburgh, a dedicated hub offering valuable resources and support for the autism community. Join us in raisi


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.

  • Curriculum

    • 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.

Medical Assistance

This is probably the most comprehensive, yet easiest to understand, guide for parents seeking Medical Assistance for their autistic family members.

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.

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