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S. P. E. A. K.
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 at St.Therese in Munhall, 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.


 Join us in raising awareness, fostering understanding, and promoting growth within our vibrant and inclusive community.
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