Extended School Year (ESY)

S.P.E.A.K. was founded by the 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 Saint Therese of Liseux 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.

Dates for 2022 S.P.E.A.K. Program — June 30 – July 28, 2022


2022 SPEAK application and calendar

2022 SPEAK Brochure



Azure Family Concerts Pittsburgh

“To foster community for people with autism by presenting interactive concerts in a welcoming enviroment”

Azure Pittsburgh recognizes that autism and related challenges can present barriers to attendance and engagement in a formal concert setting. We program the highest quality artists while taking care to consider and remove as many barriers as possible to create a sensory-friendly environment where all people are accepted, embraced, and celebrated.​

At an Azure concert, if you want to sing, dance, vocalize, or clap, you’re welcome to do so, and if you need a break, there’s always a designated quiet space for you.

Our concerts are a place for connecting with each other through music.


For more information visit, Azure Family Concerts

Band Together Pittsburgh
Band Together Pittsburgh

Our Vision:
Band Together Pittsburgh believes that music has the power to unify the world. We envision using music to inspire and enrich the lives of those on the autism spectrum, enabling integration with family, friends, and society as a whole.

​Our Mission:
Band Together Pittsburgh uses music as an instrument for change. We provide innovative programming, experiences, and vocational opportunities to enhance the lives of those on the autism spectrum.


Our Team
Band Together Pittsburgh was founded in early 2016 by John Vento (Left) & Ron “Moondog” Esser (Right).
John Vento, a successful Pittsburgh businessman, returned to music to front The Nied’s Hotel Band, voted Pittsburgh’s Best Bar Band – 2016. Through his performances, he has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for charity. His leadership, generosity and work ethic are well known throughout the Pittsburgh music scene. John loves to perform and wants to share that experience with those on the Autism spectrum.
Ron “Moondog” Esser has been a huge part of the Pittsburgh music scene for 30+ years. Ron owns Moondog’s and the Starlite Lounge in Blawnox, and he produced the Pittsburgh Blues Festival for more than 20 years. The Festival, during that period, netted over $2 million for charity. Moondog has also been awarded Volunteer Philanthropist of the Year by the Western PA Fundraising Professionals and he is a board member of the Autism Society of Pittsburgh.
Higher Contact

Higher Contact





Our transitioning program, Higher Contact, is connecting businesses in the Pittsburgh area to students with autism.  The students are learning job readiness skills.  This collaboration is a win-win situation for all involved.  For more information about how your business can include students with autism as part of your team, give us a call.

One of the connections we have made is between the Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena (PISA) and Pressley Ridge School for Autism.  The students go to PISA twice a week to learn various skills and are part of the PISA team.  They work hard and have fun!  A big “Thank You” goes out to PISA and Pressley Ridge School for Autism for taking on this new endeavor.

Computer Aid, Inc. (CAI) Neurodiverse Solutions (formerly Autism2Work)

  Computer Aid, Inc. (CAI)

Neurodiverse Solutions

(formerly Autism2Work Initiative)


Learn more about Neurodiverse Solutions here https://www.cai.io/neurodiverse-solutions/overview/

The Autism-Pittsburgh has recently partnered with Computer Aid, Inc. (CAI) to assist with the Neurodiverse Solutions initiative in the Pittsburgh area.  This program primarily supports semi-skilled to high functioning individuals on the spectrum who are eager to enter the workforce with a company that will appreciate the contributions and talents they have to offer.

CAI Neurodiverse Solutions helps private and public organizations drive value, improve productivity, and enhance the customer experience by realizing the benefits of neurodiversity. In addition, CAI helps to provide career foundation and advancement opportunities for neurodivergent individuals. Our unique employment model is designed to bring the untapped neurodiverse talent pool into your workforce. CAI manages not only the recruiting, selection, and hands-on-training of team members, but also the cultural integration, on-the-job supervision, skill development, and ongoing performance management.

Neurodivergent individuals can bring exceptional value to an organization, with common strengths including attention to detail, high concentration levels, perseverance, superior problem-solving abilities, and excellent pattern recognition skills. Studies show that the performance of these individuals in certain functions can exceed that of their neurotypical peers. CAI supports neurodivergent individuals who are eager to enter a work environment that values their contributions and supports their needs. Team members have produced remarkable results in application testing and development, business analysis, fraud, cybersecurity, and business operations.

Current Job Posting:
Are you on the autism spectrum, have a college degree, and are searching for a career in Information Technology? CAI has current job postings for Quality Assurance Analysts in Pittsburgh, PA.  Click here for more information.

Variety — the Children’s Charity

Variety — the Children’s Charity
the Autism-Pittsburgh

The Autism-Pittsburgh and Variety the Children’s Charity have recently partnered to help assist individuals (ages 4 – 21) with autism (or any disability) obtain a bike, a stroller and/or a voice (iPad).  Please read the “Program Overviews” below and click on the “Program Application” links to apply.  When you apply for an adaptable bike, stroller, or iPad, please let them know you learned about the program through the Autism – Pittsburgh.


“My Voice” Program Overview:




Here’s the video of Highmark’s newest Living Proof spot featuring Janessa, who received her communication device through Variety’s “My Voice” Program last November.



Wexford Address

11676 Perry Highway, Suite 1200

Professional Building #1

Wexford, PA 15090

Butler County Office

PO Box 275

202 E Main Street

Evans City, PA 16033

Monroeville Office

4903 Old William Penn Highway

Monroeville, PA  15146

Telephone Us

Amazon Smile

How would you like to help out our organization with additional funds, and not take any money out of your pocket?  Instead of buying from the regular Amazon website store, go to https://smile.amazon.com/ch/23-7350636 or Amazon Smile.  The prices are the same, however Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to a Non-Profit of your choice!  After using the above link, or just click on the Amazonsmile Icon above to select the Autism - Pittsburgh.


The Autism-Pittsburgh, Inc. is recognized by Guidestar as a non-profit organization.  Our Bridge # is 1371707968. Our Objective is to improve the lives of those struggling with autism and to help autism involved parents, families and professionals grow by providing as much relevant information on autism spectrum disorders as is known to us.