The Autism Society – Northwestern Pennsylvania (ASA-NWPA) is a local chapter affiliated with the Autism Society of America (ASA), the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, which exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. ASA does this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy. As a local chapter we make this information available to our membership and the community at large through support groups, our website, education, workshops, and seminars.
ASA was founded in 1965 by Dr. Bernard Rimland, Dr. Ruth Sullivan and many other parents of children with autism, our local chapter gained 501(c)3 status in 1974 (Guidestar) but became a firmly established organization in the mid 1980’s. Since 2001, the Walk for Autism has been our primary source of financial fundraising and support for programs that the chapter offers to families. Financial support comes in the form of local sponsors, public and corporate donors and local fundraising events organized on our behalf. In June of 2010, ASA-NWPA received its first grant from the Erie Capacity-Building Collaborative for IT Training and Technology Upgrade.
With the incidence of autism increasing, 1:150 births in the US in 2006 to 1:88 births in the US (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls) in 2012, the need for information, support and services are in greater demand. As an independent information source and support provider, ASA-NWPA is becoming a key piece of the puzzle to get individuals and families the information on services and supports that they require to get the best possible outcomes and lead productive lives within their communities.
ASA-NWPA has been successful in creating monthly family social and sensory outings. Attendance at these outings has increased over 80% since 2009. We were also instrumental in bringing Sensory-Friendly films to Erie, Crawford, and Venango Counties. This sensory-friendly environment gives families living with an autism spectrum disorder the opportunity to attend a movie in a local theatre. Most recently, we have teamed with the Erie Seawolves to bring a Sensory-Friendly afternoon at the ballpark. ASA-NWPA as the lead organization and project coordinator has re-vitalized Autism in the Community Event (A.C.E.) The goal of A.C.E. is to educate families, educators, and other members of the community, build self esteem for those on the autism spectrum disorder, and support families in need.
Autism Society Northwestern Pennsylvania Information Brochure