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Autism Connection of Pennsylvania

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Philanthropy, Private Independent Foundations

Mission:

ABOARD (Advisory Board on Autism and Related Disorders) is the premier Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering support and education to families and professionals in Pennsylvania. ABOARD’s mission to maximize the potential and possibilities of Pennsylvania children, adolescents and adults with autism in social, education and vocational environments. 

Target demographics: Adults, children, families and caregivers

Direct beneficiaries per year: Thousands of children, adults, families and caregivers each year

Geographic areas served: Primarily Western Pennsylvania

Programs: Our primary program is providing family support through our telephone lines and our 67 support groups in 43 Pennsylvania counties. Phones are answered by parents of children on the autism spectrum who are knowledgeable about resources and the emotional toll that families go through.

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Heather258

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a fantastic organization supporting individuals with autism as well as their families. They help solve problems, navigate new diagnoses of ASD, raise awareness and understanding in the community, and train professionals working in the field. They provide an invaluable service to Pennsylvania residents.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first became introduced to the wonderful staff of ABOARD's Autism Connection of PA when I started out in private practice as a speech-language pathologist. They welcomed me with open arms to volunteer to speak with parent groups about the unique language learning profile of children with Autism. Once my adult brother was diagnosed with Autism, my brother and I became very actively involved with their adult social groups. My brother's social skills and self-esteem have improved so much since his meeting other bright adults like himself diagnosed with Autism! Everyone that works at ABOARD is intimately knowledgeable about living with Autism as they are all moms and familly members of loved once with Autism. I am honored to have been asked to be on their Professional Advisory Council! They are dedicated, passionate and caring individuals devoted to providing individuals with Autism and their families with support and empathy!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

One of the most devastating diagnosis's that a parent can receive is, "Your child is on the autism spectrum." When that happens ABOARD and the wonderful staff and volunteers are there and they don't stop there. They are there with help, support, programs throughout the life span. I recommend their services to all parents as their first stop.

I admire their tireless effort to provide new programming in a respectful helpful way. ABOARD is all about innovation and respectful helpfulness.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ABOARD's Autism Connection of PA provides an incredible service to the community here in Pittsburgh, and across the state. Autism Connection of PA provides much needed information and guidance to families who are new to a diagnosis, to professionals working with children and adults with ASD, to local businesses seeking support for their employees or guests on the spectrum. Through its support groups and its parent-run staff, Autism Connection of PA provides a sense of hope, community, and support from experienced, knowledgable, and compassionate individuals.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Before my family moved to Pittsburgh from Columbus in 2005, the first person I spoke with in this area was Marie from ABOARD (now ABOARD's Autism Connection of PA). Marie instructed me on what I would need to do to best help my then 6-year old son with autism get the services he needed upon our arrival in PA. Our family has been an avid supporter of AACOP ever since. My husband serves on the Board of Directors, I have volunteered as committee member/chair of the organization's annual Gala, and our family has participated in several of their events over the years. I would, without hesitation, tell any family or professional looking for some guidance while navigating the challenging world of autism to call ABOARD's Autism Connection of PA. These ladies are professional and know what they are doing, and touch many lives every day!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I think about the advice and information that I received from the caring staff of ABOARD, it is one part of my son's journey with Autism that I don't mind revisiting. Being a pedestrian and not knowing much about Autism, I was given a solid plan of what to do, who to contact, etc. with a direct, but calm and experienced person on the other end of the phone. This person spent, what I think was an hour, patiently answering my questions and reassuring me while I choked back the tears. I called back several times and they were always there like a beacon. I can't thank them enough.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Lu Randall helped to organized speakers, and spoke very powerfully herself to our audiences following a play concerning autism. Her networking and her advice were priceless and helped our students and audiences take action to raise awareness and funds. I also had the honor of attending and event celebrating the work of several of your adult clients who are doing amazing things having benefitted from the services and support your staff provides. Lu is amazing, and I know she and I will be working together again for awareness and activism.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was diagnosed with autism at the age of one, and at the time, neither my wife nor I had any knowledge of autism or experience with raising a child on the spectrum. ABOARD played and plays a huge part in every aspect of our lives, with expertise and experience in all facets of autism and raising an autistic child. It's resources are deep and the staff and supporters are mostly all parents of autistic and special needs children. I highly recommend this organization and the support it gives to families like ours who seek to provide the best upbringing for autistic children.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first encountered ABOARD in 2003 as a professional seeking organizational support to begin a social/support group for adults with autism in our community. ABOARD embraced the idea and immediately helped to develop the first adult group in the Pittsburgh community.
Over the years my experience and involvements with ABOARD have included volunteer group facilitator, presenter, conference organizer and most recently as a member of the Board of Directors. I can vouch personally and professionally for the dedication of this group, working with minimal overhead and achieving maximum grassroots impact.
ABOARD provides telephone and in-person assistance for families of the newly diagnosed as well as those facing major transitions. Their staff are parents of children and adults with autism who are entrenched in the community and, as a result, provide expert guidance to families in need of help. Additionally, ABOARD seeks to educate professionals, parents and other interested members of the community- with a broad reach from Southwestern to Northwestern and Central PA. This is accomplished through provision of larger conference events as well as 'Saturday Seminars.' Furthermore, ABOARD regularly partners with community groups and remains a neutral collaborator for the benefit of the autism community.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

ABOARD was there when we first the autism diagnosis 14 years ago and continues to be a supportive source of feedback and support for us. The staff are wonderful and non-judgmental. The workshops we have attended have been full of useful and up to date information. Our son is independent and doing well today because of ABOARD's support and information.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When my son was diagnosed with autism, i was numb. It was hard to find support and services. When i was hired to work for ABOARD, i was able to give families the kind of information and support that i wanted. I feel very lucky to work for and with so many lovely families and professionals.

Review from Guidestar