The Regional School for Autism

Schools for Autism in Pennsylvania

Penn Highlands Connellsville Regional Center for Autism

When it comes to the needs of students with autism, Penn Highlands Connellsville Regional Center for Autism provides the families and children in southwestern Pennsylvania with advanced educational and behavioral treatment. Our autism school is affiliated with Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital’s Center for Autism.

How is Penn Highlands Connellsville Regional Center for Autism one of the top schools for autism?

Our licensed, non-residential private autism school is modeled after Cleveland Clinic’s esteemed Lerner School, which has inspired multiple schools for autism across the United States for more than two decades. Penn Highlands Connellsville Regional Center for Autism (PHCRCA) offers exceptional accommodations for students with autism. The autism school also has documented excellent outcomes in educational, medical, and behavioral programming.

What is Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and how is it effective in schools for autism?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a therapy rooted in the intersection of behavior, environment, and learning . At our autism school in Connellsville, we primarily use ABA. Through intensive education and therapy, our students have the highest possibility for success. Extensive research has proven ABA is an evidence-based, data-driven methodology that benefits both children and families impacted by autism.

Regional Center for Autism

700 Park Street
Connellsville, PA 15425

How do Students with Autism Learn Best?

Every student learns differently, which is why all students at Penn Highlands Connellsville Regional Center for Autism have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) personalized to them with special accommodations. While instruction at our autism school is primarily ABA, we offer additional evidence-based therapies tailored to how each student learns. Additional therapies include speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision/O&M therapy, hearing therapy, music therapy, and dog therapy.

  • Speech-language therapy is offered daily and addresses a variety of communication disorders with targeted treatment for articulation, expressive language, receptive language, pragmatic language, fluency, voice, cognition, and safe swallowing.
  • Occupational therapy offered through our school environment helps improve overall fine motor coordination/control, gross motor coordination/control, visual motor/visual perception skills, and self-care skills to help students meet age-appropriate developmental milestones.
  • Physical therapy helps students improve their overall gross and fine motor skills in the school setting.
  • Vision therapy is targeted at helping students improve visual skills and ability, visual comfort, ease and efficiency as well as change visual processing or interpretation of visual information.
  • O&M therapy teaches students with visual impairments to travel safely, confidently, and independently in their environment.
  • Hearing therapy is tailored for students with hearing loss and associated disorders, such as tinnitus, hyperacusis, and other forms of hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity. Hearing therapy may include the use of American Sign Language and/or target auditory awareness and auditory comprehension.
  • Music therapy uses listening, singing, and/or playing instruments as a clinical approach to reducing stress, improving mood, and self-expression.
  • Dog therapy at our autism school involves partnering with Top Therapy Dogs (TTD) to provide monthly therapy sessions to promote love, attention, and affection with hope and healing.

At Penn Highlands Connellsville Regional Center for Autism, we take the time -- and have the expertise --– to tailor our teaching to how each student learns best. We focus on the learning style or styles that resonate most with each student, such as kinesthetic, auditory, or visual learning.

What Life Skills Services are Provided for Older Students with Autism?

At our autism school, we start teaching students more functional life skills, like managing finances, washing dishes, and mastering all areas of self-care when they reach age 14. Every student’s unique strengths, interests, and goals for post-high school are considered as their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is adjusted with transition and life skill goals. Much of our life skills programming is implemented in the classroom. At our autism school in Connellsville, we also have a life skills classroom where students learn in a simulated apartment-style setting.

What Steps Should I Take if I’m interested in My Child attending Penn Highlands Connellsville Regional Center for Autism?

The first step families and caregivers should take if you think your child may benefit from attending our Pennsylvania autism school is to contact your school district. All students must have a referral from their home school district to be considered for enrollment.

What is Penn Highlands Connellsville Regional Center for Autism’s Current Enrollment?

Our autism school currently serves 40 children from 10 different school districts throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. We are licensed to serve children with autism from pre-kindergarten until age 22. The school currently has a waitlist with the goal of opening additional classrooms in the coming months.

Can I Tour the School for Autism in Connellsville?

Parents and guardians are always welcome to tour Penn Highlands Connellsville Regional Center for Autism. Contact us at 724-603-3360 to schedule a tour at our autism school.

Where can I Get More Information if I’m Interested in Teaching at Penn Highlands Connellsville Regional Center for Autism?

Teaching children with autism requires patience and understanding for how they uniquely learn. At our autism school in Connellsville, we follow a behavior-based program so it’s important to understand why behaviors occur. Teachers at Penn Highlands Connellsville Regional Center for Autism must have a background in special education (bachelor’s or master’s degree in special education preferred) and a public or private school teaching certificate in special education from the State of Pennsylvania. All current job postings are available on Indeed and on our career website.

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