Foundation to help those with autism

Speaking at the announcement were (from left) John P. Moses, Esq., chairman of the board at AllOne Foundation; Debra Pellegrino, Ed.D., dean of The University of Scranton’s Panuska College of Professional Studies; and John W. Cosgrove, executive director of AllOne Foundation & Charities.

The leadership of AllOne Foundation, along with representatives of numerous health care, education and philanthropic entities, announced a major, regional initiative to enhance the service delivery system and minimize the service gaps for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families living in northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania.

The Autism Collaborative Centers of Excellence was formed to deliver a full array of services and supports for individuals with ASD, from early intervention to adult services.

John P. Moses, Esq., chairman of the voard at AllOne Foundation, said, “The Autism Collaborative Centers of Excellence represents an opportunity for our region to develop a sustainable framework to address existing service gaps. Working collaboratively, we seek to create a national model for scientifically-sound innovation at the cutting edge of ASD care.”

ACCE includes regional leaders and ASD experts from Geisinger Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute, Misericordia University, The University of Scranton, Friendship House, Children’s Service Center, Wyoming Valley Children’s Association, Allied Services, Goodwill Industries of NEPA, Hope Enterprises, Inc., Luzerne County ARC and NEPA Center for Independent Living.

ACCE will directly benefit preschool children through adults with ASD in the 13-county area of northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania. Specific services will vary by age but will be available to families regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic status.

Based on combined county census data and a presumed ASD prevalence of one in 68, the estimated number of individuals in the region living with ASD is more than 17,500.

ASD is a behaviorally-defined condition with diagnosable genetic disorders being the most common known causes.

Developmental behavioral evaluation and genetic testing are recommended as part of the comprehensive diagnostic work-up of individuals with ASD. Because of long waiting lists for evaluation and a lack of adequately-trained clinicians, many with ASD in Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania experience delayed or inaccurate diagnosis, and relatively few undergo recommended medical and genetic testing.

The Autism Collaborative Centers of Excellence will:

* Create family-friendly ASD community hubs to assist individuals and families in identifying and navigating services throughout the region.

* Establish a coordinated network of qualified ASD providers to facilitate regional access to evidence-based care.

* Deliver a full array of services and supports for individuals with ASD, from early intervention to adult services.

* Provide a coordinated, comprehensive approach to the identification and treatment of ASD for children, adults, and families.

* Promote evidence-based practices as the standard for ASD treatment in the region.

* Enhance undergraduate and graduate training opportunities in ASD-related fields to create a highly skilled talent pool for the region.

* Expand opportunities for respite care for families.

* Ensure a consistent, seamless approach that allows for tracking service delivery transitions across multiple agencies.

* Implement an ongoing process for data collection, analysis, and the reporting of outcomes and recommendations from the coordinated network of qualified ASD providers to enhance the delivery of evidence-based care across northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania for individuals with ASD and their families.

ACCE is supported by AllOne Foundation, The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Margaret Briggs Foundation, Northeast PA Health Care Foundation, Highmark Foundation, Geisinger Foundation and Moses Taylor Foundation. This multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment represents the largest private philanthropic investment in a single health issue in Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania.

Those interested in more information about the Autism Collaborative Centers of Excellence may call 570-208-1200 or visit

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