Founded by Dr. Bertram A. Ruttenberg as a demonstration project of the University of Pennsylvania. The Center is the first clinic in the country to exclusively treat autism, and pioneers therapeutic approaches to autism such as the use of music therapy, movement therapy and sensory integration.
The Center develops the Behavior Rating Instrument for Autistic and Atypical Children (BRIAAC), a testing tool for Autism Spectrum Disorders and a prototype for future assessment tools.
With funding from the U.S. Board of Education, the Center develops Project LINK, an integrated program that addresses learning issues and physical, intellectual and emotional needs for autistic children in school settings. This model is replicated and used by school districts throughout the country.
Dr. Bertram Ruttenberg provides expert testimony in the case of Armstrong v. Kline. He heavily influences the outcome of the proceedings, resulting in the extended school year (ESY) for handicapped children.
In the case of Jackson v. O’Bannon, Dr. Ruttenberg is instrumental in convincing the court to require the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare to extend the number of hours for outpatient therapy for autistic individuals.
The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare implements HealthChoices, requiring Medicaid recipients to enroll in a managed care plan. In response to several issues presented by managed care for families and providers, the Center develops its Specialized Autism Services (SAS), simplifying the method of delivering services to clients and families.
The Center is nationally recognized by the American Psychiatric Association for significant achievement in developing a comprehensive program for treating profoundly autistic children.
In response to Pennsylvania’s dramatic increase in autism cases, the Department of Public Welfare creates the Autism Task Force, in which The Center for Autism plays a key role. Its final report proposes a system for autistic individuals that would make Pennsylvania a model of excellence for the delivery of autism services.
The Center announces it has changed its name from “Center for Autistic Children” to “The Center for Autism.” The organization’s new name and logo better reflect the Center’s range of services for individuals with autism and their families.
The launch of a $3 million capital campaign and the move to a new, larger headquarters at 3905 Ford Road in Philadelphia set into motion the organization’s five-year strategic plan. The Center is poised to serve more children and families and meet the growing needs of the community.
The Center continues to pursue its strategic plan and serve new neighborhoods. The organization signed a lease on a new satellite facility at 2801 Grant Avenue in Philadelphia. Through this site, the Center can provide its programs to over 60 children and families in the Northeast Philadelphia community.
The Center for Autism's Pre-K Program receives international accreditation from CARF. This decision represents the highest level of accreditation that an organization or program can receive, and shows our substantial commitment to delivering programs that meet the highest quality standards of care. For more information on CARF, please visit www.carf.org.