Archived News & Events - July 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

NHS School Warrington Receives Fox Chase Bank Grant

NHS School Warrington Receives Fox Chase Bank GrantNHS School Warrington was recently awarded a $7,500 grant from Fox Chase Bank to enhance supports for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or Emotional Support needs that attend our schools in Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties. The grant provides the schools with funding to expand their transition services, including the acquisition of technology and skill development curriculums, and sensory programming. This grant will be used to develop tools that prepare students to work in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Our schools are eager and grateful to have the opportunity to expand their ability to help students learn and apply skills for their future.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

NHS Education and Autism Services are Taking Over Delaware

Education and Autism ServicesCongratulations to the Education and Autism Division on its approval to provide Student Services Support Staff in the Christina School District in the state of Delaware! Student Services Support Staff will provide assistance in classroom management and implementation of positive behavior support plans. NHS staff will assist teachers in facilitating a therapeutic learning environment for students to understand alternative coping strategies, with the goal of decreasing in-school suspension and instances of time-out. A collaboration between the schools and the districts will assure the students are receiving the most comprehensive and quality support services. At least 30 additional staff members are being hired to provide these services in Delaware, increasing our footprint across the state.

The NHS Education and Autism Division has been awarded additional in-district classrooms in the state of Delaware, increasing their presence from four to 7.5 classrooms in the new school year. In addition to these classrooms, they were awarded the opportunity to provide Board Certified Behavioral Analysis (BCBA) services in Delaware. As the Education and Autism Division continues to grow throughout Delaware, the opportunities that lie ahead are exciting for NHS and the families served.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

NHS Participates in Autism Society National Conference

Executive Vice President Karen Markle and Senior Director of Autism Services Christiana Show presented at the 47th Annual Autism Society National Conference in New Orleans on July 15. Karen and Christiana’s presentation, called Building Blocks for the Future: An Integrated Housing System for Individuals with Autism, focused on planning and development of integrated housing, and providing support for independent living and employment success for individuals with an autism spectrum diagnosis. Today, communities are faced with the challenges of supporting individuals and their families impacted by an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and how to plan for their future. The NHS team presented some startling facts to the crowded room, including current statistics reporting that 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys) are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. With no known cause or cure, supporting these unique individuals has created a crisis in response and resources for our families, schools and communities. The cost of providing care for a person with autism is $1.4 to $2.4 million over their life span, individuals on the spectrum are seven times more likely to come in contact with the law, and less than 17 percent of these individuals are gainfully employed. Most families and communities do not have dedicated resources to support these individuals throughout their life.

A great deal of focus has been on children and adolescents under the age of 21 who have an ASD, but what happens to individuals over the age of 21? Schools are no longer responsible for support and education, and families run out of resources due to the transition to adulthood and having their previous supports disappear overnight. There are individuals with ASD that possess the capability of living independently and having gainful employment, but due to the lack of minimal support, they remain in the care of others, and they often are unemployed or underemployed. Developing new ideas is key to helping individuals with ASD maximize their potential and provide the opportunity to become active, independent members of their local community. Karen and Christiana presented an innovative concept that integrates housing for individuals with an ASD and their typical developing peers. In partnership with the Autism Housing Development Corporation of Pittsburgh (AHDCP) and with ACTION Housing, Inc. in Allegheny County, NHS is developing the Heidelberg Apartments Project. Providing voluntary support for all tenants to access community resources, peer engagement, resume writing, employment assistance, budgeting and identification of natural supports is a necessity for success of the project. There will also be a tenant council to facilitate the development of an environment where all residents can socialize in a safe and supportive environment. The key to impactful, long-term success is integration of home and community resources.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

NHS Ranks 34th Largest Area Employer in Western PA & NHS/AVS Ranks #4 in Pittsburgh Business Times

NHS Ranks 34th Largest Area Employer in Western PANHS has been named by the Pittsburgh Business Times as the 34th largest area employer in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. With 1,830 full-time employees, NHS is proud once again to be recognized as a leading employer in Western PA.

Congratulations to NHS Allegheny Valley School for ranking #4 by budget in the Pittsburgh Business Times’ nonprofits health and social services publication! Read more on

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

NHS Participates in Evidence Based Practice Open House

NHS was one of 30 organizations that participated in an Open House sponsored by the Evidence Based Practice Innovation Center (EPIC) of the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health on July 12. Evidence-based practices (EBPs) are specific treatment techniques, models, or programs that have been shown, through research, to improve outcomes. Children's services provided at NHS, featured the work being done in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) at the NHS Children's Reach outpatient clinic, managed by Center Director Kim Caton, on Lehigh Avenue in Philadelphia. TF-CBT is a model of psychotherapy that addresses the unique needs of children with PTSD symptoms, depression, behavior problems, and other difficulties related to traumatic life experiences. Treatment includes: psychoeducation, parenting skills training, trauma-narrative, and affective expressive skill training and other components. Nikki Fantauzzi, education placement coordinator and outpatient therapist, and Colleen Johns-Lewis, clinical coordinator at the outpatient clinic represented NHS at the event.

NHS participates in Evidence Based Practice Open House

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pursuit – Pittsburgh Partnership

NHS Dual Diagnosis Treatment Team Receives Full Accreditation from NADD

NHS Allegheny Valley School (NHS/AVS) is thrilled to have been selected as one of two area intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) providers to host a team of cyclists from around the United States that is currently riding 3,500-miles cross-country to raise money and awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Known as PURSUIT FOR THOSE WITH disABILITIES (, the ride’s goal is two-fold: (1) to raise $13.5 million for The Center in Houston, TX, a nonprofit that has been promoting the pursuit of choice, growth and personal independence for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than six decades, and (2) to convene nonprofit agencies in cities along the route to share best practices, raise awareness and jumpstart a national effort to attract more attention and resources to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Leadership from NHS/AVS and ACHIEVA, the other local provider selected by Pursuit, will meet with representatives of The Center to share their best practices on July 26 at NHS/AVS’ Pittsburgh Campus. Following the ride, information gathered from the stops across the country will be compiled by The Center and shared with providers to help enhance services and quality of care.

Also on July 26, "A carnival-themed welcome to Pittsburgh is planned for Pursuit on our campus," says NHS/AVS Chief Development Officer Dorothy Gordon. Included will be a "mini-ride" where clients, staff members and other guests of NHS/AVS and ACHIEVA can ride a short course on an adaptive bicycle, in their wheelchairs, on foot, or however they choose. “It will be a fun way for everyone to feel a part of the cross-country feat,” Gordon adds.

An official send-off for the Pursuit riders will be at the Sheraton Station Square on July 27 at approximately 10 a.m. Joining David Baldwin and the others who are undertaking the full 3,500 mile trek will be 40+ “ride-a-long” participants who will join the ride for the Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD leg. Two of the ride-a-long participants are NHS/AVS’ own…Assistant Western Regional Executive Director Roni Erath and Chief Development Officer Dorothy Gordon. Clients, staff members, friends and the general public are encouraged to attend the send-off to provide the cyclists a true Pittsburgh-style rally!

This exciting effort has already gained local media attention for NHS/AVS!

  • Watch the Lynne Hayes Freeland Show this weekend to see Roni Erath, joined by Pittsburgh Campus’s Shequala, and ACHIEVA’s Danielle Parsons. The show will air on Saturday, 7/23 @ 6:30am (CW) and Sunday, 7/24 @6am (KDKA). The segment will also be available online at:
For more information about Pursuit – Pittsburgh Partnership contact Dorothy Gordon (

The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show with NHS/AVS

Monday, July 11, 2016

NHS Dual Diagnosis Treatment Team Receives Full Accreditation from NADD

NHS Dual Diagnosis Treatment Team Receives Full Accreditation from NADD

Congratulations to the Dual Diagnosis Treatment Teams (DDTT) at NHS Allegheny Center in Pittsburgh, NHS Schuylkill Mountain Center in Pottsville, and NHS High Point Center in Dubois, PA for receiving full accreditation from NADD, a national association for persons with developmental disabilities and mental health needs. After five years of preparation by the NHS DDTT Steering Committee and the DDTT professional staff, NADD surveyors were highly impressed with the level of organizational detail and documentation provided during the accreditation reviews. The NADD Accreditation Program was developed to improve the quality and effectiveness of services provided to individuals with a dual diagnosis of an intellectual and developmental disability and mental illness by developing competency-based professional standards and by promoting ongoing professional and program development.

DDTT is comprised of a specialized mobile team of professionals that support individuals in the community diagnosed with a mental illness and co-morbidity development disability. Individuals referred to DDTT are in crisis, at risk of losing community tenure, and/or are transitioning from acute care hospitalization. The three teams accredited by NADD cover 24 counties throughout Pennsylvania.

Click here to read the full press release.