Autism Center


Out of the 41,742 children ages 5-24 in Fayette County, approximately 444 will have some form of autism based on current medical statistics. This is affecting children in our country in epidemic proportions, and occurrences are predicted to increase in the next five years.

Highlands has created the Regional Center for Autism with the goal of serving those in our region with effective, on-going treatment and hope. It is a welcoming environment where our staff of psychiatrists and behavioral healthcare specialists give access to diagnostic, developmental, and autism services. Currently, there is no program similar to that of Cleveland Clinic’s in the regions spanning West Virginia to Pittsburgh.

Amanda Freger, M.Ed is Program Director at the Center, and is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Masters in Educational Psychology. With 18 years’ worth of experience in autism-related evaluation and treatment, Ms. Freger is proud to make an everlasting difference in the lives of children and families in Fayette County and the surrounding regions.

In June, 2010, Highlands Hospital entered into a consulting agreement with Cleveland Clinic Autism Development Solutions (CCADS) to collaborate in the development of the Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism. The program, modeled after the Lerner School at Cleveland Clinic, was established to offer state-of-the-art educational and behavioral treatment to individuals with autism in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Our teaching philosophy adheres to the principles of “applied behavioral analysis” (ABA) in a center-based, year-round educational treatment program.

Highlands Hospital offers intensive treatment through the exclusive use of ABA to provide children on the spectrum with the highest likelihood of success. The evidence-based, data-driven methodology of ABA has been proven effective through extensive research, showing great benefit to individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.

Highlands Hospital was honored to receive the Amerinet Healthcare Achievement Award 2011 and 2012  for Community Impact and Innovation for its contributions with the Regional Center for Autism.  Amerinet, a leading healthcare solutions organization, grants honors yearly in recognition of the efforts undertaken to reduce healthcare costs, improve healthcare quality and serve the community-at-large.


Please review a copy of our Autism brochure [PDF]



The Center for Autism Overview (click to play).
Parent, Twila Gallaher’s experience of The Center for Autism (click to play).


Highlands Hospital Autism Awareness News (Herald Standard)
Highlands Hospital Bud Murphy Race for Autism 5k (WTAE)


For information on professional employment opportunities with the Center for Autism go to the EMPLOYMENT SECTION.autismimage2

Highlands Hospital Autism Center