Kids diagnosed with autism find an array of support and services at The Children’s Institute

As a parent, you know your child better than anyone. From celebrating every milestone to recognizing when your child may need additional supports, tremendous care goes into raising a child.

So how do you help them reach developmental goals, especially when your child may have unique needs?

During Autism Acceptance Month, we explore what happens when your child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

“While a newly-assigned autism diagnosis may feel intimidating, it doesn’t define your child,” explains Christina Jolley, a certified registered nurse practitioner at The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh. “You’re the mom or dad of the same amazing kid today that you were in the days before that diagnosis. The next step is to find the right combination of services to address your child’s needs and to help them live life to their full potential.”

Now 6 years old, Italia Trigona started in-home physical therapy at 16 months to address her low muscle tone. When an expressive speech delay was identified at age two, speech therapy was added. She was diagnosed with autism the following year and started receiving outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapies at The Children’s Institute in 2018.

“Life is harder for kids like Italia, but they don’t know life any other way,” says Jenny Trigona, Italia’s mother. “Italia’s therapists make life so much better for her and our family. They make us feel special by treating us just like everyone else.”

With a wide array of expert services for children with autism and their families, The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh is a valuable resource with both in-person and telehealth options available:

“As we continue to extend the reach of our services and offer exceptional care, we want parents to know that The Children’s Institute is here to help,” says Angela Nofi, M.Ed., BCBA, LBS, director of autism services.

The organization recently launched an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program that provides children diagnosed with autism a full range of professional and integrated services.

The program offers comprehensive and holistic services for children with autism between the ages of 18 months to 21 years old, including speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavioral health, and nutrition/feeding programs that can be conducted on-site and via telehealth. Highly trained, master’s level Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) oversee all care.

“Lack of access to ABA services has been a common problem in our region,” says Nofi. “The Children’s Institute has a rich history of identifying and addressing the needs of children with complex health issues. Our collaborative care environment and skilled clinical team are particularly effective in shaping effective and useful behaviors and responses that help children prosper and grow.”

Learn more about Autism Services at The Children’s Institute at