Autism Spectrum Disorder

The term “autism spectrum disorder” (ASD) covers a broad range of complicated conditions that typically include difficulty with communication and socialization, learning and developmental deficits, and obsession with a narrow range of subjects. Many people with ASDs also have unusual ways of learning, paying attention, and reacting to different sensations. The thinking and learning abilities of people with ASDs can vary—from gifted to severely challenged.  30-50% of people with autism also have seizures.  The most effective treatments available today are applied behavioral analysis (ABA) and occupational, speech and physical therapy, which have proven to be the most effective.

Dr. Leo Kanner first described autism in 1943.  He reported on eleven children who showed a marked lack of interest in other people, but a highly unusual interest in the inanimate environment. Initially, autism was thought to be an early form of schizophrenia, which led to the belief that its onset could be caused by negative experience or bad parenting. We now know that this is not the case.

Asperger’s Syndrome, named after Hans Asperger, who originally studied and cataloged the symptoms of the syndrome in 1944, used to be considered a separate but related condition, and was recently removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) and is now diagnosed as a particular range on the autism spectrum.

Autism is four times more likely to affect boys than girls, and is found in all racial, ethnic, and social groups. There is no known single cause for autism, although the best available science points to important genetic components. Through twin studies, scientists have determined that autism is a genetically based condition. If one identical (monozygotic) twin has autism then there is an 80-90% chance that the other twin will also be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. For non-identical (dizygotic) twins the chance is about 3-10% that both twins will develop autism spectrum disorder. The chance that siblings will both be affected by ASD is also about 3-10%.

Scientists are unsure what, if any, environmental triggers may be involved in autism.  One theory, popular in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, that vaccines cause autism, has since been disproven by numerous studies conducted around the world.

National Resources for ASD:

Autism Science Foundation
The Autism Science Foundation provides funding directly to scientists conducting cutting edge autism research to discover the causes of autism and develop better treatments.  They also provide information about autism to the general public, and support the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

American Academy of Pediatrics

We are a social education service that encompasses the work of international-award-winner (Aspie, teacher, and Aspie mommy), Jennifer Cook O’Toole, in multiple mediums. Asperkids exists to make life for children with Aspergers more positive and purposeful, and to assist the adults in their lives in the ways they understand, parent, teach and respond to their children.

Asperger’s Syndrome Education Network: A national non-profit organization headquartered in New Jersey that provides education and support to families and individuals affected with Asperger Syndrome, PDD-NOS, High Functioning Autism, and related disorders.

Autism Society of America
7910 Woodmont Ave., Suite 650
Bethesda, MD 20814-3015
(301) 657-0881
(301) 657-0869 (fax)

At Autism Speaks, our goal is to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders. We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals.
Autism Speaks
2 Park Avenue
11th Floor
New York, NY 10016
(212) 252-8584

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation
The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) National Autism Organization. The mission of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation is to develop and award grants to programs that benefit adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
P.O. Box 1149
Ridgewood, New Jersey 07451-1149
1 (877) 444-1149 (toll free)
(775) 243-9847 (fax)

The International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) is a scientific and professional organization devoted to advancing knowledge about autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), including autism, Apserger syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (PDD NOS).

Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA)
A national network of state-based advocacy groups for families affected by Learning Disabilities. They have been very supportive of issues surrounding some of the learning difficulties common to children with severe social disability, such as those characterized by Non-verbal Learning Disability (NLD).
Executive Director: Ms. Jean Peterson
4156 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15234
(412) 341-1515
(412) 344-0224 (fax)

National Autism Center
The National Autism Center is a new nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting effective, evidence-based treatment approaches and providing direction to families, practitioners, organizations, policy-makers, and funders. The Center is bringing nationally renowned experts together to establish national treatment standards, model best practices, and conduct applied research, serving as a vital source of information, training, and services.
41 Pacella Park Drive
Randolph, Massachusetts 02368
(877) 313-3833
(781) 440-0401 (fax)

OASIS – Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support
A national online support group and resource for parents, professionals, and individuals with Asperger Syndrome. Includes online support boards, chatrooms, as well as publications, resources, and other comprehensive information.
Contacts: Barbara Kirby and Patricia Romanowski Bashe

The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism
A source for evidence-based information curated by people with autism, parents of children with autism and autism professionals.

Connecticut Resources for ASD:

Yale Developmental Disabilities Clinic
Fred Volkmar, M.D. & Ami Klin, Ph.D.
230 South Frontage Road
New Haven, CT 06520
(203) 737-4337

CT Center For Developmental Pediatrics
215 Main Street, 4th Floor
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 220-6764
Treatment and evaluation of:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Anxiety and other social emotional issues, Developmental Delay particularly due to underlying genetic problems or prematurity, Intellectual Disability, Problems with sleep, toileting and feeding, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Issues related to adoption and foster care, Enuresis and encopresis, Developmental follow-up of preterm infants, children with complex congenital heart disease​

In addition to comprehensive evaluations, we  provide:

  • Psychopharmacological management, Ongoing follow-up and case management, Parent Education particularly around positive parenting and managing challenging behaviors, Advocacy, Functional behavioral assessment (FBA), Functional analysis, Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP), Curriculum-based assessment, Classroom management strategies, Inclusion strategies for students, Mindful breathing and relaxation, Executive functioning support

Angelfish Therapy
Angelfish Therapy offers Pediatric Aquatic Therapy, Swim lessons, and Summer Camps for children with special needs.  We work with children with a variety of diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorders, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Rett Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, or any condition that affects sensory or neurological function, motor coordination, or core strength.
Locations in Danbury, Greenwich, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport and Wilton
Ailene Tisser, owner: (203) 969-6431 or

Birth to Three Program
Birth to Three is a State of Connecticut program that aims to strengthen the capacity of families to meet the developmental and health-related needs of their infants and toddlers who have delays or disabilities. Children under the age of three who live in Connecticut are eligible for the Birth to Three System when they either: are experiencing a significant developmental delay, or have a diagnosed physical or mental condition with a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay.
460 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
1 (800) 505-7000
In the Southern Fairfield Region services for children on the spectrum are now consolidated through Rehab Associates:

728 Post Road East
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 341-0488
Fairfield Office
1931 Black Rock Tpk.
Fairfield, CT 06825
(203) 384-8681

Center for Special Needs
Behavioral Treatment and Assessment of Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Michael Powers, Psy.D.
Glastonbury, CT
(860) 430-1762

Center for Speech and Learning
Providing speech, occupational and family therapy. Insurance accepted.
801 Edgewood Ave., Rear
New Haven, CT 06515

Chapel Haven
Independent Living Skills for adults with Developmental Disabilities
(203) 397-1714

The Child Guidance Center of Southern Ct, Inc.
Offer developmental evaluations, support groups for parents of developmentally delayed/autistic children, and accept insurance
Cara E. Barbierri, Psy.D.
Coordinator of Developmental Evaluations and Group Psychotherapy Program
103 West Broad St
Stamford, Ct 06902
(203) 324-6127

Connecticut Autism Spectrum Resource Center
A non-profit organization founded in the year 2000 that hopes to provide for all parents and professionals the most recent information and research to help them understand the barriers and challenges people with autistic spectrum disorders face in everyday life by sponsoring professional development sessions for parents, school personnel, community providers and other professionals working with his population and by expanding support throughout the State of Connecticut, and to encourage the development of resources.
1978 Whitney Ave
Hamden, CT
(203) 248-5222

Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center, Inc. (CPAC)
A statewide nonprofit organization that offers information and support to families of children with any disability or chronic illness, age birth through 21. They can help you with: understanding special education laws, identifying your child’s educational needs, communicating more effectively with professionals, and participating in the educational decision making process.
338 Main Street
Niantic, CT 06357
(860) 739-3089 (V/TDD)
1 (800) 445-CPAC

Connect to Talk
Center and home based provider for speech and language services, occupational therapy, motor/sensory and behavioral difficulties and social skills training. ABA services including functional behavioral assessments, parent/caregiver training, school shadows, respite services, and IEP/PPT consultations.
6 Hollyhock Road
Wilton, CT
(203) 210-7124

1011 High Ridge Road
Stamford, CT
(203) 200-7256

Crystal Wood Stables Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy Program
A therapeutic intervention that involves a 20 to 30 minute treatment session given by an OT, PT, or SLP using the movement of the horse as a treatment strategy to work towards therapy goals and functional outcomes.
Durham, CT
(860) 349-2298
(860) 349-6843

Provides information and resources that enable parents to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of current treatment approaches. 24 hour hotline, internet discussion list, web site.
P.O. Box 388
Ellington, CT 06029-0388
(860) 571-3888

Deborah Fein, Ph.D.
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269
(860) 486-3518

Eagle Hill (Learning Disabilities specialty school)
Greenwich, CT
(203) 622-9240

Foundation School (school for special needs)
719 Derby-Milford Road
Orange, CT 06477
(203) 795-6075

Franklin Academy
Franklin Academy provides students with nonverbal learning differences the academic and social skills to become life-long learners, to pursue college and career goals, and to enjoy fulfilling lives. Located on a 25-acre campus, Franklin Academy is a private, non-profit, coeducational boarding and day school that educates children with nonverbal learning disabilities in a safe and supportive environment. The Board of Trustees, the administration, and the faculty are committed to offering each student attending Franklin Academy a personalized curriculum designed to develop and enhance academic and social skills.
106 River Road
East Haddam, CT 06423
(860) 873-2700
(860) 873-8861

Friends of Autistic People
A parents’ group in Fairfield, CT, dedicated to raising awareness of the needs of autistic adults and working toward services needed by autistic adults. Parents of autistic and PDD children of any age encouraged to join with no membership fees.
Brita Darany
974 North St.
Greenwich, CT 06831
(203) 661-8510

Greenwich Autism Program
Susan G. Izeman, Ph.D. BCBA, Director
132 East Putnam Ave
Cos Cob, CT 06807
(203) 629-1880 ext. 327

Maggie Casciato
PDD Parent Support Group Leader
Fairfield County, CT
(203) 261-7980

McCarton Center
The McCarton Center for Developmental Pediatrics is a multidisciplinary center dedicated to assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children with developmental disabilities and special needs. The McCarton Center was founded in 1998 by Cecelia McCarton, MD, a leading expert in developmental pediatrics and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Based on its Integrated Education Model, the McCarton Center provides not only assessment and diagnoses, but also an individual development plan for each child. This may combine a variety of therapies including aspects of speech and language therapy, sensory integration therapy, socialization with peers, developmental play skills and applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy.

The McCarton Center
350 East 82nd Street
New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 996-9019
Fax: (212) 996-9047

Rosalie Greenbaum, Ph.D.
Specializes in Pervasive Developmental Disorders, offering comprehensive evaluations
New Canaan, CT
(203) 972-6889

Robin Hellman (Barbara Greenspan’s former practice)
Occupational Therapy
(203) 858-8490
6 East Main Street
Westport, CT

Caley Schwartz
Psychologist in Ridgefield who helps diagnose and treat spectrum disorder children.
(203) 544-9560

Speech & Language Consultants, LLC
Center for Communication, Behavior, Sensory Development, Literacy, and Technology
Landria M. Seals, M.A., CCC-SLP Executive Director
258 Main Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06851
(203) 604-0602 (fax)

Wendy D. Marans, M.S., CCC/SLP
Licensed Speech Pathologist
Communication Disorders Specialist
234 Church Street, 3rd Floor
New Haven, CT 06510
(203) 789-0424
(203) 562-1675

OT Works for Kids
Occupational Therapy
139 Main Street
Norwalk, CT 06851

Center for Pediatric Therapy
1300 Post Road Suite 204
Fairfield, Connecticut 06824