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What are autism spectrum disorders?

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of disorders that are characteristics by social and communication delays and restricted or repetitive interests or behaviors.

What is The Rich Center for Autism?

As a University-Based Center of Excellence, The Rich Center strives to provide a strong foundation and vision for the future of autism treatment and support. Through a framework that includes innovative research, community support, and direct educational and therapeutic services, The Rich Center provides children with autism, professionals, scientists, and families with unique and meaningful opportunities to engage in ongoing development and collaboration.

What services do you provide?

At The Rich Center, we provide services in three distinct, yet interrelated domains: Center-Based Services, Community-Based Services, and Research Projects. By providing therapeutic and educational services to children with autism spectrum disorders within the context of community support and research, we are able to meaningfully impact service delivery and quality of life for children and families.

Where are you located?

We are located in Fedor Hall on the campus of Youngstown State University. Please see our Contact Us page for detailed directions.

What makes you unique?

The Rich Center offers a unique and individually tailored learning environment specifically designed for children with autism spectrum disorders. In addition to our core programming, we offer full-day nursing services, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy. Also, The Rich Center is the only agency that provides a comprehensive curriculum based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) in the Tri-County area.[/spoiler]

What is applied behavior analysis?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a science that evaluates methods of changing behavior and a profession that provides services to meet varied behavioral needs. Applied Behavior Analysis has the largest research base of any treatment proposed for autism. Other strategies often fail to focus on pivotal and developmentally appropriate skills that allow the child to “learn to learn” in a less restrictive environment. In ABA, however, what you teach is just as important as how you teach it. When ABA is provided to preschoolers, it is often called early intensive behavioral intervention. At The Rich Center, we incorporate the basic principles of ABA across the students’ day. Examples of this include: structured and incidental teaching during formal group activities and play times, discrete trial training, working walks, token systems, visual supports, consistent reinforcement, prompting hierarchies, shaping and chaining of complex behaviors, generalization across responses and settings, ongoing data collection, and formal behavior plans to address severe challenging behaviors.

What credentials do your staff have?

All of our staff possess at least a bachelor’s degree in special education, early education, psychology, or a related field. Many of our staff have obtained or are currently pursuing graduate degrees in special education. In addition to our speech and language pathologist and occupational therapist, we have one of less than 50 Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) in the state of Ohio.

What are your hours/ schedule?

Our students attend programming from 9:00-2:30 for approximately 10 ½ months per year. Click here to view our school calendar.

Is my child eligible for services?

If your child is between the ages of 2½ and 14 and has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, he or she may be eligible for services. For more information or to begin the enrollment process, please contact Renee McConnell at 330-941-1927 or email

How can I apply for a position at The Rich Center?

We always welcome new applicants to our growing family of professionals. To apply for a Rich Center instruction specialist position, you must possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in special education, early education, psychology, or a related field. Click here to view current job openings.

Can I observe or volunteer at The Rich Center?

As a model treatment facility, we welcome students, professionals, and other members of the community to observe our program. To find out more about scheduling an observation, volunteer or tour opportunity, please contact Brendan Considine at 330-941-1927 or

How Can I Help?

We would not be able to provide our current services without the generous support of people like you. For information about giving to The Rich Center for Autism, please contact Lisa Long at 330-941-1927 or email

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