The Rich Center for Autism

The Rich Center for Autism was established in 1995 through the collaborative efforts of the Kosar, Rich (Ricchiuti), and Rubino families who have a shared interest in autism. In collaboration with Youngstown State University, The Rich Center for Autism is located on the campus and functions as a not-for-profit.

Our History

The Rich Center for Autism will serve as a lasting tribute to the memory of Paula and Anthony Rich and their unborn child, whose lives tragically ended in a plane crash outside of Pittsburgh on September 8, 1994. It is the founders’ dream that from this tragedy will spring hope for those affected by autism.

Realizing that autism is a major educational challenge for parents and teachers, the founders established The Rich Center for Autism’s goal: to improve the conditions with which children with autism learn to live. By combining current research about autism with the newest and most innovative theories in education, The Rich Center for Autism offers hope that children affected with autism can reach their full potential. Therefore, the primary emphasis is on teaching and research, as well as focusing on intensive training to children with autism.

The Rich Center for Autism, a component of the Beeghly College of Education, fulfills the mission to prepare educators, medical specialists and other professionals in best practices for teaching and caring for these special people; to increase our knowledge base through the promotion of scholarly research in a living laboratory; and to provide public service and advocacy on behalf of those affected by autism. These goals are accomplished through the Academic Program, the Behavior Program, the Research Program, and the Public Service Program, which includes Professional Development, Full School Year, Summer, and Outreach Consultation programs.

Like autism, The Rich Center for Autism has no geographic boundary and touches children of all socio-economic backgrounds and cultures. Children are enrolled in our programs regardless of their caregivers’ ability to pay. Referral, treatment, and support are provided at no cost to families.


The Rich Center for Autism will provide individualized, evidence-based, data-driven, best practice programming in a state of the art facility to maximize each student’s personal, social, and developmental growth.


To improve education experiences and outcomes for individuals with autism and their families through teaching, research and community engagement.


  • Increase the staff capacity of the center to enhance services provided.
  • Develop programming to provide a curriculum from developing life skills as the base, moving to providing the GED, or transition to least restrictive placement.
  • Provide programming to support the parents throughout the process.
  • Upgrade and improve accountability standards.
  • Develop coordinated research efforts to increase broad community awareness of the State of Ohio's Center of Excellence.
  • Collaborate with community agencies with the resources to add to our program services.
  • Develop internal revenue streams and maintain and increase the funding base of the Center.
  • Explore developing a capital campaign.
  • Explore expanding and improving current facilities.