Autism Center

The Autism Center at Misericordia University is comprised of a number of services that offer care, treatment, and services to people on the Autism Spectrum of Disorders across the life-span. The services are offered by highly trained and credentialed professionals, along with graduate and undergraduate students in programs that reside in the College of Health Sciences.

A major goal of the Autism Center is to offer that highest quality services available, while endeavoring to establish services and programs based on community needs and to fill gaps in care.

Autism Center Services:


Autism Speaks U

Autism Speaks U

Autism Speaks U is a multi-disciplinary club here at Misericordia! The club's main objective is to spread awareness, and educate others about autism. Autism Speaks U holds meetings, runs fundraisers, and hosts events around campus in order to meet their objectives of raising awareness and educating others!

Gobble 'Til You Wobble tunnel games

Click here to see the exciting and fun filled day Autism Speaks U had at their first "Gobble till you Wobble Event" in 2015!

Gobble Til You Wobble making snacks activity

Gobble Til You Wobble staff

On April 2, 2016 Misericordia chapter of Autism Speaks U honored World Autism Awareness Day by assisting at the Autism Family Fun Day at the Pittston YMCA.

Dr. Lori Charney, OTR/L is the group faculty advisor. Please contact her with any questions at 570-674-3330 or email at

Misericordia University students hosted an Autism Speaks U Sensory Winter Wonderland to raise awareness for Autism Speaks on Sunday, Dec. 3 from in Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall at Misericordia University.

Clinics and Camps

Speech-Language and Hearing Center

Contact: Tracey O'Day
Phone: (570) 674-6724
Fax: (570) 255-3375

Our Speech-Language and Hearing center treats both children and adults with a variety of challenges, including autism. Click on the link above to learn more about the services provided at the center.


Occupational Therapy Clinics

Contact: Dr. Orley Templeton, OTR/L

Phone: 570-674-8154


Please click on the links below to see the programs being offered during the summer of 2017.

OT Sensory Social Group Summer 2017

Summer 2017 Sensory Social Camp
Contact: Dr. Lori Charney, OTR/L,
Phone: 570-674-3330

Dates: July 10 - 28, 2017

Monday - Friday 9am-11am

Autism center tarp game

Sensory social camp is held at Misericordia University in the Occupational Therapy (OT) labs during the month of July. It comprises 15 OT treatment sessions where children with autism are encouraged to learn good social skills and strategies to deal with their sensory challenges. The group incorporates a fun, play-based environment that embeds the challenge to the student to use pro-social behaviors throughout each activity. (Child is taught a social skill and is required to use that skill throughout the camp, as each social skill builds upon the next). The group atmosphere allows the children to learn from one another as well as build friendships with each other.

Each session begins with learning and trying out a social skill with the group through a fun activity. Then, the children complete a “sensory obstacle course” where they complete gross motor activities and sensory challenges. Next, they complete a “sensory craft” such as making weighted animals, scented beans, colored rice, calm down jars, etc. Throughout the entire camp, they complete 15 different sensory crafts which they compile into a “sensory toybox” to take home or to school. Parents are invited to attend the final session of camp where they will be educated in the use of each item to assist them with their child’s sensory challenges. Each session ends with a “sensory snack” where the children learn about tolerating different textures in their mouth and proper snacks to choose in order to help the child be more alert and focused.

Children learn how to:

  • talk to a friend appropriately.
  • ask a friend to play a game.
  • encourage friends during game play.
  • identify their own emotions, as well as those of their peers.
  • “stop, think and make good choices” when they are upset.
  • use sensory strategies to be more alert and focused.
  • Improve their ability to follow multi-step directions.
  • choose good methods to calm their emotions when they become upset.
  • maintain an appropriate topic of conversation with a friend.
  • reduce restrictive repetitive behaviors (known as stimming).
  • reduce sensory aversions.
  • use sensory strategies at home, in the community, and at school.

Summer Transition Experience for Students with Autism

Contact: Frank Mariano


Phone: 570-674-8200


Monday thru Friday: 9AM - 12PM


Adolescents and Young Adults aged 16-21 on the Autism Spectrum of Disorders and currently enrolled in school.

Program Focus:

The primary focus of the program is to provide adolescents and young adults on the ASD with the skills they need to successfully transition to adulthood and the work environment.

The Autism Center at Misericordia University recognizes that the greatest barriers people on the ASD face in obtaining and maintaining employment are social skills, communication skills, and the inability to self-advocate. Emphasis on these critical skills will be presented.

Program Goals:

Interaction and experiences will be provided in a number of integrated, natural settings rather than only in the classroom and will emphasize:

  • Social Interaction skills in natural settings
  • Communication skills in natural settings
  • Self-advocacy across settings

Classes and Staffing:

  • Limit of 12 students per class
  • Administered by Certified Supervisor of Special Education
  • Certified Special Education teachers
  • Staffed with aides and volunteers.

Summer reports will be provided to parents and sending school districts.

Community Resources and Partners

please follow this link.Autism Center crafts activity

Local and National Resources

NBC News Report:

New government survey finds 1 in 45 children 3 or older have been diagnosed with autism.

The Liv with Autism Foundation

  • area support group
  • links to local activities for families
  • online lending library

Autism Safe

  • local support groups for families
  • offers social opportunities for children and teens with autism
  • swim classes

Autism Speaks

Autism Society

  • facts about Autism
  • research
  • tips for keeping a person with Autism “safe and sound”
  • tips for first responders

MU Speech Clinic

Centers for Disease Control

  • description of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • printable resources
  • current research
  • prevalence of ASD

National Autism Association

  • parental concerns/family support groups
  • resources for families whose children elope/wander
  • sound sensitivity resources
  • autism and wandering guides for first responders

Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation

  • leading researchers in sensory processing disorders
  • educational materials for families and professionals
  • parental support

Click here for information about the Graham Academy.

Distinguished Speakers (Autism) Lecture Series

On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, Kerry Magro will be coming to our campus to speak. The Autism Center will be hosting the event.
To see more on Kerry Magro, click here.

Contact Us

Autism Center bubble activity

Most of the services of the Autism Center at Misericordia University have specific, individual contact information for each service. Please consult the links in each section for information. Persons with general questions may email us at

Autism Center Advisory Board

The Autism Center has recruited members of the community, university personnel, parents, and school and treatment professionals to form the Autism Center Advisory Board.

Lori Charney, OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy

Kaitlyn Clarke

Frank Mariano

Christa Lese Martin, PhD, FACMG

Director and Senior Investigator

Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute

Geisinger Health System

Margaret Neville

Kathy Scaler-Scott, PhD, CCC-SLP

Associate Professor, Speech-Language Pathology

Elaina DaLomba, PhD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy


Additional Resources/ Conferences

Autism Center crafts activity

Luzerne and Wyoming Counties MHDS (Early Intervention/ BHRS)

All Ages:
Information and Referral 570.825.9441

Developmental Case Management Services570.826.3030
Help Line (24-hour service)570.829.1341
Help Line (24-hour service) toll free888.829.1341
For ChildrenServicesPhone
HazletonNortheast Counseling Services570.455.6385
NanticokeNortheast Counseling Services570.735.7590
Wilkes-BarreChildren's Service Center570.825.6425
TunkhannockChildren's Service Center570.836.2722
For AdultsServicesPhone
HazletonNortheast Counseling Services570.455.6385
NanticokeNortheast Counseling Services570.735.7590
Wilkes-BarreCommunity Counseling Services570.552.6000
TunkhannockCommunity Counseling Services570.836.2722

Lackawanna/ Susquehanna Counties MH/DS- Lackawanna/Susquehanna BH/ID/EI Programs
Jeremy Yale
507 Linden St 8th Fl
Scranton, PA
(570) 346-5741

Service Coordinators
  • Scranton Counseling Center
  • NHS of Northeastern PA

Mercyhurst Conference on Autism in Higher Education

Where: Bayfront Convention Center in Erie, PA

When: Nov 1-2, 2016

"The primary purpose of this conference is to disseminate information in the spirit of collaboration to continue to enhance the quality or services and resources, especially for adults on the autism spectrum attending college".

Click here for more information on the Mercyhurst Conference.

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