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ASERT Collaborative


The ASERT Collaborative is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations (BSASP), Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. The mission of the ASERT Collaborative is to innovate, collaborate, and lead to improve access to quality services, data, and information; to provide support, training and education in best practices; and to facilitate the connection between individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, and special populations, families and key stakeholders at local, state, and national levels.

Please visit or follow us on Twitter @ASERT_PAautism and Facebook @ASERTPAautism to learn more about the ASERT Collaborative. Specific questions or training requests can also be emailed to

Ongoing Projects

  • AID in PA: AID in PA is a resource collection for Pennsylvanians in the autism and intellectual disability communities. A joint effort between ASERT (Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training) and the statewide HCQUs (Health Care Quality Units), this site is designed to connect individuals with disabilities, families, professionals, and community members with resources that can best serve them in different situations including the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information visit:
  • Justice System Resources and Training: Since 2014, the ASERT Collaborative has trained Justice System Professionals to increase the knowledge base and awareness of ASD. ASERT offers free trainings that are tailored to the specific audience. ASERT has also created various resources for Justice System Professionals that coincide with the training. For more information visit:
  • Statewide Resource Center and Website: Through the toll-free number, individuals, professionals, families, and community members can contact the ASERT Resource Center and get connected with a Resource Specialist who can provide access to available resources by region and statewide. To contact a Resource Specialist, call 877-231-4244 or email The website is a central resource for families, providers, community members, and self-advocates, and allows you to access a broad array of information to help meet the needs of those living with or serving people with autism via the Internet. The website is an integral part of ASERT’s effort to broaden outreach to individuals with and affected by autism. The website hosts an online resource database and is continually updated with news, events, and trainings.
  • Data Analysis: The Pennsylvania Autism Census and Pennsylvania Autism Needs Assessment data can be customized and catered data requests are available. Contact to request specific data or reports.
  • The Pennsylvania Autism Needs Assessment: The 2017 Pennsylvania Autism Needs Assessment is a follow up to the 2011 Pennsylvania Autism Needs Assessment. The information collected will help stakeholders across Pennsylvania to better understand and work to address the changing needs of individuals impacted by autism. The Pennsylvania Autism Needs Assessment seeks to understand the needs of people with autism and their families as this population continues to grow and change. A website with interactive data dashboards and reports can be accessed here:
    • Select Publications:
      • Turcotte, P., Shea, L.L. & Mandell, D. J (2018). School Discipline, Hospitalization, and Police Contact Overlap Among Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 48: 883.
      • Turcotte, P., Mathew, M., Shea, L. L., Brusilovskiy, E., & Nonnemacher, S. L. (2016). Service Needs Across the Lifespan for Individuals with Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(7):2480-9.
      • Turcotte, P., & Shea, L. (2020). Physical health needs and self-reported health status among adults with autism. Autism, 1362361320971099.
      • Song, W., Shea, L., Nonnemacher, S. L., Brusilovskiy, E., Townley, G., & Salzer, M. S. (2021). Community Participation Comparison Between Adults on the Autism Spectrum and Adults in the General Population. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1-12.
      • Shea, L. L., Verstreate, K., Nonnemacher, S., Song, W., & Salzer, M. S. (2021). Self-reported community participation experiences and preferences of autistic adults. Autism, 1362361320987682.
      • Koffer Miller, K. H., Becker, A., Cooper, D., & Shea, L. (2021). Justice system interactions among autistic individuals: A multiple methods analysis. Crime & Delinquency.
      • Song, W., Salzer, M. S., Nonnemacher, S. L., Koffer Miller, K., & Shea, L. L. (2022). Living arrangements and community participation among autistic adults: Exploring the possible influences of living alone or with others. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 124, 104213.
      • Koffer Miller, K. H., Cooper, D., Song, W. & Shea, L. (2022). Self-Reported Service Needs and Barriers Reported by Autistic Adults: Differences by Gender Identity. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 
      • Song, W., Shea, L., Nonnemacher, S. L., Brusilovskiy, E., Townley, G., & Salzer, M. S. (2022). Community participation comparison between adults on the autism spectrum and adults in the general population. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 52(4), 1610-1621.

Completed Projects

  • Pennsylvania Autism Census: In 2005, the Bureau of Autism Services within the PA Department of Human Services commissioned an administrative census of the number of individuals with autism receiving services in Pennsylvania. The 2014 Pennsylvania Autism Census Update was released in fall 2014 by the PA Department of Human Services, led by the ASERT Collaborative. The Pennsylvania Autism Census is an administrative count of the number of individuals who are receiving services in public service systems. The 2014 PA Autism Census Update used data from multiple Pennsylvania systems. The full report, previous report, and a clickable map by county are available at
  • Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP) and Adult Autism Waiver (AAW) Focus Groups: The Bureau of Autism Services (BAS) commissioned the ASERT Collaborative to conduct a series of focus groups in 2013-2014 to engage the two current BAS programs: the Adult Autism Waiver (AAW) and the Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP). ASERT facilitated focus groups with individuals who directly interact with these programs including: individuals with autism, families, service providers, and program administrators. Through these focus groups ASERT gathered detailed knowledge about their experiences with AAW and ACAP. The results of this project informed program planning and helped to bridge program engagement with BAS, ASERT and service providers. Results of this initiative were communicated to individuals and families through community meetings and a formal report. In late 2015, ASERT conducted a second round of ACAP focus groups to learn if and how program experiences have changed since the first focus groups.
    • Select Publications:
      • Koffer Miller, K.H., Mathew, M., Nonnemacher, S., & Shea, L.L. (2018). Program experiences of adults with autism, their families, and providers: Findings from a focus group study. Autism 22(3). 345-356.
  • State Policy Summit: Innovations in Adult Programming: The inaugural Policy Summit: Innovations in Adult Programming, sponsored by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT) was held in Philadelphia in March 2016. The Policy Summit brought together experts from across the United States who specialize in programs and policy development and implementation for adults with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, other developmental disabilities, and mental health diagnoses. The purpose of the Policy Summit was to bring these experts and policy leaders together to discuss ways to address pressing issues faced by policy and decision-makers and to generate new ideas in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia based on the experiences of experts from around the country. For more information visit:
  • Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) Module Training Series: All Behavioral Health-Managed Care Organizations and providers enrolled in the Medical Assistance (MA) Program who provide behavioral health rehabilitation services (BHRS) to children under age 21 must obtain training and certification from Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuses Services (OMHSAS). This includes the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations: Office of Developmental Program (BSASP: ODP) Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) Training. The ASERT Collaborative, in collaboration with BSASP: ODP, has developed web-based FBA training modules that will build capacity, reach a larger audience, ensure content comprehension and retention of training material, and ensure a level of competency verify ability of the practitioner after training, and measure practitioners’ ability to maintain fidelity & track effectiveness of the training itself. To access the training visit: