Community Based Services


NHS provides Behavioral Health and Rehabilitation Services (BHRS) specifically for individuals under the age of 21 with an ASD throughout the state of Pennsylvania. BHRS is a 1:1 Medicaid-funded program providing family and child-centered services in various environments to reduce or replace problem behavior with positive, socially appropriate behavior. Services are driven by the psychological evaluation and treatment plan, and progress is monitored through the collection and analysis of data. Services include Behavior Specialist Consultant (BSC), Mobile Therapy (MT), and Therapeutic Staff Support (TSS). These services must be deemed medically necessary by a psychologist.

Stepping Stones

The Stepping Stones is one of the first 1:2 clinically and therapeutically-based programs to be offered to children / adolescents who are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The program was created as an alternative to traditional, more intensive (1:1) in home BHRS services. Staff work with participants in 1:2 ratio, in both the structured group setting and the community setting. The Stepping Stones Program is specialized for children/adolescents ages 3-14 who are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Sessions are grouped by age 3-7 and 8-14. Participation must be deemed medically necessary by a licensed evaluator and may be prescribed a maximum of 15 hours per week. Stepping Stones can be provided in conjunction with BHRS services.
Program Benefits
  • The Stepping Stones Program is supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  • Individualized treatment plans
  • Integration into the local community
  • Outcomes-based treatment
  • Specialized behavioral interventions in Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Daily data collected on individual participant’s progress
  • Written monthly summaries
Target Skill Areas

  • Peer relations
  • Development of compensatory strategies
  • Positive communication
  • Interactive play skills
  • Transitioning
  • Joint attention
  • Social referencing
  • Environmental awareness
  • Increase tolerance to spontaneous events
  • Problem solving
  • Multi-sensory activities
  • Self-awareness
  • Generalizing skills and knowledge
  • Pragmatic language
  • Transfer of skills to the community setting
  • Following multi-step instructions
  • Leadership skills
  • Safety skills

The NHS Stepping Stones Program provides participants with opportunities to transfer learned skills to a new environment. The site-based component of the program is highly structured and allows participants to transition within small peer groups throughout a variety of targeted activities. Interactive play skills are enhanced through participation in large group activities. Community-based activities offer participants the opportunity to generalize their skills across a variety of community settings, as well as increase their tolerance to changes in routine and enhance their safety awareness.

Click here to find a location near you.


Parent/Sibling Support Groups

NHS offers ongoing parent and sibling support groups to families impacted by an ASD. A pertinent topic is chosen each month and facilitated by a Master's level clinician and/or guest speaker. Children's activities are usually provided during these times, led by autism program staff.


The Family Based Mental Health Services (FBMHS) Program is an intensive service provided in the family home and community for children and adolescents up to the age of 21 in jeopardy of being hospitalized or referred to out-of-home placements due to a mental health diagnosis or family challenges. A team comprised of two masters level child mental health professionals or one child mental health professional and a child mental health worker provides intensive in-home therapy, casework services, family support services and 24 hour, 7 day a week availability for crisis stabilization. Services are provided to both the identified child and other family members in order to enhance skills, ensure continuity of care, and reduce out-of-home placement. The FBMHS program provides both formal individual and family therapy sessions.

Specialized Outpatient

NHS provides Specialized Outpatient services for children, adolescents, and adults with an ASD. Treatment approaches can include crisis intervention services, behavior therapy, individual, family and group therapy. This service is designed for children and adolescents who have been successfully discharged from BHRS/Stepping Stones programs, but still require ongoing support to transition from services and to adults who require assistance with social skills.

Adult Services

Adult Autism services are designed for individuals over 16 years of age with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis who require specialized activities designed to enhance skill development and independent living. Promoting independence and self-determination within each individual's daily life are values highly supported by NHS' adult programs.

Individuals with autism may also have a variety of other diagnoses which include developmental and/or physical disabilities. NHS Adult Services provide facility and/or community based support, driven by individual need. Each person, in collaboration with their team, determines their participation in the program. Individualized activities offered to participants provide opportunities for enrichment in all aspects of functional skills relevant to daily living.

Available services:

  • Vocational Training and Job Coaching
  • Transitional Services from adolescence to adulthood
  • Life skills training
  • Sensory Support Services
  • Functional Communication
  • Enhanced Therapy Services
  • Functional Behavioral Assessment
  • Motivational Assessment
  • Multimodal Assessment
  • Individual Treatment Plan


Respite is a support service delivered in the child's primary residence, community or other structured environment. The service is a temporary relief provided to the primary caregiver of a child with mental/behavioral health needs. NHS Human Services' Respite Services are provided by a bachelor level staff person who holds a degree in the mental health, education, psychology or social work field. Staff have completed NHS' extensive training program of 37 hours per year as well as CPR and First Aide. Respite staff identified to work with children diagnosed with an ASD or severe behavioral challenges will be provided specialized training prior to assignment and ongoing support and supervision throughout, to include crisis support. All respite workers have current child line, criminal, and FBI clearances. Primary caregivers do not need to be present in the home for service delivery. Clinical support will be provided by a Master's level clinician who specializes in ASD and behavior. The team will collaborate with other providers involved with the child as needed to ensure continuity of care.

As the need for respite care is not always in the home of a child, community-based respite services can be provided outside of the home with another family child care provider; such as a relative, in a day care setting, at the local community recreational facilities, at summer camps and at recreational events.