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​​Merck Summer Therapeutic Inclusion Program For High Functioning Autism

The Merck Summer Therapeutic Inclusion Program offers evidence-based mental health treatment to children ages 5-12 years old with high functioning Autism. This is an inclusive program housed within the Jewish Community Center’s J&R Day Camp. The ongoing collaboration between J&R and the program provides both the children with Autism and their typical peers the opportunity to come together each summer in a fun, safe, structured environment.

Treatment

Designed to fully immerse each child into the camp environment, treatment is highly flexible and provides “in the moment” behavioral coaching based on applied behavior analysis principles. A daily social skills group is provided, as well as, abundant opportunities to practice and learn with typical peers.

The Merck team is committed to approaching each child uniquely and works closely with each child’s family, treatment team and school to determine individualized treatment goals. These goals focus on those skills that enhance social relationships, communication, restricted behaviors, emotional regulation and active participation – all areas known to be generally impaired among children with Autism.

The Merck Summer Therapeutic Inclusion Program is licensed and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and children must meet the following eligibility criteria:

Admission Criteria

Children must reside within Allegheny County and have a diagnosis of Autism (high-functioning).

In addition, children must also meet all of the following to be eligible:

  • Active Medical Assistance
  • Able to safely participate within a 1:4 staff to child ratio
  • Capable of both receptive and expressive conversational skills with same age peers, but may not always use appropriately
  • Fully toilet trained and in underwear
  • Able to physically & mentally tolerate a highly interactive outdoor program for 6 hours per day, 5 days a week

Exclusionary Criteria

  • Demonstrate aggressive or dangerous behavior(s), thus resulting in the need for frequent staff intervention
  • Lack of age-appropriate safety (i.e. bolting, wandering, hiding)
  • Self-stimulatory or self-injurious behavior that interferes with the ability to stay engaged

Acceptance

Your child’s Medical Assistance does not cover the cost for camp. It will cover the Merck therapeutic staff working with your child. The Cost of Camp: We partner with the Jewish Community Center and therefore there is a cost for camp. This is funded by private pay or:

Extended School Year (ESY) – The camp fee may be funded by a child’s ESY. Families should discuss with their school district if their child is eligible for ESY. This determination is generally made during their IEP each year. Note: Families should not assume that ESY is approved for the STIP/JCC program and should discuss this with their IEP team or ESY Coordinator.

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Contact Us

Call: 412-235-5405
Email: toscolanijm@upmc.edu​

Dates of Camp

June -  August (8 weeks)

Hours

9am-3:30pm Monday - Friday

Location

J&R Day Camp in Monroeville, PA

Additional Resources

Merck STIP Application (PDF)​
Merck STIP Brochure (PDF)

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