The Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders will transform care in Maine through a lifespan-oriented, full-service, integrated treatment, training and research center to meet the needs of Maine families, train the next generation of providers, and advance autism science for the benefit of all.
Autism is a challenging disorder to live with and to treat. It includes a wide range of symptoms including impaired social skills, repetitive behaviors and communication challenges. A person’s symptoms may be relatively mild, enabling them to live fulfilling lives with minimal support, while others can be quite severe and require ongoing, intensive treatment.
Similarly, other developmental disorders can present a wide range of symptoms and severity. These include people with Down syndrome, Fetal Alcohol syndrome, Intellectual Disability and others. Importantly, people with autism and developmental disorders have high rates of co-occurring psychiatric disorders and can exhibit challenging behaviors such as tantrums, aggression and self-injury. When these emotional and behavioral challenges occur, an expert, coordinated team is needed.
There has been a significant rise in autism and developmental disorders diagnoses over the past two decades. Here in Maine, more than 40,000 people have been diagnosed with either autism or another developmental disorder.
Too often adults with autism and developmental disorders in Maine wind up in emergency departments because there is very limited access to providers with the experience and resources to effectively treat their emotional and behavioral needs. Rather than being able to live in their homes and communities, they progress to increasingly restrictive settings, and sometimes are even sent to live out of state. This untenable situation creates great hardship for families who must travel great distances to see their loved ones.
Developing the future workforce for this population is one of our greatest responsibilities, and the space and concentration of expertise at the Center will allow us to expand our training to include behavior analysts, speech and language therapists, social workers, special education teachers and others.
The new facility will strengthen our ability to conduct cutting-edge research to help improve the lives of those diagnosed with autism and developmental disorders. With additional space and built in advanced monitoring technology, we will be able to use our treatment settings as living laboratories. We will be able to expand our research staff and increase the number of studies to better understand these disorders, and develop new treatment models to help patients achieve their greatest potential.
The Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders campaign seeks to raise more than $7 million to construct a new building to better meet the needs of Maine families. Maine Behavioral Healthcare deeply appreciates the extraordinary generosity of our campaign leadership and lead benefactors who are driving this ambitious campaign forward.
Commitments of $1 Million or more
Jim & Marilyn Simons
Commitments of $500,000 – $999,999
Mr. & Mrs. E. Robert Schaeffer
Commitments of $250,000 – $499,999
The Pond Family Foundation
Laura & Eric Schaeffer
Commitments of $100,000 – $249,999
David & Donna Banks
Catherine & Jeff Honeycomb
Marr-Anderson Family Foundation
Jennifer & Dean Sciaraffa
Commitments of $50,000 – $99,999
Davis Family Foundation
Michael & Denise Dubyak
Langford & Low, Inc.
Lou & Lauren Primmer
Erin & Michael Soucy
Andrea J. Pollack & Adam Usdan
Saco and Biddeford Savings Charitable Foundation
Commitments of $25,000 – $49,999
Joseph F. & Cheryl R. Boulos
Sue & Bill Caron
Dead River Company
Chris & Nini Emmons
Fisher Charitable Foundation
Gorham Savings Bank
Lisa R. & Thomas J. Gorman
Hoehl Family Foundation
Johnny & Susie Marshall
MCF McGoldrick Family Fund
NEXT for Autism
Wendi & Tim O’Donovan
Jane & Richard Petersen
Drs. Emily & Matthew Siegel
Laura & Harry Slatkin
Commitments of $10,000 – $24,999
Tom & Tina Bourdeaux
E4H – Environments for Health Architecture
Tami & Jerry Goldsmith
Huffman Family Foundation
Jennifer Hunt MacLearn & Russell MacLearn
Paul & Irene Kapothanasis
Mary Jane & Jeffrey Krebs
Mr. & Mrs. James McGeever