The Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders Campaign
Maine Behavioral Healthcare’s Center of Excellence Campaign will fund the construction of a new 28,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility located on the campus of Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook, Maine. Through this project we will transform our current Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders into a Center of Excellence that will provide evidence-based care to create measurable improvement in the lives of our patients and their families, engage in research to advance the field, and train graduate students to create the next generation of providers. This new facility will enable us to expand our programs to reach the full lifespan of our patients, including toddlers and adults.
To make this vision reality, our campaign is raising $7.35 million of the building’s overall $14.7 million project cost, matching the $7.35 million of funding from MaineHealth. Launched in February 2019 with $2 million in initial gifts, our community has stepped forward to form a cabinet of volunteer campaign leaders whose support and guidance have advanced our fundraising significantly. As of September 2020, we have raised $6.04 million in total campaign gifts & pledges toward our goal.
In June we held a virtual groundbreaking celebration that included a special message from Senator Susan Collins and virtually attended by nearly 100 community members, legislators, parents of children with autism or a developmental disorder, campaign supporters, media and others.
A primary goal of the Center of Excellence campaign is to build a home for the many needed services for Maine people with Autism and Developmental Disorders. New and expanded services made possible through our building campaign will include:
- Child and adult outpatient clinics
- Preschool and early intervention in-home services
- Child day treatment
- Child and adult intensive outpatient treatment programs
The Building Project
With completion anticipated in the summer of 2021, the new building has been intentionally designed to provide the best environment for people with autism and developmental disorders. Special nooks and cubbies in hallways, waiting rooms and classrooms provide spaces to retreat and take a break. Warm wood design accents and primary colors bring a sense of nature and playfulness inside. Visual communication elements, including pictures and graphics, provide support for orientation and comprehension. Light is thoughtfully filtered through the building with a combination of natural and controlled lighting, enabling adjustment to different sensory needs.
Similarly, sound is managed with dampening systems to maximize comfort, and built-in observation rooms, behavioral treatment rooms and sensory treatment rooms offer ideal therapeutic spaces. An indoor gym and outdoor playgrounds, sized to different developmental levels, provide physical learning spaces. A life skills room, complete with a grocery checkout area, kitchen and serving table, and barber, phlebotomy and dental chairs provide the opportunity to practice critical life skills in a safe controlled setting to increase success in the community.
Advanced technologies, including state-of-the-art remote sensing technologies turn our classrooms and clinic spaces into living laboratories, where individuals can participate in our innovative research during the course of their regular treatment activities. A dedicated lab space, for blood draws, EKG’s and medical exams, with appropriate visual and behavioral supports, allows individuals to practice and master the essential skills of tolerating minor medical procedures. Finally, our staff will have a dedicated break space with kitchen, learning library, outdoor patio and a training and conference room in order to maintain their skills and energy.
Campaign Volunteers & Benefactors
None of this would have been possible without the tireless commitment and support of our Campaign Cabinet. These volunteer leaders and benefactors have helped lead the amazing progress our campaign has had to date. Through their effort, we have been reaching out to our friends and neighbors who understand the importance of providing access and support to the patients and families who so desperately need our help. Together we are ensuring that children and adults with developmental disorders can achieve their greatest potential. We thank this extraordinary group of leaders for their early partnership with us and most generous support.
Campaign Cabinet Members
Matthew Siegel, MD
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.
Lead BenefactorsCommitments 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
News coverage of the Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders:
January 19, 2020: New autism center in Portland will aid underserved population
January 23, 2020: Our View: Autism center would fill a treatment void
May 5, 2020: State of the art autism center coming to Portland