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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 April 2020, we have raised $5 million in total campaign gifts & pledges toward our goal. 

Our Goal

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

Day Treatment CorridorWith 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.

GymCampaign 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

Honorary Co-Chairs
Judy & Leonard Lauder               

Co-Chairs
Wendi O'Donovan
Nancy Pond

 

 

Members
Ann Dalton*
Tami Goldsmith
Suellen Griffin
Cathy Honeycomb*
Robert Levine
Susie Marshall
Rich Petersen
Lauren & Lou Primmer               

  
Laura Schaeffer
Matthew Siegel, MD         
Erin Soucy
Cornell Stinson
Lucy Tucker
Michelle Zichella

*committee chairs

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You can Help!

Please consider supporting our campaign with a generous gift. 
If you are interested in learning more or making a gift, please contact:
Michelle Zichella
Vice President of Development
207-661-6100.

 

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.
 

Lead Benefactors

Commitments of $1 Million or more
Anonymous
Jim & Marilyn Simons

Commitments of $500,000 – $999,999
Anonymous
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
Anonymous
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
Anonymous
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
Mike Currie
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
Frederick Pape
David Wah

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