Ryan O’Donovan and his mother, Wendi, at Ryan’s new apartment. (Photo by John Ewing/Staff Photographer)

Building a Lifetime of Possibility

“We were scrambling all the time to find services for our son Ryan. We didn’t know anybody, and we didn’t know what to do. Thankfully we found Dr. Siegel and his team, who knew how to get into Ryan’s world and bring him out. Today he independently uses the skills he learned to manage his emotions. Establishing a Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders will bring this special help to many more families as their own loved ones grow from very young children to adults. It will give hope for a brighter future.”

Maine Behavioral Healthcare, the leading behavioral health provider in Maine, operates the Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders in South Portland. The Center is led by Matthew Siegel, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs Autism and Developmental Disorders Service, a nationally recognized expert in treating the emotional and behavioral challenges of this population. Employing a team of highly trained, well-respected clinicians, the Center provides compassionate, expert care to patients.

Since opening in 2014, the Center has grown to serve more than 250 patients annually 5 to 20 years old, but cannot meet the significant needs of children under age 5 or adults.

In February 2019, plans were approved for a $14.7 million building project that will become the Center’s new home. The Center of Excellence Building a Lifetime of Opportunity Campaign was launched to raise $7.35 million, matching MaineHealth’s $7.35 million investment to make this vision a reality. The Center’s vision is to provide a full spectrum of care for individuals with autism and other developmental disorders through a multi-disciplinary, evidence-based continuum of care, where families are supported as they help their loved ones achieve their greatest potential.

Co-Chaired by Nancy Pond and Wendi O’Donovan, the campaign has made significant progress with support of an active campaign cabinet that includes honorary co-chairs Judith and Leonard Lauder. The campaign to build the Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders will fund the construction of a new 28,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, which broke ground in June 2020 on the Spring Harbor Hospital campus in Westbrook, Maine. The Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders will transform the existing program into a lifespan-oriented, full service integrated treatment, research and training center to meet the needs of Maine families, generate new treatment models, and advance autism science for the benefit of all. It is scheduled to open in summer 2021.

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