The Autism Society of Maine provides education and resources to support the valued lives of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.
The purposes of the Autism Society of Maine are:
- To promote and advocate for the general welfare of individuals with autism;
- To promote family and community support;
- To help the community develop a better understanding of the problems of individuals with autism;
- To further the advancement of all ameliorative and preventive study, research, therapy, care and cure of individuals with autism;
- To promote the education, training, and vocational opportunities of individuals with autism and to foster the development of integrated care on their behalf;
- To promote the establishment of adequate diagnostic, therapeutic, educational and recreational facilities for individuals with autism;
- To serve as a clearing house for gathering and disseminating information regarding persons with autism and act as a public information and referral service for autism spectrum disorders;
- To further the education and training of parents and professional personnel working with, educating, and caring for individuals with autism.
Autism Society of Maine Options Policy
The Autism Society of Maine promotes the active and informed involvement of family members and the individual with autism in the planning of individualized, appropriate services and supports. Click here tot read the Autism Society of Maine Options Policy.
ASM began as a support group for several parents who had children with autism who were placed in a day program at Mariah Clark School in Hallowell this program was created for children with behavior and communication disorders. The group met monthly to share concerns, experiences, ask and answer each otherís questions, and gain new information. The idea of expanding the group to include parent support groups from other areas (Gardiner, Hallowell, Winthrop, Waterville, Bangor) sprang up. The Spurwink School was also contacted because at that time they had a day program / school for children with autism. We eventually started having speakers from various area programs.
At that time we began our contact with ASA (then known as the National Society for Autistic Children Ė NSAC) and wrote our bylaws so that we could become an affiliated chapter. We first called our chapter the Maine Society of Autistic Children (MSAC) and later the Maine Chapter of the Autism Society of America (MCASA). However, another group in Maine had that same acronym so our name changed again, and we became the Autism Society of Maine (ASM).
We received funding from Developmental Disabilities Council, the State organization which provided funding for programs that served children with developmental disabilities. Initially we used the money to pay for speakers, food, respite for our meetings, and to hold conferences. Later, we wrote a grant to the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Mental Health and Corrections (now known as DHHS). We continued to receive some funding from the Developmental Disabilities Council.
We hired our first Executive Director and moved into our first office in Gardiner. There we evolved into an autism information referral service for the entire State of Maine. Today, we also run several statewide programs Ė Information Specialist Program, Summer Camp, and Family Retreat. We are currently located at 72B Main Street, Winthrop, ME.
Members of ASM Board of Directors
Janine Collins, President
Ms. Collins has a Bachelor’s Degree in Special/Elementary Education and Psychology and a Master’s Degree in both Theological Studies and Social Work. She is a Research Associate at University of Maine’s Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies. Prior to this she was a Special Education Teacher and a Case Manager in Adult Social Services. She is co-author of Quality Employment Practices for Supporting Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She works on a number of projects related to best practices and improving service delivery and is a member of a statewide workgroup reviewing evidence-based practices for the education of individuals with ASD. Her work is informed by her own experience as an adult with ASD. Janine lives in Saco.
Laurie Raymond, Vice President
Ms. Raymond has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Master’s Degree in Social Work – both from the University of Maine, Orono. Laurie has worked as a clinician for several agencies: Home Resources, HealthReach Network, and Tri-County Mental Health Services. She was the Program Director of Spurwink Services in Chelsea. She is currently the Director of Clinical Services at Port Resources in Portland. She is the parent of an adult son with autism. Laurie lives in Portland.
Michael Lamoreau, Treasurer
Mr. Lamoreau has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration – both from the University of Maine, Orono. He recently retired from his position as an auditor for the State of Maine. He facilitates a social group for adults with autism. He is the parent of an adult son on the Autism Spectrum. Mike lives in Manchester.
Deanna graduated from Augusta State University, Augusta, GA earning her BA in Psychology, minor in Biology. She then completed her Graduate Studies in Biochemistry at University of South Carolina. De obtained her RN, MSN status from Raritan Valley Community/Walden University. Since moving to Maine, De has been working at Maine CDC (Center for Disease Control). Ms. Brown is recently, under DHHS-Children’s Behavioral Health Services, a Michelle Garcia Winner Social Thinking Grant recipient. De is extremely active in community services endeavors. Deanna is the parent of two children, both are on the spectrum.
Ms. DiBaise earned an Associateís Degree in Criminal Justice, a Bachelorís Degree in Social Science, a Masterís Degree in General Psychology, and is working on a Doctoral Degree in Educational Psychology. She has worked as an Ed Tech II in Special Education. She is currently a Developmental Therapist and Early Intervention Specialist in private practice. She works with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She lives in Winthrop.
Mr. Duguay graduated from Winthrop High School in 2008. He is enrolled as a student at Kennebec Valley Community College working on his Associates Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology. He plans to become a Speech Pathologist Assistant or an Ed Tech. He has worked at Longfellow’s Greenhouse, Target, and Circuit City. He is an individual on the Autism Spectrum. Jon lives in Winthrop.
Mr. Farnsworth has a Master’s Degree in Education from Ohio State, a Master’s Degree in Divinity from Boston University, and Advanced Graduate Studies in Organization Development from Temple University. He was the Chair of Children’s Services Committee of the Maine Association for Community Service Providers. He has been actively involved in various committees related to Child Development Services at the state level. He recently retired, after 18 years, as Executive Director of Woodford’s Family Services where he had a strong commitment to individuals with disabilities, including autism. Since retiring, he has been serving as a consultant with United Cerebral Palsy of Maine to establish an Autism Society and an Autism Resource Center in Pakistan. Richard lives in Portland.
Mr. Huhn holds a Bachelors degree in business from the University of Akron, a Masters from the Weatherhead School of Business at Case Western Reserve University and has graduate work in Economics at Xavier University. He is the Director of Program Development at United Cerebral Palsy of Maine (UCP). In his position at UCP he is in charge of working with the staff & outside agencies to develop new programs and to enhance the current programs including those dealing with Autism and other developmental disability programs. He has been in the Healthcare sector for 40 years. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Ken is a past Chair of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce where he still sits on the Governmental Affairs Committee. Ken has served on many boards and committees and considers Advocacy, Governmental relations, and Finance his strengths. He resides in Bangor with his two boys 19 & 27 respectively.
Jenna started her career as a child welfare worker in Lewiston/Auburn, and since then, she has invested the last 16 years building stronger systems for children by serving the Mayors of NYC, DC and the Governor of PA as well as the National Children's Alliance. Child welfare and juvenile justice workforce development and system reform have been the focus on much of her work. Five years ago, Jenna's son Jacob was given a PPD-NOS diagnosis, and her advocacy efforts quickly expanded to be inclusive of ASD system and workforce needs. Jenna recently returned to Maine after having most recently served as the executive director of the PA Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Jenna holds an undergraduate degree in women's studies from USM, a master's degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and a certification in non-profit executive leadership from Bryn Mawr College. Jenna, her husband Andrew, and their three children reside in Orono.
Chris is a programmer analyst for the State of Maine. He has worked for DHHS, Secretary of State office, Department of Transportation, and currently Department of Agriculture and Conservation and Forestry.
Chris is very dedicated to a life of trying to give back to the community. As a writer in Central Maine, he has volunteered at local schools to teach Elementary children the art of storytelling. He is also involved in film and has developed a documentary for a local child with spina bifida. The film is being used as an awareness video in the Hall-Dale school system currently. Chris is also teaching a young lady on the spectrum HTML and Web design which he is finding very rewarding. Chris, his wife, and two sons (one who is on the spectrum) live in Hallowell.
Ms. Ponzetti-Dyer graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 1977 and earned her Doctoral Degree in Psychology from Binghamton University in 1986, focusing on Applied Behavioral Analysis. She was Clinical Coordinator for CPC Mental Health Center, Residential Group Home Program in New Jersey, which served children and adolescents with diagnoses of autism. She had a private practice in Winthrop for 10 years and provided treatment for children and families and consultation to schools. In 1999 she joined the staff in Edmund Ervin Pediatric Center at Maine General Medical Center where she provides treatment, evaluation, consultation, and supervision services. For over 20 years she has worked with children diagnosed with Developmental Disabilities, including autism. She lives in Winthrop.
The Autism Society of Maine Board of Directors consists of up to 15 members, 4 are officers. The Board of Directors includes parents, individuals on the spectrum and professionals. This is a volunteer board. The Autism Society of Maine (ASM) holds itís annual meeting to re-elect officers and new board members every September. If you are interested in becoming a board member please download an application.