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 to 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 other's 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 – 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 – Information Specialist Program, Summer Camp, and Family Retreat. We are currently located at 72B Main Street, Winthrop, ME.
Members of ASM Board of Directors
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.
Laurie Raymond, President
Laurie Raymond is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Bachelor and Masters degree in social work, both from the University of Maine at Orono. Her professional experience includes work in a variety of settings: schools, hospitals, home care, case management, residential treatment, outpatient services, adult developmental services and juvenile corrections in Maine and Arizona. After working in social work for nearly three decades, Laurie recently joined the Maine LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders) Program to update and enhance her understanding of neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and evidenced-based interventions for individuals and families. By taking this time to study with experts around our state, attend various specialty clinics, Laurie hopes to be a stronger advocate and clinician. Additionally, Laurie now is providing clinical supervision to a school district in Western Maine. She is a parent of an adult son with autism and resides in Portland.
Nancy Ponzetti-Dyer, Vice President
Dr. 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.
Kenneth Huhn, Treasurer
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 has had many healthcare positions including as the Director of Program Development at United Cerebral Palsy of Maine (UCP). In his position at UCP he was 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 currently is with Genesis HealthCare as the Executive Director of Orono Commons, a Skilled Nursing & rehabilitation Facility. Ken has been in the Healthcare sector for 40 years and 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. This committee affords him an opportunity to assist ASM with advocacy. 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 24 & 30 respectively.
Tiffiny Rooney, Secretary
Ms. Rooney is a Registered Nurse with more than 20 years of experience in the Home and Community Nursing field. She earned a Master’s Degree in Nursing from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, and is board
certified in Nursing Case Management. She is presently employed as the Facility Telehealth Coordinator for VA Maine. In this position she is responsible for leading change in the growth, compliance, and
implementation of telemedicine throughout the Veterans Healthcare System in Maine. Throughout her career she has worked with individuals on the Autism Spectrum. She has a family member diagnosed with Asperger’s. Tiffiny lives in Vassalboro.
Ms. Altschuler will graduate from Bates College in 2017 with a B.A. in psychology. At Bates, she coordinates a Friendship Program that she founded for Bates students and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities from the Social Learning Center. She has extensive experience working with individuals with autism in a range of clinical and educational settings, such as working as a counselor at Camp Huntington, a residential summer camp in New York. Passionate about the integration of research and practice and how research can improve the lives of individuals with autism and their families, Melody currently assists with research projects at Bates in the areas of neuropsychology and cognition. She also has research experience at Yale University, Max Planck Institute, and Boston Children’s Hospital. Currently, she is completing an Honors Thesis on the topic of social cognition in school-aged children with autism. After graduating college, Melody plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology, with the ultimate goal of contributing to the field of translational clinical neuroscience research. Melody currently lives in Lewiston.
Ms. Crowley earned a BA from Wheaton College and a MS from Michigan State University. She resides in Portland where she appreciates all the wonderful food and outdoor activities the area offers. Katie currently works as an Early Childhood Special Educator for Child Development Services REACH where she happily supports (plays!) with preschool aged children with special needs. Prior to this position, Katie was employed in various capacities in Social Services as well as Early Care and Education. She held positions as an Assistant Director of In Home Support Services, Childcare Center Program Director and an Adjunct Instructor at a local community college. During the past seven years, Katie has also enjoyed a position with ASM as an Information Specialist. Through these experiences, Katie has firsthand knowledge of how the Autism Society of Maine has provided exceptional outreach to individuals, families and the community at large.
Mr. Farnsworth earned his B.S. degree in Education from The Ohio State University, a Masters in Divinity from Boston University and completed advanced graduate study in organization development at Temple University. He has worked in the field of developmental disability services for over forty years in Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania as well as Maine. He served as Executive Director of Woodfords Family Services in Portland from 1992 until his retirement in 2010. During that time he was very active in the Maine Association for Community Service Providers and served as their first President from 2000 to 2002.
During his career he has served on a number of committees related to the field involving the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. He also served as the Chair of the Pineland Board of Visitors at the time of the closing of that facility. Mr. Farnsworth has taken the cause of people with developmental disabilities to the state legislature by being elected to serve as a State Representative in the 118th, 126th, 127th and 128th legislatures.
Mr. Farnsworth and his wife live in Portland . They are fortunate to have their children and grandchildren living in Portland as well.
Ms. Lapointe began working in Clinton Elementary School as an Education Technician I. She worked with different students with an array of disabilities. She found so much enjoyment in these beautiful children;
she decided this was the path she wanted to journey down. Kerrie enrolled at KVCC and completed an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. After completing the degree, she learned of a new program
being offered at KVCC, Autism Spectrum Disorder Studies. She immediately knew she wanted to be a part of this degree program. She finished as one of the first graduates of the ASD Associates program from
KVCC. She continued to work for MSAD49 at the Clinton Elementary School as an Education Technician II and her work was beginning to focus on students with Autism. Kerrie is currently a Special Education Teacher and teaches kindegarten through fourth grade in a Functional Academics Resource Room for the Westbrook School Department. Kerrie currently resides in Saco with her family.
Mr. Osgood 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. Pike has taught in public education for the past 24 years, in a variety of grades. In all the grades she has taught, there has always been a student that falls somewhere on the spectrum, or a student with a family
member that does. Sherri feels the more she can learn about autism and help make more people aware, the better educator she will be. For the past 19 years she has been teaching at Winthrop Grade School as a teacher
of Early K- Third grade. Prior to this, she taught at the Cottrell School in Monmouth as a Title 1 Teacher. Sherri has taught in Adult Ed and Nursery School as well. She has lived in the Winthrop Community
with her husband for more than 30 years, raising their two daughters here.
Ms. Rankowski is currently finishing up her Master's Degree in Developmental Disabilities with an emphasis in Leadership/Advocacy from Nova Southeastern University. She is an international presenter on Autism, a published
author, an instructor for the Autism Speaks transitions online course, and an in home support worker. As a self-advocate, she spreads the message of positivity and Autism acceptance to everyone she meets. In her other life,
she is a fire spinner in the award winning vaudeville troupe Dark Follies. Brigid resides in Maine.
Ms. Tackett-Nelson is a graduate of University of Maine Augusta with a BA in Social Science, minoring in Behavioral Science. Sarah is currently employed as an Education Technician III/ School Based BHP for Maranacook High School
in the life skills program. Prior to working at Maranacook High School Sarah worked in the same position at the Wayne Regional Autism Program since 2011. Sarah is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Special Education
with a concentration on Applied Behavioral Analysis at University of Maine Farmington. Sarah continues to seek avenues to support the independence of those living with ASD. Sarah lives in Wayne.
Terry Valcourt is a Trial Assistant at the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office and also works as a part time Clerk at the Freeport Police Department. Ms. Valcourt is pursuing her Masters in
Adult Education & Training at St. Josephs College of Maine. She is also a parent to a young adult male on the autism spectrum. Terry lives in Portland.