Winthrop, Maine 1-800-273-5200

About - About ASM

Mission Statement

The Autism Society of Maine provides education and resources to support the valued lives of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.

Purpose Statement

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.

Our History

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

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.

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.

Marla DiBiase, Secretary

Ms. DiBiase earned an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science, a Master’s Degree in General Psychology, and is working on a Doctoral Degree in Educational Psychology. She has worked as a BHP, and Program Director for a day treatment program for children with ASD. Marla is currently an Autism Behavior Consultant for Topsham School District. Marla resides in Winthrop.

Melody Altschuler

Ms. Altschuler will graduate from Bates College in 2017 with a B.A. in psychology. She has extensive experience working with individuals on the spectrum and is passionate about improving health care and educational services for those with autism. As Head of Community Service in high school, she oversaw the volunteer program for over 200 students. In addition to coaching the local Special Olympics track team and participating in a variety of therapeutic and social programs for individuals on the spectrum, she worked as a counselor at a special needs camp in New York for two summers, where her own cousin was a camper. As a student at Bates, Melody receives training in leadership and civic engagement as part of the Bonner Leader Program. In addition to volunteering in schools for children with autism, she also coordinates a program that she founded for Bates students to mentor adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. As an ASM Board Member, Melody hopes to spread awareness, lead to legislative change, and inspire other college students to become more involved. Her future goal is to attend graduate school for clinical psychology and, through the integration of research, practice, and policy, become an agent for change in the field of autism research and Advocacy. Melody is currently residing in Lewiston.

Katie Crowley

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 has recently accepted a position with Woodfords Family Services as the Assistant Director of In-Home Support Services. Prior to this position, she was employed in the field of Early Care and Education as an adjunct instructor,program director and special educator. During the past seven years, Katie also enjoyed a position with ASM as an Information Specialist.Through these experiences, Katie has first hand knowledge of how the ASM has provided exceptional outreach to individuals,families and the community at large.

Richard Farnsworth

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.

Lynda Mazzola

Ms. Mazzola is a founding member of the Autism Society of Maine.  She is a past President of Autism Society of Maine Board of Directors.  She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Southern California. She received a Master’s Degree in Speech/Language Pathology from the University of Oregon and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Southern Maine.  She has worked as a Special Education teacher and a Special Services Director.  She is currently in private practice as a Speech-Language Pathologist and Special Education Consultant.  She has extensive experience working with children and adults with autism.  She has a family member diagnosed with Asperger’s.  Lynda lives in Winthrop.

Kerrie Moody

Ms. Moody 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.  She is currently a nontraditional student of the University of Maine at Machias, working to complete her Bachelors Degree with a concentration of Special Education.  Kerrie is currently employed as an Education Technician III / BHP for the Wayne Regional Autism Program.  She will continue to educate herself in the field of Autism. She wants to offer all that she can to all individuals that live with Autism, and their families. She has two children, ages 20 and 16.  Her daughter is a junior at the University of Southern Maine and her son is a junior in high school.  Kerrie currently reside in Fairfield.

Chris Osgood

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.

Sherry Pike

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.

Brigid Rankowski

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.

Tiffiny Rooney

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.

Sarah Tackett-Nelson

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

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.