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.
Tiffiny Rooney, President
Tiffiny Rooney is a Registered Nurse with 30 years of experience in Nursing, in the areas of Home Health, Homebased Primary Care, Case Management, Telehealth, and Education. She earned a master’s degree in Nursing from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. In her present position she is responsible for leading change in the growth, compliance, and meeting the educational needs of a large 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, ME.
Christina Nason, Vice President
Christina Nason has an associate degree in early childhood education and an associate degree in business management. She graduated from Casco Bay College in Portland Maine in 1999. She worked in the early childhood education field until 2002 when she and her husband chose for her to stay home and raise their children. In 2010 she started to home school both her boys for 6 years before they reentered the public school system. Christina started working at the high school last year as a sub and ended the year as an Ed Tech, which she will continue doing for the 2018-2019 school year. Christina finds it rewarding to help these high school students with her personal knowledge from having a child with special needs. Christina is always working hard to get service for her oldest child who is on the spectrum and has other medical diagnoses. Christina lives in Norway Maine, her childhood home town, with her husband and their two boys, 16 and 14.
Joshua Nash, Treasurer
Joshua Nash graduated from the University of Maine with a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Information Systems. Josh has worked for the University of Maine and the Department of Justice. He is currently employed by Camden National Bank as a Senior Vice President and the Director of Technology. Nash is a former Division I athlete with multiple family members on the spectrum. Mr. Nash lives in Herman.
Bobbi-Jo Doucette, Secretary
Bobbi-Jo Doucette is happiest when she is able to make an impact for the greater good. After leaving a profession in healthcare, her current employer, TD Bank, offers a healthy balance of work, life, and volunteerism, including hands-on volunteering, planning events, as well as fundraising for several nonprofits. As a mom of a with a son with high functioning Autism, Bobbi-Jo is excited to contribute not only to the needs of this amazing group, but also effect change and put forward the needed support to families, friends, coworkers, and classmates of those who are Autistic. Ms. Doucette hopes by giving of her time to the Autism Society of Maine she can use what she's learned to help educate and advocate for all in need. Ms. Doucette resides in Gray with her three young boys, two dogs, and a cat.
Jennifer Brooking's education and experience is in Early Childhood Education. Jennifer worked several years as a preschool teacher in New Hampshire before moving to Maine. Currently, she teaches dance at a Portland public school and is the Facilitator of a school recognized Special Education parent group in her children's school district. Jennifer is an active advocate for her children's needs and for individuals and families that are touched by autism. Jennifer lives in Cape Elizabeth with her husband and their three children, two of who are on the Autism Spectrum.
Malarie Clark is a registered nurse with almost 10 years of experience; she currently works for a large healthcare system in Maine. She holds an associates degree in nursing, a bachelor's degree in applied science and has almost completed her bachelor's degree in nursing. She chose to join the board of directors as she is passionate about autism spectrum disorder advocacy and awareness. Her son is five years old and was diagnosed with autism; he is non-verbal and utilizes a "talker" (augmentative and alternative communication) to communicate with his family and friends. She wishes to use the knowledge and resources she has gained to help other families and individuals with autism, especially those searching and struggling to obtain services.
J. Richardson Collins
J. Richardson (Jay) Collins is a former Autism Society Board Director, having served terms as Vice President and President as well as serving as chair of the Legislative Committee. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Special/Elementary Education and Psychology, and Masters of both Theological Studies and Social Work. Jay previously was as a Research Associate at University of Maine’s Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS), the SPIL* Coordinator for Maine’s Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), and a Disability Resource Coordinator (DRC) for Maine’s Disability Employment Initiative (DEI). He also worked as a consultant to the Autism Research Institute (ARI), serving as Managing Editor of the Adults with ASD eBulletin. He served as a contributing author and editorial team member for the development of the AGI Daily Living/Residential Skills Curriculum & Training for Direct Support Providers to Adults with Autism, and is co-author of the training curriculum Quality Employment Practices for Supporting Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Before working in the areas of research and systems change, his experience was in direct service delivery, first as a public-school special educator and then, as a case manager in adult social services. Prior board/council work includes governor appointments to the Maine Developmental Services Oversight and Advisory Board (MDS OAB) and the Maine State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), serving terms as Vice Chair and Chair as well as its representative on the Employment First Maine (EFM) Coalition and the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). He currently continues his involvement as a community participant at the MDS OAB and Coalition for Housing and Quality Services (CHQS) meetings. He also currently is a Temple Beth El (Augusta) Board member, serving on the Civil Rights Team and as Civic Engagement Workgroup coordinator. His work is informed by his own experience as an autistic adult with co-occurring conditions. When not working, Jay likely may be found watching anything Star Trek. Jay lives in Augusta with his service dog, Rachel, and cat, Murphy. (*Statewide Plan for Independent Living)
Richard 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.
Richard and his wife live in Portland . They are fortunate to have their children and grandchildren living in Portland as well.
Scott MacCallum is a technologist with over twenty years of information and communications technology experience in the nonprofit sector. Described as someone with a teacher’s patience, he enjoys teaching others about complex technology topics. In his free time, he likes learning about how things work, tinkering, making, and participating in citizen science. As an individual with an adult autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, he has made it a priority to help others on the spectrum by offering encouragement and mentorship. He lives in Scarborough, Maine with his wife, three children, two cats, and a dog.
Brigid 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.
Kim Webber graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a B.S. in Communication, and earned her MBA from Southern New Hampshire University. A marketing professional for over twenty years, she is presently employed as an Account Executive with Ethos Marketing & Design in Westbrook. Kim is also a Board Member for Fiddlehead Center for the Arts in Scarborough. She resides in Scarborough with her husband and two young boys. Kim joins our board eager to contribute her time to a cause close to her heart, and with a desire to become a more educated parent for her boys, both who have been diagnosed with high functioning Autism.
Jonathan (Jon) Youde
Jonathan Youde graduated from the University of Maine at Augusta and earned a Bachelors Degree in Public Administration. Since graduation has Jon has been employed by the Maine Municipal Bond Bank operating an energy purchasing program. Jon lives in Hallowell with his wife and is the parent of a young adult with Autism.