Laura and Eric Schaeffer
Freeport, Maine, residents Laura and Eric Schaeffer are the parents of two boys, Andrew (19) and Jack (16). When Andrew began pre-school, it was quickly apparent that a traditional school setting was not going to meet his needs, and he was subsequently diagnosed with high-functioning autism and ADHD.
After several failed attempts to find a program that could meet Andrew’s behavioral and emotional challenges, Andrew was able to transition to a public-school setting for kindergarten after being part of the Reach School’s program utilizing Applied Behavior Analysis. Yet, there were many continuing challenges, both in school and at home, and necessary services were difficult to find and access.
Luckily, the Schaeffers connected with Dr. Matthew Siegel and worked with him for several years to continue therapy in the home and navigate access to services through the IEP process at school. Thanks to the guidance and work of Dr. Siegel and the rest of Andrew’s team, he made tremendous strides and was eventually able to attend a rigorous private school without direct support, and he now attends an Ivy League college.
When the Schaeffers heard about the capital campaign designed to make the Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders a reality, they were quick to lend their support through a generous donation. The fact that many of the talented individuals who made such a difference in Andrew’s development are now a part of the team, such as Colleen Foley-Ingersoll, M.Ed, BCBA, former director of The Reach School, made clear to Laura and Eric that they needed to be involved with this project.
“Laura and I are so excited to see the Center nearing completion as we know how much this will help to fill the acute need for behavioral health services here in Maine,” said Eric. “Accessing these types of services can be such a difficult and stressful process for families and the Center will enable the delivery of those services in a well-designed and more frictionless manner. We cannot wait to see what Dr. Siegel and his team do in the years ahead!”
The Center is designed to serve individuals and their families across their lifespan through a continuum of individualized, multi-disciplinary care, clinical research and professional training. Expert providers work together to focus on the emotional and behavioral needs of people with autism and other development disorders. Learn more about the Center.
We are grateful to the Schaeffers for seeing the value of the Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders by making a major financial commitment to the campaign and to Laura who serves on the campaign’s volunteer Cabinet.