Assemblymember McMahon Presents The Summit Center with $200,000 for Autism Assessment and Treatment

NYS Assemblymember Karen M. McMahon (D-Amherst) presented The Summit Center with $200,000 in state funding on Wednesday for the Center for Autism Assessment and Treatment. The center provides alternative learning experiences for Western New York children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental and learning disabilities.

“As an attorney who represented parents of students with disabilities in education matters, I know how difficult it can be to secure the appropriate programs and services for children with individualized needs,” said Assemblymember McMahon. “This funding will go a long way in ensuring The Summit Center can provide critical services to children and young adults with disabilities for decades to come. I’m proud to have secured this funding for such an impactful organization.”

The Center for Autism Assessment and Treatment (CAAT) is part of Phase II of The Summit Center’s Building Hope Capital Campaign. The $2.4 million project will provide a specialized, out-patient setting for children and young adults with autism who demonstrate severe behavior challenges, often including high rates of self-injury and aggression. The Center will be the first of its kind in Western New York.

When completed, the 15,000-square-foot center will include five new classrooms, four specialized treatment rooms, a kitchen, and a multipurpose room that will act as a gym and cafeteria. The CAAT will connect to Summit Academy’s 165 Creekside Drive location to create a campus-like environment.

“There are currently a very small number of specialized settings in New York State to support children with autism who exhibit severe challenging behaviors, so they are often hospitalized or placed out of state for treatment,” said Stephen R. Anderson, Ph.D., Summit’s Chief Executive Officer. “The Center for Autism Assessment and Treatment will provide a safe place to better understand a child’s behavior, develop a plan to address it, and help the child and family have a better quality of life. We are incredibly grateful for Assemblymember Karen McMahon’s generous support of this project, which will improve the lives of Western New York children with autism and their families.”

“The Center for Autism Assessment and Treatment will have a profound impact on the lives of children and young adults with autism, as well as their families, by providing intensive, effective treatment to modify severe behaviors,” said Dr. Amy L. Jablonski, Vice President of Education and Behavioral Health at The Summit Center.

“On behalf of WNY parents whose children are severely affected by autism, I want to thank Assemblymember McMahon for recognizing the importance of this project and securing critical funding for The Summit Center’s Center for Autism Assessment and Treatment,” said Mark E. Brand, Esq., President and CEO, ACSI - Actuarial Consulting Services, Inc., and President of The Summit Center’s Board of Directors.