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Maine Behavioral Healthcare opens new facility

Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders is expected to open in August.

WESTBROOK, Maine — A first-of-its-kind facility is under construction in Westbrook. The facility is aimed at offering physical and mental health resources for children and adults with autism.

Once it opens, it will provide much-needed services to people of all ages with autism, but one aspect organizers are most excited about is how the center will specifically help adults.

"The landscape for adults with autism and developmental disabilities particularly those with emotional and behavioral challenges is pretty bare," Dr. Matthew Siegel said.

The center will provide a number of services including psychiatry, therapy, behavioral treatment, and speech therapy as well as services like dental care and bloodwork.

"Sometimes they struggle to get these services because they really need a place that knows how to provide that in a friendly and safe way for them," Siegal said.

The project started more than a year ago, and managers said they've been able to stay on track despite the hardships of the pandemic.

"With the pandemic, it's been a challenge but we're moving forward. The project seems to be under budget and on schedule," Gus Doughty, the project manager said.

Organizers said they are grateful to the community for making this $15 million project happen. More than $6.7 million was donated by community members and businesses across the state. That donation was then matched by Maine Health.

"Our community stepped forward in an amazing way," Siegal said.

Site officials said they are on schedule to finish and get ready to open in August.