The Adult Autism Center provides adult autism support and ongoing education that is critical to helping adults with autism reach their full potential and experience the highest possible quality of life. The Adult Autism Center partners with families to help their adult children progress and succeed in their personal goals.Watch our video below to hear from families who have worked with us and how we can help.
The Pingree Center was the first program of its kind created to serve preschool children with Autism Spectrum Disorders back in 1977. It is considered the gold standard of treatment for individuals with autism. The program has expanded over the years and now serves individuals as old as 21. As these children age into adulthood, many of them still need the level of support provided by the services at the Pingree Center.
The Adult Autism Center will be the first of its kind in Utah. It will serve as an extension of the evidence-based treatment we provide at the existing Pingree Center. The services that our adult clients would benefit from are more focused on vocational skills, community integration, increased independence, and daily living skills. The shift in treatment focus and the developmental difference between the age groups currently being served at the existing facility, both show the need for a new campus to be created specifically for adults.
The goal will be increased independence for each client based on their abilities and interests. We will provide access to the community via internships, volunteers, and supported employment opportunities.
This program will provide a place where individuals with significant needs can continue to get quality treatment and work towards independence and increased quality of life.
There are a number of services in the community for adults with disabilities, and even adults with autism, but there is a gap in services for adults with autism who have significant needs. The adults who will be served at this program require 24/7 care and supervision, they have lower cognitive and adaptive abilities, very limited communication skills, and many have severe aggressive and self-injurious behaviors. There are not currently programs of this type with robust and quality services for this specific population. Adults with this level of need age out of educational services at 22 years old and typically at least one parent has to quit their job to be their full-time caretaker because there are not programs for them to go to during the day.
Adults with Autism are unemployed or under-employed
People Aged 15-61 with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Utah.
of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have co-occurring intellectual disabilities
This program will fill a desperate need in the community and will be seen as a flagship program for adults with autism who need significant supports, much like the Pingree Center was a flagship program for preschoolers decades ago. The program will be an extension of the high quality, evidence-based programs we provide through the Pingree Center for children, but it will have a focus specific to serving adults.
The new center will serve the needs of adults requiring a high level of support – those with lower cognitive and communication skills as well as the most challenging behavioral issues. With personalized care and instruction, individuals will learn valuable skills and achieve a higher level of independence.
Heather Davis graduated from Texas A&M University with her Ph.D. in Special Education and is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Heather has spent 18 years of her professional career working with children diagnosed with autism and their families. In her previous role as the Clinical Director of the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning, her focus was to provide on-going staff training to ensure the delivery of high-quality, evidence-based services to meet the individualized needs of each child diagnosed with autism. She is inspired to continue to work in this field by the progress clients demonstrate which helps to improve their quality of life. Hearing individuals speak their first words, gain independent living skills, and demonstrate skills families never thought possible are what drive her to become a better clinician and continue to work with these important members of our community. In her free time, Heather enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her twin girls and husband exploring all the wonderful landscapes of Utah.
Born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado Natalie graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Accounting, a Masters in Business Administration, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education Leadership. Natalie has spent approximately 18 years of her career in the post-secondary education industry as a Campus President/Director for several Proprietary Career Colleges. She enjoys basketball, track, and traveling.