Our History
NAVIGATION

 

When May Institute was founded in 1955, little was known about autism.

Children with autism and other special needs were often institutionalized for life. Our founders, Dr. Jacques May and his wife, Marie Anne, had twin boys with autism and a vision of enabling their sons, and children like them, to lead the fullest lives possible. To achieve that goal, they opened a small school in Chatham, Mass.


Dr. and Mrs. May dedicated themselves to this community-based school where they would advance the quality of care for these children, and countless others to follow. The Mays developed the foundation for our organization today.

Today, May Institute is an award-winning national nonprofit organization that serves children and adults with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities, brain injury and neurobehavioral disorders, and other special needs at more than 140 locations across the country.
 

May Institute now operates five special education schools and provides early intervention, home-based, and school consultation services that meet the needs of hundreds of children on a daily basis across the country.

The organization also offers a full range of services for adults of all ages with developmental disabilities including day programs, vocational training, and community-based living.

A Period of Growth

Since 1997, the May has more than doubled in size, with annual revenues increasing from $42M to $123M. It has increased its staff from 1,265 to more than 2,000, and expanded its programming to include service locations in more than a dozen states. Today, we provide evidence-based services to thousands of individuals and their families each year.

In addition to its leadership role in providing high quality clinical services, May Institute has also been instrumental in helping shape both perception and policy affecting individuals with special needs.

In 2005, May Institute established the National Autism Center (NAC) at May Institute, and spearheaded NAC’s dissemination of national standards for effective educational and behavioral interventions in the treatment of autism. As NAC marked its 10th anniversary in 2015, it released Phase 2 of its National Standards Project. These standards represent the most comprehensive review ever completed, and have been downloaded from the Center’s website by individuals from every state in the U.S., as well as from more than 70 countries.

An active center of research and training, May Institute maintains affiliations with 50 universities, hospitals, and human service agencies worldwide. Staff members have authored hundreds of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and books, and have delivered thousands of presentations to regional, national, and international audiences.

Highlights of May Institute’s history
 

 

1955

Opens first school for children with autism in Chatham, Mass.

1978

Appoints Walter P. Christian, Ph.D., as Executive Director; Dr. Christian led the organization for 35 years, until his retirement in 2012

1983

Partners with Children’s Hospital (Boston) in pioneering home-based early intervention services for children with autism and their families

1987

Opens homes for adults with disabilities as an alternative to institutional care

1988

Named one of the nation’s “Schools of Excellence” by the U.S. Department of Education

1992

Pioneers one of the nation’s first schools exclusively for children and adolescents with brain injury

1993

Establishes mental health services division

1994

Opens first early intervention program for young children in South Hadley, Mass.

1997

Featured in the book In Search of America’s Best Nonprofits (Jossey-Bass)

1998

Selected as state-wide specialty provider in Massachusetts for intensive early intervention specialty services

2000

Implements Positive Schools program in multiple urban school districts

2003

Opens new May Center School in West Springfield, Mass., for children with autism and other special needs

2004

Selected as the Northeast Regional Partner to the National Technical Assistance Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a Center funded by the U.S. Department of Education

2004

Expands Florida residential services to include adults with developmental disabilities

2005

Receives the Outstanding Training Program Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT)

2005

Founds the National Autism Center to support effective, evidence-based treatment approaches for autism

2005

Opens new May Center School for children with autism and other special needs in Woburn, Mass.

2005

Opens new state-of-the-art campus and May Center School for children with autism and other special needs in Randolph, Mass.

2006

Establishes West Coast division by welcoming The Bay School in Santa Cruz, Calif., as the newest May Center school for children with autism and other special needs

2007

Receives the Award for Enduring Programmatic Contributions in Behavior Analysis from the Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Analysis (SABA)

2007

Opens Southeast Regional Autism Center in Columbus, Ga., to serve Army families at Fort Benning and surrounding areas

2009

National Autism Center completes the National Standards Report - the most   comprehensive analysis of treatments for ASD ever published

2009

Opens new autism center in North Carolina to serve military and civilian families

2009

Newest Day Habilitation program for adults with special needs opens in Massachusetts

2010

The U.S. Government’s Combined Federal Campaign names May Institute as a beneficiary

2010

National Autism Center publishes manual for educators, Evidence-Based Practice and Autism in the Schools.

2011

National Autism Center publishes autism manual for families

2011

Opens new autism center in Savannah, Ga., to serve military and civilian families

2012

May Center school in Randolph, Mass., opens the Todd Fournier Center for Employment Training and Community Inclusion

2013

Appoints Dr. Lauren C. Solotar as President and Chief Executive Officer

2013

Opens new autism center in the Washington D.C., area to serve military and civilian families

2015

May Institute celebrates its 60th anniversary.

2015

The National Autism Center completes the National Standards Project, Phase 2 - a new review of autism interventions across the lifespan

2015

The National Autism Center at May Institute publishes Evidence-based Practice and Autism in the Schools, 2nd Edition

2015

May Institute receives a bequest of nearly $900,000 from the estate of the late Janet Wright Charlton O'Connor; establishes first endowment fund.

2016

In collaboration with Work, Inc., May Institute opens the Center for Integrated Adult Autism Services.

2016

May Institute launches its Shared Living Program, a residential option for adults with autism, intellectual disabilities, or acquired brain injury.

2016

Named number 26 on The Commonwealth Institute’s 2016 list of Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts.

2016

The National Autism Center at May Institute is selected by the US. State Department for the International Speaker Program.

2017

The May Center School for Children with Autism and Developmental Disabilities in Woburn, Mass., expands and moves to Wilmington, Mass.

2017

The May Center School for Children with Autism and Developmental Disabilities in West Springfield, Mass., moves to a new, expanded facility on Capital Drive.

2017

Named number 17 on The Commonwealth Institute’s 2017 list of Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts.