(Marie Anne is pictured here with one of her twin sons.)
In 1947, the twin sons of Dr. Jacques May and his wife Marie Anne were diagnosed with autism. At the time, it was a devastating diagnosis, and typically resulted in institutionalization for life.
Research, and the burning desire to create a future for their boys, led the Mays to establish the first residential school for children with autism. They bought three buildings on 2.5 acres of land on Cape Cod for $3,000, and the center opened in 1955 with 37 students — including their sons.
The Mays wrote that "It takes more than patience, more than knowledge, more than good will, more than excellence of stamina, more than a sunny disposition, more than education. It takes a total and complete involvement with the child while you are with the child, it takes a special sensitivity to the needs of others, it takes an extraordinary kind of imagination, and it takes much love."