MELBOURNE, FLA.—Florida Institute of Technology is committing new resources in the fight to understand and treat one of the most pervasive conditions affecting children today. On Oct. 27, the university dedicated the $5.2 million Scott Center for Autism Treatment, designed to lead the way in exploration of this complex condition.
“Autism has evoked confusion, fear and misunderstanding for years,” said Florida Tech President Anthony J. Catanese. “Schools have struggled to keep up with the needs of these children. Health professionals have worked diligently to more fully understand the nuances of a condition that can be as varied as the individual children it affects. This new Center is committed to unraveling the mysteries of autism.”
“Early, intensive behavioral intervention for young children has shown the most significant results,” added Fran Warkomski, executive director of the new Center. Under a mantra of “Service, Research and Training,” the center is probing the mysteries of autism and, most importantly, working with one child at a time to mitigate its effects. “The stakes are high from a parent/family perspective,” Warkomski said. “They expect answers from experts in the field.”
Mary Beth Kenkel, dean of the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts, has played a key leadership role in launching the Center. Meanwhile, area businessman, co-founder of the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C., and Florida Tech Trustee Edward Scott initiated support of the Center. Additionally, the Health Resources and Services Administration supported the facility with $2.4 million in federal funding.
“Florida Tech is particularly grateful to Mr. Scott and former congressman Dr. Dave Weldon for all of their efforts in making this facility a reality,” Catanese said.
MH Williams Construction Group, Inc., served as contractor for the two-story building that encompasses approximately 22,000 square feet. The Center will provide services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, training for parents, teachers and other professionals and research on effective treatments for autism.
The facility is organized around a central glass lobby and features a playground, complete with a tricycle path, swings, basketball, putting green and a large activity center. Support for the playground was provided by the Evening of Hope fundraiser held in April. On the first floor are three functional assessment treatment rooms, two group therapy rooms, administrative offices, a medical exam room and a wing dedicated to the early intervention program. This includes a large classroom that can be subdivided into two classrooms, a large group activities room and a life skills room. There are also four individual treatment rooms in this wing.
On the second floor is a graduate student workspace with 14 workstations, 10 treatment rooms for counseling and psychological services, a large seminar room capable of seating 90 people, a staff and student lounge, a family resource center and administrative offices and conference room.