Center provides diagnostic and therapeutic options close to home for area families

MURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State University Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception Aug. 22 in Alexander Hall. 

Led by Murray State University school psychology program director Dr. Sean Simons and College of Education and Human Services Assessment Clinic director Dr. Marty Dunham, this facility was designed to alleviate two simple, yet profound, problems: providing timely, comprehensive and affordable diagnostic evaluations and treatment options for children of all ages who demonstrate at-risk symptoms for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and helping to support families. 

Beginning this fall, the clinic will offer applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy out of Alexander Hall as space permits.

The Murray State University Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD) officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception Aug. 22 in Alexander Hall. Pictured from left are School Counseling Program Coordinator Dr. Susana Bloomdahl, professor and director of the COEHS Assessment Clinic Dr. Marty Dunham, Murray State University school psychology program director Dr. Sean Simons, College of Education and Human Services Dean Dr. David Whaley and Murray State Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Tim Todd.

“Launching the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders means so much to us and we’re honored to be able to provide this service right here in Murray,” Simons said. “If you’ve been touched by the life of a person with autism, you know it takes a village. There’s no one person that has all the answers, but together, we can truly make a difference.”

Dr. David Whaley, dean of the College of Human and Education Services, said he sees this clinic as a way of strengthening the college’s reach to students, families, community members and community business partners. 

“We think there is a huge demand for this clinic and this fits in so well with the outreach endeavors this college provides,” Whaley said. “The future is very bright, and it will surely become even brighter as this clinic opens its doors.”

Jeremy and Courtney Teague Calvert City brought their 5-year-old son Jax to the Center for a diagnosis last year. 

“Our experience with the center was amazing, and the team there made the process as comforting as possible for such a thing,” Jeremy said. “We refer everyone to the center for diagnostic services. Some of us in the autism community have big plans for the future, and the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders will be integral to realizing those plans.”

For more information, visit murraystate.edu/autism, contact the Center at 270-809-2593 or email ssimons2@murraystate.edu to learn more about offered services. Consultations are always free.

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