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Murdoch Center Director receives award for excellence in providing autism services

Release Date: May 20, 2010
Contact: Mark Van Sciver, 919-733-9190

CHAPEL HILL – Aleck Myers, director of Murdoch Development Center in Butner, received the 2010 Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-handicapped Children (TEACCH) award from the UNC School of Medicine for excellence in providing autism services. He was honored at a program held Thurs., May 20, at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill at the TEACCH Center’s annual conference.

“I accept this award, not on my behalf, but on behalf of my colleagues and coworkers at Murdoch Developmental Center,” Myers said.  “This is not the recognition of an individual, but of a dream that all of us at Murdoch have collectively worked toward – developing programs that can and do make a difference in the lives of children and young adults with behavioral challenges. It is to the staff and volunteers and the families that I dedicate and accept this award.”

Murdoch Center was recognized for four of its special autism programs developed over the past 15 years in partnership with the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Programs, The Autism Society of North Carolina, and the TEACCH Program within the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • PATH (Partners in Autism Treatment and Habilitation) – a two-year residential program for children with autism age 6-16 with extreme behavioral challenges.
  • STARS (Specialized Treatment of Adolescents in a Residential Setting) – a one-year residential program for adolescents age 13-17 with developmental disabilities and mental illness and who also exhibit extreme behavioral challenges.
  • BART (Behaviorally Advanced Residential Treatment) – an open ended residential program for young adult males who exhibit extreme behavioral challenges.
  • TRACK (Therapeutic Respite Addressing Crisis in Kids) – a three- to 45-day respite program for 5-17-year-old children and adolescents that are in a behavioral crisis. The intent is to provide an alternative for families or guardians with children in behavioral crisis and to keep these children from being housed in from emergency rooms or psychiatric hospitals.

The award was presented by Mary Van Bourgondien, director of the Raleigh TEACCH Center and a professor at the University of North Carolina, who cited Myers and his staff for serving severely challenged autistic children and adults with individualized behavioral interventions and programs which have both improved the quality of their lives and improved their ability to participate more in their communities.

“At a time when so much of the field is focusing on the most able individuals with autism, we appreciate the respect and compassion exhibited by Dr. Myers and the Murdoch staff members as they work to improve he lives of those children with severe behavioral difficulties and their families,” she said.”