May Institute was founded in 1955 by Dr. Jacques May and his wife, Marie Anne, who had twin sons with autism. Their vision was to be able to enable their boys, and other children like them, to lead their most fulfilling lives. May Institute is a nonprofit organization leading in applied behavior analysis, created at a time where little was known about Autism. They cater to individuals on the autism spectrum as well as serve people possessing other developmental disabilities, brain injuries, neurobehavioral disorders, as well as other various needs requiring special attention. May Institute is one of the largest and best-respected service providers and special education schools for both children and adults on the spectrum and with other special needs, in all of the U.S.
Autism can be best characterized by the difficulty that individuals on the spectrum face while communicating and trying to form relationships with other people. It also becomes difficult to use and understand language and abstract concepts. Autism has always been a controversial topic in schooling. Children with disabilities were extremely neglected before the 1960s due to a lack of understanding about the disorder and exclusion within the school system. As disabilities began to become more widely accepted, a greater demand for inclusion for students with disabilities took flight when outraged parents began forming lawsuits about it.
“Autism spectrum disorders range in severity from less severe forms such as pervasive developmental disorder and Asperger's syndrome to more severe forms such as childhood disintegrative disorder and Rett syndrome.” As of now, no biological diagnostic test exists for autism. Autism diagnosis is based strictly on behavior. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was approved in 1975; The law stated that all local public schools have to offer free education to all disabled children for no additional cost to their parents. It was intended to provide a basis for disabled children to survive in life past primary schooling. The IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, can offer special education services during both the infancy and preschool years.
May Institute is a historic site and huge tool used to further education amongst individuals requiring certain help and specific attention. The many different programs and a wide array of locations of their schools will all serve as assets to people struggling with their disorder. May Institute works with families to better prepare the individual to transition to adulthood as well as to utilize the many resources available to help the special needs person reach their greatest potential. Many people on the spectrum are what some would say, “dream employees” because they possess certain skills that could make them invaluable in the workplace. However, as of 2017, “only 14 percent of adults with autism who receive developmental disability services had a paid job in their communities.”
The May Institute offers a wide variety of resources to a wide variety of audiences. They have Autism Schools, Brain Injury Schools, on-site interventions, support, consultations, professional development, adult services, and global services. The May Institute serves as an advocate for all individuals with disabilities and an ally for their education and inclusion. “May Institute has also been instrumental in helping shape both perception and policy affecting individuals with special needs.” The May Institute has more than 140 service locations operating all across the country, so nobody will be prevented from attending this institution based off of its potentially exclusive location.