The Towson University Hussman Center for Adults with Autism was established in February 2007 with a generous donation from Therese and Douglas Erdman, in order to “empower young adults who have ASD to keep learning and live life to the fullest.” Young adults transitioning from school are faced with a number of challenges, including less structured environments and fewer opportunities for socialization. There are few resources available to support young adults as they make this transition. The Center for Adults with Autism is focused on becoming an effective, integrated, interdisciplinary resource center that supports education for professionals, and links academic and community resources for young adults on the autism spectrum and their families.
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded nearly half a million dollars to Dr. Charlotte Exner and the Towson University College of Health Professions to develop facilities for the Center for Adults with Autism. In the summer of 2012, those visions were realized when the center moved from a tiny office on campus into the Institute for Well-Being, a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Towson, Maryland, which houses multiple outreach clinical programs for the College of Health Professions.
Our programs are an important resource for student education and community programming for adults with autism. In 2012, the center was recognized as the 2012 Innovative Program of the Year by the Baltimore County Commission on Developmental Disabilities. The center’s work was recognized further when John and Terri Hussman, through the Hussman Foundation, one of the world’s leading funders of autism research and programming, provided an endowment to support the center’s mission. The endowment provides the center with support to continue efforts and to grow and expand programming, student education and research in the adult autism arena. In 2012 the center was renamed the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism in honor of their gift. Douglas and Therese Erdman have also continued their support, providing funds to support the development of work skills related programs. Finally, Lisa Higgins has supported the center with scholarships for participants who need financial support to attend programs. Together, these investments will enable Towson University to continue to provide leadership within the field of adult autism.
Today, the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism provides cutting-edge programming, training and resources for adults on the autism spectrum, Towson University students, professionals and others in the community. The center provides guidance for how to create inclusive communities that are welcoming for adults on the autism spectrum. Thousands of hours of unique and important trainings, program experiences and learning experiences demonstrate the value of this vibrant learning community.