History / The Founder
The impetus for The Greengard Center for Autism came from the life experience of the President of the Center's Board of Directors and Executive Director, Barbara R. Frankel, Ph.D. Twenty-one years ago, Barbara’s son, Elliott, was diagnosed with autism at the age of 16 months. When Elliott was diagnosed, there were essentially no specialized educational or treatment services for children with autism in New Hampshire. As an Associate Professor at the University of New Hampshire, a Clinical Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist, Barbara utilized her resources to arrange for an out-of-state sponsored, home-based program employing consultants from the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention Program at UCLA.
Barbara’s personal experience with the difficulties and frustrations encountered in finding and funding crucial education for her child with autism, led her to founding in 2000 The Birchtree Center, a comprehensive program for children and youth with autism. For the following ten years, as President of the Board, Barbara Frankel provided the vision for The Birchtree Center.
Once her 21-year-old son graduated in 2011, Barbara realized Elliott was in the identical situation her family encountered so many years ago. That is, there was not a single specialized day program for young adults with autism in New Hampshire. Further, there were no family centered residential programs for young adults to live independently from their families in a community based, quality living and learning environment.
Consequently, early in 2012, Barbara founded The Greengard Center for Autism to create a residential and day program that is simultaneously family and community based and supports lifelong learning for adults with autism.
The Greengard Center for Autism marks the third program Barbara Frankel has founded in New Hampshire. She has directed the University of New Hampshire’s Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Program and Center that she co-founded over twenty years ago. This successful not for profit center has served over 6,000 families, couples and individuals from the Greater Seacoast Community who otherwise would not have been able to afford quality mental health services. Further, Barbara has ensured that families with a member who has autism have office or home based mental health services regardless of their ability to pay.
When Barbara left the Birchtree Center, The Board of Directors expressed their appreciation for “her outstanding service and leadership, knowing that the Birchtree Center only exists because of her vision, passion and dedication to our mission.” It is with this success that she now looks to develop The Greengard program for adults with autism.
“Not only did Dr. Frankel provide an amazing educational and socially enriching environment for children diagnosed with autism, but she also provided support and guidance for our families, knowing that the family system was a critical piece to the healthy development of their children. Without her passion, wisdom and guidance, the Birchtree Center would not be providing services to children and families throughout New England.” Tracey Tucker, Executive Director, New Heights, Portsmouth
The name Greengard comes from Barbara’s mother’s family name. Marian Greengard Frankel deeply and unwaveringly believed in the future of all her grandchildren, regardless of ability. It is this ability to envision and build successful solutions that has provided the genesis for The Greengard Center for Autism.
In 2011, Dr. Frankel was honored by both the University of New Hampshire with the Excellence in Public Service Award, and by the New Hampshire Marriage and Family Therapy Association with the Visionary Award.
We fundamentally believe that the only way our program goals can be met is by employing and maintaining a highly trained, experienced, caring, committed staff. Therefore, the Greengard Center for Autism will ensure that the workplace will provide the kind of supportive, advantaged work environment that maintains employee satisfaction and long-term tenure. In addition, staff will have the opportunity to become a part of an innovative and inclusive community.
Jodie Deming-Douglas, Ph.D. is the Program Director for the Greengard Center for Autism. She brings an extraordinary wealth of over 20 years of experience in training, supervising practitioners and administering several outstanding programs in Applied Behavior Analysis. Dr. Deming-Douglas obtained her Doctorate in Psychology at UCLA under the supervision of Dr. Ivar Lovaas. Dr. Deming-Douglas worked for several years at the UCLA Clinic for the Behavior Treatment of Children, while simultaneously providing consultation and workshops to families throughout the United States.
In 1999 she became the Director of Clinical Services of the Lovaas Institute where she supervised and trained a large clinical staff who provided intensive behavioral intervention services to children diagnosed with autism. More recently, before relocating to New Hampshire she worked at The Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis (IABA) where she provided services to children, adolescents and adults with autism.
Her extraordinary training with Dr. Lovaas and many years of providing training and supervision in the field of autism bring to the Greengard Center a wealth of experience and talent.