On a wooded estate overlooking the Hudson River, Dr. Victor V. Anderson founded Anderson School in 1924. He believed that children with special needs would benefit from an integrated program that comprehensively addressed their educational, emotional and social needs. He began with one student. More than 90 years later, Anderson Center for Autism continues Dr. Anderson’s work; currently serving more than 200 children and adults with a primary diagnosis of autism.
Through the years, Anderson Center has transformed from a school for emotionally and developmentally challenged students, to an agency dedicated to providing people on the autism spectrum with the highest quality programs; integrated support networks for families and guardians; and an enriched and positive climate for the children and adults.
Anderson Center’s campus has transformed dramatically as well. With the original mission and focus having evolved throughout the years, the school buildings and residences were designed with a different population in mind. This, in addition to many of the buildings being over 70 years old, meant they didn’t support the environmental needs of individuals with autism. In order for Anderson Center to provide the best in educational and residential facilities, in 2003 a comprehensive, multi-phase Master Site Plan was formulated as a blueprint for progress and revitalization of our picturesque 150 acre campus.
Now, nearly 10 years later, backed with the dedication of the staff, and the financial support of our generous donors, the great majority of the elements contained in the Master Site Plan have been completed, including new and renovated campus homes, new community adult homes, upgrades to support service buildings, a new Recreation Center, Village Center and more. The final elements are expected to be completed by the end of 2012. Anderson Center is now able to offer state-of-the-art facilities complementing a dynamic organization that promotes opportunities for children and adults with autism to learn and thrive.
As a scroll found in a time capsule from the class of 1934 stated, “This is the firm rock on which we stand. All others are but shifting sand.” These words still ring true and continue to define the Anderson Center tradition of commitment and dedication.