Murdoch Center/PATH

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One of the residential buildings at PATH – presumably the ten-person unit (it was 8-person at the time this photo was copied)

The PATH (Partners in Autism Treatment and Habilitation) program at the Murdoch Center is a statewide program serving children (ages 6-16) with autism and serious behavioral challenges.


According to the Murdoch Center Statewide Programs web page, The PATH program currently (2010) has the following residential facilities:

  • a ten-person residential unit located in Murdoch's Summerset Cottage. The unit also has the capacity to serve two extra children as therapeutic respite admissions.
    • in 2006, was an 8-person unit for males only
  • two PATH Homes, serving four people each:
    • one in Oxford, within 20 miles of Murdoch Center.
    • one near Franklinton about 18 miles from Murdoch Center
      • was under construction in 2006, and scheduled to come online in July, 2006

The PATH program operates a public school classroom with a PATH teacher and staff. Professional Services are available and rich staff coverage assures safety and enhanced programming 24 hours per day. Treatment of behavior problems in the PATH program utilizes a behavior analytic approach. All programs are designed both to reduce behavioral excesses as well as to accelerate positive social skills. Treatment also includes person-centered teaching in the areas of self-help, education, communication, and recreation as deemed necessary by the interdisciplinary treatment team. Behavior programs are carefully integrated across all areas of training, and are designed with consideration of the individual's eventual return to the parents' home. Parent and school training are available as needed to enhance successful re-entry to the family home. In keeping with its goal for short-term therapeutic treatment, the maximum length of stay in the PATH Program should normally not exceed 2 years.

According to other sources, there are two main components to PATH:

  • The therapeutic respite program, which lasts 60-90 days but generally does not release the individual until her/his caregivers are satisfied that they are ready to receive her/him. This program apparently does an intensive workup on the individual's behavior issues and uses the best scientific knowledge to train the individual to be better able to deal with her/his long-term living environment.
  • The residential program, which is presumably what the 2-year limit above is referring to