Melmark serves children, adults and their families affected by autism spectrum disorder and a broad range of intellectual disabilities on an individual basis in an environment of warmth, care and respect. Our goal is to help each person enjoy a meaningful life and attain the highest possible level of personal growth and achievement. By providing a wide range of activities, opportunities and challenges, we can partner with families to define and implement appropriate goals for each child or adult.
Melmark's philosophy of care is based on the following:
Individualized Planning and Customized Programs
Melmark recognizes and supports the dignity of each individual. Programs, goals and services are created to meet each person's needs, abilities, and interests.
Rapid Progress and Outcomes Tracking
Melmark's goal is to challenge each individual to develop skills and grow as much as possible. Flexible plans are put in place for each individual, outlining specific educational, therapeutic, and social goals. Ongoing progress reviews ensure that goals are updated and modified as needed.
Partnership with Families
Melmark's parents and families are invited and encouraged to partner with our caring and professional staff, and serve as equal members of the multi-disciplinary team.
Melmark supports community-based residential options offering external social, recreational, volunteer, and occupational opportunities for children and adults.
At Melmark, we balance the academic, vocational, cultural, recreational, and spiritual aspects of life as appropriate for each individual.
History of Melmark
In 1963, Paul and Mildred Krentel’s sixth child, Melissa, was born with Down syndrome. Not satisfied with recommended institutional settings, the Krentels wanted their daughter to live in a home-like setting with peers for playmates. In 1966, they courageously sold their home and purchased a 35-room mansion in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, creating a loving home for Melissa and some friends. The new home was called Melmark.
Over the next 30 years, with philanthropic support from friends, families and associates, Melmark’s services and resources increased significantly. The program was noted for its dedicated staff, nursing and healthcare services and special education classes. Residents enjoyed a full range of cultural, recreational, and social activities. Melmark was licensed as an approved private school; a gymnasium and pool were added; and residential homes and cottages were constructed on campus.
In the early 1990’s, the Krentels retired and leadership transitioned to others. In 1996, Joanne Gillis-Donovan, Ph.D., joined Melmark’s team, and in 1997, was appointed President and CEO, a position she still holds today. Under Dr. Donovan’s leadership, Melmark expanded its range of programs to serve a more diverse clinical population; opened a series of group homes in the community; and celebrated the opening of Melmark New England, a community-based, approved private school in Andover, Massachusetts.
Today, with a combined staff of 905 people, Melmark serves 1,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, autism, brain injuries and genetic diagnoses in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
Recognized as one of the leading providers in the country, Melmark continues to encourage individuals to achieve their maximum potential by offering progressive, dynamic clinical programs in an environment of warmth, care and respect. Guided by its original legacy, Melmark remains “The House that Love Built”.
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Making a difference in the lives of special needs individuals.
Staff drama and bullying. Favoritism for incompetent staff members.
Advice to Management
Continue to emphasize teamwork. Discipline those who are not treating everyone, staff and clients, with a positive attitude.
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Melmark's vision is to continue to advance our clinical systems, becoming a national and international resource center. Melmark's services will always be high quality, evidence-based best practices, designed and validated by recognized leaders in the field. We will continue to generate and disseminate knowledge through research, publications, presentations and ...
Mission: The mission of Melmark is to serve children, adults and their families affected by a broad range of intellectual disabilities. We provide evidence-based educational, vocational, clinical, residential, healthcare and rehabilitative services, personally designed for each individual in a safe environment of warmth, care and respect.