Once New York-Presbyterian agreed to house the center, advocates set out to attract the top staff members to run it.
Catherine Lord, a renowned autism researcher from Michigan, was recruited to lead the facility. She was a guest speaker in 2011 at Rockland's annual Autism Symposium.
Jennifer Shick-Bahani of New City, who has an 11-year-old son with autism, recalls meeting her and signing her child up to take part in a study Lord was conducting. She looks forward to using the resources of the center to help her son.
"She (Lord) has a lot of interest in how autism develops as a child grows older," Shick-Bahani said. "I think that will help us teach kids more effectively."