Highly regarded on state, national and international levels, the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning provides state-of-the-art intervention for children and adolescents with autism from grades K-12, with a new adult autism program starting in June 2020.


This includes the integration of children into “standard” classes. Through a contract with the University of Utah, our center is actively involved in research projects to improve and understand the treatment of autism and has received national recognition for its work.

History of the Pingree Center


Our center was founded in the late 1970s by Carmen B. Pingree. As a parent of a child with autism, she noticed the severe lack of autism services in Utah. She spearheaded the movement to fund a preschool, and the Pingree Center was born.


In 1998, David and Susan Spafford created a vision for an autism elementary school. The school was envisioned to serve nearly 250 children with autism. The Spaffords began by establishing a $10 million endowment with an additional $1 million generously provided by Valley Behavioral Health.


On November 21, 2002, thanks to many in the community, that vision became a reality. Over 700 people helped celebrate the opening of the new Carmen B. Pingree Center for Children with Autism. In 2014, the Center changed its name to the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning.


In 2015, the Do Your Blue campaign (originally called Blue your ‘Do) was started to raise money for student scholarship funds and support about Autism Awareness Month. To get involved, supporters can visit certain local salons to get a blue hair streak or purchase a limited-edition blue item at participating establishments.


As of June 2020, we will be opening Utah’s first Adult Autism Center. Children on the autism spectrum age out of government support between the ages of 18-22. There is a huge lack of quality autism services in Utah for adults. Our Adult Autism Center will offer daily skills and vocational training.

Community Partners & Sponsors


Operated by Valley Behavioral Health, the Pingree Center is a successful example of a private/public partnership. It provides behavioral and educational services to students, conducting and supporting research into the causes of autism and effective interventions. We assist families in coping with the challenges presented by autism, and train current and future teachers and professionals in best practices and procedures.