Monday, October 02, 2023

Driving through Fond du Lac, it’s easy to find signs pointing toward the wide assortment of services now offered by the SSM Health Treffert Center.

Discover how these services started with Dr. Darold Treffert, and how his enduring legacy continues to benefit community members, during History at Home at the Fond du Lac Public Library. On Thursday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m., drop into the McLane Room at the library to learn more about the center and its history.

Started in 2016, the Treffert Center has grown to include the Treffert Academy, Treffert Autism Services, the Treffert Clinic, the Treffert Library, the Treffert Way for the Exceptional Mind and Exploration High School (located within the School District of North Fond du Lac) and most recently the SSM Health Treffert Studios.

What's the story behind all these services and the "Treffert" name? 

For 87 years, Dr. Treffert, MD, an internationally renowned researcher who dedicated his life to the study and treatment of savant syndrome, hyperlexia and autism, called Fond du Lac home. A pioneering psychiatrist, he left behind a rich legacy through the Treffert Center, which invites individuals, families, and communities worldwide to explore the potential of the human mind, focusing on strengths rather than limitations.

Dr. Treffert personally worked with screenwriter Barry Morrow on accurately representing the talents of savants for the movie "Rain Main," which made “savant” a household word and was the beginning of heightened autism awareness. Treffert has been recognized for his work in this field and has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions.

Learn more about Dr. Treffert's legacy and how the SSM Health Treffert Center’s team of more than 140 clinicians, educators and creative professionals are “carrying the torch.”

History at Home programs focus on stories about the area's past every month. Programs are held on the second Thursday of every month at 6 pm in the McLane Room. The programs are free; no registration is necessary to attend. Those who are unable to attend in person may watch live via Facebook at Many History at Home programs also are captured on video and shared on the library's YouTube channel.