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Cooperative Extension: Parenting & Family Caregiving

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Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. CDC is committed to continuing to provide essential data on ASD, search for factors that put children at risk for ASD and possible causes, and develop resources that help identify children with ASD as early as possible.  Please see the CDC’s website for more information.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

About 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.  The Centers for Disease Control has some great information on data and statistics.


Gift Giving and Overindulgence

With the holiday season approaching, UMaine Extension has a great video on Gift Giving and Overindulgence. This video also has some great ideas on alternatives for gifts by using family time and making memories that will last a lifetime.



Seasonal Influenza (Flu)

Flu season is approaching so it is time to consider getting an annual flu shot.  The Centers for Disease Control has some basic information regarding this years vaccine.


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eXtension Information on Breastfeeding

eXtension has a great article on the benefits of breastfeeding and the nutritional value.

“The science of lactation is exploding–too bad our cultural, social, economic and political worlds are so far behind.”

Click on the link to review this article.

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One Family’s Success in Maine Families Home Visiting Program

Ashli Bickford is a proud mother of four children and has overcome many challenges since becoming a parent at age 16. She has grown as a person, a mother and a wife. Bickford credits her success to thinking outside the box and a home visiting parent education program known as Maine Families.

Being drawn to the home visiting program each time she was pregnant, Bickford shares that she knew it was a great resource for her and her family. Claudia Williamson, Parent Education Professional, provides Bickford with research based information on topics such as vaccinations, potty training and the importance of early literacy, to name a few. Bickford states that Williamson respects her decisions as a parent and provides her with enough information so she knows that she’s making informed decisions.

A major contributing factor in her family’s love for books is the parenting education program. She knew reading to her children on a daily basis was important and what Williamson shares with her reinforces that she’s doing the right thing. Bickford asked guests attending her baby shower to bring a children’s book instead of a card.

Bickford recommends Maine Families to anyone, especially young mothers. Her advice? “If you give the program your all, it will work for you. The home visits are convenient and you’ll have someone that supports you and your decisions.” Bickford knows that she’ll be an even better parent in the future because of what she’s learned throughout her time in the program.

Maine Families uses the Parents as Teachers™ curriculum which focuses on the strengths of a family, rather than the deficits. All parents want what is best for their child, regardless of the family’s income, age or educational attainment. Maine Families is open to all families who are pregnant or have a newborn at home, whether the baby is their first, fourth or more.

If you or someone you know is pregnant or has a newborn at home and would like information about the Teen and Young Parent Program or Maine Families home visiting program, please call 207.594.1980 or toll-free at 877.972.5804. Enrollment takes place prenatally and up until the baby turns three months old. Parent Education Professionals use the Parent as Teachers™ curriculum to provide enrolled families with research based, up-to-date information on subjects such as gross motor, routines, eating healthy, social/emotional development and much more. The Teen and Young Parent Program and Maine Families of Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties are proud to be a program affiliated with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Image Description: Ashli Bickford (left) reading a book with two of her children during a home visit with Claudia Williamson, Parent Education Professional (right)

Safe Youth, Safe Schools

Now that August is here, some schools will be starting at the end of the month.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has some great information about keeping kids of all ages safe while going to and while in school.

Please check out the link for some great information.

Go Green for Kids!

Go Green for Kids! is a great resource from Penn State University for children to learn about reduce, reuse and recycle.

Penn State’s Better Kid Care and Integrated Pest Management (IPM)  Programs are teaming up to bring you “Go Green for Kids,” a monthly tip to help you provide a healthier and safer environment for the children in your care. IPM works to promote healthy alternatives for pest management to lower children’s exposure to both pests and pesticides through a variety of educational programs. Resources for children, teachers, and parents are available on the IPM website. This month’s focus is on…recycling.

Ticks in Maine

As the warm weather approaches and were outside more, we need to be aware of ticks that live in the Maine woods.  The University of Maine Cooperative has a fact sheet that will help you identify a tick if you happen to see one on yourself or your pet.

Developmental Milestones: When Will My Baby Walk?  has a great resource with information on when children start walking as well as parenting tips for your 9 month old baby.  The information also describes different factors regarding the timeline on when they should start walking.


University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Contact Information

Cooperative Extension: Parenting & Family Caregiving
5741 Libby Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5741
Phone: 207.581.3188, 800.287.0274 (in Maine) or 800.287.8957 (TDD)E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System