MAIER Family Partnership

MAIER’s Family Partnership (MFP) is dedicated to providing outreach to individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorders across the state of Maine. Together, MAIER staff and families work to identify issues of concern for Maine families and collaborate on projects to promote greater awareness and understanding, develop tools and resources, address access to services, and support research efforts. In addition, the MAIER MFP hosts educational and social events to offer families valuable information and resources, strengthen community ties, and encourage family-to-family networking and support. Download our brochure for more information.

Individuals with autism, parents and family members, and caregivers are welcome to join the MFP. Contact us to be placed on the MFP mailing list for news, event announcements, and other information.

Have you seen our Fall Newsletter? Check it out for news, information, and resources important to both families and professionals. Read about our Professional Development and training offerings, new projects and opportunities, and our “Outdoor Adventure Day” MFP event in partnership with the Auburn/Lewiston YMCA.

For more information about the Maine Family Partnership or any sponsored activities, contact Donna Doherty at MAIER.  Phone: 207-581-2468       Email:

News and Announcements

MAIER Family Partnership hosts Sensory-friendly showing of Paddington 2!

Paddington Bear movie posterTwenty-two families gathered at the Spotlight Theater in Orono on a Saturday morning in January for a special FREE Sensory-friendly showing of the comical Paddington 2 movie. The lights were up and the sound was lowered; attendees donned their glow-stick bracelets, added snacks to their MAIER drawstring bags, and settled in for the show. No one minded the jubilant dancing of one young attendee at the front of the theater, and the coming-and-goings and occasional chatter from excited watchers lent a special charm and sense of comaraderie to families attending.

Logo for Spotlight CinemasMAIER’s Family Partnership hosted this special movie event in collaboration with the folks at Spotlight Cinemas in Orono. Special thanks to Brittany and Rick of Spotlight Cinemas for their willingness to support local families affected by ASD and offer this fun family event in a safe, accepting space. Stay tuned for announcements of future Sensory-friendly showings at Spotlight Cinemas!

A “Visit to Santa’s Village” for MAIER’s Holiday My Day to Play!

Young boy high-five to SantaThirty-two families joined MAIER’s Family Partnership at the Maine Discovery Museum on December 3rd for some special holiday fun at “My Day to Play.”   Children with ASD and their siblings entered Santa’s village to visit with Santa, at their own speed and comfort level, and encouraged and supported by a very special (and sometimes silly) Santa and his dedicated elves. Thanks to Felicia Kasprzak, MFP parent and photographer extraordinaire, families received a digital photo that captured their child’s visit and wonderment. Children attending received their very own MAIER string backpacks filled with Christmas surprises and a gift from the jolly old elf.

Young boy w curls smiling sitting on floorFamilies shared their excitement with MAIER staff and expressed gratitude for the opportunity this annual event provided for their families. One parent told us they had driven over 90 minutes for this special event but it was “so worth the trip” to see the joy and excitement on her son’s face. Others mentioned the fun of exploring the Discovery Museum, in addition to Santa’s Village, at a time when other families attending would understand and accept the challenges of visiting public places with a child with autism. Museum staff and volunteers supported the families in their explorations and led activities that included making holiday decorations and greenery to take home. Smiles emerged over the afternoon and laughter could be heard throughout the Museum!

Santa seated with elves behind himOur thanks to the staff of the Maine Discovery Museum for partnering with us for a third year to bring this holiday event to families in the area. The Museum during “My Day to Play” events is the perfect setting for families to explore in a safe and sensory-friendly environment, so check the MDM website for “My Day to Play” events in 2018! Thanks as well to our special elf “Buddy” Tommy, UMaine student volunteers, Martha, Barbara, Bri, and Karissa, and MFP parents Roy Ulrickson III & Felicia Kasprzak, for the important roles you played in making this event a fun-filled afternoon for area families!

“Places and Spaces” now online!

Check out MAIER’s newest online resource for families, a space dedicated to helping families explore new options for recreation and fun. Developed with the help of MAIER Family Partnership parents and friends, Places and Spaces offers Directory listings of Maine places to visit, a Tip Sheet for visiting new places, and additional valuable resources. Help us build our directory listings by submitting your favorite places and events for families impacted by ASD, using our online submission forms! Our thanks to our MFP parents and friends, Diana McFarland, Angela Morse, Jessica Fine, Karen Grotton-Pelletier, and Olivia White for your help in getting this exciting new resource launched!
Go to Places and Spaces