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. For more information about the Maine Family Partnership or any sponsored activities, contact Donna at MAIER.  207-581-2468/ donna.doherty@maine.edu

News and Announcements

MAIER hosts Outdoor Adventure Day with YMCA of Auburn Lewiston

Fire truck with ladder up over picnicing familiesEven a few raindrops could not quell the excitement of the children arriving at the MAIER Family Partnership Outdoor Adventure Day on Saturday June 23rd.  Armed with their colorful sunglasses, event t-shirts, MAIER backpacks and snacks, families set out to explore the activities awaiting them at the YMCA Outdoor Learning and Education Center (OLEC) on Stetson Rd in Auburn.

Nineteen families from mid Maine joined MAIER for this family gathering to enjoy the outdoors and try some new activities, such as archery and gaga ball, all while being supported and encouraged by MAIER and YMCA staff and volunteers. A visit from the local fire department was a highlight for many, and included a demonstration of the fire rescue ladder rising to the treetops! Families came together for a BBQ at noon thanks to the generosity of local community supporters whose donations made this possible and the dedicated volunteers operating the grills and serving lunch. 

Young boy sitting on firetruck and smilingYoung boy shooting arrow at target with man guiding himWoman and child together outdoors smilingFather and daughter hula hooping 

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This event would not be possible if not for our unique partnership with the YMCA of Auburn Lewiston, so our sincere thanks go out to Steve Wallace, YMCA CEO and Jaime O’Connor, OLEC Director, and their incredible staff Sam and Mike! We offer our sincere gratitude to all the local donors who help make this a free event for families and to our loyal staff and volunteer crew who make it all happen!

Group of volunteers standing with welcome sign
Thanks to YMCA and MAIER staff and volunteers who make this day possible! Left to right: Bri, Dave, Ariel, Bob, Sam, Skye, Sue, Donna, Bella, Mike, Martha, & Sam

 We are grateful to the support of these local donors who made this event a free and fun day for families impacted by autism! 

Walmart Distribution Center #7014

Business logo for Cheating Gourmet SeafoodLogo for Pediatric Associates of Lewiston: children playing

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 Local families gather for a Pizza Party at Pat’s

It was a busy Saturday night at Pat’s Pizza in Ellsworth when local families gathered for a night out with their children at Pat’s Pizza in Ellsworth, hosted by MAIER’s Family Partnership. Thanks to Jamie King, mom to Dylan, who initiated the idea, ten families had the opportunity to connect with other local families impacted by ASD, learn about MAIER’s Family Partnership, and enjoy each other’s company in a safe, non-judgmental space. Martha Gladstone and Barbara Clewley, teachers and Doctoral Students at UMaine, kept the children busy with Dr. Seuss-inspired activities and books, and each child chose a Dr. Seuss book to take home. The evening was topped off with ice cream for all and a visit from the Ellsworth Fire Department, who brought their ladder truck for the kiddos to investigate.

Our thanks to Tim at Pat’s Pizza, his amazing staff, and the Ellsworth FD for your support with this MAIER FP event!

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!

“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

Maine Department of Education logoThe Maine Department of Education provides significant support and funding for the activities and outreach of the Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research. Special thanks to Jan Breton, Director of Special Services Birth-20, Maine Department of Education, for her ongoing support for this project. To learn more about this unique partnership, see the “About Us” tab above.