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Fall 2018

The Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research (MAIER) is a partnership between the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development and the Maine Department of Education.

MAIER is dedicated to building state-wide capacity to improve outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

  • Leadership
  • Training
  • Professional Development
  • Technical Assistance
  • Consultation
  • Research

Help support MAIER’s outreach to Maine families through our  educational and social events. It’s easy using our online donation page.

Donate to MAIER

Registration now open for 2018-19 workshops

MAIER Professional Development

  • Webinar: November 28, 2018: Identifying and Avoiding Pseudoscientific and Controversial Methods in Autism Treatment and Education
  • Webinar: December 5, 2018: Using Research-Based Strategies to Teach STEM
  • Workshop: February 7, 2019: Preparing for the Transition to Adulthood for Students with Disabilities. Jeff’s Catering, Brewer
  • Webinar: February 20, 2019: Written Expression Needs and Strategies for Students with Disabilities
  • Workshop: March 14, 2019:  Executive Function/ Mindfulness: Explored and Applied. Jeff’s Catering, Brewer.
  • Workshop: April 11, 2019: Creating a Toolbox: Sexuality and Relationship Education for People with Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Jeff’s Catering, Brewer.
  • Workshop: May 23, 2019: Social Detective, Superflex®, and Friends Take on Social- Emotional Learning. Thomas College, Waterville.

Workshops: $35/person, with check-in at 8:30am and start time at 9am. Contact hours certificates are provided at each PD, with CEUs available by contacting MAIER two weeks prior to each event and a $20 processing fee. 

Lunch is responsibility of participants.

Webinars: $15/ person. New this year, we are offering the opportunity to hear from experts from around the country via 2-hour webinars. 3:30pm to 5:30pm. Contact hours provided. 

FMI, visit our PD calendar.

Register for workshops and webinars online.

Maine Family Partnership Events

Check our Community Calendar for MAIER Family Partnership events and other events hosted by MAIER and by our Community Partners!

Welcome to the Fall 2018 edition of Pathways

Cover of Maine Parent Guide to ASM- family outdoors

MAIER is off to a busy start with new and exciting educational, professional development, and family partnership opportunities for 2018-19. Check out our new offerings and events highlighted in this newsletter, and join us in the coming year!

We are pleased to announce our 2nd edition of the Maine Parent Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders is now available. Now a four-volume set, the 2018 edition has undergone review and revisions to update content, and includes new information addressing adults living life on the spectrum, personal safety, family issues, and augmentative and alternative communication. [Read more, including how to order your own copy]

This fall the Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research (MAIER) joined the University of Maine Student Accessibility Office for “Equity, Access, and Inclusion: A World Usability Day Event” on November 8. This free, daylong conference on the University campus focused on creating environments that prioritize equity, access, and inclusion for all students. MAIER Director, Deborah Rooks-Ellis, Special Education faculty, Sarah Howorth, and MAIER graduate assistant, Brooklin Jones presented the breakout session, “Breaking Down Barriers: Supporting Students with Autism at UMaine.”   [Read more] 

We look forward to connecting with you in the coming year. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if we can be of assistance. Contact us by email or phone (207-581-2352)

Best regards,
Deborah L. Rooks-Ellis, Ph.D. Director, Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research
Donna Doherty, M.S., Editor, MAIER Family Partnership Director

teachers sitting at conference tables with speaker standingMaine Autism Institute for Education and Research 2018-19 Professional Development Series

We are excited that our 5th annual professional development series is underway! This year we have introduced several 2-hour webinars to our professional development series, allowing for you to learn from where you are! This year’s topics include sexuality and relationship education, executive functioning, written expression, transition to adulthood, and more! Our workshops and webinars are designed with educators and education professionals in mind, but are always open to anyone interested, including family members.

Contact hours are awarded for each session. CEUs are available by request, but you must contact MAIER at least 2 weeks prior to the event and pay a $20 processing fee. Registration is now open, and sessions are still offered at the low cost of $35/person for all day workshops and $15 for webinars. Open to educators, professionals, families, caregivers, and interested others. For more information and to register, please click here or contact us at 207-581-2352.

Did you know MAIER’s 2016-17 PD series was available to view free online? FMI see our 2016-17 PD series.

Building Resiliency in School-aged Children

This fall, MAIER collaborated with Southern Penobscot Regional Programs for Children with Exceptionalities to offer a free five-part professional development series by Elyse Pratt-Ronco, PhD. Elyse has over 18 years of experience with low income students and has been nationally recognized. Elyse is covering the impact of trauma on the brain, impact of poverty, construct of hope, importance of relationships, and strategies for academics. This series is currently underway, but it’s not too late to catch the final two sessions of this offering on December 3rd and 10th. Registration and additional information can be found here.

Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders

MAIER offers a graduate certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders that takes one year to complete. Over one year, graduate students take four classes in sequential order to build knowledge on topics in educational methods, assessment, communication, and behavioral supports. This certificate program provides learners with the critical knowledge and practical skills necessary to address the needs of children and students across the autism spectrum. This certificate is open to all graduate students. More information and applications can be found here.

Young boys feeding ducks
Brothers enjoying the day at MAIER Family Partnership “My Day to Play at York’s Wild Kingdom” in September.

Family Focus

It hardly seems possible that fall has arrived and we are peeking into a new year for MAIER’s Family Partnership (MFP) program. It has been an exciting year for our MFP as we further our reach through our resources (online and print), family events, and community partnerships. We could not do this work without the support, ideas, and connections we make through you as parents, families, caregivers, volunteers and donors of MAIER. We have great plans bubbling for 2019, so stay tuned, and feel free to email me with your own ideas for making the MFP a place families can connect, have some fun, and learn from one another.

Here is a sampling of what we have been up to, and what is in store in the coming months:

  • We have updated and revised our Maine Parent Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders! See accompanying article for more information including how to order your own set- now four volumes with additional new content!
  • There is still time to sign up for our Holiday Celebration at the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor December 2nd. Learn more about this annual event and how to register here.
  • Read about our 2018 MFP events, including photos from our Yorks Wild Kingdom and Outdoor Adventure Day.
  • SAVE THE DATE: April 11th, 2019 / 6:30 pm at Jeff’s Catering, Brewer. We are hosting Victoria Slocum, Ph.D. for a presentation especially for families and caregivers, “Beyond the Birds and the Bees: The Importance of Sexuality Education for Children with Autism.” More information regarding this important event will be available in early 2019.
  • Check out our Family Resource page dedicated to supporting families, including new resources in our “Family Life and Developmental” Resources: Adolescence, bullying, peer relationships, puberty, sleep and toilet training.
  • Bookmark our Events Calendar to be sure to learn about upcoming events for families and professionals in the coming year!

Wishing your family a peaceful holiday season and new joys and experiences in the New Year,
Donna Doherty, MAIER Family Partnership Director

 Graphic logo for Adaptive Outdoor Education CenterHave you heard about the Adaptive Outdoor Education Center in Carrabassett Valley?

The Adaptive Outdoor Education Center (AOEC) is a nonprofit organization providing outdoor recreation, adaptive equipment, and education opportunities to all people with disabilities, including autism. AOEC offers a fully accessible facility as well as low-cost, hostel style accommodations for overnight stays in beautiful Carrabassett Valley, Maine.  [Read more]

Living with Autism as a Teen & Young Adult
in the words of Connor Jacob ArcherYoung adult with parents at track meet

Living with the challenges of autism as a teenager, and into the early years of adulthood, can be daunting. So many changes already come during your teenage years. Adding the challenges of autism can complicate your daily routine, and lead to stress that you already have just by growing up as a teenager and young adult.

Throughout my teenage years, I needed to gain self-confidence that would help me grow as an individual. I needed to try to do activities that would bring me out of my comfort zone. Fortunately, I had some amazing friends that encouraged me to try new things, even when I was not a big fan of doing so. [Read more]

Parent’s Bookshelf

The Parent’s Bookshelf is a service to families who would like to share this information with other families in our family partnership. MAIER does not specifically endorse or advocate these offerings.  This issue’s offering is submitted by Cheryl Stalilonis, mother to 20-year-old son, Eric.  [Click here to read Cheryl’s review of these books]

Making Lemonade:  Hints for Autism’s helper by Judy Endow (2006)

No More Chasing “Normal” – The Emotional Survival Guide For Parents of Children with Autism, Down Syndrome, and All Other Disabilities by Loresa Stansell, LPC (2017) 

Have you read a book that you would like to recommend to other parents and caregivers? Contact Donna at MAIER ( with your review and we may share it with the MFP community in upcoming issues.

Help us with your feedback

Handbook cover/family walking

Have you been using the Maine Parent Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders? Help us by taking this quick survey

Haven’t received a copy of the Maine Parent Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders yet? Contact us by email or phone (207-581-2352) to request your copy.

Contact Us

Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research
5766 Shibles Hall Orono, ME 04469
Tel: 207.581.2352 Fax: 207.581.2428

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.