MAIER Family Partnership Survey 2019

Thanks to all of you who took the time to respond to our invitation to participate in our MAIER Family Partnership survey last spring! Your responses helped us examine our effectiveness and guide future planning for our outreach to Maine families. The research report provided evidence of the impact and importance of our family and community outreach activities, projects, and resources to our funding agency (MDOE).

In their surveys, parents and caregivers shared the value of our resources, such as the Maine Parent Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders and those who attended our family events reported positive experiences for their entire family, noting how difficult it often is to participate in community events. Parents told us they enjoyed meeting families who share their experiences and challenges, and were grateful for the opportunity to have some family fun in a supportive and judgement-free environment.

We would like to share some of the comments we received to give you a better idea of the experiences families report when joining us for MFP events, and hope this encourages you to join us for MFP events in the coming year!

Parents wrote:

Staff and volunteers are always wonderful, offering up help and giving parents an opportunity to breathe, feeling like their kids are in a safe enough environment to run and play without being on edge (like we normally are at public events).

I love that you are doing this to help all of us who are limited in what we can do with our children. I want nothing more than to be able to take my son to do all the same things others can do, like swimming and enjoying parks, etc., and feel safe doing it.

We are beyond appreciative and grateful for all these events for these kiddos on the spectrum. These are memories made that will last a lifetime! 🙂

They (MAIER staff) are a great resource for us and enable us to enjoy activities our daughter couldn’t otherwise access. Less pressure when events are free, just in case we have to leave early if it’s a bad day.

For me it was being able to talk to other parents who have gone through or are going through the same types of things we are. It’s comforting knowing that we’re not alone, and getting/giving tips on how to handle certain situations is always a plus.

Having a child with autism can be extremely isolating. Feeling disconnected from the world…even a visit to the local playground must be carefully coordinated…to be able to see my daughter with smiles from ear to ear on the Ferris wheel and the merry-go round with no worries about a meltdown and judgment but a fun filled stress free day for a 5-year-old that has no friends simply because of her diagnosis. Thank you so much for these events; they are already providing the best memories for our kiddos!

It was a great opportunity for those of us who have a child with autism to attend events with other families who are affected and helps connect and feel less lonely. It’s nice to be with people who will not see your child as odd or badly behaved.

My daughter [can] participate in activities with other children that also have autism spectrum disorder.

[I am] not worrying about neurotypical kids reacting badly to my little guy while he’s playing or trying to play with them.

[MFP events] allow our child to experience things in a safe space for him around others like him.

Being able to do activities with our children in a more sensory friendly environment without all the hustle of public interference. Our children have a hard time in crowded spaces and with bolting as a huge concern for us especially with the younger three boys, it makes it a lot easier to stay together or locate them should the part.

Just being in a community with people who get ASD life is nice.

Meeting all the friendly people and knowing that we can leave if there is a meltdown without any judgement or spending a lot of money.

Being with other ASD families, knowing the event was geared for ASD.

Being able to access sensory-friendly events that help us feel included.

We feel it is a safe and judgement-free environment.

Again, we appreciate all those who participated in our survey. If you are interested in learning more about the results of this research, contact Donna at MAIER by email ( or phone (207-581-2468)

Young boy in indoor climbing harness giving high five to young adult
Family in a paddle boat on water
Young children blowing bubbles in field
Young boy shooting arrow at target with man guiding him