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October 2015

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Table of Contents

Director’s Welcome



Maine Autism Leadership Team (MALT) News

Family Focus

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

Save the Date

Professional Development

  • October 23, 2015 Brunswick Hotel, Brunswick
  • November 9, 2015 Bowdoin College, Brunswick
  • December 7, 2015
    Jeff’s Catering, Brewer

FMI and to see all MAIER Professional Development

  • Tuesday Nov. 10,  6-7:30pm
    Maine Parent Guide to ASD Celebration at the  Buchanan Alumni House, University of Maine campus
  • Sunday Dec. 6, 4:30-6pm
    My Day to Play at the Maine Discovery Museum, Bangor


Director’s Welcome

Welcome to the fall semester. The Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research is a partnership with UMaine and the Maine Department of Education.  MAIER was established at UMaine in 2014 to build statewide capacity to improve outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through leadership, training, professional development, collaboration, and research.

MAIER offers advanced course work in autism spectrum disorders; conducted research, evaluation; provided community services including professional development, training, consultation and technical assistance; and, disseminated relevant current information related to our work to individuals with disabilities, families, professionals, and the community-at-large.

Please enjoy! Send us feedback at

Best regards,

Deborah L. Rooks-Ellis, Ph.D.
Director, Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research


*Note: The November 10th Parent Handbook event has been canceled due to low expected attendance.

Join our celebration!

Join us to celebrate the launch and distribution of MAIER’s Maine Parent Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders on Tuesday, November 10th from 6-7:30pm at the Buchanan Alumni House, 160 College Ave, University of Maine, Orono. Families, professionals and interested community members are all welcome! Please RSVP to by October 29th if you plan to attend. Print copies of the handbook will be available upon request.

Maine Parent Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders

We are happy to announce that MAIER’s Maine Parent Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders in now available online for families and others interested in learning more about autism and how to access educational and social services in Maine. This three-volume set is the product of a year-long collaboration of a group of dedicated Maine parents and the Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research. [Read more about the Parent Guide]


2nd Annual MAIER Professional Development Series

 Tiered to support the needs of educators and their various levels of knowledge and understanding about autism, 12 professional development opportunities are planned for the 2015-2016 school year. Topics include Functional Thinking, ASD and AAC, Social Thinking, and more! Please visit our website for more information and to register using the online link. Contact Lisa Daniel for registration assistance: 581-2492.

National Experts on Autism and Literacy to Provide Training and Support to Maine Educators

 Nationally recognized experts on literacy and ASD, Dr. Christi Carnahan and Dr. Pam Williamson, will conduct a two-day workshop to discuss the literacy needs of your students with autism spectrum disorder. The two-days will focus on instructional approaches to meet these learners’ needs. In a fast paced, engaging format, participants will learn about the factors that influence reading and writing across the autism spectrum, develop a framework for thinking about literacy instruction, and be introduced to specific strategies for meeting these learners’ needs. The first day is set for October 5, with the follow-up planned in May 2016. Visit the MAIER Events calendar for more information.

 In addition to this 2-day professional development opportunity, Drs. Carnahan and Williamson will be providing five days of advanced training to the 2012-2013 and 2014-2015 MALT members. Register your MALT team members by contacting Deborah today!

PECS Training

MAIER has partnered with Pyramid Educational Consultants to offer the Picture Exchange Communication System Level 1 training. The training will take place on the UMaine Orono campus, November 16 and 17. Registration is required through Pyramid. Visit our website for more information under the Events Calendar. Contact 888-732-7462 to register.

Maine Autism Leadership Team (MALT) News

Congratulations to our new Maine Autism Leader Teams!

Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released statistics stating that 1 in 68 children are being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Each year this incidence rate increases, as does the complexity of these children. As a result, schools are stretched to educate and support children in an effective way.

In response to this need MAIER invited applications for school districts and agencies to receive advanced training in evidence-based practices for working with individuals with autism. 14 teams were selected to participate as Maine Autism Leader Teams, joining the existing 28 teams. [Read more about Maine Autism Leader Teams]

Family Focus

Happy fall to families and friends of the Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research. In this issue we celebrate those parents who worked with us in developing our new Maine Parent Guide to ASD, share resources to help you get back into your fall routines, and share news of upcoming family events. [Read more Family Focus]

Tony’s Summer at Camp CARDNE
by Susan Abbiati

My son Tony, who is now 16 years old, has attended camp CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders) in York, Maine for the last two years. Tony has Asperger’s Syndrome, which makes other summer camps too challenging for him. [Read more about Tony’s camp experience]