Family Focus October 2015

Family Focus

As the new school year begins for families, the Maine Family Partnership is celebrating the release of our Maine Parent Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders (see announcement in this issue). This year-long project could not have been possible without the dedication of a group of parents who came together to advise us in the development of the guide, to share their stories, photos, and suggestions, and to help write and edit the content. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Susan Abbiati, Felicia Kasprzak, Kathleen Leopold, Niki Sheafe, Karen Grotton Pelletier, April Poulsen, Laurie Robichaud, & Roy Ulrickson, III. The handbook is a reflection of their dedication and desire to help families across the state of Maine. Join us as we celebrate the launching and distribution of the Maine Parent Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders on Tuesday, November 10th from 6-7:30pm at the Buchanan Alumni House at 160 College Ave at the University of Maine, Orono, Maine. Please RSVP to by October 29th if you plan to attend.

As our memories of summer fade and we return to our fall routines, we would like to share how one MFP teen spent his summer expanding his horizons. Tony Abbiati, 16-year-old son of Susan and Joseph Abbiati, spent time learning important job skills and developing his self-confidence at Camp CARD in southern Maine. Susan shares Tony’s excitement as she captures his experience in her own words in the accompanying article below.

Getting back into the fall routines of school days, after-school activities, and new schedules can be daunting for any family, and when your family includes a child or teen with ASD, the challenges can be complex. Check out these resources for tips on making the transition back to school a little easier.

Indiana Resource Center: Preparing for the School Year
Pathfinders for Autism: Back to School Tips
Autism Consortium: Back to school tips  

The Maine Family Partnership is in the early stages of planning our family events for the coming year, including a fall “My Day to Play” event in partnership with the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor on December 6th from 4:30- 6pm. Contact us if you would like to help host a family event in your area. We are open to new ideas to support family connections and work together to raise awareness and knowledge about ASD in your communities. Check our website for event updates in the coming weeks.

We look forward to seeing the MFP grow, so if you know families who may not be on our mailing list, please invite them to contact us. MFP families receive news, event announcements, and other items of interest throughout the year. We would love to hear about your family as well, and learn about your issues of concern or your ideas for projects or events. Send us your family photos to enrich our webpages- we’d love to share them with the MAIER MFP community! Contact Donna Doherty by email ( or phone (207-581-2468) for more information, or visit our website:

Hope to hear from you!

Donna Doherty
Director, Maine Family Partnership