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Maine Autism Institute publishes guide for parents of children with autism

The Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research (MAIER) at the University of Maine has collaborated with a group of Maine parents to publish the Maine Parent Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Autism spectrum disorders affect nearly 1 in 68 Americans, according to The Autism Society, this number skyrocketing from 1 in 150 in 2000. With 3.5 million Americans, and 1 percent of the total population of the world affected, MAIER’s guide hopes to provide Maine families with assistance

The guide, which is available for download or in a print version, is a three-volume set that seeks to help Maine families receive access to educational and social support services.

“Our goal was to develop a parent-friendly guide,” Deborah Rooks-Ellis, director of MAIER and a UMaine special education assistant professor, said. “A roadmap of sorts, to assist families as they navigate the autism journey.”

The yearlong project has resulted in a collection of booklets that are brought to life with a personal element, courtesy of the parents of Maine families. Advice offered through the sharing of personal stories and reflections is an effort to make the guides more accessible to families.

The guide also includes a collection of family photos, which depict the joys, as well as the challenges, that come along with raising a child with autism.

“We are indebted to these dedicated leaders of our Maine Family Partnership for the time, effort, patience and perseverance that made this project a success,” Rooks-Ellis said.

“What to do when you suspect an Autism Spectrum Disorder,” the first guide booklet, introduces parents to the necessary steps for receiving a diagnosis. “Accessing educational services, social services and interventions,” the second booklet, describes special education and early intervention services throughout Maine and serves as a guide for the transition from high school to adult support. “Resource Guide for Maine Families,” the final booklet, contains the contact information for a variety of resources throughout the state.

 For a print copy of the Maine Parent Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders, contact the Maine Autism Institute. Digital downloads are available on their website.


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