PML Autism Guide

Autism Resources

Libraries and Autism - We’re Connected

1 in 68: Autism Spectrum Resources for Families

NEWS!  The U.S. Center for Disease Control has released its most recent statistics for autism rates.  The new statistics show 1 in 68 children in the United States is on the autism spectrum.  One out of 42 boys is affected by autism. (March 2014)

Libraries and AutismAccording to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 children in the United States is on the autism spectrum. Youth Services Staff has compiled a list of autism spectrum resources for families. The best place to start, if you suspect your child might be on the spectrum, is to have your child screened. The earlier your child starts therapies, the better. If your child is under age three there are two local agencies, South Bay Early Intervention and Thom Anne Sullivan Center, that provide screening services. If your child is age three or older, contact the Lowell Public Schools for assistance.

Information contained on this web page does not constitute library endorsement of a treatment, agency or advocacy group. The library maintains that it is up to the parent/legal guardian to determine proper treatment for his/her child. This web page is solely a place of information for the huge array of materials related to Autism Spectrum Disorders.

If your family uses a service or has a favorite autism spectrum web site that is not listed, please let us know so we can share with others in the community. Contact Molly Hancock, Coordinator of Youth Services at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

News

Camp Time
It's time to start thinking about summer camp and summer programs.  The SPED Child and Teen online newsletter has a whole section about special needs camps and fairs.  Click here for more.

Give a Voice Program
The NAA is now accepting applications for its "Give a Voice Program."  This program aims to provide communication devices with individuals with autism who are non-verbal or minimally verbal and whose communication challenges put them at increased risk for injury or harm.
This program is for families who are in dire need of financial assistance and who are unable to afford a communication device.  The funding for this program is limited.  Each application will be reviewed by NAA staff.
For more information and to download an application click here.

New Resource!
We've added another agency to our Autism Resources Guide.  It's the Autism Support Center at the Northeast Arc.  They provide support and services for Autism families.

Article About Early Signs of Autism
Here's an article from St. Mary's University in Minnesota about early signs of Autism.

Upcoming Events at the Library

Drum Circle Plus: An Intergenerational Drumming Program
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
10:30 AM
Special needs children and adults and their families are invited to this drumming program led by a certified music therapist from Roman Music Therapy.  Join us for a musical morning.  Everyone who comes, plays! 

Space is limited and sign up is required.  Sign up begins on April 3.  To reserve your spots stop by the Children's Desk or call 978-674-1529.


Questions?  Call Molly Hancock, Coordinator of Youth Services at 978-674-1527.
This event is brought to you by the Pollard Library and the Pollard Memorial Library Foundation.

Upcoming Events in the Community

An Extra Special Bunny
Autism Speaks has partnered with Simon Property Group, Inc. and the Noerr Programs Corporation on their Caring Bunny program in association with Ability Path!  Special Needs children can visit with the Easter Bunny in a quieter more sensory friendly environment.  For more information about what malls in the area offer this program or to make reservations, click here.

Expert Speaker Series at UMASS Lowell
Featuring Dr. Fred R. Volkmar speaking on "Changing Perspectives on Outcome in Autism Spectrum Disorders"
Thursday, March 30, 2017
3:30 PM - 5 PM
UMASS, Lowell, South Campus
O'Leary Library, Room 222
61 Wilder St., Lowell, MA  01854
Dr. Volkar is a prominent researcher in the field of autism and is the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology at the Yale University Chid Study Center, School of Medicine.

Those attending must complete a registration form.

For more information e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Adult Services Fair
Wednesday April 5, 2017
5 PM - 7 PM
LifeLinks
285 Mill Road, Chelmsford, MA
This fair is for families with special needs young people (14 years to 25 years old.)  Over 25 agencies that serve these young adults will be at the event providing information about what they offer.
The event is free and sponsored by LifeLinks and the Department of Developmental Services.
For more information call 978-349-3040 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

UMASS, Lowell Autism Sibling Study

UMASS, Lowell's Department of Psychology is conducting a study about children with autism and their siblings.  They are looking for children with ASD that are between 4 and 6 years old with typically developing siblings that are 18 to 54 months older.

For more information e-mail: developmental This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Professor Doreen Arcus at 978-934-4172.

Lowell Special Education Parent Advisory Council (Lowell Sped PAC)

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month from October to June at the Butler School.The school is located at 1140 Gorham St. between Rosenblooms and the Shaughnessy School. There is plenty of parking near the door. Meetings begin at 7:00 P.M. If door is locked, ring yellow buzzer. Visitors are always welcome.

~ All Meetings are on Thursdays ~
2016 - 2017 Meetings
September 22, 2016 (4th Thursday due to start of school)
October 6, 2016
November 3, 2016* (Meeting moved from Butler - check with Sped Pac for new location)
December 1, 2016
January 5, 2017*
February 2, 2017
March 2, 2017*
April 6, 2017
May 4, 2017*
June 1, 2017
*Denotes a Speaker
There will be a variety of speakers in the coming year. Many of them play a key role in the education of your child. For specific speaker info, please contact the Sped PAC.
In the event of poor weather or other emergency, meeting cancellations will be announced through email notification. If there is no school in the Lowell Schools, there is no meeting.


Lowell Special Education
Parent Advisory Council
(Lowell Sped PAC)
Attn: Sped PAC
43 Highland Street
Lowell, MA 

Autism Parent Group
This group is for parents and caregivers of children on the spectrum for Autism, Aspergers, and PDD.
Pediatrics West PC
133 Littleton Rd., Suite 301
Westford, MA
Upcoming Meeting Dates:

Support Group for Spanish Speaking Parents of Children with Disabilities
Families and Youth Initiative
130 Parker St.
Lawrence, MA
2nd Friday of each month
9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Contact Gloria Castillo at 978-624-2301 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sponsored by the Autism Support Center of the Northeast Arc

Wings for Autism
Saturday, April 1, 2017
9:30 AM
Logan Airport, Terminal E
Wings for Autism is a free program specifically designed to support families of children with autism, creating a travel test run to help ease the stress of airline travel.

By getting comfortable with the airport and flight experience (without actually leaving the airport) parents and their children with special needs can gain the familiarity and confidence they need to take future trips.

During this free, half-day event, children and their families are able to familiarize themselves with the airport and travel procedures.  

They experience …

    Entering the airport
    The check-in process and checking bags
    Security screening
    Boarding the plane
    Preparing for take-off
    Exiting the plane

Although the program is free, registration is required.  Click here to register.
This program is presented by the Charles River Center.
For more information This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Beyond the Spectrum:  Artful Healing
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Artful Healing offers a specially designed program for children ages 8–12 on the Autism Spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome, accompanied by a parent or caregiver. Upon arrival children will be divided into groups by age and/or needs.

The Beyond the Spectrum program meets one Saturday per month from 10:30 am–12 pm. Each class lasts an hour and a half and combines gallery exploration with an art-making activity.

Upcoming 2017 Dates
April 1
May 6
June 3

Fee: $9 per child (includes materials and museum admission)

For more information visit the Beyond the Spectrum page, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call 617-369-4027.

“Especially for Me” Free Evenings and Afternoons for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum
The Discovery Museums
177 Main Street (Route 27)
Acton, Massachusetts 01720
Phone: 978.264.4200
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Autism Friendly Evenings
The Especially for Me program offers dedicated hours and free admission for families with children with developmental challenges.

Upcoming Autism-Friendly Nights Dates:

April 8, 2017,
5:00 pm to 8:30 pm

May 6, 2017,
5:00 pm to 8:30 pm

July 15, 2017,
5:00 pm to 8:30 pm

August 19, 2017,
5:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Dinner, including gluten free options, is provided by Not Your Average Joe's of Acton from 5 PM - 7 PM.

Sensory Friendly Afternoons
From the Discovery Museum website: Come, explore the museums in a low-key atmosphere, and participate in special sensory-based activities open to everyone. During ASD (autism spectrum disorder) friendly afternoons, the museums are open to the public, but we do not host school groups or birthday parties, in order to avoid overcrowding and support accessibility of exhibits. A dedicated room is available to welcome families with a child with an ASD to orient them to the campus and provide a quiet space for children needing a break from the stimulation of the museums.

Upcoming Sensory-Friendly Afternoons Dates

April 4, 2017,
1:30 pm to 4:30 pm

May 2, 2017,
1:30 pm to 4:30 pm

June 6, 2017,
1:30 pm to 4:30 pm

October 3, 2017,
1:30 pm to 4:30 pm

November 7, 2017,
1:30 pm to 4:30 pm

December 5, 2017,
1:30 pm to 4:30 pm

**All are events free, but require pre-registration online so that the museums can plan appropriately for food and other resources. 

Contact the Discovery Museums for more information or to register.

Sensory Friendly Awareness Weekend
Edaville USA
Carver, MA
Saturday, April 22 - Sunday, April 23, 2017
Everyone is welcome to this event where guests will learn about Autism as well as learning about education and safety.
Since this is a Sensory Friendly event the music will be turned down.
To purchase tickets or for more information click here.

Touch-a-Truck for Autism Awareness
Sunday, April 23, 2017
11 AM - 1 PM
Recreational Educational Center
83 Pine St., Suite 102
Peabody, MA  01960
978-717-5062
Come and visit the trucks.  On hand will be a fire truck, a police car, an ambulance, and tow trucks.
There will also be other activities and food.
This free outdoor event will be held rain or shine.
For more information click here.

Autism Eats Event: Meet Red Soc Mascot Wally
Monday, April 24, 2017
6 PM - 8 PM
Maggiano's (We Have Our Own Room)
4 Columbus Ave. - Park Square, Boston
Buffet includes dinner, dessert, soda, tax and tips.
Adult Tickets: $25
Kid Tickets: $21
Parking available for $10 in the Motor Mart Garage above Maggiano's.
For more information or to order tickets click here.

Altitude Trampoline Park: Sensory Friendly Saturdays
Every Saturday morning from 9 AM - 10 AM
Individuals and groups are welcome. If bringing a group, call ahead - 978-663-5867.
Reduced price of $12 per person
Re-usable trampoline socks are required and available for purchase (2.00 per pair.)
Altitude Trampoline Park
700 Boston Rd., Billerica, MA  01821
978-663-5867   
http://www.altitudeparkma.com/page.cfm?pageid=44714

Sensory Friendly Films - AMC Theatres, Methuen and Tyngsboro

From the AMC webpage:

AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to bring you unique movie showings where you can feel free to be you! We turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing!

Please check your movie theater for show times for Sensory Friendly films.

Upcoming Films
Boss Baby
Saturday, April 8, 2017

Smurfs: the Lost Village
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Museum of Science Disability Prototype Testers
The Museum of Science, Boston, seeks people with a variety of abilities and disabilities to help improve the museum offerings, such as exhibits and programs. Those with, but not limited to, sensory, physical, and cognitive disabilities, can be contacted to test new exhibit prototypes and explore the museum.
Interested participants will come to the Museum of Science to interact with exhibit prototypes or explore other existing museum experiences. Testing could last anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes and will always include free admission to the Museum of Science exhibit halls for the day and free parking in the Museum’s garage.
If you would like to help the Museum of Science become more accessible by providing feedback during an upcoming testing session, please fill out this online form.
This form asks for your contact information as well as some details about the group you plan to visit the Museum with. If you prefer to fill out this form over the phone instead of online, please contact Sunewan Chunhasuwan, a Research and Evaluation Assistant, at 617-589-4438. You may also email with any questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Support Groups

Parent Support Group
These free meetings are open to anyone parenting a child or adolescent with behavioral or mental health special needs.
The meetings are held in Lowell on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month from 6 PM - 7:45 PM.  Contact for location.
RSVP: Nancy Collier, Family Support Specialist, 508-688-5739 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.ppal.net
This program is a collaboration between MSPCC, PPAL, CTI and DMH

Transition Planning Group
Meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of the month from 6 PM - 7:45 PM.
CTI Lowell
126 Phoenix Ave., 3rd Floor, Room 3
RSVP: Nancy Collier, 508-688-5739 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.ppal.net
In Collaboration: CTI, MSPCC & PPAL

Down Syndrome-Autism Connection Group

DS-Autism Connection (DSAC) is for parents whose children have both Down syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder. DSAC has 30 active families who meet once monthly by online chat to discuss the issues and challenges unique to the Down Syndrome-Autism community. Experts in the field often present on various topics relating to dual diagnosis. New members are welcome. DSAC is an affiliate of the Massachusetts Down Sydrome Congress. For more information visit the Down Syndrome Autism Connection’s website or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Special Summer Camps

Camp Starfish
According to their web page - "Our positive approach, engaging philosophy and overall experience is different. Camp Starfish provides a 1:1 staff-to-camper ratio at all times to enable success, build social skills, teach coping mechanisms, and help children who have difficulty finding success in traditional settings. We are a one-of-a-kind summer camp, year-round support and advocate for children and families."  Click here for more information.

Autism in the News

From LifeLinks:
Planning for Life After Special Education: Transition Services Online Manual
 
The Disability Law Center in Boston has revised their manual 'Planning for Life After Special Education' and it is available online for FREE. They have made several significant changes, including new information on the following topics:
-Developing appropriate transition services for students with severe developmental disabilities
-Helping your student transition successfully into the adult workforce
-Knowing the various diploma options and determining which option is best for your child
 
The second edition of this manual also provides revised case summaries, thirteen new informational videos in English, Spanish, and ASL, and information on how to manage public benefits.
 
This amazing resource is available online for free. If you have a child approaching transition age, this is a must read!

Leading the Way: Autism Friendly Youth Organizations

Autism Speaks has created a guide for community organizations to help them better serve children with autism and their families.  This information is available online.

Autism Speaks has created the online resource, Postsecondary Educational Opportunities.

Blogs

Autism Blogger - Online Autism Support Group
Accepting Asperger's Syndrome - This is a crash course to accepting your Asperger's!

 

Parents of Special Needs Kids Meet Ups: This is an online resource of groups and meetings in the Boston area. Link: http://spclneedsparents.meetup.com/cities/us/ma/chelmsford.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pollard Memorial Library | 401 Merrimack St., Lowell, MA. 01852 | (978) 674-4120 | email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hours: Mon-Thu 9am-9pm, Fri-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun Closed  Senior Center Branch: Mon-Fri 9am-4pm

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