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. .


Upcoming Events at the Library

An Activity for Special Needs Children: Lego Time
Is your child on the Autism Spectrum or have another special needs challenge? This activity is especially for them. Join us for a morning of building and making new friends. For special needs children age 4 years and older.  Special Needs Children of all abilities are welcome - those that can work independently and those that need lots of hand over hand help from their grownups.  Stay the entire session or as long as your child wants. Siblings are always welcome!

Saturdays at 10 AM - December 12, 2015

Sign up required.  Contact Molly Hancock, Coordinator of Youth Services to sign up and with any questions.  Call 978-674-1527 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Upcoming Events in the Community

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 ~

Sept. 17, 2015 - (3rd Thurs. due to start of school)
October 1, 2015 - Newcomers Night
November 5, 2015 *
December 3, 2015
January 7, 2016
February 4, 2016
March 3, 2016 *
April 7, 2016
May 5, 2016 *                            *Denotes a Speaker              
June 2, 2016                       

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 and phone 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  

Especially for Me at the Discovery Museums in Acton
Autism Friendly Afternoons, 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM

November 3, December 1, 2015
During ASD Friendly Afternoons, no school groups or birthday parties will be scheduled to avoid overcrowding and support accessibility of exhibits. A dedicated room will also be available to welcome families with a child with an ASD to orient them to the campus and programs, and provide a quiet space for children needing a break from the stimulation of the museums.

Evenings for Families with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, 5 PM - 8:30 PM

December 12, 2015
During our Free Evenings for Families of Children with an ASD, the Museums are closed to the public so families may explore with others with similar needs.  Food is generously provided by Not Your Average Joe’s of Acton.

For more information about these Discovery Museums events or to register, click here.

Caring Santa

On Sunday, December 6, Caring Santa is offering families with special needs an opportunity for their loved ones to enjoy some holiday tradition. They have created an environment with less potential triggers with events held during private mall hours so as to provide a calmer sensory-friendly environment. There will be no lines, no crowds, no music – just calm fun for special families.

The event is free and photos are available for purchase. The times sell out quickly so reserve your spot soon! (Some locations have already sold out.)

Registration is required! Check out the links below to reserve your spot.

Pheasant Lane Mall                            Solomon Pond Mall                             Square One Mall

DATE: Sunday, December 6
TIME: Varies depending on location
COST: Free. Pictures available for purchase
LOCATIONS: Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, Solomon Pond Mall in Marlboro, Square One Mall in Saugus. For more locations, visit

(Thanks to LifeLinks for sharing information about the Caring Santa program!)

Autism Eats at Andolini's Restaurant
December 7, 2015 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm
(We have our own room)
19 Essex Street, Andover MA
Reserve your tickets early

Autism Eats provides Autism-friendly non-judgmental environments for family dining, socializing and connecting with others who share similar joys and challenges.
Visit for more information and to purchase tickets for your family dinner buffet.


Autism-Friendly Urban Nutcracker Performance
December 19, 2015

Boston, John Hancock Hall, December 19th, 2015.

The Urban Nutcracker continues to expand and represent inclusiveness in a multi-cultural Boston community by presenting a Sensory-Friendly performance. With the direction of retired international ballet star Tony Williams, this performance blends classical moves with emerging diverse dance forms, while ensuring it is sensory friendly with house lights at half capacity, sounds lower in volume/intensity, volunteers to provide support, and a quiet area. And the audience will be encouraged to dance, sing and shout.  Also, this year’s Urban Nutcracker features never before seen sets and costumes in celebration of its 15th Anniversary.

Fees apply, registration required to
Special group discounts are available.
For more information contact Dustin Rennells, Operations Manager; 617.524.3066 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sensory-Friendly “A Christmas Carol” – Worcester
December 22, 2015

A Christmas Carol Autism-Friendly Performance is presented by the The Hanover Theater along with the New England Chapter of Autism Speaks, Theatre Development Fund, HMEA’s Autism Resource Central and VSA Massachusetts.  This performance is intended as a unique theatre experience for individuals and families impacted by autism, in a supportive, judgment-free environment, Accommodations of support include a quiet area if individuals and families need a break from the experience  and trained staff and volunteers to assist with patrons’ needs.
Fees Apply.
Registration required to the Hanover box office at 877.571.SHOW (7469) or visit the Hanover Theater Sensory Friendly A Christmas Carol page.

“Morningstar Access” Boston Children’s Museum
December 30, 2015
8 AM  – 10 AM

Program offers children with special and medical needs the opportunity to enjoy the Museum in an uncrowded environment, with few other visitors and  less concern about infections and large crowds.

Pre-registration is required and is limited to 100 guests.

Fee $7.00, museum members attend free.

Preregistrater to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 617-986-3697 or visit the Morningstar Access Page.  Fees Apply

“Planning a Life” Disability Transition Conference
February 5, 2016 – February 6, 2016
Transition planning information and resources for and about students in special education ages 14-22.  Middle school and high school is the time when students with disabilities and their families need to start thinking and planning for their future. Families must be active in the planning process to help a student with their post-secondary vision and to prepare for a full and productive life after high school. Connecting students and families to resources and services early on is one of the goals of the Planning a Life Conference.  Planning a Life is a two day Transition planning conference with information and resources for families, educators and professionals.
Topics include:

*Creating a Vision for life beyond High School
* Transition Laws & Assessments
* The MA Transition Planning Form and IEP goals
* Post-Secondary Education and Career preparation
* Community connections & Family involvement
Transition planning is an ongoing process that starts when a student on an IEP turns 14 and continues throughout their high school and young adult years.

Registration Required, Fees Apply

FCSN Planning A Life conference is open to families, educators and other professionals. Families can apply for scholarships available through the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC). Call 617-770-7676 or visit the Council Empowerment Funds Program Web site.

For more information contact the Federation for Children with Special Needs  (800) 331-0688 (in MA) | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the Planning a Life Conference Page

You can find great Transition resources on the FCSN Transition page, including the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Transition Planning Form.

Sensory Friendly Films: AMC Theatres - Methuen and Tyngsboro, MA

Saturday, Dec 5, 2015 - THE GOOD DINOSAUR

All shows are at 10:00 am local time. Dates and films are subject to change.
For more information click here.

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.
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.
In Collaboration: CTI, MSPCC & PPAL

Special Summer Camps

Thinking Ahead to Summer 2016
We've barely said goodbye to Summer 2015 but I wanted to pass on a Summer 2016 opportunity.  One of our local families recommended a special summer program for Autism Spectrum Families.  It's called "Camp Kaleidoscope."  According to their website, "Camp Kaleidoscope is a summer camp style retreat for families experiencing the autism spectrum."  Next year's camp runs June 25 - 28, 2016.  Click here for more information

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.


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:

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

Copyright ©2012-2015 Pollard Memorial Library. All right reserved.