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. .

National Autism Association's 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.

Autism Services Waiver Program
The Autism Division of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) runs a program for low-income children with autism called the Autism Services Waiver Program. This program serves children under the age of 9 who meet both the clinical and financial eligibility that includes having/obtaining MassHealth Standard Insurance.  While the program is near capacity, there is a high rate of turnover in the program every year, so the program wants to have a new pool of applicants to draw from to fill open slots.

The Open Request Period for this program is coming up next month.  New applications are being accepted between October 17, 2016 and October 31, 2016. Applications must be postmarked or emailed from a parent/guardian no earlier than October 17, 2016 and no later than October 31, 2016.

For more information about this waiver program and an application click here.

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 Music Program for Developmentally Delayed Children and Adults and Their Families

Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Come ready to make music.  Everyone who comes plays!

All ages and abilities welcome.

Space is limited and sign up required.  Sign up begins October 11, 2016.  Stop by the Children's Desk or call 978-674-1529 to reserve your spot.

Questions?  Contact Molly Hancock, Coordinator of Youth Services at 978-674-1527 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Upcoming Events in the Community

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*
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  

Information from LifeLinks: DDS Ask the Agency Information Sessions

Representatives from DDS Northeast Regional Office will be available to answer questions about eligibility, adult autism services, children’s services, family supports, self-directed services, and transitioning to adulthood. The session will begin with a brief introductory talk and then they will open it up for questions.

All Ask the Agency events will take place on Wednesdays from 6:00pm  – 8:00pm. Choose from any of the dates below and RSVP with the Family Support Center hosting.

October 19
LifeLinks 285 Mill Road, Chelmsford, MA
RSVP to 978-349-3043 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

October 26
EMARC, 26 Princess Street 3rd Floor, Wakefield, MA
RSVP to 781-587-2316 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

November 2
Riverside Community Care 300 West Cummings Park Suite 354, Woburn, MA
RSVP online at or to 781-686-7276 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Thursday, December 1, 2016
The group meets from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

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 Over Autism
Saturday, November 5, 2016
9 AM
Logan Airport, Boston, MA

Created by the Charles River Center, 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

Practicing these steps helps establish a travel routine—so important for many children with autism who rely on repetition and structure.

For more information or to register, click here.

“Especially for Me” Free Evening to Families with 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.

Free Evenings for Families with Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (5:00pm to 8:30pm, unless otherwise noted)

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.  Museum staff can usually direct visitors to a quiet space in each building for children that may need to take a break from stimulation. Food, including gluten-free options, is generously provided by Not Your Average Joe’s of Acton.

Upcoming Dates
Saturday, December 3

The museums also offer Free ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Friendly Afternoons (select Tuesdays from 1:30pm - 4:30pm)

During ASD Friendly Afternoons, no school groups or birthday parties are scheduled, 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 programs, and provide a quiet space for children needing a break from the stimulation of the museums.

November 1
December 6

Events are FREE, but pre-registration is required.

Contact the Discovery Museums for more information or to register.

Morningstar Access at Boston Children's Museum
Morningstar Access at Boston Children’s Museum offers children with special needs/medical needs the opportunity to visit the Museum at a time when there are only a few other visitors. At these times, we have a limit of 100 guests, and children and their families can explore the Museum with less concern about infections and large crowds.

Saturday November 19th, 2016 from 6 pm to 8 pm - Evening Edition!

Admission: All guests must pay admission at the Admissions Desk upon arrival.

    Non-members: Half admission price ($8 per person)
    Members: Free

Saki Iwamoto, Health and Wellness Educator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For more information or to register click here.

"Beyond the Spectrum" Autism/ASD Art Class
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
For children ages 6- 8 and 10 - 12 years

November 5, 2016
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Class Description: Terrific Textiles
What do a century old blanket and a dress from the 1800s have in common? They are both made using textiles and weaving. Together let’s explore how different fabrics and techniques have been used to make so many objects.
Project: Create your very own mini woven blankets and other creations using yarn, string, and fabric.

Tickets Required
Cost: $9
For more information and to register click here.

Music Therapy Workshops at LifeLinks
285 Mill Road, Chelmsford
Wednesdays, November 2 - December 7, 2016
4 PM - 4:45 PM
Ages 3 years old and up
Free to Lowell Area DDS Families
$50 for all other families
Parents are required to stay and siblings are welcome!
These workshops are conducted by Roman Music Therapy Services
Registration Required.  Contact Christie at 978-349-3005 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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

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!

We are now expanding our Sensory Friendly Film program to four showings per month.

  •     The second and fourth Tuesday and Saturday.
  •     Family-friendly movies will continue to show Saturdays, starting at 10am local time
  •     We've added Tuesday showings at 7pm local time that may appeal to others on the autism spectrum.

Upcoming Films

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Friday, December 10, 2016

Rogue One
Tuesday, December 27, 2016

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.
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

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.


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:




































































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