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 - January 9, February 6, March 5, 2016*

*In case of inclement weather please call 978-674-1529

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  

Groups for Children with Autism and Their Families

UMASS Lowell's Psychology Department in Partnership with the NFI Family Resource Center are offering a special program for families with children ages 0 - 8 years with autism.  The program has two components:

1. Socialization Group - Students from UMASS Lowell will run this group for children with autism to encourage social skills and play.  Siblings are also encouraged to attend this group.  This group will be supervised by Dr. Rocio Rosales, faculty member in the Department of Psychology at UMASS, Lowell.

2. Support Group for Caregivers - The support group will be run at the same time.  It will be parent led with support from UMASS, Lowell and Family Resource Center Staff.  The group will give caretakers the chance to connect with others facing similar experiences.

This is not a drop off program.  Parents are required to stay in the building.

This program begins on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 and runs every other Wednesday from 4 PM - 5:30 PM through the school year.

This is an open enrollment program but registration is encouraged.

Hablamos espanol!

NFI Family Resource Center
27 Prescott St.
Lowell, MA  01852
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

“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.

"Morningstar Access" at Boston's Children's Museum
January 18 and February 15, 2016, 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.  
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

Beyond the Spectrum Autism/ASD Art Class
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, February 13 and March 5, 2016.
For kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ages 6 – 8 ad 10 – 12.
Artful Healing and Beyond the Spectrum offer a specially designed program for Autism Spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome, accompanied by a parent or caregiver. 

February Theme: Royal Reflections – Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a King or Queen? What would you wear? How would you want the world to see you? Come explore royalty through antiquity and make your own crown to march away with.

March Theme: Astrological Art. For thousands of years artists have looked to the sky and been inspired to paint, sculpt or photograph what they see and imagine in the cosmos. We will explore the galaxy through works of art about the sun, stars and sky and then create an astrologically-inspired masterpiece.

* Upon arrival children will be divided into groups by age and/or needs.
Reservations Required and Fees Apply
For more information click here  or call  617-369-4027.

"A Full Life Ahead" - a series of monthly workshops for parents and caregivers about planning for the future of a loved one with a developmental disability. This program is presented by Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change. The workshops are offered throughout the state from January through June 2016.  In the Lowell area the workshops are in Burlington.  For more information click here.

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

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
Star Wars - Saturday, January 9 at 10 AM and Tuesday, January 12 at 7 PM

Norm of the North - Saturday, January 23 at 10 AM

For more information visit the AMC webpage.

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

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:












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