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 -  May 7, 2016

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 ~

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.

“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
Sunday, May 22: 3:30 PM - 7 PM (This event will overlap with public hours from 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM.)
Saturday, July 9
Sunday, August 14: 3:30 PM - 7 PM (This event will overlap with public hours from 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM.)
Saturday, October 15
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.

May 3
June 7
October 4
November 1
December 6

Events are FREE, but pre-registration is required.

Contact the Discovery Museums for more information or to register.

Parent Networking for Disability Transition
Andover, Burlington, Haverhill, Peabody, Wakefield, April – May 12th, 2016. Mass Families Organizing for Change – Northeast is hosting a series of free networking sessions where parents can meet to discuss and brainstorm what they need to plan for and work on as their teens become young adults.
** Chris Williams, parent of a 21 year old living with disability, will give an overview of the transition process and share a tool that she uses to organize her son’s transition. Topics such as education, employment, voter registration, government benefits, transportation, housing options and working with agencies will be addressed. Attendees will also learn about MFOFC Housing Connections, a tool that helps families communicate with other families with similar interests to find or create a home for their loved one with a disability.
Please RSVP to Chris Williams at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Upcoming Dates
May 3rd, 7-8:30PM
Burlington Public Library, Burlington
22 Sears St, Burlington, MA

May 4th, 7 – 8:30 PM
Lucius Beebe Memorial Library
345 Main Street, Wakefield, MA

May 9th, 7-8:30 PM
Peabody Institute Library
82 Main Street, Peabody, MA

**May 12th, 7-8:30PM
Haverhill Public Library
99 Main Street, Haverhill, MA

Autism Eats: Providing autism-friendly non-judgmental environments for family dining, socializing and connecting with others who share similar joys and challenges.

Upcoming Events

May 4, 2016 - Restaurant 45, 45 Milford St., Medway, MA
6 PM - 8:30 PM
Ticket Prices: Adults: $23.00. Kids: $15.00
First 15 kids that register eat FREE thanks to a generous contribution from the Massachusetts Respite Lifespan Coalition

For more information or to order tickets click here.

Beyond the Spectrum: Adventures in Art for Children on the Autism Spectrum. Ages 8-12 - Boston Museum of Fine Arts
One-Day Class: Saturday, May 7, 10:30 am-12 pm

Course Ticket Required - $9

Class Description: Recycled Recreations

When we make art out of recycled materials we are giving objects new life. Come explore the possibilities of recreating old and ordinary materials into something new and walk away with a remarkable piece of recycled artwork!

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.

Autism Speaks Day at Fenway Park
Saturday, May 14, 2016 (Game Time 1:05 PM)
Come to Fenway Park and watch the Sox take on the Astros.  A portion of the proceeds from each ticket will be donated to Autism Speaks.
For more information and to purchase tickets click here.

Morningstar Access at Boston's Children's Museum
Monday, May 30, 2016, 8 AM - 10 AM

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.

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

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

For more information and to register click here.

Saki Iwamoto, Health and Wellness Educator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sensory-Friendly Southwick Zoo Experience
June 3, 2016
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Southwick's Zoo
2 Southwick Street
Mendon, MA 01756

Autism Alliance of MetroWest, a program of Advocates, is hosting their second annual sensory friendly evening at Southwick's Zoo on Friday, June 3rd. This is a private event for individuals with autism, their families, and others who may benefit from a sensory friendly experience. Families will have the opportunity to spend two hours exploring the zoo and visiting animals in an intimate, quiet environment with no bright lights, rides, or gift store. There will be complimentary snacks provided by our friends at the Flutie Foundation and a gift for each child from our event sponsor Commonwealth Financial Group.

Tickets are specially priced at a discounted rate of $12 each. Space is limited and preregistration is required. Rain date is Friday, June 10th.

For more information visit the Autism Alliance web page.

Autism Awareness Weekend at Storyland
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Story Land is offering deeply discounted tickets to the autism community.  The discount is ONLY available through the Autism Speaks Story Land web page.


    StoryLand admission tickets for Autism Awareness Day will be sent to you via US Mail.

    Pre Registration IS REQUIRED for this event, and the deadline to register is Friday, June 17. DISCOUNT ENDS June 17.

    You cannot purchase discounted tickets at Story Land.

    You must bring your tickets with you to Story Land when you attend, regardless of the date you choose for your visit.


    Registration fee is $20.00 per person (ages 3 and up) and includes admission to Story Land, access to incentive tickets (based on fundraising), and a chance to cut the ribbon during our Walk start!

    All ticket-holders are invited to join us for a special Awareness Walk through Story Land park on Saturday, June 25th at 8:30 am. Those joining us that day have the option to show their support for Autism Speaks by creating a fundraising team. Starting a Walk team for this event entitles you to access to fundraising incentives including t-shirts, swag, and Story Land tickets (for future use).

    If you cannot join us for our Awareness Day on June 25th, you can use the tickets you purchased when you registered anytime between June 25th to July 31st.

For more information visit the Autism Speaks Story Land Web Page.

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

"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:

Tuesday: 5/10 at 7pm
Saturday: 5/14 at 10am

**Please contact the movie theater to confirm dates and times.

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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