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

An Important Message to Massachusetts Families With Children Under Age 9 Diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Open Interest Period will be from
October 17th, 2017 to October 31st, 2017

The Autism Division of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) runs an Autism Waiver Program that provides one-to-one interventions to help children with autism who exhibit severe behavior, social and communication problems through intensive in-home services and supports. This service occurs in the child’s home or other natural settings under the supervision of trained clinical staff and is available for a total of three years. The waiver also provides related support services such as community integration activities and respite. At the conclusion of the three years of intensive services, a child may access supplemental services that meet the child’s needs and help with the transition out of the intensive Autism Waiver Program until the child’s 9th birthday.

Eligibility: the following requirements are necessary for participation in this program:
1.      The child must have a confirmed diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder
2.      The child has not yet reached his/her 9th birthday. Children birth through age 8 may participate
3.      The child is a resident of Massachusetts
4.      The child meets the clinical eligibility standard
5.      The family chooses to have the child receive services in the home and community
6.      The child must be able to be safely served in the community
7.      The child must have a legally responsible representative able to direct the services of the  Waiver
8.      The child must be eligible or be able to obtain eligibility for MassHealth Standard coverage  

The open request period to be placed on a list expressing interest in this program runs from October 17th - October 31st.
More information is available on the DDS website:

Click HERE for the applications and more information!

If you have questions or need assistance with the application, please contact the Autism Support Center of the Northeast ARC at 978-777-9135 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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.

Keeping People with Autism Safe
This site about keeping loved ones with autism safe was recommended by Mary from Seattle.  Although the site is a home improvement site, it provided much excellent information about autism and safety including many resources.
Keeping Your Autistic Kids Safe at Home (from the website Home Advice)

Single Mothers Grant.org
This site contains information about financial assistance for single mothers.  There is a section about medical bills.

Financial Planning for Special Needs Children
The web page, the Simple Dollar, has an article about financial planning for special needs children.  I have added it to our "Helpful Links" section.

Upcoming Events at the Library

Special Needs Storytime
All special needs children and their families are invited to this storytime.  Join us for a morning of stories, music, and movement.  Stay for the entire storytime or for as long as your child wants. Come for storytime and meet other special needs families.
If you have questions about this storytime, contact Molly Hancock, Coordinator of Youth Services at 978-674-1527 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
We look forward to seeing your family!
Saturdays at 10 AM
September 16
October 14
November 18

Upcoming Events in the Community

Lowell Special Education Parent Advisory Council (Lowell Sped PAC)
The Lowell Special Education Parent Advisory Council (Sped PAC) is an organization run by parents of children receiving special education services through the Lowell School Department.  It was created to share information about special education and promote understanding between parents and the school department.

2017 - 2018 Meetings
Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month from October to June at the Stocklosa School. The school is located at 560 Broadway Street. Enter the school near the visitor sign. There is plenty of parking near the door. Meetings begin at 7:00 P.M. If door is locked, ring buzzer. Visitors are always welcome.

All Meetings Are on Thursdays
Sept. 21, 2017 -   (3rd Thurs. due to start of school)
October 5, 2017  *
November 2, 2017 *
December 7, 2017
January 4, 2018 *
February 1, 2018
March 1, 2018 *
April 5, 2018
May 3, 2018 *                                          
June 7, 2018  
*Denotes a Speaker     

Lowell Special Education
Parent Advisory Council
(Lowell Sped PAC)

Lowell Public Schools
Attn: Sped PAC
155 Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA  01852

Tel: (978) 454-1967
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Like us on Facebook:
Lowellspedpac

Autism Support Group
NFI Family Resource Center
27 Prescott St., Lowell, MA
The first and third Wednesday of every month, September - May
4 - 5:30 PM
Run by UMass Lowell faculty and students
There are two parts to our group:
1) a socialization group for children with autism up to 6 years of age, and their typically developing siblings.
2) a support group for caregivers that provides an opportunity for parents and other family members to connect with others facing a similar experience.

The FRC serves parents and children from diverse cultural, linguistic and socio-economic backgrounds.
This is a FREE service!

For additional information please contact:
NFI in Lowell at 978-455-0701 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Rocío Rosales: 978-934-4305 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dance Classes for Children with Physical or Developmental Disabilities
Revolution Dance Academy
10 Kidder Rd., # 8
Chelmsford, MA
978-256-3587
www.rdachelmsford.com
This fall, Revolution Dance Academy, will be offering a dance program for children with physical or developmental disabilities.  These classes are for children ages 3 - 12 years.  Classes are offered one day/one hour per week for $58 a month.  All classes are taught by teachers trained in special needs education.  Each staff member in the program is experienced in ABA and is CPR and First Aid Certified.
Classes will begin in the fall and will be offered on Thursdays from 4:14 PM - 5:15 PM or on Saturdays from         10 AM - 11 AM.
Children must be ambulatory.
Contact Revolution Dance Academy at 978-256-3587 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register or with questions.

UMASS Lowell Center for Autism Research and Education (CARE)
The University of Massachusetts Lowell has a Center for Autism Research and Education (CARE) which focuses on research and education to improve the lives of those with ASD and their families. They conduct research studies related to ASD and provide some services such as an Autism Support Group for parents of young children (up to age 6) on the Autism Spectrum and a monthly social networking program called "The Network" for young people ages 16 - 30 years on the high end of the autism spectrum.  For more information click here.

Greenway Carousel at the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove
Part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway
This unique carousel features animals native to Boston and was desiged to be accessible for individuals with physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities.
Tickets: $3 per ride. Pack of 10 is $25.
For more information click here.

“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.


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

Upcoming Autism-Friendly Nights Dates:


This program is free but pre-registration is required.  Click here for more information.

Especially for Me: Sensory-Friendly Afternoons
Come explore the Museums’ campus at your own pace. During these events the Museums are open to the general public, but group visits and birthday parties are not scheduled in order to avoid crowding and to support exhibit accessibility. Quiet spaces are available during this time as well. 
November 7, 2017
December 5, 2017
1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
This program is free but pre-registration is required.  For more information click here.

Morningstar Access at Boston Children's Museum
Special Needs children and their families can visit the museum during a time when there are only a few other visitors.  The number of guests is limited to 100.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
6 PM - 8 PM
Thursday December 28, 2017
8 AM - 10 AM

Fee: Members - Free, Non-members - 8.50 per person
Contact: Saki Iwamoto, Health and Wellness Educator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
617-986-3697
Click here for registration information.

AMC Sensory Friendly Films
Tyngsboro 978-649-4158
Methuen    978-738-8942
Check with the specific theater for showtimes.

My Little Pony
October 28, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok
November 11, 2017
November 14, 2017

Coco
November 25, 2017

Justice League
November 28, 2017

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Beyond the Spectrum: ASD Art Class
Beyond the Spectrum
Saturday, October 28, 2017
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Class Description: Codes and Puzzles
Join us in October to discover the secrets hidden in works of art at the museum! We’ll look inside sculptures, solve art puzzles, decode symbols, and crack ancient codes.
Project: Make your own cryptic message or picture using clay stamps.
Instructor: Ali Cohen
Tickets are required.  For more information click here, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 617-369-4027.

Wrightslaw Special Education and Advocacy Boot Camp with Peter Wright, Esq. and Pamela Darr Wright, MA, MSW
UTEC
41 Warren St.
Lowell, MA
Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28, 2017
Friday's workshops focus on Special Education law.  Saturday's workshops focus on advocacy issues.
Visit the event's website for workshops' schedules and more information including fees.

Wings for Autism
Logan Airport
Saturday, November 4, 2017
9 AM
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.

The program, founded in 2011 by the Charles River Center, has reached national adoption and is held in major metropolitan cities around the country.  Outside of New England, Wings for Autism programs are managed by The Arc.

Click here for more information or to register.

Use of Technology to Support Those with ASD
UMASS, Lowell, South Campus
61 Wilder St., Lowell, MA  01854
O'Leary Library, Room 222
Monday, November 6, 2017
3:30 PM - 5 PM
Dr. Matthew Goodwin of Northeastern University's Computational Behavioral Science Lab will present.
This event is free but registration is required.  Click here for more information or to register.

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

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


Support Group for Parents of Children with Special Needs
Pediatrics West, PC
133 Littleton Road
3rd Floor Conference Room
Westford, MA  01886
7 PM - 8:30 PM

Tuesday, September 19
Thursday, October 5
Tuesday, November 14
Thursday, December 14

Call Alison at 978-577-0414 for more information.

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

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.

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

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