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Libraries and Autism

1 in 54: 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 54 children in the United States is on the autism spectrum.  The rate is 4.3 times higher among boys than girls. The rate for ASD in boys is 1 in 34. The rate for girls is 1 in 145. (2016)

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 54 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

Article of Interest
Most kids on the spectrum enjoy their screen time. Here is an article from the web site, Allconnect,  about Internet safety especially for Autism families.

Openings for In-Home ABA Services

I have been contacted by local agencies that offer ABA services that currently do not have waiting lists.
Mass Pediatric ABA

Mighty Strides Behavior Solutions

*The listing of these ABA agencies on the Pollard Library’s web page does not imply an endorsement of these agencies or their services.



Hi, Everyone!
I have filmed a storytime for Special Needs Families and posted to the Pollard Library’s Youtube page. Join us for stories, songs, and a little moving and grooving!

Upcoming Events in the Library

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.

2021-2022 Meetings
~ All Meetings are on Thursdays at 7 PM ~

September 16, 2021
October 7, 2021
November 4, 2021
December 2, 2021
January 13, 2022 (2nd Thursday due to holidays)
February 3, 2022
March 3, 2022
April 7, 2022
May 5, 2022
June 2, 2022

*Please Note: The meetings will be held on Zoom until further notice. Interested persons may contact the Sped PAC for info on how to listen or participate in the meeting.
Contact us:
Lowell Special Education Parent Advisory Council (Lowell Sped PAC)
Lowell Public Schools
Attn: Sped PAC
155 Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Telephone: (978) 454-1967
Like Us on Facebook: Lowell SPED PAC
Join our email list or send us questions:

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, visit the CARE website.

Upcoming Events and Opportunities in the Community

Autism Insurance Resource Center
Lunch and Learn: Webinar Series Via ZOOM
12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
Free to attend but registration is required.
Upcoming Presentations
March 10, 2022
What is ABA?
March 24, 2022
Finding a Behavioral Health Provider
April 4, 2022
Open Enrollment: Things to Consider
April 28, 2022
How to Make Sure You Are Getting Quality Service and Treatment
Click here for more information or to register.

“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

Autism-Friendly Evenings
5 PM – 8 PM
During these special evenings, the museum is closed to the general public and headcount is limited.
Dinner, including a gluten-free option, is provided but advanced registration is required.
March 19, 2022
April 30, 2022
May 21, 2022
September 24, 2022
November 12, 2022
December 10, 2022
Click here for more information or to register.

Sensory-Friendly Afternoons
1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
During these afternoons, the museum is open to the general public but there are no group activities to avoid crowding.
April 5, 2022
May 3, 2022
June 7, 2022
October 4, 2022
November 1, 2022
December 6, 2022
Click here for more information or to register.

*The Especially for Me program is offered in collaboration with Autism Alliance of MetroWest.

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.
Upcoming Dates:

To accommodate different needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are now two different versions of Morningstar. Please select the one that works best for your family.

Mask Exceptions Considered All staff and visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear masks. However, mask exceptions will be considered in advance at registration for children who have sensory needs or other types of needs that prevent them from keeping their masks on.
Saturday, April 2, 2022
8 AM – 10 AM

All Masks On! All staff and visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear masks. This session happens when the Museum is freshly cleaned with no visitors prior to the scheduled time. No mask exceptions will be considered. Families with any needs are welcome as long as they can follow this strict mask rule, which is in place to create a medically safer environment.
8 AM – 10 AM
May 7, 2022
June 4, 2022

Half price general admission ($9.00 per person)
Free for Museum members
Other discounts may apply (such as the EBT/WIC discount)

For more information or to register click here.

Saki Iwamoto, Health and Wellness Educator

Beyond the Spectrum
Museum of Fine Arts
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115

Beyond the Spectrum is a specially designed program for children and teens on the autism spectrum and their families.

Beyond the Spectrum (age 8–12)
Classes offered for 8 to 12-year-olds feature close looking and discussion about artworks led by an experienced instructor, followed by a creative art-making workshop. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to participate. Classes meet one Saturday per month.

Fee for each class:
Members: 9.00
Nonmembers: 11.00

AMC Sensory Friendly Films
Check with the specific theater for showtimes. Dates and times may be subject to change. Click here for more information about this program.

AMC Methuen

AMC Tyngsboro

O’Neil Cinemas
Sensory Friendly Flix: Lowered sound levels and higher house lights
1208 Constitution Ave.
Littleton, MA

A great program for families affected by Autism or other disabilities. See a movie on the big screen with NO loud noises and higher house lights for better visibility. Fun, friendly environment. Select films and showtimes.

Films are on Saturdays at 10 AM but contact the cinema to confirm as dates and times may change.

Support Groups

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 or

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: