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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

Articles 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.

Here’s an online article from a Speech Pathology Master’s Program website, “Tips for Speech Therapy at Home for Children with Autism.”

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.

University of Notre Dame Research Study
The University of Notre Dame’s SPARC Project is conducting a research study. The study runs over 4 weeks and families may participate remotely.
Over the course of the four-week program, families in the SPARC project get information about conflict and how it can impact parent-child and sibling relationships, as well as information about how to resolve conflicts.
Participants will receive monetary compensation for participating.
Couples who are married/living together with –
1. A typically developing child between the ages of 10 and 18
2. A child of any age who has intellectual or developmental disability

To learn more contact:


Upcoming Events in the Library

Upcoming Events and Opportunities 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.

2022-2023 Meetings
~ All Meetings are on Thursdays at 7 PM ~*

September 15, 2022
October 6, 2022
November 3, 2022
December 1, 2022
January 12, 2023 (2nd Thursday due to holidays)
February 2, 2023
March 2, 2023
April 6, 2023
May 4, 2023
June 1, 2023

*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.

Autism Insurance Resource Center
Lunch and Learn: Webinar Series Via ZOOM

Upcoming holiday event for special needs families!

“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.
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.
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.

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

All Masks On! All staff and visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear masks with no exceptions. Families with any types of needs must be able to follow this strict mask rule in order to maximize health safety for children with medical needs.
Saturday, December 3, 2022, 8:00-10:00am

Mask Optional Masks are recommended but not required for visitors. The Museum staff will wear masks when interacting with visitors.

Half price general admission ($10.00 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 Kids (Age 8 – 12)

Saturday, December 3, 2022
10:30 AM – 12 PM
Class Description: Action and Abstraction
How do artists give us a sense of movement in artworks that don’t change? Join us to learn how painters use motion and abstraction to create unique visual effects. Then, we’ll make our own abstract paintings using movement.
Click here for more information and tickets.

Beyond the Spectrum Teens
Saturday, December 17, 2022
10:30 AM – 12 PM
Class Description: Living in the Moment
It can be difficult to detach ourselves from our busy lives and focus on the present moment, but it can also be very helpful. Many artists use mindfulness techniques to help them create artworks and stay in their artistic “zone”. Join us to learn some mindfulness methods, and then practice using your techniques while making marbled paper in the art studio.
Click here for more information and tickets.

Members: $9.00
Nonmembers: $11.00

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.

Strange World
December 3, 2022

December 10, 2022

Avatar: The Way of Water
December 24, 2022

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
January 14, 2022

The Amazing Maurice
January 21, 2022

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: