HMEA's Autism Resource Center
The Resource Connection 
Weekly Update
April 1, 2015

In This Issue
Legislative Dates
ADA Complaints
Aptril 2, 2015 Celebration
Wings for Autism
Magic For Autism
Conferences and Webinars
Community Calendar
News from AFAM
Research Studies Seeking Participants
Our Hours
Contact Us
Phone 508-835-4278
2015 Community WalK for Autism 

Tee  Up for Children with Autism 2014 Presented by Long Auto Group



Cumberland Farms

Kosciuszko Society 

Washington Mills

Post Office Pub

Callahan Fay & Caswell Funeral Directors 

Northbridge Boosters Club

C & T
 Wallpaper & Paint

Brians Auto Body

Merchant Machine

Ed Tries his hand at painting at the Center's paint night - he did a great job!
HMEA's CEO Mile Moloney addresses the attendees at the Autism SpeaksTown Hall

     It's April ! No fooling, despite the recent snow and chilly temperatures, Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month is here. Just yesterday I got an email from the Autism Society suggesting that the time for awareness has passed, that we perhaps should think of Autism Appreciation? Until your life has been touched by autism I don't know that you can truly be aware, or appreciate autism, and acceptance is a difficult hurdle for families.


  Acceptance of our children comes easily, we love them unconditionally the day they are born, and an autism diagnosis does not change that. Like our other children, our role as parents includes shaping their behaviors, teaching them and supporting them until they are ready to leave the nest. An autism diagnosis doesn't change that either, although it does perhaps change HOW we teach them and what we need to teach them and how we shape their behaviors but the job description of parent is still pretty much the same. We all struggle sometimes with what is autism and what is simply a child testing limits, and to a degree it doesn't matter, we need to nurture and guide all our children so that they can take their place in society. Acceptance that our children will learn differently and that it may take longer before they are ready to leave our nest is where we sometimes struggle. Acceptance that somethings we can not change is the most difficult. 


   When we speak of Autism Acceptance in the context of our society, we speak to creating a greater awareness of the unique talents and gifts our children have to share with our community.  For too long developmental disabilities have been seen and approached using a medical model, which focuses on illness and cure. We need to change the dialog about autism from one where we discuss the deficits, the challenges  and  "missing pieces",   to a support model where we discuss the supports our children need to be as successful as possible, to contribute what they have to the fabric of our society. Until we learn to speak in terms of positives and abilities we set the stage for our children to be seen as less. 


   This is the mission of our Center, to support families raising their children on the spectrum. To accept and cherish each and every child and adult who is different. To provide families with the tools they need to parent their child and to help spread a positive message that will dispel years of the dark and hopeless view of  autism. 


   We do this 365 days a year, and have been doing this for 17 years. We could not do this without your help and support.  I hope to see many of you not only at the various events this month, but also when we come together on April 26th at our Community 5K Run & Walk for Autism Acceptance to celebrate and honor the strength and determination each person on the spectrum displays as they face the daily challenges their autism presents to them, and to applaud and appreciate their unique strengths and talents.  


   As I said, we've been doing this for 17 years, somethings have changed but the core values and goals of the Center have remained the same and always will be the same. Last week I told you  we had some Big Surprises planned for this year's walk. I can't tell you exactly what that is, but we are working hard to be ready on the 26th.  You'll need to register to be part of the day and as always, your efforts to fundraise will be greatly appreciated, without that support we wouldn't be the Center that we are. We are slowly building momentum and are about 1/3 of the way to our goal ! Thank You! 


This project began last fall when we met with students from Fitchburg State and we have continued to refine and develop ideas through the winter and spring. This is part of a greater plan to continue to make the Center the BEST place for families. So, what's the big surprise? Here's a hint! 




"What's in a name ? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet" ~ 

William Shakespeare



Have a great week 





IF you are a registered member of the Center you may register for events by clicking here. Unless otherwise stated  events take place at the Autism Resource Center


Not a Member? Call 508-298-1609 to register with Kathy O'Neill 


Events are listed with start times and end times so that families can plan accordingly. Please be punctual and arrive on time for activities, Thank you.








April 1, 2015
Support Group for Parents of More Able Children on the Spectrum
7-9 PM

April 2, 2015
World Autism Awareness Day
Autism Awareness & Acceptance Day at the Statehouse
10 AM

April 2, 2015
Light It Up Blue
UMASS Medical School
University Campus
First Floor Sherman Center
55 Lake Avenue, Worcester, MA

April 3, 2015
Visit with the Bunny & Egg Hunt HMEA
3 Bartlett Pond Way Sterling MA 3:30 PM-4:30 PM

April 6, 2015
Family Fun & Fitness
Walking at St Vincent Hospital
6-7 PM

April 8, 2015
Parent Night Out
Ollie's Italian Eatery
339 W.Boylston St, W.Boylston MA
7-9 PM

April 13, 2015
Parents & Tots
4:30- 5:30 PM
Family Fun & Fitness
Strength Training with Julie O'Mara
3 Bartlett Pond Way Sterling MA HMEA
6-7 PM

April 15, 2015
Parents of Teens Support Group Teen Socialization Group
7-9 PM

April 20, 2015

Family Fun & Fitness
Walking at St Vincent Hospital
6-7 PM

April 21, 2015
Southwick Zoo Outing
2 Southwick St , Mendon MA 01756
Group Meets at gate to enter at 10 AM

April 22, 2015
Bouncing Around

290 Turnpike Rd Westboro MA
For Teens ( ages 13 and older)
11 AM

For Children 12 and Under
Hop On In
217 Hamilton St, Leominster
10 AM

Pump It Up
810 Boston Turnpike Shrewsbury
10 AM

7 Pioneer Drive, Oxford MA
10:15 AM

April 23, 2015
222 Harrington Way, Worcester
10 AM

April 24, 2015
Friends & Family Movie
Cinema World
John Fitch Highway Fitchburg MA
10 AM

April 26, 2015
15th Annual Community 5K Run & Walk  for Autism
Presented by DCU for Kids
Run 10 AM ~ Walk 11:30 AM
Register at

April 27, 2015
Family Fun & Fitness
Strength Training with Julie O'Mara
3 Bartlett Pond Way Sterling MA HMEA
6-7 PM


2015 Community 5K Run & Walk for Autism Acceptance Presented by  DCU Foundation for Kids 



We are thrilled to announce that the DCU for Kids Foundation is our presenting Sponsor for the 2015 Community 5K Run and Walk for Autism Acceptance. We've had the support of this organization since 2008 when we first received a $10,000 sponsorship and each year it grows stronger. 
 In 2005, DCU incorporated DCU for Kids, a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable foundation, for distribution to deserving causes and charities benefiting children and families.  We are honored to be one of the many organizations supported by this foundation.

Other sponsors of our big day include Behavioral Concepts Inc who are sponsoring the Kids Korner this year. Autism Intervention Specialists, Reliant Medical Group, Milford Hardwood Flooring, Strategic Behavioral Solutions, The Moody street Group, and Next Step Living.  We hope you will visit with our sponsors the day of the event. 

The Big Day is almost a month away! As the snow has slowly melted and the days have grown longer the promise of spring can be felt in the air. Have you created your walk or run fundraising page yet? It's relatively quick and easy to do, click the link below for how to's and hints to make this year a personal best effort! 


 to hang wit

Opportunities for Legislative Advocacy

It's budget season and with the budget shortfall that means that our elected officials are looking to balance the budget by making cuts. In the coming weeks they will be besieged by many causes seeking to protect their interests. The Governors budget has been released and cuts to vital supports for people with disabilities are part of the strategy. It is our responsibility to speak out so that when our representatives and senators are looking at numbers they see more than numbers , they see people who'll be placed at risk, families who will struggle as a result of decisions they make. 

Not sure how the budget process works? Not sure how to reach your legislators? Not sure WHO your legislator is? ADDP and the ARC  have tools that will make this easier to understand and have you shooting out an e-mail to your elected officials in less than 10 minutes! 


April 13th 


Make note of who your representative and senator are and call to make an appointment to meet them on April 2nd for Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day. Then plan of traveling to Boston on April 2nd for the day and join others in the Great Hall for AFAM's Annual Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day. If you can't make it to Boston, make an appointment to visit your legislators in their home offices and visit with your family to tell your story and how proposed cuts will impact you. 








To Prevent Losing Medicaid Supports including Health Care, AFC, Day Habilitation and DDS HCBS Services Respond Immediately

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through Mass Health will be sending re-determination letters to all recipients of Mass Health that must be completed within 45 days to ensure payment for continued supports and services.

The letters, which appear on letterhead from Mass Health and the Massachusetts Health Connector, will be sent to the residence on file for each program participant/or their legal guardian.

DDS is advising self advocates and families to seek assistance from the Service Coordinators if needed to complete the process.

The re-determination form can be completed five ways:
Fax: 1-857-323-8300
Mail: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Health Insurance Processing Center, P.O.Box 4405, Taunton, Ma 02780
Call: 1-800-841-2900 (TTY-1-800-497-4648)
In Person: MassHealth Enrollment Centers



Light It up Blue 


Wings For Autism 


Wings for Autism
Date: April 11, 2015, at 9:00am
Location: Logan Airport, Terminal E
Boston, MA
The first Wings for Autism event was launched on May 14, 2011. We are now ready for our 9th Wings for Autism Event!
The Wings for Autism events are designed for families who have children with an autism spectrum disorder to practice a trip to the airport. Every member of the family is issued a boarding pass. They practice going through a fully staffed security checkpoint and then wait at the terminal before boarding their plane. Every person has the opportunity to board a plane and sit down for a snack. The families can talk with flight attendants and pilots and provide their children with a real life, air-travel experience.
Some families attend to find out if air travel is possible. Other families attend to give their children practice with the travel process. Whatever the reason is, we welcome everyone to join us!
Registration is Required! Register on our website at
Any questions, please contact: Jennifer Ryan, Wings for Autism Coordinator,
The Charles River Center. 508-651-5914 or\



Magic For Autism



Together with ASD Vacations, and Wings for Autism, the Autism Resource Center is proud to offer to its families SUPPORTED trips to The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida. If you have ever dreamed of taking your family to visit Disney World, but just did not understand how the logistics would work, and the dream has eluded you, we may have the answer. These vacations offer:


  • Specialized SUPPORTED Flights (Right from Worcester, or Boston)
  • LOW group rates at select Walt Disney World Resorts
  • Built in RESPITE supports with your resort reservation
  • Fully customizable Disney Experience that meets your family's needs. Choose the amount of days you stay, choose which parks to visit, choices of select resorts to stay, additional customizable RESPITE/Support options.


Respite services are staffed by employees from Autism on the Seas, which has been providing support staff for cruise and other vacations since 2007. All staff members are qualified, experienced and caring. Planning your trip will be supported by ASD vacations, and there is considerable care and effort placed into the planning, organizing, and execution of your vacation. You can place deposits and fund your trip as it gets closer. Resource Center staff, David Iborra, attended a Magic for Autism vacation this past October and is available to answer any questions center families may have about the process. Please contact him at 508-298-1617, or Planning a Disney trip can be overwhelming for any family, however, this trip has built in supports for you. Travel Agency that specializes in families with ASD, supported flights through Wings for Autism, built in respite from trained, caring, 1:1 staff from Autism on the Seas, and of course, the Autism Resource Center of Central Ma, here for you to fill in any blanks, reassure you that you can do this, and make memories for a lifetime with a supported trip to The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Where it's currently averaging 81 degrees if that helps push you over the edge!  For more information and pricing, please visit




Conferences & Webinars


General Information

When:Tuesday April 7, 2015 from 7:45 AM to 3:30 PM EDT

Where: The Log Cabin
500 Easthampton Rd
Holyoke, MA 01040
Community Resources For People With Autism

Guest Speakers


Dr. Paula Kluth is a consultant, author, advocate, and independent scholar who works with teachers and families to provide inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities and to create more responsive and engaging schooling experiences for all learners. Paula is a former special educator who has served as a classroom teacher and inclusion facilitator. Her professional interests include differentiating instruction and inclusive schooling. She is the author or co-author of more than ten books including: "From Text Maps to Memory Caps": 100 Ways to Differentiate 
Instruction in K-12 Inclusive Classrooms and "You're Going to Love This Kid": Teaching Students with Autism in Inclusive Classrooms.

Professor Liane Holliday Willey,Ed.D is an author, autism consultant, keynote 
speaker, academic researcher, avid horsewoman and owner of an equestrian barn. She has a Doctorate of Education with a specialty in psycholinguistics and learning style differences. Liane likes to share her experiences of living with Asperger's syndrome with audiences world wide, bringing to each presentation her humor and positive insight along with the real and not so happy memories she has gathered over the years during her stints as a university professor, writer, manure scooper, french fry maker, community volunteer, wife and mother.









Fun in the Sun - Summer Water Sports!



 Sponsored by:


Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation  


The Application for our 2015 program is NOW AVAILABLE HERE!

Space is limited, so apply today!


For the 13th consecutive summer, The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation will sponsor an AccesSportAmerica water sports program for children on the autism spectrum at the Mass Hospital School in Canton* and at Spaulding Rehab in Boston. This adaptive program will offer 50 children and adults with autism the opportunity to take part in windsurfing, Hawaiian outrigger canoeing, surfing, water-skiing and more!

Since 2002, hundreds of individuals with autism have taken part in this wonderful summer program co-sponsored by the Flutie Foundation. AccesSportAmerica's highly trained staff provide the attention that a person with autism needs in order to succeed and, most importantly, have fun!

"My son had the time of his life! I couldn't believe, at 8 years old, he was literally wind-surfing independently! He was so empowered and excited! I have never seen him so proud of himself! Thank you so much!" - Parent of 2009 Fun in the Sun participant.

Formally founded in 1995, AccesSport America's water sports program is completely safe while bringing out incredible physical and cognitive gains with all participants. AccesSportAmerica's executive director, Ross Lilly, has been adapting and teaching water sports for over 20 years to people of all dis/abilities. These "high challenge" sports bring out more focus and higher physical function than ever imagined and the program is great fun for all ages. Various sessions are available, running from June through August. Sign up and discover something new in sport and in your child. AccesSportAmerica will work with any child or adult and parent participation is encouraged! Stable platforms and rigs are used to make all comfortable - if one doesn't want to get wet, they won't. In addition, the instructor to participant ratio is often 1 to 1 or better!

* The Reservoir Lake at Massachusetts Hospital School is directly behind the school complex with the benefits of staff and care services. This is a safe, isolated lake, in which AccesSportAmerica is often the sole user.









The start of our Summit Academy After School Enrichment Program.....


Summit Academy now is accepting applications for our private after school program beginning on March 2, 2015. 


This is open to the public. Any students not currently attending Summit Academy day program, should call or email for an application.  Please call Pat Schutt at (508)751-8500 or email


This program is for students with (and without) high functioning autism and related diagnoses, including mild behavior challenges.  The program runs Monday - Friday from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. The cost for this program is $10.00 per hour per student.


Please contact Mr. Daniel DiMezza, Executive Director at 508-751-8500 or for any additional information.


The program will run from 3:00 pm each day and end at 5:00 pm.  Please note: ALL student must be picked up at or before 5:00 pm.  You may choose one day per week or all five.


The program will have a 4:1 student/adult ratio and is privately run, not district supported.  All staff members are CPR certified and the school nurse is on premises most days until 4:00 p.m.


All payment for the program will be the responsibility of the parent.  The cost will be $10.00 per hour/per child.  Registration and payment for the program will be required a month at a time.  Payment will be due on the first of the month for the following month. Refunds will not be given if your child does not attend the program on a day that was already paid for due to absence.  Refunds will be given if the school has to cancel the program for reasons beyond our control (i.e. snow, etc.). The program will NOT run on half days, holidays, school or summer vacation.


 Note: Students not picked up by 5:00 pm will be charged $5.00 for every 15 minutes he/she remains in the program.


ALL late pick up fees must be satisfied before the student will be allowed to participate the following month.



Below is a preview of some of the things to come:


- Music: Two of our staff play and teach guitar. 3 days a week there will be options to participate in song and/or lessons. There will be 3 extra guitars to use at the school. However, parents are encouraged to invest in a guitar if students are interested in lessons. Second hand guitars can be purchased very reasonably. If your child is interested in the lessons please contact the school and let us know.

- Martial Arts: There will be one day of Martial Arts. Sensei Mello will be here on Friday utilizing Martial Arts in a more relaxed program.

- Snack Time: There will be a snack time (snacks provided by Summit), reading, relaxing and board games.

- Exercise: We will provide some exercise options such as outdoor activities when weather appropriate as well as indoor activities such as use of the Wii on the big screen television or active games in the dojo.

- SAT/ACT: We are also working on SAT/ACT prep for older students.

- More activities in the planning stages to offer as the program expands.

All of the activities will have structured times each day. Please see the sample schedule of the day below. The programs will be less demanding than our school day programs. We will meet directly with the parents of students that have a 1:1 classroom aide during the school day to discuss whether or not the student will need a 1:1 for the after school program.

The program is open enrollment, therefore, students may begin the program at any time.

Sample daily schedule:
2:50 Student will go to the Library to check in

3:00 Snack

3:15 Quiet reading/board games/study skills/social skills

3:30 Music (M,W & F)
Art (T & Th)

4:15 Movement/exercise options
Wii Activities
Games in dojo
Outside playground time/hikes
Therapeutic Martial Arts (Friday)

4:50 Wrap up for day - Prepare for dismissal

5:00 Dismissal



AFAM License Plate


AFAM's March Newsletter is now available click here to read 




 Apply today for an 

Autism Speaks 

 Advocates for Autism Massachusetts       

Specialty License Plate!

A portion of every plate sold and renewed will go to Autism Speaks and Advocates for Autism Massachusetts!

AFAM AS plate


Once we reach 3,000 paid applications the MA Registry of
Motor Vehicles will then start the process of distributing our Autism Speaks / AFAM Specialty License Plate. Sign up today!
To learn more or to get involved with the campaign, please email |



Click here to download an application 





Research Study & Student Survey Seeking Participants 

Latino participants needed for research study: Cultural Barriers Impacting Service Delivery for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
This study examines cultural barriers that may impact the delivery of services for your child.
You will receive a $30 gift card to Market Basket for completing the entire interview!
* Will take approx. 45-60 minutes
* Must be at least 18 years of age
* Must be of Latino descent
* Must have at least one child with a diagnosis of autism (ASD) that is 6 years or younger
* The interview will take place in your home or other location of your choosing
Call 954-559-1220
Rocío Rosales, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Assistant Professor
Richard Serna, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Email: Email:

Usted está invitado a participar en un estudio de investigación titulado "Barreras Culturales Impactando Entrega de Servicios para Niños con Trastorno del Espectro Autista" que examina las barreras culturales que están afectando servicios para su hijo.
Usted puedes recibirá una tarjeta de regalo de $ 30 para Market Basket si usted completar la totalidad de la entrevista!
 Durará aprox. 45-60 minutos
 Debe tener al menos 18 años de edad
 Debe ser de origen latino
 Debe tener al menos un hijo con un diagnóstico de autismo (ASD), que es de 6 años o menores
 La entrevista se llevará a cabo en su casa o en otro lugar de su elección
Llame 954-559-1220 para mas información

Rocío Rosales, Ph.D., BCBA-D Richard Serna, Ph.D.
Profesor Asistente Profesor Asociado
Email: Email: 



Investigational Drug Study for Adolescents and Adults with Fragile X Syndrome
What are we studying?
The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether an investigational drug is safe and effective for the treatment of symptoms of Fragile X Syndrome. 
Who can participate?
Males between 14 and 40 years of age who have a diagnosis of Fragile X Syndrome. Participants need to exhibit behaviors such as repetitive or stereotyped behaviors, anxiety, social withdrawal, sensory over-sensitivity, or cognitive difficulties.
How will participants be compensated?
A small payment will be offered to offset travel expenses. 
For more information, contact CANDI at (774) 455-4100



Does Your Child like to draw?

Your child's drawings could help us improve our
understanding of how children encounter the world
around them.
Children have many ways of expressing themselves, not just through
speech. Having a greater understanding of alternative forms of
communication, like art, could impact the way that we assess and intervene
with children who have spoken language delays.
We are currently looking for families
with a child:
* between 3 and 6 years of age (not
yet entered Kindergarten)
* with OR without autism spectrum
who might be interested in participating in
this study.
Participation will require approximately
90 minutes at a mutually agreed-upon
Your child will receive a small toy and the
cost of parking at Emerson will be covered.

To participate, or to get
more information, please
contact Zoë Pichler at:




The Autism Resource Center does not endorse any treatments, programs or products. Articles, announcements and  resources are provided for information purposes only.