Boston ReelAbilities Film Festival

Sponsored by ReelAbilities
Locations in and around Boston, MA

ReelAbilities is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities from a variety of communities and strives for the inclusion of all people. All venues are wheelchair accessible. Unless otherwise noted, all films are recommended for ages 17 and older. Please contact the Festival office at 617-244-9899 or to inquire about bringing a group. View our schedule of
films and events here.

MDSC 33rd Annual Conference

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC)
Saturday, 3/25/17
DCU Center
Worcester, MA

Each spring, over 600 people with Down syndrome, their family members, health care professionals and educators from across New England attend our Annual Conference on Down syndrome. Participants gather to hear the latest research findings and timely information from national and local experts on a range of topics related to Down syndrome. They also share stories, celebrate victories, advocate for acceptance and inclusion, and reunite with other MDSC families. The conference features presentations that will appeal to families with young children through adulthood; families with children who have complex medical needs and autism; and teens and adults with Down syndrome. In addition, there will be presentations that will appeal to educators, medical professionals, and siblings of individuals with Down Syndrome. Register here.

Take Charge of Treatment for Your Child with Asperger’s (ASD)

Sponsored by Advocates/Autism Alliance of Metrowest
Thursday, 3/16/17
1881 Worcester Road
Framingham, MA

This educational seminar combines personal examples, professional guidance, and practical tools to help solve typical challenges that parents of children with ASD face. Parents will learn how to become effective case managers and lead their child to reach maximum potential at home, at school, and in the community. Guest speakers include D. Scott McLeod, PhD, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Aspire Program and Parent/Life Coach, Cornelia Pelter Elwood. Contact Pam McKillop with questions or to RSVP.

Success Fest 2017 Conference for Young Adults

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, PPAL (Parent/Professional Advocacy League), & Wayside Youth and Family Support Network
Monday, 3/13/17
Quinsigamond Community College
670 W Boylston St
Worcester, MA

This free event will help young adults, parents and providers fill their toolboxes with interesting and interactive workshops on transition, mental health and more. This event also includes an on-site job fair. Local employers will be available to accept job applications and interview candidates on the spot. Register, view the agenda and learn more about the workshop topics here.

Spring 2017 Resilient Parent, Resilient Child Program Series

Sponsored by Spark Kindness
Program Dates: March through May 2017
Locations in Natick, MA

The goal of the Spark Kindness organization is to build kind, empowered & inclusive communities where no child or family feels alone, bullied, unsupported or unconnected. They support families, schools, coaches, artists, faith and community leaders in creating a culture that empowers youth and promotes kindness and respect.

Spark Kindness is offering an exciting schedule of speakers this spring, including: Rosalind Wiseman (author of Masterminds and Wingmen & Queen Bees and Wannabes) on supporting tween/teen boys and Larry Cohen, Ph.D. (author of Playful Parenting & The Opposite of Worry) on building greater connection with your child through play. There will also be a program featuring motivational speaker and former BU Hockey player Travis Roy on how to persevere through adversity. In addition, Cory Palazzi, former college athlete and heroin addict, will speak, along with his parents, about the life changing consequences of using drugs. And finally, Natick High School Peer Advocates will be leading “Brave Conversations: Building Inclusion and Respect for All.”

Register and learn more about these programs.

Summer 2017 Camp Fairs & Special Needs Camp Resources

Most summer camps begin offering open houses & accepting participant registrations in January, so it’s not too soon to begin looking. Check out the resources below for a camp that’s right for your child.

American Camp Association New England: Open House Events
Federation for Children with Special Needs: Summer Fun Camp Directory
MassCamps 2017: New England’s Summer Camp Directory
Mommy Poppins Guide to Summer Camp Fairs for All Ages
New England Camp Fair for Kids ages 5-14
Special Needs Summer Camps in Massachusetts
SPED Child & Teen: Special Needs Camps & Fairs Massachusetts 2017

Seussical the Musical: Sensory-Friendly Performance

Presented by Open Door Theater
Saturday, 2/11/17
R.J. Grey Junior High School’s Dragonfly Theater
16 Charter Road, Acton, MA
Tickets are $10 each:
Contact: Sensory-Friendly Show Coordinator

With the assistance of a generous grant from the Astra Foundation, Open Door Theater is excited to follow in the footsteps of autism-friendly broadway performances as we offer a unique live theater performance of Seussical which has been specially adapted to serve the needs of audience members on the autism spectrum or with sensory sensitivities.

The noon sensory-friendly performance on February 11th will not be open to the general public. Tickets for this performance are exclusively available to individuals with sensory sensitivities or autism spectrum disorders and their supervising family members, caregivers or friends. This is the only sensory-friendly performance available, so don’t delay if you’re interested in attending. Some subsidized tickets are available to families for whom the cost of the tickets presents a financial hardship. Complete details about the sensory-friendly show are available here.

DS Challenge Success Parent Education Speaker Series: “Raising Resilient Children K-12”

Presented by DS Challenge Success
Thursday, 1/26/16
DSHS Mudge Auditorium
9 Junction Street, Dover

How do everyday challenges become formative assets for our kids? What experiences and factors help keep our kids healthy – even in the midst of change? How can we, as adults, foster resilience? Dr. Robert Brooks has lectured nationally and internationally to parents on topics of resilience, motivation, school climate and family relationships. His talks are filled with practical, realistic suggestions, and he is renowned for the warmth and humor he uses to bring his insights & anecdotes to life. A faculty member of Harvard Medical School who has also served as the Director of the Department of Psychology at McLean Hospital, Dr. Brooks offers practical tips for parents of children in grades K-12. RSVP here.

Shrek The Musical

Presented by the Dover-Sherborn Middle School Drama
Saturday, 12/10/16
Mudge Auditorium
9 Junction Street, Dover
Tickets:, Dover Market & Sherborn Walgreens

At the Saturday matinee there will be a calming corner with bean bags, sensory toys and a quiet environment. Volunteers will be available to provide support as needed. Please contact Judith Ursitti at Autism Speaks with any questions or to obtain a pre-performance social story.