Youth and Family Disability Resources: April 2016

Happy April! The ground may be covered in snow right now, but spring and summer are just around the corner. There are a lot of activities going on this month to look forward to, from sports and music to workshops and advocacy days. We hope you’ll find something that’s fun and helpful!

Looking for camps for April or summer vacation? Take a look at the SPED Child and Teen inclusive camp page!

Festivals and Resource Fairs

ReelAbilities Film Festival
“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”. The ReelAbilities Film Festival will be in Boston from April 3-14 with screenings around the Boston area. Check out their website for more information and the line-up of shorts, movies, and documentaries!

Hike for Autism Family Event
Milton, April 10th, 2016
Autism Sprinter Inc., in partnership with Hike4Life, will host its 1st Annual Hike 4 Autism at Houghtons Pond. This event will provide families affected by autism with community resources, food and entertainment as well as a memorable outdoor experience. Autism Sprinter Inc., mission is to empower and enrich the lives of families with loved ones on the spectrum through improving community outreach, advocacy, resources and support. Hike4Life, mission is to provide a safe, educational and adventure-filled outdoor space for children, teens and adults. This collaboration brings families, friends, caregivers and providers within the community, together to help meet the needs of those living with autism. Registration required to For more information visit or contact 617-475-0344

Autism Awareness Day & Resource Fair in Boston
Boston Medical Center, Shapiro Lobby -725 Albany St, April 22nd, 2016
The Boston Medical Center’s Autism Program’s annual Autism Awareness Day event is being held in conjunction with April’s Autism Awareness Month. In addition to the resource fair, visitors will enjoy an art gallery exhibit featuring the creative work of our Teens Engaged as Mentors (TEAM) and Parent Leadership in Autism Network (PLAN) programs. This event is open to BMC staff, patients, families and community members. No RSVPs required. For more information visit

Performances, Movies, and Museum Days

Autism & Sensory Friendly “Peter Pan”
Acton, April 9th, 2016
This Autism and Sensory Friendly live theater performance of Peter Pan will be specially adapted to serve the needs of audience members on the autism spectrum or with sensory sensitivities. This is a private, registration-only event available exclusively to individuals with sensory sensitivities or autism spectrum disorders and their supervising family members, caregivers or friends. The performance is about 2 hours and 30 minutes long including a 15 minute intermission. The theater has received special permission to provide a snack that will be allowed in the auditorium during intermission at no charge to everyone in the audience at this performance. Other adjustments to the production include:

  • House lights to remain partially lit during the whole performance
  • Assistive communication devices, and headphones are allowed
  • Judgment free experience – because all of the audience members at the performance will be aware of the make up of the audience population, there will not be an issue of behavior expectations
  • Cast and crew members will have received training to ensure that they are aware of audience needs
  • A brief pre-show introduction of the actors in costume (but out of character) to reinforce the fact that the production is pretend
  • An expectation that audience members are likely to vocalize and move around during the production A separate staffed “chill-out” space outside the auditorium to allow people to leave the performance if needed.
  • Designated “Family Bathroom” to allow those who require assistance to do so in a gender-neutral bathroom
  • Training sessions to educate cast and crew, and  specialists assisting the ushers and house staff Acton, April 9th, 2016. This live theater performance of Peter Pan will be presented with a audio described by Cori Couture for individuals with low vision. This is the musical version of Peter Pan. Run time is approximately 2 hours, 15 minutes including a 20-minute intermission. Accessibility

For more information and to order tickets, visit the Open Door Theater Registration page.  Limited wheelchair seating available. Please contact the ticket team at 978-264-8150 for more information. All performances of Peter Pan are open captioned. Assisted listening devices available for all performances include telecoil enabled neck loops, over the ear headsets and earbuds. Patrons may also bring their own mono headsets.

Morningstar Access at Boston Children’s Museum
Boston. April 19th, 2016, 8 – 10 a.m.
Program offers children with special and medical needs the opportunity to enjoy the Boston Children’s Museum in an uncrowded environment, with few other visitors and less concern about infections andlarge crowds. Pre-registration is required and is limited to 100 guests. Fee $8.00, museum members attend free. Preregister to or call 617-986-3697 or visit the Morningstar Access Page.

“ASD- Friendly” Free Afternoon to Families with Autism Spectrum
Acton, April 16th, 2016, 5 – 8:30 p.m
Explore The Discovery Museums during this special free early afternoon for families with children on the autism spectrum.  Visitors may also drop-in for a workshop from a practicing music therapist from Indian Hill Music between 6- -7:00 pm. Food, including gluten free options, will be provided by local restaurants. Pre-registration required to the Especially for Me page  or contact 978-264-4200.


The Miracle League of Massachusetts
Nara Park, Acton, Registering now for April 30th – June 11th, 2016 Season
For ages 5-22, all ranges of disabilities. Baseball program for special needs children to play in an organized non-competitive league at no cost to their families. The Miracle League of Massachusetts is dedicated to providing a safe and enjoyable baseball experience for children with cognitive, physical, emotional or behavioral disabilities. No child is turned away. Miracle League team members are assigned buddies, primarily mainstream peers who have volunteered to assist with hitting the ball, running the bases, and fielding, to whatever extent necessary. Every player will receive a Red Sox jersey and cap.For more information, contact or call 978 263 3043 or visit their website

Special Olympics’ “Young Athletes” Program
Boston College High School, April 24th, 1 – 4 p.m., 2016
Join Adaptive Sports New England and more than 25 co-hosts at the 2016 Spring Paralympic Experience. This multi-sport clinic will feature world-class instruction and coaching for individuals with mobility impairments or visual impairments of all ages and at all levels of skill. Spend as much or as little time as you want at each sport, and meet the many organizations that provide adaptive sports to the Greater Boston and wider New England communities. Try wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, golf, goal ball, archery, track & field, soccer, beep baseball, wheelchair softball, bocci and cycling. Co-hosts include Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers, Northeast Passage, Community Rowing, South Boston Boys & Girls Club, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, Adaptive Sport Partners of the North Country, Adaptive Climbing Group, the Boston Renegades Beep Baseball Team, the Rolinl’ Red Sox Wheelchair Softball Team and Youth Enrichment Services (YES). Meet Paralympic Medalists and Rio 2016 U.S. Team hopefuls.

For more information visit their website or contact: or 617-982-2763.

Winchester TOPS Soccer
April 24th – June 12, 2016
Families from any community are welcome to join the Winchester Soccer Club Spring 2016 TOPS Soccer Program for young athletes with disabilities. This program provides children with disabilities the opportunity to play soccer through rule and equipment adaptation. Athletes of any age are invited to participate in a modified game of soccer once a week.A volunteer group of “Junior Coaches” serve as one-on-one buddies with TOPS athletes. For registration information please visit If you are interested in Winchester’s TOPS Soccer program as either an athlete or junior coach, please have the student contact Anthony Forcione, TOPS Soccer Director, at

Special Olympics Young Athletes
April 13th – June 1st, 2016, Marlboro
For ages 2- 7 with intellectual disabilities, a free, inclusive, unique sports and play program facilitated by trained volunteers, focusing on fun activities important to mental and physical growth. This is an early introduction to sports and the world of Special Olympics. Hosted by the Special Olympics Yawkey Sports Training Facility in Marlborough. Register on line by April 8th to or contact Drew at 508-485-0986 ext. 250 or

Special Olympics Young Athletes is a unique sport and play program for children with intellectual disabilities. The focus is on fun activities that are important to mental and physical growth. Children ages 2 to 7 enjoy games and activities that develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Young Athletes is an early introduction to sports and to the world of Special Olympics. Through the program, children learn new skills, play and above all, have lots of fun. The program allows for parents and other family members to see their child’s early potential with Special Olympics, while creating a valuable network with other parents of children with intellectual disabilities. The Young Athletes program works in many different places, from schools and preschools to recreation centers within the community.

Players from over 95 towns around Massachusetts and NH have participated in the league.

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