Youth and Family Disability Resources: May 2016

It’s May, so spring is finally here! Read on for some conferences, festivals, and all sorts of things to get us outside to enjoy the flowers and nice weather that is on its way.

Down Syndrome Advocacy Day-Boston
May 18th, 2016,  State House, Boston
The Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC) third annual Down Syndrome Advocacy Day encourages lawmakers to support critical policies and funding to ensure that all people with Down syndrome have opportunities to lead meaningful fulfilling lives in the community. This year the MDSC needs your help to raise awareness with your legislators about two new priority bills as well as critical funding needs. This year, the top priority bills are:

  • H. 3271 – An Act Concerning Nondiscrimination in Organ Transplantation, sponsored by Representative James Cantwell, which will prevent discrimination against anyone with an intellectual or developmental disability in need of an organ transplant.
  • H.1064/S. 672 – An Act Creating Higher Education Opportunities for Students with Intellectual Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and other Developmental Disabilities, sponsored by Rep. Tom Sannicandro and Sen. Barbara L’Italien, which will bolster Massachusetts’ Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (ICEI) to give 18-to 22-year-old students with disabilities higher education opportunities in an inclusive college setting with necessary services and supports.

If you are interested in this opportunity,  email or visit their website.

Martin Richard Challenger Baseball Program
McConnell Park, Dorchester, May – June 2016
The Savin Hill Little League Challenger Division is a Little League experience for ALL youth with mental and/ or physical disabilities, ages 6-14 years old, who live in or around the city of Boston. The Challenger Division of Little League is a program for developmentally and physically challenged youth, helping them to enjoy the full benefits of Little League participation in an athletic environment structured to their abilities. The goals of the program are:

  • To allow all players to experience the amazing game of baseball
  • To identify players and volunteer participants through targeted strategic collaborations in the community
  • To increase social and general communication skills and awareness with other players, coaches, and throughout the greater community
  • To create a structured venue via the game of baseball that fosters volunteerism, social awareness, and overall community development
  • To create a safe and fun environment for all participants.

To register and for more information visit or contact

“Especially for Me” Event for Visual Impairments
Discovery Museum, Acton, May 7th, 2016, 5 p.m.- 8:30
“Especially For Me” event is free for families with children with visual impairments. Explore both museums, and visitors of all ages may also drop in for a workshop from a practicing music therapist from Indian Hill Music at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Dinner provided. Pre-registration required online or via 978.264.4200 or

Transition Fair for Special Needs
Newton North High School Cafeteria, May 18, 2016 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Meet local special-needs resources to families and youth transitioning to adult services in the greater Newton, Wellesley, and Needham communities. For students ages 12 – 22, caregivers and professionals. Find organizations representing transition, legal considerations, vocational development, job preparation, community living, social recreation programs Organizations there will include:

  • 3L Place
  • Adaptive Driving
  • Autism Services Association
  • BenePlan-Benefits Planning
  • Beaverbrook STEP
  • Department of Developmental Services: ID & Autism Units
  • Partners for Youth with Disabilities
  • The Charles River Center
  • The Price Center
  • Waypoint Adventure
  • And many more…

Family Mental Health Conference & Celebration
May 27th, Marlborough
The Parent Professional’s Advocacy League’s annual family mental health conference will feature a keynote address by Chrisa Hickey, noted blogger and mental health advocate specializing in providing education and support for parents of children diagnosed with serious mental health conditions. In addition, Raphaelle Richardson, who currently serves as the Director of Resource and Development for Youth M.O.V.E. National, will discuss how she has impacted over 5,000 youth across the United States, Mexico, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa.

For more information about RSVPs and fees, please contact 617-542-7860, or go to the Event website.

SoWa Open Market
SoWa Boston, 460 Harrison Ave. Boston, Ma 02118 Saturday, May 7, 10:00AM-6:00PM
We are happy to announce that the SoWa Open Market will be back at its usual location this Spring & Summer. Open every Sunday, from 10 am – 4 pm, the SoWa Open Market draws thousands of visitors from across New England, eager to sample the regions’ best collection of local artisans, farmers, food trucks and specialty food vendors. While you’re here, don’t forget to also explore the 90 artist studios, 60 shops & galleries, and the incredible SoWa Vintage Market located alongside the Arts Market on Thayer Street. As always – there’s plenty of parking available!

Lilac Sunday at Arnold Arboretum
Arnold Arboretum: 125 Arbor Way, Boston, Ma 02130 – Sunday, May 8, 10:00AM-3:00PM
Join us for the 108th Annual Lilac Sunday celebration at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University on Mothers’ Day, Sunday, May 8th. The event is centered around the Arboretum’s premier collection of lilacs, located on the edge of Bussey Hill Road in the heart of the landscape. Hosted by the Arnold Arboretum and Food Truck Festivals of America, this celebration of springtime will include tours of the lilacs and other special collections, family activities, and food truck vendors. Lilac Sunday is free and open to the public. Activities will take place from 10AM – 3PM, and the Arboretum is open as usual from dawn to dusk. Food trucks will be serving from 11AM – 3PM, offering everything from savory tacos to fall-off-the-bone BBQ to vegetarian treats to French Macaroons, and much more! Tours and event activities will take place throughout the northern portion of the Arboretum, within short walking distance of the Arborway, Forest Hills, Centre Street, and South Street. For one day only for this special event, picnicking in the Arboretum is allowed. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed and cleaned up after in accordance with City of Boston regulations and for the comfort and safety of all visitors. For more information, visit: Follow us on Twitter: @Arnold Arboretum #LilacSunday @FTFofAmerica #FTFA

Festival of Dance
Newton City Hall – Saturday, May 7th, 10am-5pm
Free for all at Newton City Hall! Get up off your feet and feel the beat of the music along with all the dance groups performing at Newton’s Festival of Dance. So you think you can dance? Watch the Boston Ballroom Dance Center up first to see if your rusty toes need a refresher course. Next watch contemporary dancer Chavi bend impossibly in “Touched by Water.” Joanne Langione Dance Center has been training dancers, toddlers to teens in all dance genres. For something completely different, Circus Smirkus will put a smile on everyone’s face! Creative Steps Dance Studio makes learning fun and relaxed. Boston Rhythmic will make you turn green with envy if you ever wanted to do gymnastics to a Wizard of Oz theme. Then Liz Ronka uses her Pilates trained body to improvise a dance before your eyes. Finally, All That Jazz creates hot movements from cool jazz standards.

Discover BEES! In Arthropods: Creatures That Rule
Harvard Museum of Natural History
The HMNH live honeybee hive is humming again, along with a new spring exhibit devoted to the entire bee clan. Examine specimens of bees from around the world – a surprising diversity of forms, sizes, and colors. Learn about their varied life patterns, from the solitary to super social. Look for clues in an interactive game about bee names, designed to reveal the secrets of their evolution. Watch the busy life inside a hive, look for the queen, track worker bees as they exit and return with pollen baskets full from visits to early spring blossoms, and uncover the mystery of honey production. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

2016 Watch City Steampunk Festival
Waltham Common
The 2016 Watch City Steampunk Festival will feature costumed performers, musicians, lectures and panel discussions, kids’ activities, and an open-air market with a large collection of unique vendors peddling all things Steampunk! As in past years, this year’s Festival is centered on Waltham Common. A beautiful setting for an outdoor Festival if ever there was one, the Common features a gazebo for live performances, and a network of footpaths for merchants of all stripes. Just as last year, we plan to close Carter Street at the southern edge of the Common to vehicular traffic; where visitors will find a great selection of tasty treats from some of Greater Boston’s most loved food trucks.

We’re excited to share, as well, that the 2016 Festival footprint also includes the Waltham Public Library, the Waltham Farmers’ Market at their School Street home, the Waltham Museum on Lexington Street and the Charles Rive Museum of Industry and Innovation. Additional outdoor performances will take place at other venues located in downtown Waltham. Finally, as with past Watch City Steampunk Festivals, in 2016 we also have a Festival plot-line tracing a dramatic arc: will the Kraken that has plagued Watch City be finally brought to justice by the city’s leading scientist?

KERPLUNK! A New Musical Adventure You and Your Family Create Together
Improv Asylum: 216 Hannover Street, Boston, Ma 02113
We’re returning to Improv Asylum from March 5th-May 28th, Saturdays at 2pm! Werewolves that fly, dinosaurs that eat cupcakes, mermaids who are also wizards … this show has it all because it’s the adventure you and your family create together! Each performance is based on the audience’s imagination so no two adventures are ever the same. Your children will direct the action, call the shots, and even have a chance to hop on stage, don a costume and join in the fun! Come join the creators of Boston’s Unscripted Musical Project on this new musical adventure perfect for the whole family!

Comment (1)

  1. Pitso Mlangeni
    Pitso Mlangeni
    8 years ago

    I’m living with disability I’m 32 years old using crutches to walk

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