Support Groups

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“The Center has provided our family with a safe haven that validates our concerns; provides us with knowledge and services during our darkest days and shares in our most joyous celebrations “
– Kelly H

The Autism Resource Center is committed to supporting every family member; we recognize that a diagnosis of autism affects everyone, not just the child.

Support Groups for Parents of Adults on the Spectrum

Meet monthly at various locations served by the  Resource Center. West Boylston, Milford, Sturbridge and Leominster. Network with other parents who share many of the same concerns. Parents may opt to attend any or all groups . Groups in Milford, Sturbridge & Leominster target parents of newly eligible adults The group in West Boylston, located at the center, is open to all parents of adults on the spectrum and  features outside speakers some months.
Check Calendar for dates, registration is required.

Support Group for Parents of  Children on the Spectrum

Meets monthly at the Resource Center. Network with other parents who share many of the same concerns. Groups run with and without outside speakers.
Check Calendar for dates, registration is required.

Support Group for Parents of Girls on the Spectrum

Meets monthly at the Resource Center. Network with other parents who share many of the same concerns. Groups run with and without outside speakers.
Check Calendar for dates, registration is required.

Support Group for Parents of Teens on the Spectrum

Meets monthly at the Resource Center. Network with other parents who share many of the same concerns unique to teens. Transition planning, sex and sexuality, dating planning for the future. Groups run with and without outside speakers.
Check Calendar for dates, registration is required.

Parents and Tots

Meets Monthly in the afternoon at the Center, for parents of preschoolers and kindergarten aged children who play while Mom’s network, includes art & crafts, sensory play and snacks for the children.
Check Calendar for dates, registration is required.

 Support Group for Fathers

Our Father’s support Group  offers fathers a chance to meet and network with other fathers who are faced with similar challenges. This group will meet at various recreational venues in Central MA and at  Autism Resource Central for speakers on topics which the group will define. Facilitated by David Iborra, Dad and Autism Waiver Support Broker.
Check calendar for dates, registration is required. For more information contact David.

Grupo de apoyo de Padres Hispanos, con ninos y jovenes que estan dentro del spectrum del Autismo.

El Centro de Recursos de Autismo (Autism Resource Center, en inglés), en colaboración con Centro las Américas, se complace en ofrecer un grupo de apoyo para las familias que hablan español y que están criando a un niño con un Desorden de Espectro de Autismo. Este grupo se reunirá mensualmente en Centro las Américas en el 11 de la Sicomoro Street en Worcester, MA. El grupo de apoyo será codirigido por David Iborra, del personal de Centro de Recursos de Autismo, y por Ydalia Heimann, del personal de Centro.

Ustedes pueden ver las fechas en la página Web del Centro de Recursos de Autismo, en el calendario que aparece en arccm2015.wpengine.com.

Se ayudará a los padres a que aseguren los servicios a través de la División de Autismo del Departamento de Servicios de Desarrollo, incluyendo clínicas sobre IEP, ayuda financiera que le permita a su niño asistir a un grupo de destrezas sociales, Actividades del Diario Vivir, y clínicas para el desarrollo de apoyos visuales para sus niños, así como el apoyo y el compañerismo de otros padres que enfrentan desafíos similares. Los talleres que abordan las necesidades del grupo se ofrecerán según sea necesario.

Check Calendar for dates, registration is required.

Facebook Support Group

This is a closed – invitation-only – group for Parents registered with the Center on Facebook. Email sloring@hmea.org if you are interested in joining.

Yahoo – Online Support Group

Since 2003 Parents across central Massachusetts who are registered with the Center have connected through our Yahoo group. Join the 700+ parents for support, to share information or post questions for discussion. This group is always there when you need it! The list is NOT moderated although Center Staff do reserve the right to correct any erroneous information which may be posted.

 Parent Night Out

Parent’s Night Out offers parents a chance to meet at a local restaurant and network with others in a relaxed atmosphere.
Check Calendar for dates and location, registration is required.

Sibshops

Sibshops are offered for brothers and sisters who are between the ages of 7-18. The Sibshop model intersperses information and discussion activities with new games, cooking, art activities and special guests.
Check Calendar for details. Registration is required.
More information on Sibshops can be found here.

Me Time for L’il Sibs

Me Time for L’il Sibs is a six-week program designed to increase the understanding of autism for four, five, and six-year-old typically-developing siblings of children on the autism spectrum. Each of the classes will zero in on a different autism-related theme, presented to the kids in a manner they will both comprehend and enjoy. This will be accomplished through a mix of music, social stories, casual discussion, artwork, and a snack-time at class’s end, providing both the kids and their parents a chance to bond further. The group will culminate in the kids creating their own illustrated social story with assistance. This group will be facilitated by Sean Daly and Bonnie Wallace MT-BCMe Time-for L’il Sibs will further autism awareness in typically developing siblings of children on the autism spectrum that are too young for traditional Sibshops. The program will enhance knowledge of common autistic traits, offer an outlet for self-expression, allow each child in the program a chance to talk about the challenges they face as the sibling of a child with special needs, and provide each of the children with an opportunity to make new friends. Most of all, Me Time-for L’il Sibs will create a highly positive experience for an often-overlooked population that is understandably filled with questions. As it is the belief of Me Time-for L’il Sibs that the most important people in an autistic person’s life are ultimately his or her siblings, it is also our belief that creating positive experiences related to autism at as young an age as possible is essential.

Topics and Books

  • Week 1: Why doesn’t my brother/sister act like other kids? Ian’s Walk by Laurie Lears
  • Week 2: Why doesn’t my brother/sister talk like other kids? Tacos Anyone? by Marvie Ellis
  • Week 3: Why does my brother/sister act so different sometimes? Since We’re Friends by Celeste Shally
  • Week 4: Why does my brother/sister get away with stuff I don’t? Looking After Louis by Lesley Ely
  • Week 5: Coloring & Drawing pictures to create a social story
  • Week 6: I am special too! The Magic in Me by Maggie Moran.
  • Specific homework assignments will be given each week to create a social story

Reading of social story based upon what the kids have created and shared The program is open to both older and younger siblings of children on the autism spectrum. The word “autism” will be used during classes. For the first four classes, a published social story will be presented on Power Point and read by one of the facilitators. Each adult in the class will be given information as to where they can later purchase said story if they so choose. None of these copyrighted materials will be distributed in any manner by Me Time for L’il Sibs. One adult must be present at all times with the child enrolled in the program. At this time, only kids in the class are allowed to attend, as a big part of the program revolves around the four, five, or six-year-old sibling to have a parent/adult’s undivided attention for the time designated. There is a limit of eight children who can be enrolled, done on a first-come/first-serve basis. A drink and snack for the child enrolled in the class will be made available free of charge at the end. All adults accompanying the child may purchase their own drink and/or snacks from Nucafe should they choose to do so.

Check our Newsletter for dates, location and time. You may register online.

Parent to Parent

Many parents are interested in speaking with other parents by phone. With permission from parents, names and numbers can be shared.

Quarterly Newsletter, Weekly Updates and Website

“Connections”, our quarterly newsletter, features Center updates, calendar of events including area conferences and articles of interest written by families.
Access Newsletters.

Phone Support

Staff is available 5 days a week to answer questions and lend support. Messages can be left on answering machine and calls will be returned on the next workday.

Department of Developmental Services (DDS)

The DDS is the agency designated by the State to support people with developmental disorders. The Autism Resource Center staff can assist you in applying for eligibility for your child (call the Center for more information).
For more information or to locate your area’s DDS office please click here.