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  The Resource Connection 
Weekly Update July 3, 2019
Summer Calendar of Events


 Register for Events on our website registration page  or by calling the Center at 
508-298-1609 or  508-298-1610
 Fees for Events are as stated on web site



July 4, 2019 

June 6- July 18, 2019 
Weekly Hip Hop Dance Class with
BEATZ Dance Studio 
4:15- 5 PM  
for children ages 4-8 

July 13, 2019
Plastic City Comic Con
Wallace Civic Center
1000 John Fitch Highway
Fitchburg, MA
Fee: $2.00/pp
Meet at 11 AM 

July 21, 2019
Breezy Picnic Grounds
520 Northwest Street
Douglas, Ma
9:45 AM -1 PM Check In
$8.00 for 5 and older $5.00 2-4



July 29, 2019
Family Fun at
Worcester Bravehearts
6:45 PM Fitton Field
Worcester Ma
Fee: $8.00/pp


August 4, 2019
Family Fun at Edaville Railroad
5 Pine Street , Carver MA
Meet at the gate at 10:30 AM
Fee: $13.00/pp Under 2 free

August 13, 2019
Extreme Craze Laser Tag
For Teens & Young Adults
166 Milk Street Westboro MA
5:45 PM Fee : $15.00 /per player
Parent Night Out at
Spices Punjabi Dhaba
Next Door to Extreme CrazeJUNE 



   This week's note is from Mary Loughlin. Many of you know Mary as our OT consultant and have worked with her in Sensory Clinics. Mary also serves on our advisory board and is a long term member of the Center. She and her sons as well as her daughter are active members at Dances for young adults, our Adaptive exercise group and other activities. Her two sons come to the Center each week with their 1:1 aide to perform clerical duties as part of their self directed program. But life wasn't always as active. Mary shares how she broke the walls of isolation her son's autism imposed on her family and moved to  active and engaged lives for her sons. 

Thirty years ago, I had my first son, and although he wasn't diagnosed with autism for another almost 4 years, even as an infant, he did not want to leave the nursery, never mind our house. As the months went on, I diagnosed us both as having sensory deprivation. I was a pediatric OT and I saw an article about OTs who were helping mothers and infants with sensory differences leave their homes. I was relieved to know that it wasn't just me, and it gave me hope that I could do something to help us both. From then on, every day, we ventured more and more from the nursery to the other parts of our small home, to our backyard, to my mother's home, to a friend's home, to the playground, to children's museums.

There were some utter failures along the way: family gatherings, day care, music and gym classes, preschools, and then came the diagnosis that changed our lives forever. My unspoken fears grew as my second son was also diagnosed with autism in a matter of months and a new baby girl came. Now I had 3 children: ages 4, 2 and a newborn, and leaving our home was nearly impossible. I remember having a favorite white t-shirt that read "Mission Possible" that featured pictures of people with disabilities included in the community. I used to wear it a lot when I took my children out in the summer with at least 2 home program staff. My goal was to include my children in the community and to give them time every day in the natural environment to help their sensory processing. For many years now, I have maintained this goal with my adult children with autism, and it is the best way I know to improve sensory issues and quality of life.

Here are some tips to set up your outing for success: Bring help if you have it. Keep a positive attitude. Stay calm by taking deep breaths! Hold your head up and tell yourself that you have got this! Even if it all seems to be going wrong, let your body language show the staring people that you know exactly how to handle this situation! Do not make eye contact with strangers to avoid the stares of the ignorant. If anyone says anything negative, simply say, "My child has autism" and walk away.  My favorite story using this method is when my mother took my first son to a small circus in town, and he reached into another child's snow cone and put the handful of snow into his own mouth. My mother said, "I'm sorry but he has autism, and he is not supposed to have that" as though some how they were at fault.

Know though that there are always people who understand, who are smiling at you in the worst moments, and who will help you if you ask. My younger son jumped onto the Boston Harbor at the New England Aquarium one December when he was 4 and when I asked for help had several strangers rescue him from the water! I think he inspired an urban legend about a boy with autism who visited the Aquarium and smuggled home a penguin that they later found in their bathtub. Sadly, my son only brought home a vicious stomach bug, but I love the urban legend all the same.

Prepare, prepare, prepare. Pack carefully for your child's needs but bring only as much as you can comfortably carry in a backpack, stroller, or a wagon. Have food and drinks with you. Bring favorite toys especially if they have a sensory component. Bring ear plugs, headphones, sunglasses, or hats if your child tolerates these to block sound and light. Dress your child in favorite comfortable clothes. Wear sneakers yourself for traction during a quick getaway (plan B) and have a small organized backpack because who doesn't feel in total control and ready for all situations with that? Plan to stay only as long as your child tolerates. Do not prolong your visits. Keep them short and keep going back to favorite places that your child enjoys. Avoid the crowded nosy places. Find the quiet calming places. Find places that match your child's interests. Join the Autism Resource Central Family Fun activities, so you don't feel alone and can try out new adventures with our support.
Enjoy all the moments along the way!    

                                                                                       Mary Loughlin

Last Chance to Apply is July 4th!

Keeping our kids active is a challenge, sedentary life styles born of the need for maintaining their safety, keeps our kids from being free to play outside without adult supervision. Motor planning difficulties and issues with balance make bike riding a difficult activity for them. Adaptive equipment, adult size tricycles or recumbent bikes are very costly, and often beyond the means of families.

A few years ago a family had their son's adaptive tricycle stolen from their yard and friends launched a Go Fund Me page to raise the money needed to replace his stolen bike. They did so well that they raised $1,500 more than was needed for a new bike.

This family donated it to the Center asking that it be used to fund adaptive equipment for another child. We shared this with membership at the time and no one applied for funding.

Summer is the perfect time to teach a child new recreational skills . If you think you'd like to apply for the funding for equipment please send an email to Kris Cariglia at KCARIGLIA@HMEA.ORG and your name will be put in to a database for a lottery to have the funding put towards the purchase of equipment for your child. We will draw from all interested parties after July 4th ! 

We'd like to see these funds used as desired by the family who so generously donated them to the Center.


Tips for celebrating the 
Fourth of July 
with a child with autism.

By Mari -Jane Williams  

The Fourth of July brings fireworks, barbecues, patriotic band music and lots of flag-waving crowds. For families of some children with autism or sensory processing difficulties, all of that holiday "fun" can be a recipe for a meltdown.
The noises, smells and crowds can be overwhelming and send a child with autism into sensory overload.   ( Read More).




We want to thank all who supported our Calendar Raffle for the month of June.  Below  you will find the Calendar with the daily winners. 
In the end the real winners are the families served by the Center who will benefit from your support!


Christopher Sharry
2019 Team HARC
2019 New Balance Falmouth Road Race

Runner Profile
Fun Facts about Chris
Have you ran another race longer than 7 miles?
I have ran the Providence marathon, Bay State half marathon and I have ran the Falmouth Road Race before.

What is your training routine?
I run several times per week time permitting.

What is your favorite time of the day to run?
I like to run in the morning.

Do you listen to music while running? What songs are in your playlist?
Yes, I like to listen to music while running.

Why do you like to run?
I like to run for stress relief and stay in shape.
Chris will be running the 2019 New Balance Falmouth Road Race on Sunday August 18th. She is raising awareness and funds to support the mission of HMEA's Autism Resource Central to provide autism support and services for families in central           Massachusetts. Support his fundraising effort at                                                                                                                                                          https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/hmeas-autism-resource-central/christophersharry


As part of our mission we try to keep you informed of relevant meetings, hearings, recreational opportunities in our community.

Check out the Bulletin Board this week for information about upcoming activities in the community.

The Bulletin Board is a place to have events that would be of interest to the families of HMEA's Autism Resource Central posted. Sped PAC meetings with speakers, recreational opportunities, classes and more. 

To have an event considered for posting please send information to  Sloring@hmea.org .


Sue Loring -Director 
HMEA's Autism Resource Central 
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