The Autism Resource Center of Central MA provides family fun activities that are safe and comfortable for all participants, in and around the community.

Family Fun Activities

* Registration policies below

   "Whether a family is dealing with just receiving the life changing diagnosis or been dealing with it for many years, the amount of support needed is huge! The Center connects families with each other with the events they sponsor. The sense of acceptance, friendship, and guidance we get from each other is "priceless"! No one else knows what we go through on a day to day basis. If the center wasn't bringing our families together, we would be alone on our journey. We have all met some friends for life through The Center and as our journey continues we will continue to support each other. "                                                                                                       -     Loree N. , parent


Family Fun Days

The Center offers a variety of monthly Family Fun Activities to give families an opportunity to meet with others and enjoy leisure activities in a supportive environment. Swim parties, bowling parties, holiday parties, visits to zoos and museums are some of the activities we have sponsored in the past. Activities are offered at a reduced cost. Check calendar for dates, registration is required.

Family Fun for Teens & Young Adults

The center offers families with teens with autism and teen siblings activities once a month to give them an opportunity to socialize, and enjoy community outings in a supportive environment. Movies, bowling, sport events and dinner dances are among the activities the group has enjoyed. Teens who participate have input into the activities planned. Check calendar for dates, registration is required.


Vacation Family Fun Days

During school vacations in December, February and April the Center offers events to help fill the unstructured days that vacations create. These activities are open to children with ASD and siblings accompanied by a parent. Events are located in the communities across the region and are offered at a nominal cost. Some activities have limited enrollment due to safety concerns. Check calendar for dates, registration is required.


Family Fun Days at Camp

These week-long programs are designed to fill a void in programs that often exists in late June & August. Parents accompany their child with autism, along with siblings. This is a family day camp setting that offers swimming, fishing, canoeing, crafts, games, daily entertainment etc. A Midweek evening cookout allows working Parents to join in the fun. There is plenty of time for parent networking. Camp is offered to families at a reduced cost. Check the calendar for dates, registration is required. For a brochure click here

Camp Havvago

In collaboration with Camp Starfish the Autism Resource Center offers a short residential camp experience in July at Camp Starfish in Rindge, NH.

Each Camper is assigned a 1:1 aide to assist in participating in a full range of camp activities including swimming, boating, games, sports, sing-a-long, campfires, meals served family style, (dietary modifications available) and more. Watch the Newsletter for details.

Sensory Gyms, Swim & Safety Program and Music Groups

These groups allow parent and child pairs to enjoy sensory activities with consultation and guidance by an licensed occupational therapist in sensory gyms. Music groups are run by a teacher and an ABA Tech for an hour. Swim and Safety program is taught by a Red Cross certified Life guard & water safety instructor who is well versed in working with children on the spectrum. Groups meet for 6-8 week sessions. Check calendar for dates, registration is required.

Parent Retreat

Scheduled for April 12 - 13, 2014 this  co-presentation featuring Dr Robert Naseef  with Dr. Cindy Ariel examines the different perspectives that men and women bring to parenting a child with autism or other special needs. It guides couples to listen and understand each other in new ways—and work together to strengthen their relationship.

Robert Naseef, Ph.D. has practiced for over 20 years as a psychologist. He is a graduate of Temple University specializing in families of children with disabilities and has published several articles on the subject, including the book Special Children, Challenged Parents: The Struggles and Rewards of Raising a Child With a Disability (1997) Dr. Naseef co-edited,Voices From The Spectrum (2006) with Dr. Ariel. Dr. Naseef presents locally and nationally on issues related to family life with special needs and has a special interest in the psychology of men.

  Cindy N. Ariel, Ph.D. has practiced as a psychologist for over 20 years. She received her master's degree from Hahnemann and her doctorate from Temple University. Dr. Ariel specializes in treating Anxiety, Depression and relationship concerns. She provides guidance for couples and families of all kinds. She is the author of Loving Someone with Asperger's Syndrome: Understanding and Connecting with your Partner, and  co-edited,Voices From The Spectrum (2006) with Dr Naseef.


The Retreat will be an opportunity for parents to spend a day focusing on their relationship with  others who share the same concerns and stressors. The full day workshop with nationally known clinicians, Robert Naseef and Cindy Ariel, who've raised a child on the spectrum, will give parents an opportunity to explore how autism impacts their relationship and begin to focus on ways to decrease the stress in their marriage through open discussion and understanding. Following the workshop networking opportunities and  use of the hotel's amenities such as  the the pool or hot tub, or dancing and socializing at the pub will give parents a chance to reconnect. Double occupancy accommodations  and brunch in the morning are included before heading home, recharged and refreshed. Registration will open in January 2014 and is required.


* Participation in activities is limited to families who are registered with the Autism Resource Center and all activities require prior registration through our registration page. Registration closes at 2 PM the last business day before an event unless otherwise specified. For many activities space is limited and registration will close when the event is fully subscribed.

Those who register for an event and fail to participate will be placed on a wait list status for six months for all activities and be allowed to participate only if there is space available. Acceptable excuses for missing an activity include illness, lack of transportation and other unforseen circumstances, but we require notification via e-mail as soon as it becomes evident that your family will be unable to attend.