The Arc of the South Shore, a family-oriented, community-based non-profit providing information, referrals, and community programs for individuals with disabilities, hosted a series of special events in April in celebration of Autism Acceptance Month.
Autism has been identified as the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, with one in 36 children receiving a diagnosis, according to a recently released report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The report further estimates the number of autistic adults in this country as 5.8 million. During April, a bright light is shone on the diversity of experiences and needs of those with autism – issues The Arc of the South Shore addresses daily through its Autism Resource Center which provides information, referrals, and community-based programming for individuals with autism and their families.
Relying solely on private grants and donations, this family-focused program supports individuals with autism as well as parents whose children are newly diagnosed, transitioning into or out of the special education system, or navigating adulthood.
The Arc of the South Shore celebrated Autism Acceptance Month with numerous special events, including: the first meeting of a Dad’s Support Group; a Caregiver Wellness program; an Ice Cream Social; a special Sensational Yoga class at the Derby St. Shops; a Caregiver Support Group Coffee Break at Slacktide Coffee Roasters in Hanover in collaboration with the South Shore Parents of Children with Autism; a sensory friendly movie at the Cameo Theater in Weymouth; and a Playground Meetup Gathering in collaboration with SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council).
“We’d like to thank local businesses, Just Hair Cuts, Lil Dukes Ice Cream Shoppe, the Whitman Wellness Center, and Hingham’s Skin SPA New York for sharing special offers in support of autism and neurodiversity during the month of April,” said Abigail Parrilla, CEO of The Arc of the South Shore, noting that the events served more than 150 individuals with autism and their families.
The Arc of the South Shore’s Autism Resource Center offers an array of services including family support groups, community dances, sensory-friendly movies, educational workshops, the Exploring Disney Animation social club, and the Sensational Story Time Yoga program as well as other programming. Last year, the Center, led by Director Janine Birmingham, served 2,107 individuals with autism and their families.
About the Arc of the South Shore, Inc.
The Arc of the South Shore (The Arc) was founded in 1951 when a group of individuals created a school for children with disabilities. Then, in 1967, The Arc was deeded property at Webb State Park in Weymouth; the space gave the agency a permanent home and the opportunity to expand. By the end of the 1980s, The Arc became a multi-service agency. Today, The Arc is a family-oriented, community-based non-profit providing information, referrals, and community programs for individuals with disabilities.
These services include an Autism Resource Center, early intervention program, community supports, employment services, day supports and habilitation programs, in-home care, and residential services. All of their programs are based on their six core values of people first, community, transparency, self-determination, diversity, and respect. The Arc serves participants from communities throughout the South Shore, including Abington, Milton, Quincy, Randolph, Braintree, Weymouth, Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate, and Norwell. Through their 71-year history, they have helped more than 85,000 people.