Our Fall Favorites!

Today marked the first official day of autumn. With the cooler weather setting in, it is a good time to find some activities to keep your family busy during the months to come. Look no further! We have compiled a list of our favorite New England activities which are more accommodating to the Special Needs Community. The activities are divided into the following categories:

SPECIAL EVENTS
RECREATION AND SPORTS
MUSEUMS AND FINE ARTS
MOVIES
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

SPECIAL EVENTS

Autism Friendly Performance of Cinderella*
Location: Boston Opera House in Boston, MA
Sunday, October 4th at 5:30 PM
*Advanced Purchase Required
More Info

Sensory Friendly Halloween Party
Location: Recreational Education Center in Peabody, MA
Sunday, October 25th 11 AM – 2 PM
FREE Event
More Info 

RECREATION AND SPORTS

Recreational Education Center
Locations: Peabody, MA and Londonderry, NH
Open REC: Daily
Every Tuesday-Sunday
More Info

Pollard Library Lego Time
Location: Lowell, MA
Lego Time for Kids with Special Needs: Monthly*
Next event: Saturday, October 3rd at 10 AM
*Advanced Registration Required.
More Info

Altitude Trampoline Park
Location: Billerica, MA
Sensory Friendly Saturdays: Weekly
Next Event: Saturday, October 3rd
More Info

Launch Trampoline Park
Location: Watertown, MA and Nashua, NH
Special Needs Day: Monthly
Next Event: Tuesday, October 6th
More Info Watertown
More Info Nashua

Cowabunga’s Indoor Inflatable Playground
Locations: North Reading, MA and Hooksett, NH
Kids with Special Needs Night: A Few Times a Year*
Next event: Thursday, October 8th 5 PM – 7 PM
*Advanced Registration Required
More Info

Ultimate Sports Program
Locations: Westfield, MA and other parts of Massachusetts
Social Inclusion Through Sports: Ongoing
Now Accepting Registrations
More Info

For more recreation ideas click here to visit the Sped Child Mass website.

MUSEUMS AND FINE ARTS

Boston Conservatory Music
Location: Boston, MA
Music Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Class Registration
More Info

Museum of Fine Arts
Location: Boston, MA
Beyond the Spectrum: Monthly*
Next Event: Saturday, October 3rd 10:30 AM – 12 PM
*Advanced Registration Required
More Info

Children’s Museum of NH
Location: Dover, NH
Exploring Our Way: Monthly
Next Event: Sunday, October 4th
More Info

Boston Children’s Museum
Location: Boston, MA
Morningstar Access: Monthly*
Next Event: Monday, October 12th 8 AM – 10 AM
*Advanced Registration Required
More Info

Discovery Museum
Location: Acton, MA
Especially for Me: Monthly*
Next Event: Saturday, October 17th 5 PM – 8:30 PM
*Advanced Registration Required: FREE
More Info

MOVIES

AMC Theaters
Locations: Braintree, MA; Burlington, MA; Framingham, MA; Methuen, MA; Tyngsboro, MA
Sensory Friendly Films: Monthly
Next event: Saturday, September 26th at 10 AM
More Info

Cinemagic
Locations: Sturbridge, MA; Portsmouth, NH; South Portland, ME
Sensory Friendly Movies: Monthly
Next event: Saturday, September 26th at 10 AM
More Info

Chunky’s Cinema Pub
Locations: Nashua, NH; Pelham, NH; Haverhill, MA
Sensory Friendly Movies: Monthly
Next event: Wednesday, November 18th at 4 PM
More info

O’Neil Cinemas
Location: Epping, NH
Sensory Friendly Flix: Monthly
Next event: Sunday, September 27th at 10 AM
More Info

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Some organizations and groups that have offered sensory friendly events in the past and may continue to do so for 2016 are as follows:

Autism Eats
Location: Northern Massachusetts
Committed to offering restaurant dining experiences to families with loved ones with Autism. Check their webpage to see when the next dinner is being held.
More Info 

Open Door Theater
Location: Acton, MA
Offered a Sensory Friendly performance of Peter Pan in March of 2015
More Info

photo 5

Superhero Staff from last year’s Annual Halloween Party!

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Reserve Now for School Vacations and Holidays at the REC

With the school year just around the corner, now is the best time to plan out upcoming days off from school. The REC is committed to providing constant ABA programming, all year-round.  As many of our REC families know, this means support during school vacation weeks and some minor holidays. Due to the high demand, space for the vacation and holiday programming is limited and not guaranteed. In order to be considered for a spot, enrolled REC families must first complete the Vacation and Holiday Request Form and return by email or drop off at the center.

You may download the form by clicking on the below relevant link:

MA REC Vacation Request Form- Peabody, MA
To be returned by email to scheduling@recreationaleducationcenter.com

NH REC Vacation Request Form- Londonderry, NH
To be returned by email to schedulingnh@recreationaleducationcenter.com

*Please note that completing and returning this form does not guarantee a space in the Vacation/Holiday programs. REC families will be contacted by staff to confirm availability.

If your child(ren) are not currently enrolled and attending the REC, you must first complete the intake process which may take at least 20-30 days depending on availability and insurance processing. Please email info@recreationaleducationcenter.com to request an intake packet.

Traveling with Special Needs

At times, just the thought of traveling can stir up feelings of anxiety for families who have children or young adults with special needs. With families recently making headlines about their travels with special needs children, many families are left feeling overwhelmed.

Whether traveling near or far, there are many resources out there to help ease the stress and make the trip enjoyable for everyone, especially your special child!

See below for various travel links, tips and suggested vacation spots.*

Travel Agents who specialize in Special Needs Travel

ASD Vacations
Free of charge travel agent service. They contract with hundreds of destinations and resorts for adaptive and special needs friendly experiences.

Autism on the Seas
Cruises for adults and families living with Autism, Down Syndrome and other related disabilities.

Autism Adventure Travel
Individual and Group trips for families and individuals living with Autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome and even Wounded Soldiers.

Hammer Travel
Customized trips to fit the needs of each individual family, with all disabilities. They offer both domestic and international trips.

Preparing for Travel

Wings for Autism
Now a nationally recognized program, Wings for Autism is run out of Boston Logan International Airport and gives families the chance to experience a flying test run.

Pre-flight Tips and Check-list
Tips ranging from what types of tickets to book to making a backup plan.

Flying Social Story
Developed by a mom of a 6 year old boy with autism.

kid with airplane

*The purpose of this blog post is to provide information on the various special needs travel resources available to the community. The Recreational Education Center, LLC does not endorse or recommend any of the listed agencies or companies.

Recap of April: Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month. It is the month in which organizations, families and friends all come together to shine a light on Autism Spectrum Disorder with the Autism Speaks slogan Light It Up Blue. Part of Autism Awareness is educating the world about autism and how it effects 1 in 68 people (US statistics). Team REC organized and participated in a number of events this past month to show our support and love for everyone touched by autism. Combined we had almost 2,000 people involved in lighting it up blue!

Now that April has come to an end and the blue lights are turning off, we all harbor a hope that April’s Autism Awareness will turn into AUTISM ACCEPTANCE for the remaining 11 months of the year.

See below for some picture highlights of the April #LIUB events.

REC Spring Into Autism Awareness EGGstravaganza
March 29, 2015

Team REC of NH

Team REC of NH

EGGstravaganza Craft

EGGstravaganza Craft

Sensory Friendly Easter Bunny

Sensory Friendly Easter Bunny

Salem, MA World Autism Awareness Day Walk
April 2, 2015

Walk Around Salem Commons

Walk Around Salem Commons

Team REC Walkers

Team REC Walkers

REC Touch-a-Truck for Autism Awareness
April 19, 2015

Touch-a-Truck Crowd

Touch-a-Truck Crowd

Peabody PD and McGruff

Peabody PD and McGruff

Peabody's Newest Junior Firefighter

Peabody’s Newest Junior Firefighter

Autism Speaks’ Day at the Fisher Cats
April 26, 2015

Watching the ball game in style

Watching the ball game in style

Thank you to everyone who volunteered, attended and participated in any #LIUB events this month! Keep the lights shining!

Lightitup w logo 2

Now Enrolling for Camp REC!

The REC’s customized ABA programs don’t end with the school year! Did you know that we offer an extensive summer program at Camp REC from June 13th through September 2nd? Families can choose the days, weeks and times!

What is Camp REC?
Camp REC is an individualized summer program that combines fun and learning through ABA methodology while students work and play their way through the day at the center. The days are structured with various activities from cooking, crafting, indoor gym play, board games and puzzles. Older kids have their own space in the Teen Center and the vast outdoor space is great for sport games, water fun, sidewalk chalk and much more!

Furthermore, our creative Program Coordinators develop weekly themes such as Down on the Farm or Rainforest Ruckus so make sure you enroll soon to book your favorite week(s)!

How do I enroll my child?
If you are new to the REC, you will need to complete the intake packet which includes assessment documents, insurance information, release forms and registration details. Contact us today for a complete intake packet by emailing info@recreationaleducationcenter.com or by calling one of our 2 locations.

If your child already attends the REC and has completed the intake, you only need to complete the Camp REC registration form which includes the requested schedule and other pertinent information for the summer program. See the link below for the Camp REC brochure and registration.

Camp REC Flyer 2016 

How long does the intake process take? 
Depending on the time of year, the intake process may take anywhere from 20-40 days in order to confirm insurance, review assessment forms and schedule the evaluation. Once the evaluation is complete, one of our BCBAs will complete the treatment plan for insurance approval.

My insurance doesn’t cover ABA. Do you accept private pay?
Yes, but the cost varies based on the needed staff to student ratio. Please contact info@recreationaleducationcenter.com for more information on private pay.

My child is enrolled. Now what?
Stay tuned for our Camp REC Orientation in early June! More details to come. See you this summer!

photo 5 (2)

Staff Spotlight: REC of NH Program Coordinator

The REC of NH in Londonderry has been open just over 3 months but we are far from green! Our last Staff Spotlight (click here) featured Program Coordinators from our Peabody, MA location. Our rapidly growing REC of NH currently has one Program Coordinator who has set a high standard that we like to consider the REC way of providing effective, individualized, and comprehensive ABA programming.

Gina Tremblay, Program Coordinator

Gina joined Team REC in Peabody, MA several years ago. She began training as a Behavioral Support Staff, and it became clear early on that she was passionate about helping REC kiddos reach their full potential and facilitating ABA programming.  When the REC of NH was being developed, Gina was the perfect candidate to lead the charge and replicate our successful Peabody program in Londonderry. She has embraced the role of Program Coordinator and exceeded all expectations by bringing her experience and creativity into her work.

Gina effectively juggles many responsibilities including clinical tasks such as student assessment, treatment planning, and ongoing maintenance of students’ individualized programming. She also plans daily group art activities, ice skating pond crafting, and cooking task analyses, baking marshmallow pumpkin pops for Halloween or multi colored red and green cupcakes for the Holidays.  If you’ve been to the REC of NH and like what you see, it is most likely thanks to Gina and her bright handmade craft ideas brought to life by the students at the REC and adorned all throughout 10 Mohawk Drive!  We can’t wait to see what else Gina has up her sleeve and look forward to her kicking off an amazing Spring and Summer Program (Camp REC) schedule!

Thank you Gina for all that you do! To read more about the REC Staff visit our website.

Gina2Students

Gina pictured with 2 REC students

Stay tuned for more staff spotlights!

Letter from our Founder

It is incredibly hard to believe that our 2014 summer program Camp REC is coming to an end. As I walk through the center, I am totally in awe of the smiling faces on both staff and children and the contagious giggles that abound.  It is truly amazing to observe the wonderful resource the REC has become. It certainly makes me reflect back on when the idea of opening the REC was merely a thought to the actuality of opening day.

Frequently, I am asked why I opened the center. Although the development of the center from its infancy to now has been a tremendous adventure, how it came to fruition is actually not a spectacular story. I started working in special education over sixteen years ago. Throughout my career and wonderful interactions with so many children and their families, it became evident that the services I was providing for these children and their families were often not enough. Parents expressed their concerns and wishes for additional supportive programs. For many families, evenings are long, weekends are longer, and vacation weeks are endless. Simply an hour can feel like an eternity at times when a child is having a difficult day. Confronted with this realization, I envisioned offering a year-round program that would be available to families seven days per week. Families would have the opportunity to access the center at times convenient for them. What a wonderful resource it would be!

For a long period of time, I constantly thought about how to design and institute such a program. After endless hours of perseverating on the idea, I finally decided that I needed to simply take a chance and move forward with following my dream.  My initial concept of implementing this program soon became a reality. Thanks to the many families who continue to take advantage of the activities and programs offered at the center, the REC quickly gained popularity. With its success, I have received more gratification than I could ever have imagined. The center today offers so much more than seven days per week of programming; it offers a truly specialized experience for all students. It has opened the doors for children with special needs to engage in similar experiences as their peers.

I am extremely proud to be surrounded by such talented and dedicated people who share my belief in the REC. My staff members possess endless amounts of energy. They spend countless hours researching and creating fun and educational new projects for our students. My team members and those families participating in our programs truly make the REC a unique and cherished place. They have been instrumental in making my dream come alive and the success of the REC has surpassed all my expectations.

I am truly touched and feel so fortunate that we have been able to reach so many families over the three years we have been open. My dream doesn’t stop here though; I am committed to extending these opportunities to more families as well! Although I have achieved my initial goal with the success of the REC, anyone who knows me well would agree that I am constantly striving to expand and provide more support and additional resources to families. Why stop here? The REC in Peabody officially opened while I was 8 months pregnant with my second son. It just seems fitting that our second center will open while I am 8 months pregnant with my third child. We are eager to launch our Londonderry, NH location in October 2014. We hope many new families will access and enjoy the programs offered at our new location and that we will receive as much enthusiasm from families in New Hampshire as we have received by those in Massachusetts.

I truly love the career path I have chosen and I am extremely thankful for the students, families and staff members of the REC who consistently impact my life and remain my constant motivation in continuing to explore and create new and even more beneficial resources for all families.

I hope you will come see us soon in either Peabody or Londonderry!

Tricia Woolard, M.S.Ed., BCBA
Executive Director/Owner
Recreational Education Center, LLC

 

Tricia and her two sons at the REC's Annual Halloween Party.

Tricia and her two sons at the REC’s Annual Halloween Party.