Youth & Family Disability Resources: December 2014

Autism-friendly performance of “Urban Nutcracker.” Don’t miss this autism-friendly performance of “The Urban Nutcracker” at John Hancock Hall in Boston on Saturday, December 20th at 11am! The perfomance includes house lights at half capacity, with sounds lower in volume and intensity. There’s also a quiet area and volunteers available to help if needed. Most importantly, you can expect a completely judgment-free zone. Get your tickets now!

Support independent artists at the Newbury Handmade Market. Up until 3pm on Christmas Eve, you can find lots of artist booths on the Newbury Street storefront. The Newbury Handmade Market, which is open 11am-7pm daily, is independently organized by Etsy artists. You can find anything from watercolor paintings to salsa, and there are even some artists working on-site who can do on-the-spot customization! Perfect for those who still haven’t done their holiday shopping.

DIY Gingerbread House Party. Come to the Fields Corner Branch of the Boston Public Library in Dorchester to decorate gingerbread houses at 4pm on December 23rd! The space, music, and materials will all be provided, with guidance from local artist Leslie McWeeney. Attendance is limited to 20 families. If interested, please call the library at 617.436. 2155 to register and specify the number of family members that will attend.

Winter  Holiday Tea. If decorating gingerbread houses isn’t your thing, head on over to the Fanueil Branch of the Boston Public Library at 6pm for a Winter Holiday Tea that same night, where you’ll get to enjoy seasonal stories, sip hot tea and decorate your own cookies!

Celebrate the December Holidays Show. Magician Debbie O’Carroll is ready to entertain you onstage with her amazing magic tricks, hilarity, and holiday stories! Fear not, all the winter holidays will be honored: Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, and more! The December Holidays Show will be held at the Hyde Park Branch of the Boston Public Library at 10:30am on December 26th, and at the East Boston branch of the Boston Public Library at 3:30pm on December 30th.

Kwanzaa Celebration. Celebrate Kwanzaa with local artist Wyoma at the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library at 1pm on December 26th! It’ll be a fun way to learn about the holiday and do some fun activities.

Kids New Year’s Party. At 3pm on December 30th, the Adams Street branch of the Boston Public Library invites kids aged 4-13 to celebrate the New Year! Start off 2015 on the right foot by crafting party hats and noisemakers, creating a wall of resolutions, posing for silly photos with fake mustaches and more!

New Year’s Cupcake Decorating. On December 31st, you’re invited to decorate (and of course eat) delicious cupcakes at the Mattapan branch of the Boston Public Library! Cupcake decorating is at 3pm.

31 Nights of Light. Every December, the Prudential Tower is lit a different color in honor of a Boston organization that has made a difference. Participating groups get to “flip the switch” each night, with a host of musical performances and speakers each night. It just so happens that PYD will be honored at 31 Nights of Light this Friday, December 12th! We invite you to come and show your support.

AMC Assembly Row Free Movies. AMC Assembly Row asked people to vote for their favorite holiday movies, to be shown on a Saturday in December. The winners were “Home Alone” (screening Saturday, December 13th) and “Elf” (screening Saturday, December 20th). It’s completely FREE to attend and first come, first serve, with one ticket per person!

Hanukkah Festival of Lights. On December 17th, the Museum of Fine Arts invites you to celebrate the Hanukkah Festival of Lights! You’ll get to watch the lighting of the Menorah and explore their Judaic collection. You can also sketch in the galleries, make dreidels and craft stained glass windows to take home for the holidays. And don’t forget the delicious food and festive music at a special Hanukkah celebration from 6-9:45pm! Admission is FREE.

Critter Day: Rainforest Reptile Shows (ASL interpreted). Fascinated by snakes, lizards, turtles, and other reptiles? The Boston Children’s Museum can tell you all about them on December 20th! You won’t want to miss their Critter Day: Rainforest Reptile Shows at 11:30am or 12:30pm that day.

Downtown Boston Holiday Market. The 7th annual Downtown Holiday Market is open at its new pop-up location at 459 Washington St. (former Tello’s location). It’s open 7 days a week from 11 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday, and 11 am to 5 pm on Sunday. Support awesome businesses like Alex’s Ugly Sauce, Recycled Glass Jewelry, McCrea’s Candles, and Swissbakers! Santa Claus will be at the market daily from noon to 2 pm through December 23rd for FREE pictures (just bring your own camera!).

Ice Skating at Frog Pond. Frog Pond is open to the public for ice skating every day of the week! Dig those ice skates out of the closet and give them a whirl. The fee for admission is super cheap (only $5 for those 58 inches or taller). When you feel like taking a break from the ice, you can always relax at the Frog Pond Cafe, where there’s mac & cheese, belgian waffles, hot chocolate, and more!

The Possible Project’s Holiday Fair. On Friday, December 19th, from 5-7pm, come and support the hard work of youth entrepreneurs at The Possible Project’s Holiday Fair! The fair will be held at Cambridge College and students will be selling a variety of great products, from homemade candles to custom phone cases.

Boston Cookie Swap. On Sunday, December 21st, from 1-4pm, head over to District Hall for the Boston Cookie Swap! This year, Brownie Brittle will donate $1 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for each cookie swapped, and the goal for this year is 10,000 cookies. You can bake cookies and be in the running for a prize, or buy a container of cookies to help raise funds for pediatric cancer!

2014 Holiday Pops. Seize the chance to watch the Boston Pops play your holiday and sing-along favorites this season! You can get tickets for a Kids’ Matinee, complete with Santa and special holiday treats. The Pops will also be accompanying three screenings of the holiday classic Home Alone, on December 26th and 27th! See the 2014 Boston Pops website for more information.

Access to Art Tours. The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston offers a series of visitor-centered, interactive tours designed for groups with disabilities, or depending on the visitor’s preference, an individual tour with a companion or care partner. These tours are free, but most require pre‐registration. For a sighted guide, ASL interpreter, or other access accommodation, contact Hannah Goodwin at 617-369-3189 (voice), Valarie Burrows at 617-369-3302 (voice), 617-369-3395 (TTY), or email access@mfa.org.

Assistive Technology Resource Center (ARTC) Open House. The ATRC, which helps people with disabilities make informed decisions about assistive technology to increase their independence at home, in school, or the workplace, hosts a FREE monthly open house in Boston. These open houses are held on the first Wednesday of every month from 8:30am‐4:30pm, and they provide a valuable opportunity to try out different kinds of assistive technology products. Visit the Easter Seals website, call 617-226-2634, or email ATRC@eastersealsma.org for more details.

Guest Post: Reflecting on Daily Life with Apert Syndrome

Here at PYD, we frequently hear from people around the country who express how much they wish a program like PYD existed in their area. That is one reason why we’re working hard on a program to help other organizations replicate what we do, and it’s also why we engage in so much training and technical assistance for schools, businesses, and other nonprofits around the country through our National Center.

One of our frequent correspondents is Ann English of Georgia, whose granddaughter Morgan lives with Apert Syndrome. Ann recently shared with us an essay by Morgan about what it is like to live with Apert Syndrome. You can read it below:

Continue reading “Guest Post: Reflecting on Daily Life with Apert Syndrome”