Parent Education Series 2013-2014

The New England Center for Children (NECC) is offering a series of informational sessions for family members of children with autism.  The presentations include topics of interest and importance towards the goal of helping participants better understand, advocate, and care for their family member with ASD and their families as a whole.  In addition to the formal presentation, each session will have time allocated for questions and answers.

All sessions below are FREE and open to the public.  Pre-registration is encouraged as space is limited.

Potty Power! Toilet Training Young Children with Autism (and others!)
Date: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Presenter: William Holcomb, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Toilet training children is something every child needs.  The presentation will begin with an overview of toilet training; including the pre-requisite skills, how to arrange the environment, planning a training schedule as well as important components of the teaching process.  While the information and techniques apply to toilet training any child, there will be an emphasis on the challenges of toilet training children with autism spectrum disorders.  In addition, a variety of "helpful hints" will be provided and participants are encouraged to share strategies.

Understanding and Addressing Sleep Problems of Children with Autism
Date: Thursday February 27, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Presenter: Sandy Jin, Ph.D., BCBA-D

This interactive training will provide attendees with a sound understanding of factors that worsen and improve children's ability to achieve age-appropriate amounts of sleep as well as strategies for addressing common sleep problems such as nighttime routine noncompliance, difficulty falling or staying asleep, and nighttime problem behavior. Attendees will have opportunities to discuss and practice applying various components of the effective treatments. As a result, attendees will be have a better understanding of how to personalize interventions for existing sleep problems and ways to promote healthy sleep of the children in their care.

Challenging Behavior
Date: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Presenter: William Holcomb, Ph.D., BCBA-D

This is a two-part training and individuals are welcome to register for one or both parts of the training.

Part 1: Pro-Active Strategies for Managing Challenging Behavior
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
This interactive presentation will address assessment and intervention of challenging behavior.  The focus of Part 1 will be on defining, assessing, and identifying the functional relation between the challenging behavior and the consequences that reinforce the behavior.  From this perspective a discussion of function-based treatment for challenging behavior will begin. 

Part 2: De-Escalation of Challenging Behavior
Time: 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Continuing the discussion from Part 1, the presentation will provide a variety of de-escalation and prevention strategies for challenging behaviors. Real-life situations will be discussed, and participants will be encouraged to participate with their own examples and questions.

*lunch will be provided between sessions on this day

Reading: Curricula and Strategies
Date: Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Presenter: Maria Felix-Lonergan, M.S.Ed., BCBA

This presentation will review commercially available direct instruction reading curricula for learners on the autism spectrum who are successful with either phonics or sight word reading strategies.  It will emphasize the importance of a comprehensive approach to reading with a focus on vocabulary development and comprehension to promote better reading outcomes. Strengths of, and challenges to, the learner on the spectrum will be considered. Instructional implications and curricular recommendations will be discussed.

iPads: Organization and Communication
Date: Thursday May 15, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Presenter: Beth Bellone, M.S., CCC-SLP, BCBA

Apps provide leisure opportunities and independence for children with ASDs, but what about communication?  Time management?  Organization?  This talk will review a handful of the many apps out there dedicated specifically to helping children with ASDs cope with their environment and schedule.  Bring your own iPad or we will supply you with one to use.  We will highlight TouchChat, scheduling apps and a few more apps that provide great tools to help your child.

How to Make Good Decisions About the Use of Psychotropic Medication
Date: Thursday June 12, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Presenter: Jason Bourret, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Increasing numbers of children diagnosed with autism are prescribed medication to treat problem behavior but these meds are not guaranteed to work and may cause serious side effects. Deciding whether or not to use medication, which medications to use, and what doses are appropriate can be difficult and parents should be as informed as possible when working with a psychiatrist. In this presentation, I will be discussing tips for working with psychiatrists, ways to measure medication effects, and guidelines for making decisions about medication.

For more information please contact:

Megan Anzivino
Administrative Coordinator
The New England Center for Children
e-mail 

To register, please click here.