Over the last two years, the pandemic has exacerbated a human services crisis and staffing shortage that has led to individuals with special needs being left without the necessary support. During the 2020-2021 academic year, as it became harder for families and school districts to find out-of-district placements for children with autism and related disorders, NECC expanded its reach by providing much needed educational services outside its walls in Southborough, MA, through its Consulting and Public School Services (PSS) division.
“By relocating skilled, trained special education teachers and behavior analysts who are proficient in using the ACE® ABA Software System and other systems, NECC impacted more than 1,000 children across seven U.S. states over the past year,” said Amy Geckeler, MS, BCBA, LABA, executive director of Global Consulting.
Amy Grant, MSEd, BCBA, LABA, has been a teacher and behavior analyst in one of NECC’s 34 Massachusetts partner classrooms for nearly nine years, weathering the challenges that come each year. “We have worked creatively with the district to best serve the needs of the students,” she shared. “At times, this has meant starting three to four new students in my classroom within very short time periods or adjusting caseloads to serve more children. Each year has presented new challenges that we have consistently adjusted to in order to provide the most effective programming to all students in the classroom.”
Grant has seen remarkable changes in her students, including two who started with her when they were in preschool and kindergarten. “Both were struggling within the inclusion setting, engaging in a range of challenging behaviors … with very limited communication skills. Now in fourth grade, both students are included for science and social studies very day with their aged-matched peers. They actively engage in meaningful conversations with their peers, each other, and teachers, and are playing the trumpet and drums in band. They both have become integral members of the school community and have continued to maintain near zero rates of challenging behavior as the years have progressed.”
In addition to its 66 model classrooms across New England, which provide comprehensive services to over 360 students, PSS also provides consulting services, impacting more than 400 additional students.
This story originally appeared in the FY 2021-22 Annual Report.