On June 16, 2021, sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted NECC staff and students at the Scandinavian Athletic Club in Shrewsbury, MA for NECC’s Field Day. This annual event is attended by more than 600 staff, students, and volunteers and presents a safe environment for NECC students to have fun participating in a wide variety of outdoor games and activities surrounded by their friends and teachers.

This year marked the 28th edition of Field Day at NECC. Over the history of the event, the day has grown to now include physical activities ranging from tug of war to a rock-climbing wall, arts and crafts, and everyone’s favorite—an ice cream truck. The Worcester Red Sox mascot, Smiley, and the Boston Red Sox mascot, Wally the Green Monster, also made an appearance at this year’s event.

Last year’s Field Day was cancelled due to the pandemic, so holding an in-person event this year was important to the NECC community. After the challenging financial year addressing the pandemic, NECC was fortunate to secure funding from the Constance O. Putnam Foundation to make the event truly special.

“It is the best day for our staff and students,” said Kristen Sidman, NECC’s director of Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy/Adapted Physical Education department (OT/PT/APE). “We were so sad to lose this day last year but seeing everyone back was incredible. I know how much it means to our students to have this opportunity.”

The OT/PT/APE department is instrumental in Field Day. The department is in charge of fully planning the event and scheduling different teams’ time while there. They also coordinate volunteers and assist with getting students between stations. While it takes a monumental effort, as Sidman explains, it is worth it.

“It’s my favorite day of the year here. Seeing our students have fun and providing them with this unique experience is rewarding. Everyone involved can see how much it means to them.”

About The New England Center for Children

The New England Center for Children® (NECC®) is an award-winning autism education center and research institute. Committed to creating a world where autism is not a barrier to happiness, growth, and independence, our community of teachers, researchers, and clinicians provide comprehensive services including home-based, day, and residential programs, partner classrooms in public school systems, consulting services, and the ACE® ABA Software System (www.acenecc.org).

We are committed to creating an equitable workplace for our diverse team and providing industry-leading staff professional development opportunities, specifically with our on-campus graduate degree partnership programs. The result is a growing pool of autism educators and researchers that impact the lives of children with autism both at NECC and around the world. The New England Center for Children is based in Southborough, MA, and operates a center in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Learn more at www.necc.org.