In Time of Covid-19, Awareness and Acceptance of Autism is Critical for Underserved and Vulnerable Population

Southborough, Mass. – March 29, 2021– The New England Center for Children® (NECC®), a global leader in education and research for children with autism, announced today that it will join in the nationwide celebration of Autism Awareness Month this April. NECC will educate and advocate for autism, commit to a kinder world, share resources and stories on social media, promote global understanding and acceptance, and raise funds for autism through community action.

“Autism Awareness Month, particular in these times of Covid-19, is important to foster understanding and acceptance of autism on the global stage,” said Vincent Strully, Jr, Founder and CEO of The New England Center for Children. “When we founded NECC 45 years ago, our vision was a world where autism was not a barrier to happiness, growth and independence. Autism acceptance has grown tremendously during that time, yet more can still be done.”

Beginning with the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, the month-long Autism Awareness and Autism Acceptance campaigns are designed to build a better awareness of the signs, symptoms, and realities of autism. It is a celebration of differences that focus on providing information and resources for communities to be more aware of autism, promote acceptance, and be more inclusive in everyday life.

NECC will join autism organizations around the world for the April 2 Light It Up Blue campaign, illuminating in blue its Massachusetts and Abu Dhabi, UAE, facilities to raise awareness of autism. NECC will also commemorate the month with fundraising efforts for its largest annual community event, the 5K Walk/Run. For the second consecutive year, the event will be held virtually on May 1 using the Charge Running App. Nearly 1,000 community members participate each year, raising more than $2.2 million since 2007 to benefit autism education.

Founded in 1975, NECC has served more than 13,500 children with autism and their families. NECC has grown into the pre-eminent institution for autism education, research and training. NECC has built a global network of educators, researchers and innovative technology that transforms the lives of children with autism.

Serving in the Time of Corona

This year more than ever, individuals with autism and their families are struggling with the challenges of daily living and learning. Committed to the ongoing support and education of their students, NECC made significant PPE and on-site testing investments. The school enacted safety protocols and practices above and beyond state and Federal requirements. NECC remained open for residential students and re-opened the day school at the earliest opportunity in July, 2020. Covid-19 cases were minimal and none were severe. NECC was a model of best practices, achieving their education goals at a time when most schools were closed.

“Individuals with autism deserve to have the highest quality of life possible, especially in the challenging times of Covid-19. Autism Awareness Month is key to providing more widespread understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder (ASD),” said Dr. Jessica Sassi, a member of the Executive Committee at NECC. “Acceptance of autism is particularly important in communities that lack resources for individuals with autism and their families.”

Driving Worldwide Awareness

NECC has helped thousands of children worldwide through its centers, consulting services, and ACE® ABA Software System. NECC operates or consults in Lebanon; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE; Doha, Qatar; Gurgaon, India; Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia; and in Brazil, Australia, Italy, England, Canada and other countries. The ACE Software is currently used in 19 countries.

NECC’s professional development program has graduated many of the autism service industry’s leaders – teachers, behavior analysts, and researchers inside and outside of NECC whose training and dedication have helped thousands of children with autism and their families.

NECC’s focus on education, technology, and ABA research drives their success in helping transform the lives of children with autism and their families. NECC research is conducted at the school and the results form a continuous feedback of best practice curriculum refinement. The research is also integrated into the Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia, or ACE® ABA Software System, a cloud-based teaching system that is used by more than 8,000 students and teachers across the United States and in 19 countries.

Critical to NECC’s success is the staff, nearly 1,300 highly committed and compassionate professionals that include 184 Board Certified Behavior Analysts, 305 master’s level educators, and 19 Ph.Ds.

About The New England Center for Children

The New England Center for Children® (NECC®) is a private, nonprofit center providing evidence-based treatment and services for children with autism. Programs include in-home ABA therapy for infants and toddlers, a full-service day school for children age 4-22, and a safe, structured residential program that seamlessly integrates with the day school. NECC also oversees special education classrooms in public schools throughout New England and consults with families around the world. The technology division has patented its curriculum – the Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia (ACE®) ABA Software System – which is used by more than 8,000 learners worldwide. 

NECC is committed to diversity and staff professional development, partnering with local colleges to provide on-site graduate training and degrees at little to no cost to the NECC teacher. The result is a growing pool of exceptional teachers trained in best-in-class methodologies, whether they continue their careers at NECC or move on to public schools or private agencies. 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.