NECC Graduate Garners Sports and Media Attention for His Writing and Reporting
Southborough, Mass. – October 15, 2019 – The New England Center for Children® (NECC®), a global leader in autism education and research announced today that Andrew Roberts has been named NECC’s 2019 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. This award is bestowed upon NECC alumni who demonstrate inspiring personal, vocational and/or academic achievement. Andrew, 16-years-old, was a home-based student at NECC from 2005 to 2006 and today is an aspiring sportswriter and sophomore at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, Mass.
The award will be presented at NECC’s annual Children of Promise Gala (www.necc.org/gala), to be held on Friday, November 15 at the InterContinental Boston.
“Andrew has achieved much in his young life and is a testament to the effectiveness of early intensive behavioral intervention in transforming the lives of children with autism,” said Vincent Strully, President and CEO of The New England Center for Children. “All of us at NECC are inspired by Andrew’s story. We are proud to honor him as our outstanding alumnus this year.”
When Andrew was a toddler, his parents had difficulty transitioning him to solid foods. They started to feel that his developmental progress was stagnating. A speech and feeding therapist told Andrew’s parents he might never speak. At around 20 months, Andrew was diagnosed with autism and his parents enrolled him in NECC’s early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) home-based program. Andrew responded remarkably well to early treatment and transitioned into public school with NECC support.
Around age 5, Andrew developed a strong affinity for sports that started with collecting baseball cards and learning the players’ numbers and the lineup. He has turned his self-described obsession with sports into a budding sports writing career with his blog “Boston Sports Mania” (https://andrewr1008.wordpress.com/). Andrew’s inspiring story and blog caught the attention of the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism after he wrote a post about learning how to ski in a Flutie Foundation Ski Weekend at Waterville Valley. The Foundation presented him with a Shining Star Award in 2018 and made him a Flutie Fellow that same year, reporting on the U.S.A. Special Olympics Games in Seattle and other events on behalf of the Foundation.
“Andrew has done incredible work throughout his fellowship. He has already accomplished so much as a sports personality, and he is truly deserving of the NECC Outstanding Alumnus honor. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Andrew!” said Nick Savarese, Executive Director of The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism.
Andrew was a keynote presenter at the 2019 Federation for Children with Special Needs’ Visions of Community conference. He has been featured in news coverage on WCVB-TV ABC Boston and the Boston Herald, including serving as a guest columnist. This summer he interned at WEEI-Boston Sports Radio and the Worcester Bravehearts. His sports research has been featured on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Andrew has guest-announced at Fenway Park and most recently did work for the Bruins Foundation. He has received honorable mentions for the Will McDonough Writing Contest for two years in a row.
“We are very proud of Andrew and his tremendous progress. The early support he had from The New England Center for Children put him on this incredible path,” said Ken Roberts, Andrew’s father.
Andrew is thriving in high school. He writes for the school newspaper, announces football games on local cable access TV, hosts his own radio show and created a web series the last two years called “Gonk Knocks” which chronicles the Algonquin Regional High School football team during training camp.
“I continue to be amazed by Andrew’s accomplishments. NECC was integral in helping him reach a place we always hoped he would. To have Andrew recognized as NECC’s 2019 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year at the Children of Promise Gala is a proud moment not just for our family, but also for Andrew and all those who believed in him,” said Debra Roberts, Andrew’s mother.
“I am honored to receive this award from The New England Center for Children,” said Andrew. “I don’t think I’d be where I am today without the help of NECC and my BCBA teacher, Stacey Croeber. NECC gave me the foundation to work toward my dream of being a sportswriter.”
About The New England Center for Children
The New England Center for Children® (NECC®) is an award-winning autism education center and research institute. Our community of teachers, researchers, and clinicians have transformed the lives of thousands of children with autism worldwide through education, research, and technology. The Center provides comprehensive services to maximize independence: home-based, day, and residential programs, partner classrooms in public school systems, consulting services, the ACE® ABA Software System (www.acenecc.org), teacher professional development, and research on educational best practices.
NECC is committed to 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.
*The PR Newswire release incorrectly stated Andrew’s age as 15. He recently turned 16.
Contact: Michele Hart
The New England Center for Children
(508) 481-1015 x4049