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Monday, September 25, 2017

Transition Workshop October 17: Forget Failure to Launch! How to Support Your Teen or Young Adult in Getting Off the Couch and Involved in Life Outside the House

That's the topic of a presentation taking place at NESCA's offices in Newton at 7:00pm on Tuesday, October 17th, featuring Veteran Transition Specialist  Kathleen Pignone as speaker.

Participants in this work shop will learn how to:

·        Contingency plan when Transition Plan A (and even Plan B) is not working out as hoped 
·        Create and balance a long-term plan with short-term attainable goals
·        Foster social motivation and engagement and prevent isolation
·        Develop motivation, perseverance and resiliency using a strengths-based and person-centered approach
·        Help teens and young adults learn skills necessary for engaging in decision making and daily activities independent of parents
·        Access key community resources

Light refreshments will be served. Admission is free, although seating is limited!

To register, email info@nesca-newton.com, with "Failure to Launch" in the subject line.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ron Suskind and The Affinity Project

is excited to announce a new partnership with Ron Suskind and

A strengths-based approach to building social, emotional, practical, and executive functioning skills for people with an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis

The Affinity Method is an exciting new approach that uses your child’s unique interests – or affinities – as tools to expand social-emotional awareness and intelligence. By using their passions as pathways, we meet them where they are, learn more about how they use their interests to navigate the world, and draw out the connections between what they know and what we want to help them learn. 

Meet Ron Suskind, founder of the Affinity Project,
and hear about how this exciting new partnership could benefit you!

Day: Monday, October 2nd, 2017
Time: 7:00p-8:30p
Location: NESCA office
55 Chapel St.
Newton, MA 02458

The method uses ground-breaking technology – an app called Sidekicks - to engage our clients.  The client is called the Hero, Sidekicks are avatars; animated characters that live in the Hero’s smartphone or tablet app who act as the Hero’s friend. Behind the scenes, these avatars are controlled by various coaches - therapists, parents, and other individuals who wish to engage with Heroes through the app. When either a Hero or a Coach searches for video content, it will mirror simultaneously on the other paired device.

They can play, pause, discuss, enjoy, play again!
The Coach controls what the Sidekick says out loud to the Hero.

The Hero responds by speaking out loud to the Sidekick.
This is heard by the Coach through their mobile device or computer console.
The Hero can also choose to text (instead of speaking aloud), and the text will appear on the Coach’s screen.
Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and best-selling author of Life, Animated, now an Academy-award nominated movie, used Disney movies to reach his nonverbal autistic son and bring him back to language and relationships. He and leading technologists created The Affinity Project and the Sidekicks app so parents everywhere could do the same, no matter what their child loves.

Click the video link to learn more about Ron, his son Owen and how the Affinity Project came to life! 

NESCA is proud to be one of the very first providers to offer use of the Sidekicks app in therapy sessions!

To learn more about this exciting opportunity, contact
Rebecca Girard at NESCA
Join us on Monday, October 2nd. 

We look forward to seeing you!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Rebecca Girard, LICSW, CAS joins NESCA

Rebecca is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Autism Specialist.

We are pleased to announce the newest member of the NESCA team, Rebecca Girard!

Meet Rebecca:

Rebecca has worked with children, adolescents, adults with Asperger's/Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families for over a decade. Having previously worked at Aspire, AANE, and Northeast ARC where she was a co-founder of The Spotlight Program, Rebecca is highly experienced in using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) as well as Socio-dramatic Affective Relational Intervention (SDARI), in additional to a number of other modalities. She is excited to be partnering with The Affinity Project to provide enhanced psychotherapy to children with ASD at NESCA.

Her other clinical interests include group work, trauma-informed care, and mindfulness/meditation. Her approach is child-centered, strengths-based, creative and compassionate. Ms. Girard’s professional passion is promoting tolerance and understanding of neuro-diverse people of all abilities, and creating an empowering and accepting environment in therapy for clients of all ages.

Reach out if you would like to work with Rebecca!

direct line: 617-658-9825 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Is Acupuncture right for you?

Article by Holly Pelletier, NESCA's New Acupuncturist 

One of the most common questions I receive as an acupuncturist is “Can it help with (insert any condition or ailment here)?”   And the answer is most emphatically “Yes”.  This is because the majority of us suffer from something we wish we didn’t have to. The reason is that we have been taught only to receive medicine and health care as a means of fixing something which is already broken. We do not think about creating and maintaining a healthy body before these malfunctions begin to occur. But what if we could change our way of thinking?

As a society in general, we tend to be hyper-focused on fixing problems. When we shift our focus back a bit, we can usually see that problems come from preventable causes. It is these precipitants or causes that need to be addressed. When it comes to the human body, we all ought to be able to recognize ourselves in the following scenario:

Imagine a time where you had an injury or felt pain somewhere in the body. You may have noticed that you quickly developed a very intuitive way to relieve the pain; perhaps you shifted your bodyweight to avoid an achy foot, or used your non-dominant hand to pick up something heavy, or placed a pillow below a sore hip in the car. Whatever the situation, I’m sure you instinctively and creatively found a way to lessen your pain.

At first, these adjustments may have been just what you needed to allow some part of your body to rest and heal. Sometimes, however, circumventing pain can cause prolonged unnatural use of your body in other areas; and when you strain one part of your body in order to avoid strain on another part of your body every day for a week or a month, or in many cases even years, you will without a doubt begin to feel pain somewhere else. The body has a way it is supposed to move, and when you move in a way that is contradictory to it, you incite a domino effect.

The entire body is interconnected. Every system, every organ, and every cell that is out of balance has to pull from reserves somewhere else. Simply put, the sick robs from the healthy. This is how imbalance forms in the body, and it is the reason unpleasant symptoms begin to manifest.  

Symptoms of imbalance can be subtle--they may show up in the form of dry mouth, a slightly aching head, or difficulty sleeping. Every person has a different chemical makeup, and therefore these imbalances will show up differently in everyone. It takes an in-tune and aware individual to begin noticing these changes in their body, and an even more proactive and intelligent person to decide to do something about them when the first signs arise.

At last, we come to acupuncture and its role. Acupuncture is part of a holistic medicine system that originated in China and dates back thousands of years. Its entire motivation is to restore balance anywhere in the body. That means that, in a roundabout way, acupuncture can work with any ailment, although its strength is with preventative and early-onset illness.

This is why acupuncture is a phenomenal modality for children and adolescents. Their imbalances are fresh and new, still close to their root cause, and relatively easy to reverse. It becomes more difficult as we age.

When explaining this to those who are new to acupuncture, I often get follow-up questions about whether or not acupuncture can cure things such as cancer, diabetes, alzheimer’s, and other extreme ailments. Without a doubt, there are some very debilitating diseases that are best managed with a combination of pharmacological treatments and acupuncture.

Until you begin getting treated with acupuncture and seeing how your body responds, it is nearly impossible to determine the level of imbalance in the body. What I can say with clarity and assertion is that acupuncture will most definitely help in some areas of a person’s life. When dealing with chronic illness, there is such a deep imbalance in the body that the person’s main concern may not be transformed in the way that they hope. In these individuals, although their illness may not be cured, their quality of life will almost certainly improve and many symptoms will be managed with acupuncture included in their care.

Because acupuncture works with such a variety of individuals with drastically differently manifesting symptoms, it is challenging to specifically say what changes you will see after beginning your course of treatments. Following are a list of benefits I have found to show up in almost everyone I treat, regardless of primary concern:

Improved and more stable mood

Stress reduction and the body’s ability to handle difficult situations 

Better and more sustainable energy throughout the day 
Deeper and more quality sleep 

Appetite regulation - more or less depending on what the individual needs 

Overall increased feeling of well being 

Decrease in pain and inflammation in the body 

There are many lists out that there have been approved by the FDA detailing specific ailments that “acupuncture treats” and they can be helpful, but looking at the benefits of acupuncture in that way minimizes the vast comprehensive approach that it actually has on the body. 

It is a much more holistic medicine that can positively affect many individuals.

For any questions involving acupuncture, or to set up a free consult or appointment please contact Holly at hpelletier@nesca-newton.com.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Anxious Going Back to School?

Learn strategies to help you cope with stress and the challenges of returning back to school by joining NESCA’s new groups, combining yoga, mindfulness, and CBT in a fun, social environment.

Now accepting participants for our new one-week end-of-the-summer group program focusing on strategies for stress-free transitioning back to school.

Help your child on a path for a successful transition and a successful school year!

Groups are co-led by clinical psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Lops and therapeutic yoga counselor Ann-Noelle McCowan, MS, RYT.

These week-long sessions are for any child or teen who struggles with anxiety, depression, anger, or low frustration tolerance. Through a combination of psycho-education, yoga, mindfulness, and group work, using cognitive behavioral (CBT) and acceptance and commitment based therapies (ACT), participants will learn to use positive coping skills to reduce stress and anxiety.

Our group will help students to increase self-esteem and feelings of empowerment within a fun, active, and supportive social environment.

Group sign-ups just opened. 

Week of July 31, 2017: High School Students
Week of August 7, 2017: Middle School Students
From 9am to 1pm Monday-Friday

Please bring lunch and wear comfortable clothing. All other materials for the group will be provided.

Please contact Elizabeth Lops, Ph.D. at elops@nesca-newton.com or 617-658-9825 for more information and to sign up for this unique opportunity!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Parent Training Programs 101

Article by: Ryan Ruth Conway, PsyD

April 8th 2017

“Why won’t he listen to me?” 

“Can’t she just sit still?” 

“I don’t know what else to do!” 

These are common statements from parents; particularly parents who are struggling to manage their child’s behavior, have tried various techniques with minimal success, and feel hopeless about the prospect of any solutions.

Disruptive behavior in children are estimated to affect 16% of the general population, and are the most common reason for referral to mental health services in the early years. Examples of such behaviors include argumentativeness, hostility, refusing to comply with adult requests, and temper outbursts, in addition to more severe conduct problems such as destructive behaviors or physical aggression. These behavior problems frequently co-occur with learning disabilities and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), characterized by inattention, poor impulse control, and trouble with self-regulation. When left untreated, challenging behaviors in young children tend to remain stable, persist into adolescence, and increase the risk for delinquent behaviors later in life (e.g., substance use, risk taking, legal troubles). 

Thus, early intervention is essential in targeting challenging behaviors. 

Over time various parenting programs have been formally tested through research trials, and behavioral parent training has garnered the most empirical support in addressing youth conduct problems. Recent research has also demonstrated that children with behavioral and attention challenges, particularly those who have ADHD, show quicker symptom improvement when behavioral approaches are attempted prior to medication (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/18/health/early-behavior-therapy-found-to-aid-children-with-adhd.html?_r=1).  Behavior therapy has also been shown to be more cost effective than medication over time.

Parent training (or guidance) programs that involve the participation of both parents and children have been shown to be the most effective in fostering a positive parent-child relationship and helping to increase positive behaviors, while decreasing negative or disruptive behaviors. 

.  Parents are taught skills to increase their confidence in setting limits and equip them with techniques for managing their child’s behavior. Skills are then practiced through role-plays and live coaching in order to master and generalize what has been learned. Simultaneously, children learn strategies to help them manage their own behavior, cope with negative emotions, and meet parent expectations.

NESCA’s new parenting groups for children ages 4-6 and 7-10 are informed by one of these evidence-based behavioral treatments, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT; www.pcit.org), and have been tailored for a small group format. You can find out more about our groups here: http://nesca-newton.com/Therapeutic.html.

NESCA is currently enrolling participants for both groups.  If you have any questions about our parent-child groups or are interested in joining, please contact Dr. Ryan Ruth Conway (rconway@nesca-newton.com; 617-658-9831) for the 4-6 year old group or  Dr. Elizabeth Lops (elops@nesca-newton.com; 617-658-9825) for the 7-10 year old group. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

John Pratt Memorial Lecture

You’re invited to attend the John Pratt Memorial Lecture at Ivy Street School!
This is an image of the invitation 
Photo of  Michelle Garcia Winner
Introduction by Michelle Garcia Winner Founder & CEO SocialThinking

Photo of movie cover of Life, Animated
Presentation by Ron Suskinti Pulitzer-winning journalist and best-selling author of Life, Animated

Thursday, May 11, 2017 

6:00 pm for Registration and Opening Reception 
7:00 pm for Program

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research 
9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142

More information and complimentary registration is available online at ivystreetschool.org/pratt