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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Letter from NESCA's New Director of Transition Services Kelley Challen, Ed.M.

Dear NESCA Friends and Families,

I am thrilled to have joined the outstanding team of professionals at NESCA, and to be working now as the Director of Transition Services!

To give you a sense of my background, I bring nearly a decade of experience facilitating social, career, and life skills programming for individuals with learning differences to the position.  Although my graduate degrees are in school counseling and I completed my practicum work at Boston Latin School, I found my niche working in program design and development.

Before coming to NESCA, I spent several years working at MGH Aspire (formerly YouthCare) as Director of Teen and Young Adult Services where I founded a variety of career skill and life skill development programs.  I also worked at the Northeast Arc as the Program Director for Spotlight, a drama-based social pragmatics program, serving youth with a wide range of diagnoses.

As part of my work at Spotlight, I collaborated with several school districts to design in-district social skill and transition programs.  I enjoyed my time at both agencies and my favorite moments included direct work with youth, parent support, and professional training and development.

Throughout my career, I have had the luxury of having open-minded and creative supervisors, and Dr. Helmus is no exception.  Although many aspects of NESCA’s transition services are well-established, I’m excited to enhance and expand our offerings. I aim to grow the services thoughtfully, to be responsive to family and provider feedback, and to meet the growing needs of the communities we serve.

NESCA will continue to offer person-centered planning, consultation and assessment services for schools and families and will also begin offering new services such as:

  • Professional development for schools and providers;
  • Program design and development for schools and providers;
  • Coordination services (e.g. helping to build and facilitate a team of providers to deliver services for an individualized transition plan or fifth year program); 
  • Increased family supports, resources, and referral information.

NESCA has been offering premiere transition services since 2009 and I’m delighted to be a part of the process.  I believe there is no age too early or too late to begin planning for independence and that the individual should always be at the center of the process.

Please feel free to contact me at kchallen@nesca-newton.com or (617) 658-9800 if you have any questions or suggestions about our transition services!


Kelley Challen, Ed.M., CAS

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