NESCA Offers Innovative Social Skills Summer Programs

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NESCA, a pediatric neuropsychology practice in Newton, MA, announces two innovative new summer programs for social skills development and stress management, supervised by Hannah Gould, M.Ed., for children and teens with social-cognitive deficits such as Asperger's Syndrome.

Founder and Director Dr. Ann Helmus said today that NESCA (Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents) will offer summer programs appropriate for children and teens with social-cognitive deficits such as Asperger's Syndrome, Non-Verbal Learning Disability and ADHD, or anyone who struggles to "get it" socially.

Camp Scenes:

"Camp Scenes" is an engaging--and fun!--week-long camp based on the proven Social Thinking from the Inside Out program, incorporating social thinking instruction, video modeling, yoga and movie-making. It is structured for children and teens able to use language as a tool for building skills, and who can follow a group agenda including discussion, play and movement activities. Three one-week sessions will be offered, at a cost of $750 per week.

Social Thinking: direct instruction in social thinking will be provided utilizing the highly-effective social thinking curriculum developed by Michelle Garcia-Winner. Children will work together in small groups to meet and master discrete social thinking goals.

Video Modeling: children with social-cognitive deficits benefit from direct feedback to help them understand the impact of their behavior on themselves and others. In addition to verbal feedback, video modeling will be used to allow children to watch themselves in action. Children will be videotaped in a variety of situations including unstructured play, group discussions, and yoga activities. Selected clips will be played back for children in order to highlight particular skills or target behaviors. Emphasis will be placed on helping children to honestly assess their own strengths as well as areas they need to work on, in a safe and supportive environment.

Yoga: traditionally, social skills programs have focused on teaching children to understand and respond to their outer environment. It is equally important for children to develop awareness of their inner environment. Inner environment includes current level of arousal, sensory needs, feelings, and personal agenda. Yoga provides the ideal tool for learning to access and regulate one's inner environment. Yoga-based techniques are used throughout the program to teach children to develop self awareness and self-regulation techniques, along with promoting a general sense of relaxation and self-acceptance.

Movie-making: campers will work together to create a mini-movie to be viewed at the end of the week. The movie making process provides a rich opportunity for group collaboration and social connection. Children will direct the movie making process from start to finish with support and guidance from the instructors. Through drama and role-playing, children will expand their understanding of body language, theory of mind, and pragmatic use of language.

About the instructors: Hannah Gould, M.Ed. and Elizabeth Goranson, M.Ed. are both certified special educators and certified yoga teachers with extensive experience both in and out of the classroom. Ms. Goranson has taught in a variety of inclusion settings and has successfully used video modeling as a tool for teaching social thinking skills to children. Ms. Gould has run social skills groups through Academy MetroWest, and she is currently providing yoga-based therapy and tutoring services to clients at NESCA. Ms. Gould and Ms. Goranson developed this program together based on their shared understanding and excitement about how yoga can enhance self awareness and contribute to social success.

Stress Management:

NESCA's stress management program, facilitated by Hannah Gould, M.Ed., recognizes that everyone experiences some degree of stress as a natural response to the demands of our daily lives. Children and, especially, teens are facing ever increasing demands to keep up with busy schedules and to be successful in their academic, social, and extracurricular lives.

These four-week stress management classes are appropriate for students who struggling with anxiety or frustration or for those simply interested in developing a better understanding of their stress and how to manage it. There will be three sessions, at a cost of $275.

Each four-week class will provide an introduction to yoga, mindfulness, breathing techniques, and meditation as tools for stress management. Classes will be targeted to meet the unique needs and interests of participants, who will gain an understanding of what their own personal stressors are, and how and when they experience that stress. Specific skills and strategies will be taught and practiced so that participants can apply them "in the moment" whenever stress arises.

For details about these programs, please call Hannah Gould at 617-658-9823, or email her at hgould(at) NESCA also encourages you to visit, for additional information about evaluation and treatment services, and special-needs tutoring.

About NESCA:
NESCA offers a full range of neuropsychological testing, diagnostic and treatment services, specializing in the evaluation and remediation of nonverbal and other learning disabilities, assessment of executive functioning and ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, special education issues, school placements and tutoring, as well as psycho-diagnostic projective testing, counseling, social skills development and yoga-based, mind-body integration therapy.

NESCA tests, evaluates and treats children - aged pre-school through adolescence - who are confronted by developmental, learning or emotional challenges. Although many of the children we evaluate would traditionally have been seen in a hospital setting, parents choose us because they appreciate our friendliness and accessibility, the much higher degree of personal care we provide, and our eagerness and ability to follow-through, long-term.


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Todd Helmus

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