NESCA Staff Engages in Public Policy Formulation and Expanded Community Outreach

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The professional staff of NESCA (Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents), a private pediatric neuropsychology practice in Newton, MA founded and directed by Dr. Ann Helmus, has become increasingly active in community outreach and education, with some clinicians also having been invited to participate in the formulation of state government policy.

NESCA Director Dr. Ann Helmus was recently asked by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to serve on a committee of professionals charged with updating what is known as a "technical assistance advisory" relating to the education of children with neurological impairments, as defined by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Similarly, Dr. Nancy Roosa has been selected to participate in the first-ever "Mayor's Summit on Autism", sponsored by Mayor Thomas Menino, the Boston Public Schools and the Boston Public Health Commission. The purpose of this all-day event, on April 3rd in Boston, is "to bring together individuals for an inclusive dialogue to discuss and frame recommendations on policy, advocacy and actions necessary to improve outcomes for all individuals with autism spectrum disorders within the City of Boston, and to shape the agenda for next steps."

Stakeholders involved will include researchers, policy analysts, practitioners, academicians, educators, funders, parents and community leaders.

Drs. Helmus and Stephanie Monaghan-Blout are ongoing contributors to the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, a collaborative effort between the Massachusetts Advocates for Children and the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, that involves a multi-disciplinary group of professionals working together to better define the educational needs of children who have been traumatized.

Finally, on March 19th, NESCA senior neuropsychologist Dr. Elizabeth Gatti will speak to parents at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, giving an overview of neuropsychological testing and its utility, and discussing when and for whom testing may be appropriate.

Dr. Helmus said that "NESCA views community outreach and education as integral and, indeed, essential parts of our drive to establish new, higher standards of care for children and their families coping with learning disabilities or other academic challenges, or developmental disabilities. We welcome inquiries from community groups including SpEd PACs and others seeking additional information or guest speakers. We are also available to work with school districts in the training of teachers and others involved in special education. Our goal is to ensure that the children we serve receive the best possible care both in the clinical setting and in their communities."

About NESCA

NESCA tests, evaluates and treats children - aged pre-school through adolescence - who are confronted by developmental, learning or emotional challenges. 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 projective testing, counseling, social skills development and yoga-based, mind-body integration therapy.

For additional information, please visit NESCA's website: http://www.nesca-newton.com.

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Todd Helmus

Sandra Oliveira, Administrative Manager
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