Five New Clinical Staff Appointments at NESCA -- Newton, MA Pediatric Neuropsychology Practice to Offer Expanded Services

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NESCA Director Dr. Ann Helmus has announced the appointment to her clinical staff of Teresa M. Kohlenberg, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician and child psychiatrist, Clinical Social Worker and Therapist Alison MacNeil, MSW, LISCW and Sandra Storer, MSW, a specialist in providing transitional services to adolescents with Asperger's Syndrome entering adulthood. Also joining NESCA will be Kelly Lowery, M.S. as a pre-doctoral intern and Alison Farquhar, a life coach who will facilitate peer-to-peer discussion and support groups for parents of children with special needs. According to Dr. Helmus, "These sensitive, caring people--parents all--bring to us very special complementary skill sets and significant clinical experience, which will enable us to offer an expanded range of services on-site, particularly to children with Autism Spectrum diagnoses, and their families."

Teresa Kohlenberg, M.D., Alison MacNeil, LISCW, Sandra Storer, MSW, Kelly Lowery, M.S. and Parent Coach Alison Farquhar have joined NESCA (Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents), a Newton, MA pediatric neuropsychology group practice established in 2007 by Dr. Ann Helmus. Their skills and experience will enable NESCA to offer an expanded array of services and supports to all of the center's clients, aged pre-school through adolescence, but particularly to children with Autism Spectrum diagnoses and their families. NESCA is committed to becoming a significant resource for this growing and underserved population.

Teresa M. Kohlenberg, M.D.

Teresa M. Kohlenberg, M.D. joins NESCA to provide consultation to families on psychiatric questions. Board-Certified in Pediatrics, Dr. Kohlenberg also completed fellowship training in Developmental/Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts and in Child Psychiatry at Children's Hospital Boston. She will provide consulting services to families whose children have been evaluated at NESCA, including consultation on issues related to psychiatric medication.

When a trial of medication appears likely to benefit a child, Dr. Kohlenberg will collaborate with the pediatrician to prescribe and evaluate medication, developing an effective regimen that the child's pediatrician can then continue.

Dr. Kohlenberg will also be available to help families assess the potential role of complementary and alternative biomedical approaches for children with learning, attentional and emotional disorders, areas in which she has had significant personal experience.

She is the mother of one child by birth and another by international trans-racial adoption.

Alison MacNeil, MSW, LICSW

Alison MacNeil, MSW, LICSW, is a social worker and therapist with more than 15 years of clinical experience. Ms. MacNeil holds an undergraduate degree from Trinity College and a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from the Smith College School for Social Work. Her professional background includes positions at a Community Mental Health Center in southeastern Massachusetts, with Family Services of Greater Boston and in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Healthcare Associates, an outpatient primary care practice. In each of these settings, she provided individual, group, couples and family therapy. For five years, Ms. MacNeil held an appointment as an adjunct faculty member of the Boston College School for Social Work, and for ten years, she has been in private practice in Cambridge. At NESCA, she will work primarily with families whose children have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

A Cambridge resident, Ms. MacNeil is the mother of two children, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. She speaks from personal experience when she says, "The diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder leaves parents with a wide array of feelings. I want to provide in therapy a safe place for them to process those feelings, as individuals or in couples or group settings."

She adds, "I can also support families in implementing biomedical, nutritional and other complementary treatment strategies if they are interested, and these protocols appear to our treatment team to be appropriate. I believe that the combination of strong behavioral and biomedical intervention holds tremendous hope for our children."

Sandra Storer, MSW

Social Worker and LEND Fellow Sandy Storer, MSW has joined NESCA to provide transitional services primarily to adolescents with Asperger's Syndrome coping with the challenges of adulthood, as they move into post-secondary education and eventually, the workplace.

Ms. Storer is the author of a groundbreaking paper entitled, "Supported Transition: A Bridge to Adulthood for Students with Asperger's Syndrome", written as the capstone project of her LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) Fellowship at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In it, she advances a new view of this often difficult transition as an ongoing process rather than a singular event, and suggests that it be guided by a person-centered, "Individualized Bridge Plan (IDB)" developed and facilitated by a transition coordinator managing all required services.

A Lincoln, MA resident, Ms. Storer holds degrees from Northwestern and Boston Universities, and received additional, intensive training in family systems therapy and family therapy at The Family Institute of Cambridge. Currently practicing privately as a counselor, coach and consultant for middle and high-school students with Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, Non-Verbal Learning Disability and related disorders, Sandy has extensive experience in public and private school settings, including 12 years as school social worker at Clarke Middle School in Lexington, MA, where she specialized in helping students with autism spectrum and related disorders. She also taught family therapy and treated individual clients at MetroWest Mental Health Association, in Framingham, MA.

Kelly Lowery, M.S.

Kelly Lowery, M.S. trained at Johns Hopkins University's prestigious Kennedy Kreiger Institute, where she conducted neuropsychological and psycho-diagnostic assessments of children and adolescents in the Institute's Learning Disabilities Research Center, and provided mental health services through their Department of Behavioral Psychology.

Highly experienced in test administration and scoring, Ms. Lowery is currently a section leader supervising first-year students at Tufts School of Medicine, and has also published numerous articles in professional journals. She has a particular interest in community mental health issues. A Belmont resident, she is the mother of three school-age children.

Parent Coach Alison Farquhar

Trained at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology as an executive coach, Alison Farquhar has also found herself irresistibly drawn to working with parents of 'quirky' kids, which she describes as her "personal passion." Mother of three school-age children, two of whom have special needs, Ms. Farquhar says, "I first needed to educate myself about their conditions in order to understand, then find the right support resources and finally, to advocate effectively on their behalves."

She recalls, "I was struck throughout that there was no one person I could turn to for answers or support. Even our excellent pediatrician knew remarkably little about their conditions, and the 'experts' dealt only with their particular area of expertise. I also realized that most parents in similar situations felt isolated and, without a peer group to help, were constantly reinventing the same wheel."

Since that realization, Ms. Farquhar has become certified to teach the CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) Parent-to-Parent program, and as a trainer for the Active Parenting series of workshops, which she successfully introduced into the Weston, MA public schools. She has also been trained in Ross Greene's and Stuart Ablon's Collaborative Problem Solving approach, and has attended more than fifty workshops on learning disabilities, Learning and the Brain, Tourette's Syndrome, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, risky and other challenging behaviors, executive functioning (on which she has written extensively and published online), and both general and special education.

At NESCA, Ms. Farquhar will facilitate small (5-10 people), peer-to-peer discussion and support groups for parents of children with special needs, on topics ranging from practical to emotional. She will also offer individual parent coaching services. An accomplished speaker, Alison will be available to address SEPAC and other groups.

About Dr. Ann Helmus

NESCA Director Dr. Helmus is a clinical neuropsychologist who co-founded the Children's Evaluation Center (CEC) in Newton, MA and served as co-director there for almost ten years. She received her undergraduate degree in Neural Science from Brown University and earned her doctorate at Boston University School of Medicine.

Her postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology was completed at Children's Hospital in Boston, where she remained on staff for seven years. Concurrently, she served as neuropsychologist to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Dr. Helmus specializes in the evaluation of children with learning and attentional disorders, as well as primary neurological disorders. In addition to assessing children, she also provides consultation and training to both public and private school systems. She frequently makes presentations to groups of parents, particularly on the topics of non-verbal learning disability and executive functioning.

She is the mother of two school-age children.

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, or email Administrative Manager Sandra Oliveira at soliveira(AT)nesca-newton.com.

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