NESCA’s consultation services are under the direction of Dot Lucci. Dot was the program director of MGH Aspire for many years. While at MGH Aspire she developed the 3S model (i.e. self -awareness, social competency and stress management). Dot has been an educational consultant for many years and she weaves the 3S model into her consultation practice. She brings decades of consultation experience and the ASD Needs Assessment ProtocolÓ (which she developed) to NESCA to lead its consultation and psychoeducational services.
NESCA’s consultants bring decades of clinical, business and educational expertise and experiences to inform our dynamic consultation practices. We have worked with public and private schools (PK – 22), colleges and universities, and agencies and businesses, to improve outcomes for neurodiverse students and employees. Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are recognized, valued, respected and considered part of any human variation. Individuals with diagnoses such as ADHD, ASD, Dyslexia, and others may identify as neurodiverse. NESCA’s Consultation Services have included services for these individuals as well as many other diagnostic categories. Through consultation we have designed more inclusive school and work environments that support neurodiversity as well as all students and employees.
Our consultative philosophical frame of reference and our tenets of engagement include:
- A holistic, humanistic, and developmentally grounded model of consultation.
- Academic instruction is as important as social-emotional learning.
- Well-being, feeling safe and being valued are central to learning.
- It takes a village and we are all in it together.
- Consultation is a “team sport” where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- No Shame, No Blame.
- Access, Membership and Participation, and Universal Design are critical elements
- The 3S model of Self-Awareness, Social Competency and Stress Management are essential ingredients for everyone.
All consultation packages include collaborative goal setting as well as planning the time frame and what the exact components of the consultation process will be. We work closely with schools and organizations to design, implement, and develop their unique package. Consultation packages can be designed to be very frequent (i.e. weekly visits) or much less (i.e. quarterly visits). Some packages are designed to “front-load” frequent and many visits and then fade off the visits as the school year moves on. Consultation may include designing effective interventions (i.e. visual supports, behavior plans, data collection forms etc.) specific programs of instruction, adjusting classroom environments, as well as conducting observations, workshops & trainings, and other services. One of our unique offerings includes the ASD Needs Assessment ProtocolÓ, a program review specifically designed to assess services for students with ASD. See below for brief descriptions of the types of consultation services we provide.
Individual Student Consultation
School systems and parents often seek consultation to shed light on a particular student who is struggling at school despite the best efforts of the team. With in-depth experience working in public and private schools, NESCA’s consultants collaborate with teachers and school staff to identify how and why commonplace school factors, along with a student’s underdeveloped skills, contribute to academic challenges or problematic behaviors. Our individual student consultation recognizes it involves more than the child. We employ a socio-ecological consultation approach recognizing that it takes a village to support a child. We strive to create a holding environment so all students may thrive. We work collaboratively with teachers to design and create environments where the student can access curriculum and social relationships, participate in class and is truly a member of the class experiencing respect, value and a sense of belonging. Individual Student Consultation includes a variety of services: meetings with teachers and parents, record review, observations, development of interventions, modeling/co-teaching and coaching, attendance at IEP meetings, in-the-moment troubleshooting and so much more. Each contract is individualized and designed in a collaborative fashion with specific goals identified.
Individual Consultation for NESCA Clients
Individual Client Consultation is offered to existing NESCA clients who are receiving neuropsychological, therapeutic and/or transition services. In addition to current services parents may request an observation of their son/daughter in a class, at school or in the community to shed light on a current situation or to answer a specific question. Parents may also request attendance at an IEP meeting to help gain an understanding of services or programming being offered, to gather information, and to offer recommendations.
School District Consultation
Public and private schools as well as special education collaboratives and private special education schools are asked to meet the diverse and complex needs of individuals with social, neurological, learning and behavioral challenges.
School Based or School District Consultation involves a team-based approach that focuses on academics, socialization, behavior and communication for individual students as well as program design. All consultation packages include collaborative goal setting, time frame and planning to fit the unique needs of the school, program or organization. Program design consultation is meant to build capacity across grades in a particular school or throughout a school district. Consultation can be by age/grade (i.e. preschool, elementary, middle school or high school programming) or systemic in nature (PK – high school/beyond). When systemic programing design is sought it is developed with the district’s mission, vision, and goals in mind and a strategic plan is developed. The strategic plan sets out specific goals, objectives and a time frame. District wide consultation programming involves establishing developmentally appropriate classes at each level that are consistent in approach, methodologies and design across the ages. NESCA’s consultants utilize a humanistic and developmentally appropriate model at each age level weaving in the 3S’s. NESCA offers program design that addresses learning challenges, executive functioning, behavioral and emotional challenges as well as specific disability program design (i.e. ASD). If desired we offer specific models of programming developed by us to improve the 3S’s. Think Smart Feel Good CurriculumÓ, a PK – Grade 2 and the Science of MeÓ tailored for elementary, middle school and high school are two such curriculums and program design models. The Science of MeÓ adapted for ASD students is described in a chapter in the book Technology Tools for Students with ASD.
If a district wants an objective look at their services for ASD students consultation may start with our ASD Needs Assessment Protocol©. This tool was specifically designed as a district wide program review for the education of students with an ASD profile. Read more about this below.
District-Wide Systems Analysis
As mentioned above the ASD Needs Assessment Protocol© is a district wide systemic analysis specifically designed to review programming and service delivery for ASD students (PK – 22). It is individually tailored to meet the districts needs and questions. It utilizes multiple ways to collect data and assess the district. The ASD Needs Assessment Protocol© utilizes both a qualitative and quantitative approach that includes observations, interviews and surveys. Surveys and interviews of teachers, staff, administrators, parents and students are included as are observations of varying programs, classes, grades, etc. Included in the surveys and interviews are questions related to aspects of education including internal systems, staffing, training, materials, and much more. A final report is prepared that includes analyzed data with charts and graphs, conclusion, and summary with strengths and areas of needs highlighted and concludes with recommendations. Recommendations have often included ways to adapt school districts internal systems, adjustment to transitional processes, parent involvement, staff training and structures. The ASD Needs Assessment Protocol© brings to the forefront areas of strengths and needs that helps district’s focus their attention and develop better educational programming for ASD students. Often times the recommendations include suggestions that maintain consistency and continuity of methodologies and models across ages/grades throughout the district as well as ways to consolidate staffing and monetary resources. This continuity of programming provides the best services possible for individuals with ASD as they mature and grow into teens/young adults.
College and University Consultation
Two-year, four-year, private and public colleges and universities are being asked to meet the diverse and complex needs of individuals with social, neurological, learning and behavioral challenges. NESCA’s consultants help meet the varying needs of these students by working closely with individual professors, disability centers, health centers, specific departments, and housing staff among others. Consultations to colleges and universities involve a highly individualized approach that centers on academics/executive functioning, socialization, mental and physical health, behavior and communication. Our consultation services may include presentations to departments such as housing regarding socialization and neurodiverse students living in the dorm, or to professors addressing executive functioning challenges and teaching the neurodiverse learner. Consultation to the disability center may include adjusting interventions and strategies to meet the unique needs of a neurodiverse student body. All consultation packages are unique, and include collaborative goal setting and planning of the consultation process.
Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are recognized, valued and respected and considered part of any human variation. Diagnoses such as: ADHD, ASD, Dyslexia, and others could be identified as neurodiversity. Businesses are made up of a diverse workforce and if that diverse workforce functions in a cohesive fashion then the company prospers. Most companies already have a neurodiverse workforce but some of these employees may be struggling or recruitment and interviewing practices didn’t allow a neurodiverse person to be hired. Through consultation, workshops and trainings NESCA can help create cultures of inclusion that address the diverse sensory, communication and learning needs of neurodiverse employees. We can help maximize outcomes and increase productivity by providing direct coaching and one-on-one modeling with supervisors. NESCA’s Business Consultation has worked with HR Departments, managers and supervisors, employees and others. Consultation is a collaborative process with individual packages including a variety of services such as: trainings, on-on-one coaching/modeling, adjusting of recruitment and interviewing practices and ongoing troubleshooting.
Community and Agency Consultation
After-school programs, youth organizations, youth sports programs, summer camps, vacation week programs at museums, religious organizations and others are asked to meet the diverse and complex needs of individuals with social, neurological, learning and behavioral challenges. NESCA’s consultants have met the needs of neurodiverse children in afterschool programs, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, Camp Fire Girls, summer camp programs and religious education programs. Each program’s consultation looks different depending upon the needs. Sometimes consultation to agencies includes an observation, a workshop and a follow-up/observation to assess implementation of knowledge and skills. Consultation is collaborative and individually tailored. It is designed to increase knowledge, skills and capacity of staff to create environments that support inclusion of neurodiverse children and teens.
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the faith you had in my “gut” feelings and the encouragement you gave me during some difficult and confusing times. I have always appreciated the encouragement and faith and still sometimes rely on it. Thank you for all you’ve done to make me a better IF [inclusion facilitator] and helping me make a difference in these awesome kids’ lives.Public School Inclusion Facilitator
I just read your article in NESCA's News and Notes [blog] and just wanted to thank you so much for the heartfelt read. As someone whose husband has devoted his vocation to serving kids and adults with disabilities, it was refreshing and inspiring to read knowing that others are dedicated to developing a more inclusive society.Executive Function Business Owner
[NESCA’s School Consultant] has outstanding skills in identifying a problem and brainstorming practical solutions. Her work with teachers and paraprofessionals from elementary to high school has been remarkable. She presents to audiences as a practitioner, in addition to being a theorist. She has a high level of comfort with children and adolescents, and frequently spends time working with students during her consultation. This demonstration teaching lends credibility to her consultation that is not often seen. Her input as an advisor to programs has been invaluable.Director of Special Education at a district in Massachusetts
[NESCA’s School Consultant]’s manner in communicating with staff is down-to-earth and direct. She is willing to provide direction and feedback to staff and, if necessary, demonstrate the methodology she is suggesting. Her sense of humor and her availability through e-mail—long after her official consultation is ended—are greatly appreciated by staff.Public Middle School Principal in Massachusetts