Hamilton College and the New England Center for Children jointly sponsor a semester-long program at the Southborough, Mass., facility, in which Hamilton students interested in applied psychology and education can gain practical experience in special education and its applications, working intensively with children diagnosed with autism and other developmental disorders.
The program includes both didactic course work and supervised practicum experience. Students return to Hamilton with a full semester's course credit: two practicum credits and two credits for courses at Western New England University or Simmons College in topics such as Applied Behavior Analysis, Programmed Learning, and the Biological Bases of Mental Retardation.
The New England Center for Children is an award-winning program serving about 200 students from 18 months through young adulthood, who have been diagnosed with autism or other developmental disorders. NECC provides a variety of services, ranging from individualized instruction focusing on social and basic skills to traditional elementary and secondary school classes. Instructional techniques are firmly based on empirical research on conditioning and learning.
Instructors are carefully supervised as they learn to collect data to describe each student's behavior so that progress can be documented and analyzed, and learn to apply the principles of operant conditioning in this newly-renovated, state-of-the-art instructional setting.
Not only a school for children with autism, NECC is also an internationally recognized center for professional training in psychology and special education. It is a primary site for the graduate students in Applied Behavior Analysis students from Western New England College's Masters and Doctoral programs. Simmons College students in the graduate program in Intensive Special Needs also receive coursework and supervised teaching experience at NECC. All courses are offered by the psychologists at the Center, all of whom have extensive background in applied behavior analysis.
Finally, NECC supports many ongoing research projects focused on the education of children with autism. The director of research has a joint appointment with the Shriver Mental Retardation Research Center, and all of the PhD psychologists have active research programs.
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"I grew a lot more confident during my internship at NECC....I think the expectations were higher in terms of my ability to work with others both with the students and on individual tasks."
"After taking a 2nd year graduate course at NECC I found my psychology labs at Hamilton to be much easier while at the same time more enjoyable. I found myself less inhibited when it came to speaking in class as I had just spent a semester discussing my ideas with graduate students...."
Prior participants speak for themselves! More ...
Fall or spring semester, junior year. Contact Tara McKee, Psychology, 315-859-4216.
Part time or full time volunteer (unpaid) positions can be arranged. See the FAQ.
Hamilton offers competitive financial support for unpaid summer internships. Additional information about funding may be found on the Career Center site. Contact Shannon Shannon, Career Center, 315-859-4375
Each year, several Hamilton graduates are hired by the New England Center for Children, for entry-level teacher positions. On-campus interviews are scheduled in the first weeks of the spring semester. Contact Abby Taylor, Career Center, 315-859-4386.
Graduates who are employed by NECC may profit from its professional development, which fosters the optimum growth of each employee. Specific program affiliations (for which employees may earn partial tuition reimbursement) include:
Contact Ellen Graham, NECC