Through a longstanding partnership, Hamilton students spend a semester at the New England Center for Children working intensively with children and adolescents who have autism spectrum disorders. The program provides Hamilton students who are interested in applied psychology with practical experience in disability education and its applications, alongside and supported by professionals.

The center in Southborough, Mass., is an award-winning program that serves over 200 students between the ages of 18 months and young adulthood. Hamilton's joint program with the center balances course work with supervised practicum experience. Students return to Hamilton with a full semester’s course credit: two practicum credits and two credits for courses they take with faculty from Western New England University in topics such as Applied Behavior Analysis, Programmed Learning, and Behavioral Interventions.

About the Center

The New England Center for Children 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.

Rosmery Rodriguez at her NECC internship. Photo: Nancy L. Ford

Center instructors are carefully supervised as they learn to collect data to describe each student’s behavior so that progress can be documented and analyzed. Instructors learn to apply the principles of operant conditioning in a state-of-the-art instructional setting.

Not only a school for children with autism spectrum disorders, the facility is also an internationally recognized center for professional training in psychology and disability education. It is a primary site for the graduate students in applied behavior analysis from Western New England University's master's and doctoral programs. Courses are offered by the center psychologists, all of whom have extensive background in applied behavior analysis.

Finally, the center supports many ongoing research projects focused on the education of children with autism spectrum disorders. The director of research has a joint appointment with the Shriver Mental Retardation Research Center, and all of the Ph.D. psychologists have active research programs.

To view more videos, check out the NECC YouTube page.

Applying psychology is very different from learning it in the classroom. I learned things from hands-on experience that I gained at NECC that I would not have had the chance to learn otherwise.

Past Student Participant


Tara McKee

Associate Professor of Psychology

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