Chris Walsh Center

November/December 2021

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A center at Framingham State University dedicated to helping families and educators of children with unmet needs.

Upcoming Virtual Book Discussion:

It’s not too late to sign up for our book discussion on “Sincerely, Your Autistic Child: What People on the Autism Spectrum Wish Their Parents Knew About Growing Up, Acceptance, and Identity,” edited by Emily Paige Ballou, Sharon daVanport, and Morénike Giwa Onaiwu.

The discussion will take place over Zoom on Monday, Dec. 6 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 8 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. - choose the time that works best for you! The event will be held in collaboration with students from FSU’s Education Department.

Register for either time on Eventbrite.

Hear from discussion facilitator Dr. James Cressey and students from his course “Inclusive Practices for Students with Disabilities,” who will help lead the discussion, on what they thought of the book and its importance.

James Cressey, Education Department Chair

I chose this book for the discussion because in traditional special education preparation, there's a focus on research based interventions, teaching strategies, behavioral strategies for working with children with autism. However, there are a lot of controversies in the field about topics such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

There are different, important perspectives that we can get from hearing from people with autism - hearing the voices of autistic adults who went through the special education system. It also brings a really important focus on people of color, women, and non-binary people. Those are groups who are marginalized in multiple ways, and have not often been given a voice within the autism community or within special education.

This book is also important for families to read and discuss because the majority of people with autism are growing up with parents and caregivers who do not themselves have autism. So they also need to learn from the experiences of autistic adults concerning what it was like for them growing up in the family of neurotypical parents and maybe siblings.

It's also a great experience to challenge the Framingham State students to think about how they're going to engage with families as a teacher. For example, how might they have events like this in their schools in the future for the parents that they're working with?

Having the students lead the discussion is a valuable experience for them because many students have said working with families is a big focus for them. They want preparation around what kinds of questions they will get? What kinds of conflicts can arise between the school and the family? And how can they connect with those families? How can they support those families?

Celia Marchese, junior elementary education major

I love the book. I think it's a great book that gives you a lot of helpful information on things that you don't necessarily think about unless you're autistic, and things that you should know about them as a teacher.

The book is important for families because it gives them a real insight as to how people with autism feel and how they think. It really makes you think about everything you've been doing and kind of how it really makes people feel and just have ways to improve everything as you go forward.

My biggest takeaway is the importance of recognizing tools that aren’t necessarily helpful for people with autism. For example, goal setting - you have these goals and it really makes them feel bad about themselves because they can’t necessarily complete the goal.

Anna Szymanski, junior elementary education major

I absolutely love the book. I think it's really just an incredible book. It's really interesting to look at autism from this perspective because, as teachers, you can read all the scientific data and all the medical understandings of everything, but I think that really looking at it from a view of someone with autism and being able to understand who they are and how they feel is important.

I think the book is really going to benefit anyone that reads it because you really need to understand everyone is human. We all have emotions. We all have feelings. I think, sometimes, when people see or are with someone with autism, they kind of forget about that aspect of it. I think that by reading this book - it's really going to help people to understand that they have their same feelings and emotions, and it's really important to understand that and to work with them and to be there with them because that's the goal.

My biggest takeaway is to listen and understand. I think it's really important that you listen to what people with autism are saying they need and how they're communicating with you. And, really, just doing as much as you can to help understand them.

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Open House Nov. 6

On Nov. 6, The Chris Walsh Center attended the University's open house to greet parents and educators. Pictured is (Left) Chris Walsh Center Coordinator Therese Autumn-Roberts and FSU student Jardna Uddin at the open house table. Here, brochures were distributed promoting the Center and sharing employee testimonials. Check out the brochure below.
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Seeking Undergraduate Interns:

Learn more about how you can join our team for the spring 2022 semester! Please submit all applications to

We want to hear from you!

Click Here to Take Our Parent/Caregiver Survey

Click the blue box above to take our survey about how we can best serve the needs of parents and caregivers!

Have a suggestion?

The Chris Walsh Center has implemented a new social media plan. One of which is known as "Technology Tuesday," where staff will share helpful technology tools for various disabilities. Let us known if you have any suggestions or what tools have helped you!

Resource of the Month:

Massachusetts Advocates for Children

MAC’s Autism Center is a pioneering voice in autism advocacy. Launched in 2002, The Autism Center works with elected officials and partners to create laws and regulations to ensure that children and young adults with autism have access to the services and resources they need in order to reach their full potential. They provide a variety of services, including: parent and student resources, professional resources, and legislative advocacy. They provide many legal services outlined in a brochure.

Contact us:

About Us:

Mission: To provide information for families and educators about the continuum of educational support available to students with disabilities, students who are gifted, and students with unmet needs. The center will offer support, workshops and other programming for families, educators, student support professionals, administrators, and advocates in the MetroWest area. The center also will engage in scholarly research, educator preparation, and professional development.

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