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Upcoming Events:

Online Webinar: Supporting Your Child's Mental Health As They Transition to College

This event revolves around supporting your child's mental health as they transition to college.

College is an exciting time! However, it can also come with unique challenges that can affect students' mental wealth and overall wellbeing. This webinar will review what we know about who contemporary U.S. college students are, and the rates with which they are experiencing mental health difficulties in this post-pandemic era. It will also discuss what students can expect during their first semester of college and what can be done to support students academically, socially and psychologically. 

Sibling Support Webinar: Building Resiliency Among Siblings with Disabilities

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Sibling Support: Building Resiliency Among Siblings of Youth with Disabilities


Siblings of children with disabilities have unique needs and challenges. This presentation provides an overview of the sibling experience, as well as practical strategies that parents, caregivers and providers can utilize, to help increase sibling resiliency. There will be time for the presenting clinician to answer questions from the audience about how to best support siblings, including recommendations that are applicable to a wide range of families.

Past Events:

Let's Talk About it: Overcoming Roadblocks in Caregiver-Child Relationships

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As a caregiver, your role as coach in your child’s ever-changing world can be idyllic, as well as challenging. At this 75 minute webinar for caregivers, Jessica Ames will use her expertise as a child therapist, meditation and parent coach to teach you ways to enhance open dialogue with your child(ren). When a caregiver is able to create more openness and acceptance around the day to day challenges of child-rearing, as well as larger environmental and situational challenges, they positively impact the people around them and experience more joy. Jessica will discuss skills and strategies to help you connect in the moment with your child(ren). She will also present ways to increase your energy and personal satisfaction as a caregiver. This webinar will be an opportunity for you to enhance your relationships and connectedness. Jessica will also set aside time to answer caregiver's questions at the end of the presentation.


When: Monday, December 4th, 7:00 to 8:30

Who: Jessica Ames, LISCW

Where: Online Webinar hosted by the Chris Walsh Center

How to Advocate for Your Child: Online Workshop

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Join the Chris Walsh Center to for the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to advocate on behalf of your child from Leslie Leslie of The Federation for Children with Special Needs. This event is free and open to the public, however, registration is required.


Unfortunately, getting your child's needs met can be challenging. Thankfully, effective advocacy is a learned art. At this workshop you will learn soft skills, such as how to prioritize and collaborate, to best advocate for your child. The workshop will also address conflict and barriers to effective communication. With these skills you'll be better able to work with others to support your child. 


When: Monday, November 20th, 7:00 to 8:30

Who: Leslie Leslie of the Federation for Children with Special Needs

Where: Online Webinar hosted by the Chris Walsh Center

Coming soon...

Ongoing: Building Resiliency: A Group for Caregivers of Neurodivergent Children

Thursday October 19th - November 16th 7:00-8:15PM


The Chris Walsh Center is excited to announce our first caregiver support group for fall 2023: Building Resiliency: A Group for Caregivers of Neurodivergent Children. The support group is hosted by two mental health clinicians, Deborah McMakin, Ed.D., M.A., LICSW and Jessica Ames, a Licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW). 


Come join this 5-week support group, taking place online and starting October 19th at 7:00 PM, to engage in family resilience building activities and take time for yourself with caregivers on a similar journey. Caregivers will have the opportunity to learn from and support each other over the course of the 5 weeks we spend together, therefore we ask that you register for the first meeting and attend as many meetings as possible. 


Caring for a neurodivergent child is a journey with unexpected joys and challenges. While caregivers often enjoy their child's strengths, unique personalities and accomplishments, they may also face unique challenges, such as how and when to communicate their child’s learning and emotional needs to others, how to advocate for their child and teach them to advocate for themselves, and how to focus on their child’s unique abilities rather than labels or misconceptions.


Group topics include strengthening relationships (with your child and their supporters), increasing your child’s self confidence and self advocacy skills (helping them define their own goals and build their resiliency), as well as managing and reframing unwanted labels in your community. Skill building exercises, discussions, as well as time for mutual support and questions will be part of each session.

Dr. Liza Talusan presents:
The Identity-Conscious Educator: Building Habits and Skills for More Inclusive Schools

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 from 7-8:30 pm

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Based on Dr. Talusan’s recent book of the same title, this 90-minute workshop is focused on building knowledge, engaging in reflection, and moving to action. Identity very much informs our daily work, even if we have not built the habits and skills for seeing its impact. Building an identity-conscious practice means realizing that who we are informed and impacts how we act, interact, and how we see the world around us. To do this, we need tools to explore what our identities are, how they shape our views, and how we might work towards greater inclusion and equity.

Film Screening: Autism goes to College

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 from 7-8:45 pm

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Autism Goes to College is a film with honest insights for students, parents and educators offering an eye-opening look at what a growing number of neurodiverse students are bringing to campus. After the screening, we will have Executive Producer Jan Blacher, whose mother is an FSU alum, with us to take questions from the audience. Check out the film trailer.

Support for Caregivers:
Navigating the MA Special Education System  

Thursdays in March 2023

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What is a 504? What is an IEP? Does my child need a 504 or an IEP?  How does my child get evaluated for one? What does eligibility determination mean? What services are provided in an IEP? What is an advocate, and do I need one?  What is my role as the parent of a child on an IEP and how do I support my child that is on an IEP? What is my child’s role?  What do I do if I am told my child doesn’t need an IEP and I disagree?   If you have any of these or other questions about the special education process and system, you are not alone!  Supporting your child who is on or might need a 504 or an IEP can be very confusing and daunting.  We want to help you by providing information, answering your questions, and providing support so you can navigate the process for your child. 

Virtual Book Discussion:
The Identity-Conscious Educator:
Building Habits and Skills for More Inclusive Schools

Tuesday, March 7, 2023 from 7-8 pm

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This book, written by Dr. Liza Talusan, discusses powerful, practical strategies for creating an inclusive school community that honors the different identities expressed by students and peers. Join the Chris Walsh Center staff as we discuss the book and the strategies presented to make school community more inclusive.

Adoptive Families
and Schools

Thursday, October 20, 2022 from 6-7 pm

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A virtual presentation for families and educators of adoptive children. Our presenter, Dr. Abbie Goldberg, will provide an overview of what we know about adopted children’s educational experiences and mental health.

Dr. Goldberg is currently a professor at Clark University and has extensive experience in giving presentations on how to create more inclusive communities, health care settings, and schools for diverse families.

Virtual Book Discussion for Parents & Educators: 'Sincerely, Your Autistic Child' Edited by Emily Paige Ballou, Sharon davenport, and Morénike Giwa Onaiwu


'Sincerely, Your Autistic Child: What People on the Autism Spectrum Wish Their Parents Knew About Growing up, Acceptance and Identity' is a collection of pieces by writers from the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network. This book is a diverse collection of autistic voices that highlights how parents can avoid common mistakes and misconceptions, and make their child feel truly accepted, valued, and celebrated for who they are.

Wednesday, May 4th, 2022 from 7-8 pm

The Center’s two virtual book discussions of “Sincerely Your Autistic Child” were a success with a total of 29 participants. Due to all of the positive feedback following the discussions, we have decided to host a third discussion. More information on this next discussion will be shared in the coming weeks.

Transition Support Group

March 24 to April 28: Thursdays from 7-8 pm 

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Center Graduate Assistant, Ellen Rose, will be hosting a six-week parent/caregiver support group. The group will be both informative and supportive, with a resource handout given out each week prior to meeting. Then, the resource can be discussed and the second half of the meeting will be dedicated to support. The purpose of the group is to educate and support parents and caregivers whose children have turned 14 and are planning for the future. We get a lot of questions from parents about what to do after high school. This group is aimed at answering those questions.

Panel Presentation: Understanding the Transition Process

Wednesday, February 16th, 2021 from 7-8:30pm 

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The Chris Walsh Center has put together a free, virtual panel of experts to help you understand the transition planning process so you can get the most out of it. Our panel of presenters includes: Amanda Green (Secondary Transition Supervisor at Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education), Vikky Angelico (Disability Services Coordinator at Framingham State University), Lore Andrescavage (Executive Function/College/Transition Coach at Effective Effort Consulting), and Carla Cataldo (Parent). All of the presenters will share their experience and expertise on the transition planning process and be available for questions.

Panel Presentation (Transition)

Virtual Book Discussion for Parents & Educators: 'Sincerely, Your Autistic Child' Edited by Emily Paige Ballou, Sharon davenport, and Morénike Giwa Onaiwu

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'Sincerely, Your Autistic Child: What People on the Autism Spectrum Wish Their Parents Knew About Growing up, Acceptance and Identity' is a collection of pieces by writers from the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network. This book is a diverse collection of autistic voices that highlights how parents can avoid common mistakes and misconceptions, and make their child feel truly accepted, valued, and celebrated for who they are.

Monday, December 6th, 2021 from 3:30-4:30 pm

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021 from 7-8 pm

This event is open to the MetroWest community parents, family members and educators as well as FSU students, faculty and staff.  Discussion will be facilitated by Dr. James Cressey’s Education Department students from his course “Inclusive Practices for Students with Disabilities.”   

Black Boys Beyond Stereotypes: A Call to Action

Thursday, February 18th, 2021 from 1:30-2:30pm

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A panel discussion on the documentary Black Boys with two of the film's commentators -- Dr. Travis Bristol, Assistant Professor of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, and Mr. Conan Harris, former Executive Director of My Brother's Keeper Boston -- as well as FSU Math and Secondary Education student Dan Karanja '21.

Children with Epilepsy and Seizures in the Classroom

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020 from 12:30-1:30pm

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Presenter: Susan Linn, the CEO of Epilepsy Foundation New England

There are 17,000 young people living with epilepsy in MA, with seizure types that range from “staring spells” to convulsions. This presentation will cover epilepsy basics and help participants recognize seizures, understand the impact of epilepsy on students, and help participants respond to seizures with timely and appropriate care.

Supporting Twice-Exceptional Learners at School and at Home

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 from10:30-11:30am

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Presenter: Dr. MaryGrace Stewart, President of the Massachusetts Association for Gifted Education (MAGE)

Location: Online via Blackboard Collaborate

Moving from a reactive to a proactive approach in education: The importance of screening, early identification, and preventive strategies for dyslexia and other reading disabilities

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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020 from 12:30-1:30pm

Presenter: Dr. Nadine Gaab, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, & Harvard Graduate School of Education

Location: McCarthy Center Forum and Online via Blackboard Collaborate 

Preparing Teachers to Implement Culturally Responsive Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

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Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

Presenter: Dr. James Cressey, Associate Professor of Education, Framingham State University

Location: Alumni Room and Online via Blackboard Collaborate

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