Educational Programs

Our programs are open to all members of the community, and provide an opportunity to meet other parents and caregivers. If you have comments or suggestions for future events, please contact

Alternatives to Needham High School:

Parents of Kids at Minuteman High School and Norfolk County Agricultural School Describe Their Experiences

Monday, December 12, 7 pm

On Zoom

From Needham parents with kids at Minuteman Tech and Norfolk Aggie, you'll learn the factors that led their kids to seek these in-district alternatives to Needham High School, the preconceived notions their experiences dispelled, and generally how they are faring and planning for the future. Bring candid questions and concerns to this uncensored and not recorded discussion. Special guest appearance by a Minuteman student.

Zoom • Meeting ID: 617 696 9653 • Passcode: 383531


Basic Rights: Evaluation and Eligibility

with Lynne Hanley, Federation for Children with Special Needs

Thursday, January 26, 7 pm

Attendance options below

This presentation covers the referral and evaluation processes that determine whether a student is eligible for specialized support via an IEP or 504 as described in the Disabilities Education Act and related Massachusetts laws. You will learn about the differences between an IEP and 504 as well as about team meetings, related documents, and accountability measures.

While the presenter will be remote for both, your attendance options are:

Pre-register via the FCSN website to receive the zoom link to attend privately, or

• Skip the registration process and join other Needham parents in the Broadmeadow Media Center to watch the presentation together and do some networking.


Understanding Psychiatric Medication for Kids

Monday, February 27, 7:30 pm

On Zoom

Children with anxiety, hyperactivity, aggression, and sleep difficulties, particularly those who also have autism, can benefit from psychiatric medications as long as the prescribing doctor understands the specific behaviors they are treating and, through careful monitoring, assesses the side effects. Dr. Todd Levine will discuss how he engages in this process to help families be informed consumers as they seek the best care possible for their loved ones.

Zoom • Meeting ID: 617 696 9653 • Passcode: 383531


Educating and Parenting a Trauma-Sensitive Child

Wednesday, March 22, 6:30 pm

On Zoom

Many kids struggle with communication and learning when they have invisible and often inconsistent social and emotional deficits formed by traumatic experiences. From Jennie Dunkley's presentation, you'll begin to see how to channel a child's unpredictable behavior into a meaningful opportunity for growth and learn how to advocate for an IEP that serves your whole child with non-stigmatizing, systemic practices that can be integrated at home as well as at school. You'll leave knowing how to elicit, hear, and amplify the most important voice of all -- the child's. This presentation welcomes an audience of parents, educators, and high school and older-aged students.

Zoom • Meeting ID: 617 696 9653 • Passcode: 383531


Picky Eating and the Feeding Relationship: How Parents Can Help Without Harming

Tuesday, April 11, 7 pm

Broadmeadow Media Center

Many parents experience daily frustration, stress, and concern over their child's eating habits. We wish we could offer meals in a way that takes less energy, decreases power struggles, and increases confidence that our kids are getting the right nutrition. You will come away with a long term approach that will help provide comfort through moments that are difficult, notice when kids are making progress with picky eating, and promote more variety without adding stress or pressure.

Alison Kaufman, MS, RDN, LDN is a Newman parent, and has been a registered dietitian for over 18 years, specializing in picky eating, family feeding, and eating disorders. She works with parents to help set up a supportive environment for parents and kids to be successful with meals, and with clients to heal their relationship with food and their bodies. Her private practice is located in Wellesley, MA.


Past programs:


October 6, 2022

Please join us for our annual overview of what Needham has to offer students with all types of needs at all of our schools, from preschool through age 22. This is an opportunity to meet all of the Special Education Directors and Building Coordinators, gain a general understanding of special education in Needham, and hear about what will be new this year.



November 21 , 2022

It's the job of the brain to make sense of what we hear, what we see, and how our body moves through space, by interpreting the sounds, sights, and other information that our senses send to it. A Sensory Integration Disorder occurs in people whose brains are not able to process sensory information in a typical way. From Audiologist Kaitie Ryan, Behavioral Optometrist, Michael Smookler, and Occupational Therapist Abby Yelensky, you will learn how Sensory Integration Disorders are diagnosed, treated, and often misunderstood.

Kaitlin Ryan, Doctor of Audiology, has been involved with diagnosing and developing plans of care for individuals with auditory processing disorders for nearly 4 years.

Dr. Michael Smookler, OD., is a General and Behavioral Optometrist who works with children (and adults), many of whom have undetected vision problems such as tracking, focusing, and eye teaming, which affect learning, reading and school success. He also works with patients who have had concussions and head injuries.

Abigael Yelensky, MS, OTR/L is a pediatric occupational therapist in private practice focusing on neurorehabilitation, traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, and sensory integration difficulties. Abby is the owner of New England PossibilOTs, LLC.


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