The New England Center for Children Raises Record $1.1 Million at 2021 Children of Promise Gala  | #BanABA #NotAnAutisticAlly

The New England Center for Children #NotAnAutisticAlly #BanABA

[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]

The New England Center for Children Raises Record $1.1 Million at 2021 Children of Promise Gala

NECC Honors Gov. Charlie Baker and Sec. Marylou Sudders for Support During Pandemic

Southborough, MA, November 19, 2021 –(– The New England Center for Children® (NECC®), a global leader in education and research for children with autism, announced today that its 2021 Children of Promise Gala achieved unprecedented fundraising results, raising more than $1.1 million dollars.

The event, held on November 12 at Boston’s InterContinental Hotel, was NECC’s first in-person fundraising event in two years due to the pandemic. More than 300 business leaders, philanthropists, and NECC families and friends gathered to enjoy an evening of heartwarming stories of hope and inspiration, a lively auction hosted by NESN’s Jenny Johnson, and a special recognition of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders for their tremendous support of Massachusetts approved, private, special education schools during the pandemic.

“From the first day a public health emergency was declared, Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders provided NECC and all the other Chapter 766 schools with access to testing, protective equipment, and additional funds to fight the virus,” shared Vinnie Strully, Jr., founder, and CEO of NECC. “Over the last 46 years, there has never been an administration more supportive of children with autism and other special needs than the Baker administration.”

“Marylou and I had a chance to visit NECC and the thing I took away from it was the sense of being present that I saw among the teachers and the kids,” said Gov. Baker. “Despite all the rules and all the guidelines and all the requirements put in place to keep people safe, they were still present and that’s really where progress and possibility come from. When you go through what we just went through and you work in an environment where a physical presence and close contact is how you succeed, to get through it the way this organization has, to basically say to COVID, ‘yeah, you’re for real, but we’re playing through it, because that’s what we have to do on behalf of the people we take care of and look after,’ I can’t tell you how special that is.”

Gov. Baker expressed his and Sec. Sudders’ appreciation for being recognized, “but mostly tonight what I want to say is how much we appreciate who you are, what you’ve done, and what you’ve been through,” he shared.

Throughout the night, the audience was reminded of the selfless dedication of the staff and teachers who provided care for their students during the pandemic. They continue to do so during an unprecedented national labor shortage, which is being felt by special education programs across the country, especially residential programs like those at NECC. Elizabeth Rubin, a social worker and recruiter based in New York City whose 11-year-old son is a current student in NECC’s residential program, shared her admiration for the teachers caring for her son.

“NECC’s teachers are true heroes,” said Rubin. “The nationwide staffing shortages are making everything harder, especially residential programs for special needs. I know that the teachers at NECC are struggling but they never show it.”

For more than two decades, NECC has been working on a pipeline for direct-care staff through its internship program, providing a steady stream of smart, hard-working, college students with a passion for special education and a desire to grow in the field. A large portion of the funds raised from the Gala will be invested in the Center’s internship program, in which NECC will train and inspire college students as a solution to the staffing shortage.

Nicole Gardenier started her career at NECC as an intern 25 years ago and has held numerous positions leading up to her current role as executive director of NECC’s Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia (ACE®) Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Software System. “That summer internship at NECC was the springboard to my career,” she said, adding that she was afforded opportunities to earn her master’s degree, BCBA certification and licensure, start her doctoral work, engage in research, and expand her experience beyond behavior analysis as an administrator. “NECC’s internship program can help improve our staffing while also introducing a new generation of professionals to the field of behavior analysis, to NECC as a place to work and learn, and most importantly, to our wonderful students and their families.”

“Raising more than $1.1 million at our annual Gala is truly a tremendous accomplishment and a blessing for our hard-working teachers and the children we serve,” said Strully. “We are so grateful for the support of our donors, families, and friends who support NECC not just at the Gala, but throughout the year as we endeavor to strengthen the Center’s world-class education, research, and teacher training to impact the lives of children with autism.”

About The New England Center for Children

The New England Center for Children® (NECC®) is an award-winning autism education center and research institute. Committed to creating a world where autism is not a barrier to happiness, growth, and independence, our community of teachers, researchers, and clinicians provide comprehensive services including day and residential programs, partner classrooms in public school systems, consulting services, and the ACE® ABA Software System (

NECC is committed to creating an equitable workplace for our diverse team and providing industry-leading staff professional development opportunities, specifically with our on-campus graduate degree partnership programs. The result is a growing pool of autism educators and researchers that impact the lives of children with autism both at NECC and around the world. The New England Center for Children is based in Southborough, MA, and operates a center in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Learn more at

ContactThe New England Center for Children
Kim Ruscitte
(508) 481-1015 x3288

More With New England Center for Children (NECC)


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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