Not Just Child’s Play takes on parents’ concerns about aggression and violence

Community education series focusing on youth with special needs begins Nov. 14

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

November 08, 2013
   Candi Hands
  The outstretched hands of the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopment Initiative logo illustrate its mission to team together to help kids and families.

UMass Medical School is working with a number of community organizations to present a series of programs on youth violence, aggression and bullying, especially for those parenting children with special needs.


The first session, “When to be Concerned with Childhood Aggression and What to do About It,” will take place at the Shrewsbury Public Library on Thursday, Nov. 14, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Presenters Jean Frazier, MD, and Barbara Tylenda, PhD, will clarify how children and adolescents with special needs may or may not be prone to violence any more than typically developing children. Dr. Frazier is the Robert M. and Shirley S. Siff Chair in Autism, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics and vice chair of child and adolescent psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at UMMS. Dr. Tylenda is clinical associate professor of psychiatry & human behavior at Brown University’s Alpert School of Medicine.

A panel discussion with audience participation will follow the presentations. Panelists will include representatives from the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, as well as a parent of a young man diagnosed with autism.

Community collaborators for the “Not Just Child’s Play” series include child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists and child trauma specialists from UMMS and UMass Memorial Health Care; the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition; Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts; Wayside Youth & Family Parent Resource Network; Kennedy-Donovan Center; Worcester Public Schools; National Alliance on Mental Illness Massachusetts; and the Massachusetts Parent-Professional Advocacy League.

“From parents in central Massachusetts first voicing the need, to the response from community partners, all have invested time and resources to make the series truly a community event,” said Celia Brown, community liaison for the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopment Initiative at UMMS.

The program is free and open to the public. Parents of children with special needs in central Massachusetts and the professionals who serve them are especially encouraged to attend. RSVPs to the Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts are requested.

Related link on UMassMedNow:
As autism rate soars, early intervention urged: UMMS child psychiatrist says increase seen locally