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Jennifer Blanchette Meghan Cave Brittney Gracia

For more than 17 years, Connecticut Families for Effective Autism Treatment (CT FEAT) has worked to increase the availability of high quality autism treatment. This commitment is exemplified in the organization’s unique scholarship program supporting professionals seeking specialized training in applied behavior analysis (ABA).

CT FEAT’s Nancy Leahy Shea Memorial Scholarship for Professional Development has awarded more than $53,000 in scholarship money to 27 Connecticut educators, including special education teachers, behavioral therapists, and speech pathologists. For the fall 2014 semester, more than $10,000 was awarded to 11 individuals.

Scholarships typically amount to $1,000 per semester. Recipients may apply for multiple semesters and most, such as three-time scholarship winner Meghan Cave, have done so.

Like many CT FEAT Scholars, Cave emphasized the importance of CT FEAT’s ongoing support in helping her to achieve her professional goals, stating “I am so excited to be able to continue my studies and truly grateful to your organization for everything you have done for me.”

The scholarship applications are approved by CT FEAT’s Board of Directors, all of whom have family members on the autism spectrum. Commenting on the most recent group of scholarship recipients, board member Rosie Shea said “We are so fortunate to be able to help those who want to help our kids! It amazes me on a daily basis how extraordinary the people are who work with my son and truly love him.”

The fall 2014 winners are:

1) Jennifer Blanchette, a behavior analyst intern at Meliora Academy in Meriden, from Bristol, CT.

2)Amy Bouchard, an associate behavior analyst at River Street School Coltsville, from Harwinton, CT.

3) Meghan Cave, a special education teacher in the Fairfield public school system, from Trumbull, CT.

4) Krysta Chambers, a special education teacher in the Hartford public school system, from Bloomfield, CT.

5) Jenna Dumark, a special education teacher in the Orange public school system, from North Branford, CT.

6) Christine Geary, a behavioral therapist in the Waterbury public school system, from Watertown, CT.

7) Brittney Gracia, a senior instructional assistant at the Connecticut Center for Child Development (CCCD), from Cheshire, CT.

8) Kendra Hammond, a behavioral therapist at Creative Interventions in Granby, from Collinsville, CT.

9) Katelyn Paige, a special education teacher in the New Canaan public school system, from Norwalk, CT.

10) Elizabeth Winebrenner, a special education teacher at Cooperative Educational Services (CES) in Trumbull, from Ansonia, CT.

11) Stephanie Winter, a behavioral therapist at Creative Interventions in Granby, from Ashford, CT.

Recipients are enrolled in a variety of ABA graduate programs, including Elms and Endicott Colleges in Massachusetts, Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), Saint Joseph’s University, Western Connecticut State University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and Bay Path University.

CT FEAT is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children on the autism spectrum achieve their potential. Founded 17 years ago, and led by parent volunteers, CT FEAT focuses on educating families and improving the quality and availability of effective treatment. For information on how to apply for the scholarship, see our Professional Scholarship page.

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