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Transition Assessments: When, Why, and How

  • January 27, 2022
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM


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Please join us for "Transition Assessments:  Why, When, and How" presented by NESCA Assistant Director and Director of Transition Services Kelley Challen, Ed.M, CAS

Thursday, January 27 at 7:00PM

“Transition Assessments: When, Why, and How”

Age-appropriate transition assessments are important for helping students identify their strengths, interests, and skills as well as the knowledge and services that will be needed to reach their goals for life after high school. Participants in this webinar will learn important basics about transition assessment—When? Why? What?—as well as how assessment results inform IEP transition planning.

Kelley Challen, Ed.M., CAS

Kelley Challen, Ed.M., CAS is Director of Transition Services at NESCA. She is also the Assistant Director of NESCA, working under Dr. Ann Helmus to support day-to-day operations of the practice.

Ms. Challen has been engaged in assessment, development, and direction of transition-focused programming for teenagers and young adults with a wide array of developmental and learning abilities since 2004. While Ms. Challen has special expertise in working with children with autism spectrum disorders and Asperger profiles, she enjoys working with students with a range of cognitive, learning, communication, social, emotional and/or behavioral needs.

Ms. Challen joined NESCA in 2013. She believes that the transition to post-secondary learning, living, and working is ongoing, and that there is no age too early or too late to begin the planning process. Moreover, any transition plan should be person-centered, individualized and include steps beyond the completion of secondary school.

Through her role at NESCA, Ms. Challen provides a wide array of services including individualized transition planning, consultation, pre-college coaching, assessment, training, and program development services. She is particularly skilled in providing transition assessment and consultation aimed at determining optimal timing for a student’s transition to college, technical training, adult learning, and/or employment as well as identifying and developing appropriate programs and services necessary for minimizing critical skill gaps. 

Ms. Challen enjoys the creative and collaborative problem-solving process necessary for successfully transitioning students with complex profiles toward independent adulthood. As such, she is regularly engaged in IEP Team Meetings, program consultations, and case management or student coaching as part of individualized post-12th grade programming. Moreover, she continually works to enhance and expand NESCA’s service offerings to meet the growing needs of the families, schools and communities we serve.

When appropriate, Ms. Challen has additionally provided expert witness testimony for families and school districts engaged in due process hearings or engaged in legal proceedings centering on transition assessment, services and/or programming—locally and nationally. 

More than a decade ago, Ms. Challen began her work with youth with special needs working as a counselor for children and adolescents at Camp Good Times, a former program of Milestones Day School. She spent several years at the MGH Aspire Program (formerly YouthCare) where she founded an array of social, life and career skill development programs for teens and young adults with Asperger’s Syndrome and related profiles. Also, she worked at the Northeast Arc as Program Director for the Spotlight Program, a drama-based social pragmatics program, serving youth with a wide range of diagnoses and collaborating with several school districts to design in-house social skill and transition programs.

Ms. Challen received her Master’s Degree and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Risk and Prevention Counseling from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. While training and obtaining certification as a school guidance counselor, she completed her practicum work at Boston Latin School focusing on competitive college counseling.

Ms. Challen is a member of B-SET Boston Workforce Development Task Force, Massachusetts Advocates for Children IEP Revision Subcommittee, Massachusetts Advocates for Children Transition Assessment Committee, Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) Program Committee, and she co-facilitates an AANE/NESCA Professional Roundtable on Improving Services for Teens and Young Adults in their Post-Secondary Years.

She is also co-author of the chapter, “Technologies to Support Interventions for Social-Emotional Intelligence, Self-Awareness, Personality Style, and Self-Regulation,” for the book Technology Tools for Students with Autism: Innovations that Enhance Independence and Learning.

Most importantly, she is the mother of two young children and two puggles who keep her on her toes and continually help to expand her abilities for inventive and flexible thinking!


146 Maple St, Lexington MA, 02421

LexSEPAC and LexSEPTA encompasses both the Parent Advisory Council for children with special needs in Lexington, MA and Lexington’s special education PTA.

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