Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Initiative at NLG

Since our founding in 2002, Nashoba Learning Group has been an organization driven by our mission and core values. Our mission is to create the best available programs to allow people with autism to achieve their full potential, and participate as fully as possible in family and community activities throughout their lives. We are dedicated to improving the methods of instruction, and sharing that knowledge. The core values supporting this mission are:

  • Every person with autism deserves the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential.
  • Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a proven discipline for enabling people with autism to achieve their potential.
  • Outstanding education must be comprehensive and customized.
  • The quality of the service that an individual receives is determined by the quality and training of the people who deliver the services.
  • Successful education and intervention is a joint commitment requiring both the program and the family.

NLG has worked hard over the years to adhere to these values and we have built a school and an adult program that strives to treat each student, family and staff member as valued individuals with unique needs. This requires that we understand and adapt to needs driven by each individual’s identification and culture. We have taken care to develop and implement practices and policies that are in line with our values. Our non-discrimination policy is a critical expression of our values.

However, values and policies are not sufficient in and of themselves. It is important that they be accompanied by the actions, analysis of performance, and continuous cultivation that nurture a culture of non-discrimination and support for diversity.

External events have sparked an important national examination of equality and justice and the barriers faced by Black Americans and marginalized groups. Spurred by these events, NLG’s management and Board have committed our organization to examine our practices, assess our performance, and determine how we can do better in creating an environment of equality, opportunity, and appreciation for all. Our process has been data based and inclusive. All staff members were given an opportunity to assess our performance through a staff survey. Survey results can be viewed here.

We engaged Solandy Forte, Ph.D., LCSW, LBA, BCBA-D, Director of Consultation and Community Outreach at Milestones Behavioral Services CT, an expert in this field, to work with us to facilitate our process and provide access to her expertise and resources. We formed a committee, designed to be representative and inclusive, to review data, develop goals and create action plans.

Through this process we have identified gaps between our aspirations and our observable performance. Our committee has created a vision for the effort, improvement goals, and specific actions to enable us to realize our goals. We are behavior analysts and educators, and through this lens we develop our action plans to reflect what we know about effective ways to change the behavior of individuals and organizations, in order to remove barriers, enhance equality, and ensure all voices are heard. The plan can be viewed here.

NLG’s Board of Directors has reviewed and approved this plan and affirmed NLG’s commitment to diversity and equality. This plan includes our vision, our goals, and the outline of our action plan.

This roadmap will be used to develop and implement specific plans and allocation of resources. It also includes a summary of our process and the data we analyzed to drive our efforts. As you will see, our plan does not provide a “quick fix.” What it will do is enable us to optimize our culture and our practices over time, in order to get closer and closer to our vision. We intend for this plan to be evergreen, based on ongoing data collection and analysis, as we hold ourselves accountable for our efforts. We look forward to continuing to engage our staff, our students and their families in this critical effort, and to reporting on progress made and ongoing plans.