Children | Teens | Young Adults

Preregistration is required to participate in the Children’s Program. Parents will not be allowed to bring children into educational sessions. This rule will be enforced strictly. In courtesy to the chaperones, parents should pick up their children at the times noted.

The deadline for registration in the Children’s program is July 11.

Ages 0-3 Infants/Toddler Childcare (Saturday & Sunday)
Licensed childcare workers will care for children ages 0-<3 years. Separate childcare rooms will be provided for infants and toddlers, with appropriate activities throughout the day. Morning and afternoon snacks will be provided as well as rest time for the youngsters who need it.

Children Ages 3-5
Children are invited with their parents to the Friday evening Ice Cream Social for music, entertainment, seeing old friends while maybe meeting some new ones, and of course – ice cream!
Saturday morning, children 3-5 years old will participate in arts and craft activities, creating an “Animal Extravaganza” with longtime children’s art instructor and NECI Conference friend Mary Hollenbeck. After lunch with parents, the children will enjoy the fun and excitement of magic with George Hebert, also known as Joy the Magical Clown. They will end the afternoon with movement activities and some outdoor time (weather permitting) with Physical Education Specialist Mike Catalano. For the optional Saturday evening program, parents can assist their children with choosing their dinner and the chaperones will take it from there, so parents can attend the Saturday evening banquet. After dinner, children will be escorted by their chaperones to quiet rooms where they will have a movie night. Quiet time activities will also be available. The children can feel free to come dressed in PJs and bring blankets, snuggle toys, etc. Sunday morning the children will enjoy more arts and crafts when making Super, Super Heroes and Rockin’ Robots with Mary Hollenbeck. Following arts and crafts will be free play time with lots of games and fun outdoors (weather permitting). Sunday morning will end with the children rejoining their parents for the optional barbecue lunch.
Important note: we ask that children ages 3-5 leave electronics, handheld gaming devices, etc. in their hotel rooms. Please do not bring them to the program. We ask this due to the program’s emphasis on making new friends and participating in interactive group activities together. Thank you!
If you have questions, please contact Dawn Vargas at
We can’t wait to welcome your children and have them join us for a fun-filled weekend at NECIC 2015!

Children Ages 5 ½ -10
Field Trip to Old Sturbridge Village – Saturday Morning
This outdoor history museum and re-created New England town of the 1830s is only a short ride and 175 years away from the hotel! Children ages 5.5 through 10 years old will be divided into small groups and preassigned a chaperone for the visit to Old Sturbridge Village. Children ages 5 – 7 will enjoy hands-on activities from the 1800’s in the village’s education center, which may include spinning and weaving, fireplace cooking, and printing and decorative arts. They will also spend some of their time taking in some village sights such as farm animals, homes, and villagers in period garb who can answer any questions the children may have. Children ages 8 – 10 will explore the 200-acre village on tours led by chaperones. Highlights on the tours include farm animals, the 1-room schoolhouse, the sawmill, the blacksmith’s workshop, and much, much more — along with activities and demonstrations at each stop along the tour — and all typical of 19th century rural New England.
After lunch at the hotel with their parents, children 5.5 through 10 years old will spend the afternoon continuing the fun and friendship with active games and fun science-related activities. They will also spend an hour with the convention’s teen group doing mentoring activities, such as Giant Games, zany contests, and chats with teens who have cochlear implants too.
For the optional Saturday evening, children 5.5 through 10 years old will enjoy dinner together in the hotel indoor courtyard, then walk to the Hawthorne Exhibit hall for an evening of fun activities. For the first hour, children’s groups will do an active program with Mike Catalano, physical education specialist who has been keeping our kids groups active and happy at many NECI Conventions in the past. The second half of the evening will feature more laid-back quiet time activities such as board games, puzzles, read-alouds, and silly 70’s sitcom videos.
Sunday morning, children 5.5 through 10 years old will be treated to a demonstration of robots by students and staff from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Children will also have the opportunity to run the robots themselves! Afterwards, weather permitting, Howard Samuels, a CI user and certified drone pilot, will make a guest appearance to demonstrate the remote control helicopters that he designs, builds, and flies. Finally, guided by Mary Hollenbeck, children’s art specialist extraordinaire, children will create a piece of art along the theme of “Super Super Heroes and Rocking Robots” to take home as a memento of their weekend in Sturbridge.

Teens (Ages 11-18)
On Friday evening, teens and their families are invited to an ice cream social event to hang out with old friends and new. Later in the evening, teens will join the young adult CI users for some icebreaker activities.
On Saturday morning, teens will gather as a group and attend the keynote session presented by Caitlin Parton. Caitlin is the youngest child to receive a cochlear implant, nearly three decades ago. She is now an attorney for Disability Law Center in Boston and is a great inspiration to younger CI users. Afterwards, teens will break up into groups (11-14 year olds, 15-17 year olds, and siblings) for facilitated rap sessions where they can relax and talk in a quiet setting about their experiences as CI users or siblings of CI users. This session is CART supported. They will then spend lunch together in the Courtyard area of the hotel with their chaperones. If time permits, teens may visit the Try It Out Room to test the latest FM and CI support equipment brought on site by vendors.
After lunch, teens will meet for a scavenger hunt. Teens are encouraged (not required) to bring their smart phones if they have one to facilitate record keeping of the hunt. Later, the teens will join the 5-10 year olds in a mentoring activity of GIANT games, crafts and outdoor activities (weather permitting). In addition, older teens have the option of attending Geoff Plant’s animated talk on Auditory Training for Young Adults for CIs, if they desire.
In the late afternoon, teens will join their families and are encouraged to attend Sam Mellert’s highly entertaining talk on Self Advocacy before the Saturday evening program. As an alternative, teens have the option of joining friends for a yoga session conducted by Joanne Travers.
On Saturday evening, teens will join their chaperones for an off site excursion to Central Rock Gym in Worcester, MA for pizza and an introduction to rock climbing. Not into heights? No worries, there will be other games and activities in the climbing area for you to enjoy. Parents must complete an online waiver for the gym ahead of time and bring a hard copy of the waiver to the conference for your teen to participate in climbing.
Teens will have various options on Sunday morning. Older teens may enjoy attending a number of sessions. Mark Campbell-Foster returns to the NECI convention to discuss “How to Talk to your Audiologist”. Jon O’Dell will be presenting afterwards to discuss “Speaking in Public” and Barb Johnson will be discussing “Transition to the Work Force”. For younger and older teens, Erica Israel, along with representatives from Gallaudet University, will be hosting an ASL drop-in session to learn some American Sign Language and culture and share signs from around the world. Afterwards, the Worcester Polytechnic Institute/Mass Academy team will be on site to demonstrate their FIRST Competition life-size Robot. Weather permitting, teens may enjoy mini golf and other outdoor games before joining their families for the optional barbecue lunch.

Young Adults (Ages 18-25)
Welcome to all young adults! We’re so pleased you’re attending and think we have several interesting and fun activities throughout the weekend. The weekend starts on Friday evening with the ice cream social and helping welcome the teen group at their ice breaker for those who are interested.
Saturday morning begins attending the convention keynote address. This year’s keynote speaker is Caitlin Parton, who was the youngest child to receive a cochlear implant nearly thirty years ago. Caitlin is now an attorney with the Disability Law Center in Boston. There are several sessions to choose from on Saturday and Sunday including presentations on genetics, tips for talking to your audiologist, and transitioning to the workforce. There’s also a Try it Out room to check out new assistive technology. Caitlin Parton and Catharine McNally, a Quality and Accessibility Analyst with Phase 2 Technology, will join our group for lunch.
We’re hosting a Mocktail/Cocktail reception at 6:00 on Saturday evening. You can then attend the banquet or join the teen group for pizza and rock climbing. The banquet speaker is comedian Mike Murray which should be fun and funny. More information about Mike is on his webpage: Also at the banquet is a video from Peace Corp volunteer, Rachel Chaikoff.
Sunday morning session begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. The farewell barbeque begins on the lawn at 12:30. We hope everyone can attend.
If you have questions, please contact Barbara Mellert via email – We’re looking forward to seeing everyone.