Author: kresendes

“Learning with Autism”: Jimmy’s Story

April is World Autism Month.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. It affects all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, one in every 59 children has autism. World Autism Month marks an opportunity to learn about the ASD and how it impacts more than 70 million individuals around the world such as Jimmy.  Jimmy is 22-years-old and lives with his family in Everett. To help with everyday challenges, he attends the Walnut Street Center’s Day Program that combines Community-Based Day and Day Habilitation services. This program provides comprehensive clinical services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and nursing support as well as opportunities to access the community. The Walnut Street Center is a non-profit organization based in Medford serving adults with intellectual disabilities in the Greater Boston area.

“Autism means to me that I learn differently from others,” says Jimmy. 

Everyone has a style of learning that works best for them. For Jimmy, he is most successful in a one-on-one setting using visual supports rather than auditory input. Seeing visual supports such as pictures, objects, sign language or text, helps him retain and process information. It may be a reason why he has an interest in painting. Through the center, Jimmy participates in life skills, pre-vocational and educational groups in Greater Boston. He enjoys detailed work at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown and being with the animals at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham. 

“I always want to learn more,” says Jimmy.  “I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others.” 

One of Jimmy’s great interests is history. He is curious by nature and can often be found researching historical topics online. His favorite subjects are World War II and the Samurais. The Samurais were the ruling military class in Japan and grew to become the highest-ranking social caste during the Edo Period (1603-1867). 

Daily routines help Jimmy learn and provide a regular rhythm. He never hesitates to hold a door open or assist someone with their bag. It is these small predictable actions that provide calm to his life. Many adults and children with ASD have difficulty making sense of everyday movements, sounds, and activities. What may sound normal or a symphony to others, may come across as white noise to those with ASD. Routines and repetition create an expected, safe, and secure environment. 

“I want people to know that I am a good person,” says Jimmy. “I want to meet and talk with people. And I don’t want to be treated differently.”

If you know of a family or individual that may benefit from the Walnut Street Center or are merely looking for a recognized corporate sponsorship program, visit for more information.

Walnut Street Centers’ Jay Hayston Elected Vice-Chair

Massachusetts Day Habilitation Coalition ELECTS Jay Hayston Vice chairperson

Association Advocates for MA Members that Operate Day Habilitation Programs

MEDFORD, MA – (February 2018) – Walnut Street Center’s Director of Day Services, Jay Hayston was elected Vice Chairperson of the Massachusetts Day Habilitation Coalition, an association that provides peer support, government relations and advocates for policy changes and reimbursement for its members that operate day habilitation programs in Massachusetts. Hayston was previously Co-Secretary.

“I am privileged to join this board that represents some of the best leaders in the field,” said Hayston whose term is one-year. “The opportunity pairs well with my educational pursuits and allows me to have a greater voice in achieving the coalitions’ objectives, such as developing critical programs and engaging with state funders.”

Hayston has more than ten years’ of experience in human services. As Walnut Street Center’s Director of Day Services, he oversees all-day program operations that include Community-Based Day, Day Habilitation, Group Employment, and Individual Employment services. Prior he was the Assistant Director of Day Services. Hayston has a B.A. degree in psychology and an MBA. He is pursuing a doctorate in policy and law.

“We are happy to have Jay Hayston join the officers in the coalition. He will lead our member providers in creating best practices that promote community involvement and therapeutic services for people with disabilities,” said Kristin Falvey of Bay Cove Human Services and the Chair of Massachusetts Day Habilitation Coalition. “Jay has a vision for establishing a peer support network and training opportunities for Directors of Day Habilitation.”

The five-member board consists of Falvey, Hayston, plus Treasurer Carla Guenette of United Cerebral Palsy MetroBoston, Secretary Anne Holton of Arc of the South Shore and Co-Secretary Funmi Korede from Northeast ARC. Meetings are held at the Seven Hills Foundation in Worcester.

Walnut Street Center Inc. is a non-profit agency that provides a wide array of services to individuals with intellectual disabilities. Started in the late 1960’s by a community of parents seeking services for their children, the Center now offers services including 24-hour Residential Support, Individual Home Support, Supported Employment, Group Employment, Community-Based Day Support and Day Habilitation. Residentially, the agency serves over 100 individuals. Services are mainly funded through the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) from the Charles River West, Central Middlesex and Metro North Areas. MassHealth funds the Day Habilitation program. The agency is proud to partner with Medford and surrounding communities to provide quality services. To learn more, visit Like us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

The Celtics’ Center Court Experience 2019

Save The Date for our 2019 Celtics fundraiser scheduled for 1/16/19 – Celtics vs. Raptors!

We will be in the Promenade Suite with complimentary food through out the game and a cash bar!

Celtic mascot Lucky will be in attendance and a Championship trophy will be available for pictures so become a sponsor today!

Contact Carolyne Guffey at if you are interested in sponsoring or donating to Walnut Street Center.


Our special thanks to our great sponsors:

US Roofing
Mutual of America
USI Insurance Services
Smith Sullivan & Brown Certified Public Accountants
HRW Law Logo
Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP
Walnut Street Center Celtic's Fundraiser
Celtics' Center Court Experience Fundraiser
Celtics' Center Court Experience Fundraiser

The Walnut Street Center Grand Opening Celebration

WSC Grand Opening
WSC New Building

Brand New Building, New Location

September 20th, 2017 from 11 am – 2 pm

291 Mystic Avenue, Medford MA

  • Come Check Out the New Facilities
  • Meet the Staff and Those Who Utilize Our Services
  • Take a Personal Tour of the New Space
  • Attend Our Official Ribbon Cutting

Learn about all the features to our new home here. Ready to RSVP? Visit our Eventbrite page!

Directions to the event:

Walnut Street Center Teams-up with Taste of Somerville

Taste of Somerville 2019

Produced by the Somerville Chamber of Commerce Dining & Nightlife Group, the Taste of Somerville is a unique way to experience our dining and nightlife scene. There was about 80 local vendors to peruse and entertainment to enjoy all evening long; Wednesday June 14th!

What made this event even better? Proceeds from the Taste of Somerville are going to benefit us here at Walnut Street Center and our friends at the Somerville Home. There were also ways to win a bounty of prizes in our raffle, too!

The event featured:

  • Great Food
  • Craft Beverages
  • Family Fun
  • Lawn Lounge / Entertainment
  • VIP Access
  • Great Causes

If you joined us outside for all the fun in Nathan Tufts Park, we hope you had an amazing time! To view event photos from our VIP area, please click here.

1 2 3