The Groden Network’s mission is to support children and adults with autism, and other developmental disabilities and behavioral challenges to lead productive, dignified and satisfying lives by:

  • Providing the most effective educational, therapeutic, and other habilitative services;
  • Advancing knowledge and best practices through research, education and training;
  • Involving, educating, and supporting families in caring and advocating for their children.


In 1976, Drs. June and Gerald Groden opened the Groden Center in response to the absence of maximally effective services for persons with autism and other developmental challenges. Forty years later, the program has expanded its services to children, teens, and adults with a range of learning and behavioral disabilities through four corporations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts:

The Groden Center, Inc. is a school and residential treatment center in Rhode Island enhancing the lives of children and youth with autism, behavioral disorders, and developmental disabilities by providing early autism intervention services, an early childhood education program at the Livingston Center, as well as providing functional and social development instruction to school-age children with learning disabilities.

The Cove Center, Inc. provides instructional vocational and residential programs for adults over 21 in Rhode Island with developmental disabilities, autism, mental retardation, behavioral disorders, emotional disturbances, learning disabilities, and mental health disorders.

Behavioral Associates of Massachusetts, Inc. (Halcyon Center),. provides instructional vocational and residential programs for adults over 22 in Massachusetts with developmental disabilities, autism, mental retardation, behavioral disorders, emotional disturbances, learning disabilities, and mental health disorders.


Drs. June and Gerald Groden (Founders)
Drs. June and Gerald Groden (Founders)

June Groden

June Groden holds a Ph.D. and masters of arts degrees in psychology from Boston College, in addition to a masters of education from Rhode Island College, and a bachelor of science degree in business administration from New York University.

In addition to being the Executive Director of the Groden Center, Dr. Groden has developed specialized programs in the areas of behavior therapy and parent skills training. Dr. Groden served on the clinical faculty at the University of Rhode Island and was also a visiting lecturer at the Center for the Study of Human Development at Brown University. She maintains a private practice and is a consultant to school systems and other institutions. She serves on the Panel of Professional Advisors of the Autism Society of America.

As a researcher, Dr. Groden has developed techniques to promote relaxation in special needs children and adults and has implemented programs that utilize imagery procedures for persons with autism and retardation. Along with Joseph Cautela, she co-authored Relaxation: A Comprehensive Manual for Adults, Children, and Children with Special Needs, and has produced three videos on the use of relaxation procedures entitled Breaking the Barriers: Relaxation Techniques for People with Special Needs; Breaking the Barriers II: Imagery Procedures for People with Special Needs, and Breaking the Barriers III: Intensive Early Intervention and Beyond: A School-based Inclusion Program. She has written numerous articles and book chapters on stress, relaxation and picture rehearsal.

Gerald Groden

We are saddened to report that Dr. Gerald Groden passed in March, 2017. As part of Autism Awareness Month in 2018, Dr. Groden was named 1 of 15 leaders who fought for Autism Awareness to further the causes of autism research and awareness. Dr. Groden received his BA and MA from the University of Vermont, and his Ph.D. from Purdue University in Clinical Child Psychology. He was a Visiting Adjunct Associate Professor at Brown University at the Center for the Study of Human Development, and an Adjunct Associate Professor of psychology at the University of Rhode Island, Department of Psychology. From 1966 until 1978, he served as Director of Psychology at the Rhode Island Hospital Child Development Center.

Dr. Groden participated in developing the first multi-agency cooperative early intervention program in Rhode Island. His position also included the Directorship of the Child Development Center Early Intervention Project. From 1963-1966, Dr. Groden was an assistant professor in at the Department of Pediatric Neurology at Indiana University Medical School. He taught psychology and related courses in the fields of the exceptional child and abnormal development psychology at the University of Rhode Island Extension Division, Rhode Island College, and Indiana University.

Dr. Groden was published widely in books and scientific journals and has contributed to research in the field of autism and child behavior disorders. He co-edited, and authored chapters in Autism: Strategies For Change and is an author of Understanding Challenging Behavior: A Step-by-Step Behavior Analysis Guide. In 2001, he also co-authored Covert Positive Reinforcement for the Encyclopedia of Psychotherapy. Dr. Groden has consulted throughout the country and has lectured across the U. S. and internationally.

In 2002, Common Cause of Rhode Island honored him as an Executive Board Member of the Rhode Island Children’s Policy Coalition for effective volunteer citizen advocacy on behalf of Rhode Island’s most vulnerable children. In 2001 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Support of Persons with Autism, from the Rhode Island Chapter of Unlocking Autism.

Accreditations & Affiliations

Groden Center Residential Programs receive international excellence accreditation. One of only two accredited organizations in New England for Autism Services. Groden’s Community Residential Program and Therapeutic Foster Family Services have been awarded the highest level of accreditation by CARF. Click here for more information.

We are a member of RICART, the Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment.