One in 68 Children has Autism

QSAC's blog – 2010 – November » 2010 » November

Turning 5 Orientation Meetings: NYC enrollment process has begun

November 30, 2010 4:33 pm Published by

The DOE has posted information about their Turning 5 Orientation Meetings that will be happening around the city beginning this week. There is also a list of District 75 schools open for kindergarten visits this year.


For more information about the transition from Preschool Special Education to Kindergarten, please see the NYC DOE’s Kindergarten: An Orientation Guide for Families of Students with Disabilities. Advocates for Children have also released a question and answer format guide that provides families of students with disabilities important information on eligibility, referral, evaluations, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, placement and conflict resolution (Advocates for Children Turning 5 Guide).

*To be eligible for admission to Kindergarten in September 2011, students must turn 5 by December 31, 2011 and be residents of New York City.

The QSAC Junior Board Invites You to a Four-Course Wine Pairing Dinner

November 29, 2010 3:34 pm Published by

Philip MarieThursday, December 9, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Philip Marie Restaurant

569 Hudson Street (@ West 11 street)

New York, NY 10014

$60 per person includes wine and food pairing menu

(50% tax-deductible)

Don’t miss this opportunity to support QSAC. Proceeds from the event will go to the QSAC Day School, the primary development focus of the Junior Board, members of whom look forward to meeting you at this event.

RSVP today at www.qsac.com/restaurant

ONLY 65 SEATS AVAILABLE!

If you are unable to attend but would like to make a donation, click here.

Street parking available. Apple Parking on West 11th.

Subway A, C, and E to 14th St. and 8th Ave. or the 1 to Christopher Street.

The menu will be announced at the beginning of December.

Check out similar past events at www.philipmarie.com.

For more infomation contact QSAC Development office at 212-244-5560 x 2016

Bowling for Autism – $19,000 for QSAC Programs

November 18, 2010 4:41 pm Published by

Top female scorer, Chris Sidoni and top male scorer John Neuenfeldt joined 125 bowlers on November 7 and helped raise over $19,000 for the QSAC programs. Chris scored 150 and John 198.

Galli Theater and Dr. Fairytale

November 18, 2010 4:39 pm Published by
On November 4, performers from the Galli Theater presented “The Frog-Prince” to the children of the QSAC preschool. During the interactive fairytale performance, our young students had the chance to talk to the King, dance with the Princess, hold the Gold Ball, and jump around with the Frog. At the end of the performance, the stage was transformed into a ballroom for a 15-minute session of dance and physical activities. The award-winning Dr. Fairytale Program brings the educational and healing value of fairy tales and storytelling to seriously ill children and their families, in the hospital, in crisis areas and at home as well as to organizations who work with emotionally challenged children. Dr. Fairytale is available at no cost in the US and around the world. Fairy tales deliver messages of growth and transformation. They are healing stories that teach children how to overcome challenges and help them cope with feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression. Fairy tales restore joy, hope and laughter to the lives of children and families at a time often laden with stress and uncertainty.

$14,000 To Help Students Communicate

November 18, 2010 4:39 pm Published by
A Generous Grant from CVS

Earlier this year, QSAC received a $14,000 grant from CVS to purchase augmentative communication devices to help our students communicate. Because our students have little or no communication skills, QSAC begins with basic language acquisition – teaching functional language skills using single words that identify wants and/or needs, for example, “milk”, “mama”, “up”, etc. The communication devices at the preschool allowed QSAC to build on this first step, helping students learn to ask for an item from staff, therapists, parents and peers. The devices also helped students learn to discriminate between items.
In the Day School, students work on expressive and receptive language, communication, self-help skills, motor skills, cognitive skills, social skills, prevocational and vocational skills, and all academic subject areas. Recent assessment using the Assessment of Behavior Language and Learning Skills indicates that within a 3 month period of using the communication device, students learned 121 new skills in the areas of communication and language skills. One particular student increased her receptive language and more significantly, began imitating up to 15 words. This increased her ability to make requests daily and spontaneously (i.e. without teacher direction or cue). For another student, independent requests are emerging and he is able to make basic full sentence requests and requests for help in one or two specific situations.

Kevin is now able to ask for his play-doh and Cheyenne for her favorite book.

A New Way to Play

November 18, 2010 4:38 pm Published by

Nintendo of America recently donated five Wii home video consoles for QSAC group homes allowing us to offer our residents additional recreational and physical activity programs. Without outlets for exercise, individuals with autism tend to remain sedentary – comfortable and content to sit in front of a television or computer – which can ultimately lead to obesity and an increase in health problems. Research conducted by the US Public Health Service has shown that exercise among individuals with autism spectrum disorders is typically followed by a reduction in stereotyped behaviors. As many ASD individuals are visual learners and motivated by computers and other virtual media devices, the use of the Wii is very well suited for our residents’ needs and abilities and the gaming systems were met with great enthusiasm by our residents. The Wii helps to increase the hand eye coordination and fine motor skills of our residents and has allowed them to virtually experience sports such as baseball, basketball and yoga – sporting activities that they would otherwise not experience. Additionally, the Wii helps increase socialization and sharing among residents and with staff, making the group home even more of a family home.

A Farm Visit for QSAC Preschoolers

November 18, 2010 4:37 pm Published by
In October, the children and staff of the QSAC Preschool got a glimpse of farm life as they took a trip to the Green Meadows Farm. In good spirits and full of energy, the children rode horses and had the opportunity to get up close with many animals including chickens, rabbits, turkeys and pigs. They also fed the sheep, milked a cow and enjoyed a bumpy hayride. The day allowed the children to take a break from the classroom and work on social and motor skills in a natural environment while having a great time.

Swim Lessons for Group Home Residents

November 18, 2010 4:37 pm Published by
Harvey looks forward to his time at the pool.
Con Edison, Long Island City YMCA, and QSAC team up to provide an aquatics program.
The Long Island City YMCA and Con Edison have teamed up with QSAC to bring our group home residents an aquatics program that builds skills while enhancing self-confidence, motor skills, and well-being. The swim program focuses on three key components, including personal safety, personal growth and stroke development. It is designed to offer lessons in swimming skills and water safety that will keep participants safe while building physical and social skills. Lessons are developmentally appropriate and delivered in a caring atmosphere. “Exercise and physical fitness are important components of a healthy lifestyle,” said Lauren Maldonado, QSAC Director of Day Habilitation. “Everyone looks forward to these weekly sessions that are not only instrumental for exercise and skills development but also for socialization,” continued Maldonado.

Neurofeedback: A New Alternative Treatment for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

November 15, 2010 3:17 am Published by

A growing number of parents see Neurofeedback as an alternative to medication to treat their children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The treatment is relatively simple and painless. Research studies utilizing electroencephalogram (EEG), functional MRI and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) have provided evidence for a neuropathological basis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The Neurofeeback consists in attaching 3 to 10 electrodes to the individual’s head that measure the amplitude and / or synchronization of their brainwaves. The autistic individual sits in front of a screen displaying images that respond to the individual’s brain activity and through reinforcing images they learn to improve their brainwave functioning. When the individual has the right kind of brain activity, the autistic individual instantly receives rewarding and positive feedback such as puzzle pieces falling into place. In addition, the autistic individuals who participate in EEG biofeedback learn to inhibit brainwave frequencies that may produce negative symptoms and enhance specific frequencies that produce positive results (Coben & Wagner, 2010).

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive treatment with no known significant or lasting negative side effects that has been shown to enhance neuroregulation and metabolic function in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (Coben & Padolsky, 2007).

The basis for Neurofeedback treatment is research on ASD that has shown that related symptoms in autism correlate with brain dysfunction in multiple brain regions (Coben, 2010). The brains of individuals with autism have abnormal neural connectivity (Rippon, et al., 2007; Coben, 2007). For instance, atypical EEGs often predict poor outcomes for intelligence, speech, and educational achievement (Hughes & John, 1999). Anomalies in connectivity may be linked to abnormalities in information integration.

In a study conducted by Kouijzer and colleagues (2010), which involved 20 individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), they showed that 60% of the participants treated with Neurofeedback and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), successfully reduced excessive theta power during Neurofeedback treatment. Reduction of theta power was confirmed by pre- and post-QEEG measures. Parents of participants in the Neurofeedback treatment group reported significant improvements in reciprocal social interaction and communication skills, in comparison to the parents of the control group. Coben & Paldosky (2007) reported a significant improvement in attention, executive, visual perceptual and language functions in autistic individuals who received Neurofeedback therapy compared to a control group.

Theta waves are brainwaves 3-7 Hz that we normally have for a few minutes during Stage 1 of sleep, when we are drowsy and slightly asleep, and about to go into deeper sleep. This should not be observed on an EEG in someone that is alert, and yet, studies have shown that theta waves can be prevalent in individuals with ASD when they are awake. Some studies have suggested that when excess slow wave activity is present in the executive (frontal) part of the brain, it is difficult to control attention, behavior, and emotions. Individuals with ASD and ADHD may have serious problems with concentration, memory, controlling impulses and moods or psychomotor activities (Lexicor Health Systems, 2002).

Neurofeeback is a relatively new approach that hopes to modify synaptic connectivity through dynamic external stimuli, using neuroimaging, quantitative EEG and sophisticated computer systems.

In SPECT scans of individuals with autism, abnormal regional cerebral blood flow in the brain (e.g. medial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate gyrus) was related to impaired communication and social interaction. Alteration in the perfusion in the right medial temporal lobe was associated with the obsessive desire for stereotypical behaviors (Ohnishi et al., 2000). Studies using the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have suggested that individual with autism had a significant reduction in total gray matter volume as well as frontostriatal and parietal networks; and white matter was reduced in the cerebellum, left internal capsule and fornices, and amygdala-hippocampal regions presented anomalies in brain metabolites (McAlonan et al., 2004; Page et al., 2006).

Neurofeedback is designed to improve poorly regulated brainwave patterns, in addition to the other common more conventional types of treatments used in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) such as speech therapy (70%), psychopharmacological treatment (52%), visual schedules (43%), vitamin supplements (43%), sensory integration (38%), and applied behavior analysis (36%) (Itchon, et al., 2006; Coben & Wagner, 2010). While under research, connectivity-guided Neurofeeback is an intervention that may prove to be efficacious in the treatment of symptoms of autism (Coben & Wagner, 2010).

ABOUT US

QSAC is a New York City and Long Island based nonprofit that supports children and adults with autism, together with their families, in achieving greater independence, realizing their future potential, and contributing to their communities in a meaningful way by offering person-centered services.

QSAC pursues this mission through direct services that provide a supportive and individualized setting for children and adults with autism to improve their communication, socialization, academic, and functional skills.