One in 68 Children has Autism

QSAC's blog – 2011 – December » 2011 » December

From Avoiding Eye Contact to Hosting Tea Parties

December 29, 2011 9:58 pm Published by
When four-year-old Jaden entered the QSAC preschool in January 2011, he experienced major difficulties socializing, speaking, making eye contact and acknowledging his peers and teachers. Less than one year later – through persistent efforts of QSAC teachers in collaboration with Jaden’s family – Jaden has achieved remarkable progress. He will now answer who, what, and where questions as well as ask questions spontaneously. Jaden loves to host pretend tea parties for his friends. His teachers are proud of his ongoing accomplishments and will continue to help Jaden achieve great things in the future! 

A Lot Can Happen in Seven Years

December 27, 2011 4:50 pm Published by

Crimson enrolled at the QSAC Day School when she was nine years old. Although a capable learner, Crimson had difficulty tolerating many academic tasks or even short delays in having requests fulfilled. As a result, she exhibited a wide range of disruptive behaviors such as dropping to the floor, screaming, and crying. Highly-intensive intervention was required. Rewards were provided for every correct response to academics tasks and for very short durations of time without problem behavior. Gradually, she learned to tolerate longer and longer delays. More and more, she tolerated frustrations throughout the day that had caused intense outbursts in the past. As her behavior improved, more and more focus could be given to her social and academic skills. Now, as a 16-year-old, Crimson demonstrates that a great variety of improvements in many areas. She no longer exhibits intensely disruptive behavior. She speaks at appropriate volumes and with appropriate tones. She learns quickly and is largely independent in a wide variety of self-care and vocational tasks that are a part of the school’s transition program. She is social with her peers and instructors, shows an interest in her daily activities, and is a regular performer at our annual graduation festivities! We’re proud of the progress that Crimson has made and look forward to seeing the possibilities for her future unfold.

Working Towards Independence

December 23, 2011 7:30 pm Published by

Aaron has been receiving QSAC services since he was two years old. He began with QSAC’s Early Intervention class at age two and is now four years old and attending the QSAC Preschool. His teacher remembers the first day he arrived to Class 10, where he was crying because he was so scared. He didn’t talk much and needed a lot of help to eat, get dressed, and complete class activities. Through working with teachers alone and in groups, and through continual repetition and practice, he progressed substantially and has become very independent. His family was especially happy when he was toilet trained and didn’t have to wear diapers anymore. More recently he has been working hard to improve fine motor skills. Aaron will be missed by his many friends and teachers when he graduates from the preschool in August 2012. 

Kiwanis Club and QSAC Team Up for Annual Toy and Food Drive

December 22, 2011 9:08 pm Published by
From left to right standing: Sara Giangiobbe, Jeffrey Lambus, Jason La, Esther Williams, Cory Polshansky,
Donna Fuery, Paul Halvatzis, Nicole Dorsey, Cheyenne White
Kneeling: Elizabeth Heydweiller, Claire Laplaca, Kyndell Johnson, Ana Guncay, Andrea Sullivan  

The Kiwanis Club of Astoria & Long Island City teamed up with QSAC staff to organize our annual toy and food drive. Special thanks to everyone who coordinated and contributed!

An Appeal from Our Board President

December 22, 2011 4:54 pm Published by
This year, more children in New York State were diagnosed with autism than with childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. And more and more people with autism are being turned away because the demand for services is outpacing available resources.
That’s why expanding and improving our services to the autism community is the only solution.
Our young children are getting older and as the mother of a 26 year-old woman with autism, the future for adults with autism is more challenging today than ever before. Thousands of autistic children in New York are on the verge of becoming adults and we are facing the staggering challenge of figuring out how to care for them.
Please make a gift today and help QSAC enhance our services to families struggling with autism.
Over 30 years ago, QSAC was founded to fill a major void in providing education and care to the autism community in New York. Our services have grown over the years to meet the changing needs of the community and help families achieve remarkable and lasting progress with their children.
We have award-winning services and a highly trained team of experienced professionals to serve families affected by autism. And with your generous support, we are confident that we will reach our ultimate goal — enabling all people with autism to live meaningful and fulfilled lives in our society.
Best wishes to you and your family for the holidays!
Yvette Watts
President, QSAC Board of Directors
P.S. Please remember, your generous tax-deductible gift today will help QSAC to serve families most in need.

Santa Visits Courtesy of QuadCapital

December 21, 2011 8:39 pm Published by

Jaiden, Brandon and Isaac open gifts from Santa on December 16 at Quad Capital, a proprietary trading firm on Wall Street which spread much joy and holiday goodwill by generously donating 75 toys to children from many of QSAC’s programs.

Long Island Support Group Holiday Party

December 21, 2011 8:21 pm Published by

The children from QSAC’s Long Island Support Group had a great time at the annual Holiday Party. They participated in fun activities like baking holiday cookies and arts and crafts!

Our Students Take a Field Trip to Toys’R’Us

December 21, 2011 4:00 pm Published by
Our day school students recently had the opportunity to take a field trip to Toys’R’Us for a behind the scenes look at how the store operates. The idea was spawned by one of our students who indicated that he wanted to work as a cashier at Toys’R’Us during a vocation assessment interview with his teacher. We wanted to give him and his classmates the opportunity to find out what was required to work there, the various job options available, and a peek at what it would be like to be part of the Toys’R’Us team. In addition, we wanted to give our students a chance to understand how to find items in one of their favorite stores, who to talk to if they need assistance, and how to make purchases. This was the first time these students had this type of experience and they loved every minute of it! 
Our students were given the opportunity to wear the Toys’R’Us vest, meet and greet the Toys’R’Us team and were given a tour of each section of the store. The students were then asked to select a toy in the store that represented them the most. Some of our students selected popular movies, action figures and electronic toys to represent themselves. The students were then provided a shopping cart filled with toys and were instructed to restock them. This was a great exercise in recall and the kids had a blast competing with each other! If assistance was needed, our students were able to ask some of the employees on the floor for assistance. They were also given an opportunity for a question and answer session with the Assistant Store Manager. The students prepared some great questions such as “What happens when a toy breaks?”, “How are top toys selected?” and “What is it like working for Toys’R’Us?” Finally, the class was able to make a purchase for a game for their classroom. It was an exciting day for all of them and was the topic of conversation throughout the week!
The Toys’R’Us staff exceeded our expectations. Our students were greeted with  professionalism, patience, and grace. The activities provided throughout the tour kept our students motivated, engaged and on task – not always an easy feat for children with autism. 
We’d like to once again express our thanks to Toys’R’Us. We hope to have similar opportunities in the future!

We’re Hosting Our First Twitter Q&A!

December 16, 2011 4:24 am Published by

Join us on Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 2PM EST for a special Twitter Q&A session,  Understanding Autism.

To take part in the conversation, follow QSAC on Twitter @QSAC. Use hashtag #UnderstandAutism to follow along!

Topics to be discussed include:

  1. What is ABA? Dispelling the myths behind it.
  2. The difference between discrete trial teaching and natural environment teaching. The pros and cons for both.
  3. Reinforcers vs. Preferences. What’s the difference?

The Q&A will be hosted by Rocio Chavez, M.A., M.S.Ed., BCBA

Rocio Chavez is currently the Assistant Director for QSAC’s After School Programs. She holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Behavioral Applications from Queens College, and a dual master’s degree in General and Special Education, Birth-Grade 2 from Touro College. Rocio is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and provides supervision for BCBA candidates. Rocio has co-authored a chapter in the book Behavioral Detectives: A Staff Training Exercise Book in Applied Behavior Analysis. She has presented on various topics including stimulus-stimulus pairing and reinforcer assessments at The New York State Association for Behavior Analysis (NYSABA) convention and The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) convention. Rocio has conducted research on self-management training in preschoolers with autism and stimulus-stimulus pairing. Rocio has worked with children on the autism spectrum for the last seven years. She has worked with preschool and school age children, and has provided consultations in school and home based settings. Rocio is also an adjunct professor for the The Sage Colleges’ Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism graduate program.


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.