One in 68 Children has Autism

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Dealing with a Crisis Situation

December 28, 2015 3:00 pm Published by

When a family who has a loved one with a developmental disability is in a crisis, the last person they think to turn to for help is their Medicaid Service Coordinator. Sure, the MSC can help individuals with developmental disabilities obtain and maintain supports and services, and monitor the individual’s overall well-being, but how are they able to help a family in a time of crisis?


Many individuals and their advocates who receive Medicaid Service Coordination are surprised to find out just how valuable of a resource their MSC can be during unexpected, and often daunting, difficult situations. The role of the MSC goes far beyond helping with services and supports. QSAC’s MSC department takes great pride in ensuring that the family, as a whole, has their needs met. We believe that if there is a crisis situation involving a family member, such as facing eviction or illness, this will have a significant impact on the individual that we support in MSC. Therefore, when we find out that a family is in the midst of a crisis, we work closely with that family in order to problem solve, and move forward with more effective options for the future.


There are a number of crisis situations that an MSC is able to assist a family in dealing with. When a family is facing eviction, or is having trouble paying their rent, we are able to utilize resources that assist the family in finding appropriate housing options, using government assistance programs such as a “One Shot Deal”, and finding agencies that may be able to assist financially. We work closely with the family to ensure that there will not be further issues going forward. Although we are able to help with temporary fixes to the problem, we also are able to help in finding a permanent solution for the long-term. This includes working on increasing benefits, such as SSI or Food Stamps, to make sure that the family avoids a similar situation in the future, and can live comfortably. We are also able to help find clothes, or even food, when families may be struggling to afford these necessities.


Sometimes, a family member becomes ill, or even passes away. In the event of an emergency such as this, where the family member may need extra support in caring for their loved one, the MSC is able to work on finding people to help care for the individual with the developmental disability, or even places to go (should the family need to go away to see an ill family member for an extended amount of time, for example). We are also able to help obtain emergency funding for these sudden illness and death situations.


The aforementioned crisis situations may have a great impact on the individual with the developmental disability. They may demonstrate new maladaptive behaviors, and have difficulty coping with the emotions that come from these stressful situations. In MSC, we are able to help obtain additional behavioral supports, that will help the individual manage their behavioral needs more effectively. In addition, we are also able to help obtain counseling, such as grief, sexuality, or even family counseling.


In times of crisis, it is important to keep in mind that your Medicaid Service Coordinator is there to help guide you through difficult circumstances. We are able to utilize a number of resources and supports to assist individuals with developmental disabilities and their families when they are in need. If you or your loved one has an MSC, please keep in mind that we are always here to help, and we will always work with you to ensure your needs are met.





Sara Giangiobbe, MAT serves as a Medicaid Service Coordination Supervisor in QSAC’s MSC Department. She has been serving in a multitude of roles with QSAC since 2004. In addition to her professional role in the field of autism and developmental disabilities, she has a younger brother who is diagnosed with autism. She is a proud sibling and professional, and is also a regular contributor to onQ, QSAC’s blog.

Re-Creation Recreation Holiday Week

December 21, 2015 3:00 pm Published by

Recreation-CreationThanks to QSAC’s dedicated and skilled Hab Spec and Respite staff, the Family Services department was able to offer parents a reprieve so that they could do their holiday shopping and enjoy some rest time. During the week of 11/30/15-12/04/15 from 6-9 PM, families of children enrolled in Comm Hab and Respite were given a drop off site for their children who socialized and enjoyed making beautiful ornaments and art work using recycled paper and materials. Other activities included musical chairs, baking, decorating gingerbread houses, and singing karaoke. 

The response from the families and participants was overwhelmingly positive and at the end of the week, families were inquiring about additional drop off days because their children had such a great time.

Thank you to all the staff who participated and the transportation department for making special last minute arrangements. You continue to make a difference, one day at a time, in the lives of our families!!!




Vicky Ramsay, Senior Director of Billing and Family Services Ms. Ramsay began her career in 1993 working at The Center for Life Enhancement, providing counseling to individuals with HIV/AIDS. Ms. Ramsay also worked at United Families of East Harlem, providing counseling to children with special needs. In 1994, Ms. Ramsay joined QSAC and quickly rose to her current position as Senior Director of Billing and Family Services. Ms. Ramsay oversees an office staff of 30 and over 300 field staff. Ms. Ramsay earned her Bachelors’ Degree from Metropolitan College and received her Master in Public Administration from Baruch College.

Adjusting to life changes for people with disabilities

December 14, 2015 3:00 pm Published by

Life is full of changes, some of these changes are easy to adjust to while others are more challenging. While growing up, I became isolated and withdrawn whenever I had to change much or when change was expected of me. I hated to admit it at the time but the reality was that I hated change and changes happening around me. This became a problem whenever I was expected to do any of my responsibilities and I really disliked it. As a result, my self-esteem suffered and I would throw tantrums and become irate when things did not go the way that I wanted them to go. However, some changes were not all that bad. These changes have made me the person and individual that I am today strong and willful, but cautious about what lays ahead in my future. These changes have also made aware of a future which I now know is promising and fulfilling and is somewhat predictable.

Here are some tips on how I have dealt with changes. Being prepared is one way that can help while adjusting to change. This can be done by making a schedule and sticking with it. Learning how to be flexible by keeping an open mind can also help while adjusting to change. Communicating by expressing ideas, wants, and desires freely. Learning how to do activities that you enjoy, listen to music do art projects this, and spend time with friends. This helps by dealing with stress and can help clear your mind. Finally, allowing others to help by asking for feedback and support can be helpful by allowing you to see things from another point of view and perspective. Give yourself a pat on the back and congratulate yourself on the work that you have done. This will emphasize your efforts and make you aware of them.





Danielle Lazzara serves as a Development Assistant in QSAC’s Development Department and as an instructor in the Self-Advocacy Training Program funded by the Long Island Unitarian Universalist Fund (LIUU Fund) of the Long Island Community Foundation. Danielle is a self-advocate and presents regularly at local and regional workshops and conferences on the topic of self-advocacy. She has been a member of QSAC’s Development Department since 2013 and writes regularly for onQ, QSAC’s blog.

The Right To Effective Treatment: Our Commitment To Our Students (continued)

December 7, 2015 3:00 pm Published by

In September I wrote a piece about our roles and responsibilities to our students and how our teaching and training model works to promote the right to effective treatment as outlined by Van Houten Et al (1988). Since then, the BCBA candidates employed at the QSAC Day School have collaborated to create The Effective Treatment Checklist (ETC), a tool that will allow us to measure whether or not we are succeeding in our efforts. Each of the tenets outlined by Van Houten et al was evaluated against our school practices to determine ways that each one could be observed and measured.

This project accomplished two goals. First, and most importantly, we now have a tool that allows us to quantify our efforts in promoting the right to effective treatment and data collected via the ETC can be used to improve instructional design, student outcomes and staff training. Second, this project allowed our BCBA candidates to review, interpret and analyze journal articles, as well as incorporate peer review and editing into their repertoires.   The ETC tool, resulting from their efforts is provided here.

In the upcoming weeks each of the editors of the ETC will conduct an observation in a classroom other than their own. Their observation data will be brought back to our group discussion. Changes needed in our behavior; that of the teachers, teaching assistants and behavior analysts, will be made based on these data. Our expectation is that we will have to make changes to current practices. We look forward to this challenge and welcome the opportunity to grow and change as a program. The ETC provides a way to measure quality and our goal is to provide the best quality services to our students. Our students have the right to effective, high quality services. What student, teacher or parent would argue with that?




GFelicianoBlogGina Feliciano is the Senior Director of Education Services; prior to that Gina served as the Director of the Preschool. Gina is responsible for the overall operation of the preschool and day school. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (Doctoral level) as well as a certified New York State Special Education Teacher and School Administrator.

Gina received her Doctorate from Columbia University in Special Education and Behavior Disorders in 2006.

Her previous professional experience includes being appointed as Director of Clinical Services, Director of ABA services and years training staff and education professionals as a Behavioral Consultant.

Gina has held academic positions as an adjunct professor at Hunter College, Pace University and Queens College teaching courses on behavior management, classroom management and education psychology.


Van Houten, R., Axelrod, S., Bailey, J. S., Favell, J. E., Foxx, R. M., Iwata, B. A., & Lovaas, O. I. (1988). The right to effective behavioral treatment. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis21(4), 381–384.


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.