One in 68 Children has Autism

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Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports

June 6, 2016 3:00 pm Published by

As we continue to review the essential components of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS), this post is dedicated to the review of Functional Communication Training (FCT). In order to understand the importance of FCT, a quick review of PBIS is outlined below.

What is PBIS and why do the QSAC Day School and Preschool programs use it?

PBIS is implemented in school settings as a decision-making framework, not a curriculum. As a decision-making framework, PBIS defines expectations for both student and staff behavior and conduct. The goals of PBIS are to ensure that all students have access to the most effective and accurately implemented instructional and behavioral practices and interventions possible in order to improve academic and behavioral outcomes. Some of the outcomes associated with schools that utilize PBIS are less reactive, aversive, dangerous, and exclusionary situations for both staff and students. Management issues can be addressed in the classroom as well as improving supports for students whose behaviors require more specialized assistance (e.g., FBA, BIP), thereby maximizing student academic engagement and achievement (Horner, Sugai, Todd, & Lewis-Palmer, 2005) How is this done? Prevention is where it all begins. For many of our students prevention begins with FCT.

FCT is required to replace problem behavior that has a communicative intent. In order to decrease the use of problem behavior as a means to communicate, replacement behaviors that serve the same communicative function as the problem behavior are needed (Carr & Durand, 1985). For example, a student may engage in problem behavior to get access to an item he/she wants, leave an activity, gain attention, or tell us about discomfort or illness. /\We present this to families and instructional staff by asking: can your student(s)/child make his/her most basic wants and needs known to anyone who is “listening,” in the absence of problem behavior? If the answer is no, then we will work on FCT. In our schools, FCT consists of of intensive mand/request training (Greer & Ross, 2004; Sundberg & Partington, 1994). Depending on the student, his/her abilities, and the manner (topography) in which he/she communicates, our goal is to offer many (even hundreds) of opportunities a day to practice asking for items/activities/access. What does this have to do with PBIS?

In PBIS students can be provided with 3 levels of support: Primary (school/class wide supports), secondary (for smaller, at risk groups of students) and tertiary (specialized individual supports). FCT would fall within the secondary and certainly tertiary supports. Based on assessment and data, students in our schools have instructional goals to increase their ability to communicate more effectively and efficiently. As we know from the behavior analytic literature on FCT, the ability to communicate decreases problem behavior (Carr & Durand, 1985). Some of our students require that a large portion of their daily instruction be FCT. By increasing our students’ abilities to ask for what they want and need, we are better preparing our students to receive and benefit from learning opportunities. Think about how motivated you would be to come to work if you couldn’t ask for a day off, find out when your pay check was arriving, or even order your lunch.

In both QSAC schools, FCT is used as a secondary and tertiary support and is an essential part of daily instruction. By spending more time teaching functional communication, we strive to spend less time managing problem behavior; this falls in line with the definition of PBIS.

 

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.

 

 

References

Carr, E. G., & Durand, V. M. (1985). Reducing behavior problems through functional communication training. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 18(2), 111-126. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1901/jaba.1985.18-111

Greer, R. D. (1987). A manual of teaching operations for verbal behavior. Yonkers, NY: CABAS and The Fred S. Keller School.

Greer, R. D., & Ross, D. E. (2004). Verbal behavior analysis: A program of research in the induction and expansion of complex verbal behavior. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention1(2), 141.

Horner, R.H., Sugai, G., Todd, A.W., & Lewis-Palmer, T. (2005). School-wide positive behavior support. In L. Bambara & L. Kern (Eds.) Individualized supports for students with problem behaviors: Designing positive behavior plans. (pp. 359-390) New York: Guilford Press.

Sundberg, M. L., & Partington, J.W. (1998). Teaching language to children with autism or other developmental disabilities. Danville, CA: Behavior Analysts, Inc.

 

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. http://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.1988.21-381

The Right To Effective Behavioral Treatment: Our Commitment To Our Students

September 14, 2015 3:00 pm Published by

As a school administrator, who is a board certified and NYS licensed behavior analyst, ethical considerations drive programmatic decision making. Curriculum, staff training, and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) candidate supervision and training are all inspired by the need to ensure effective treatment for our students. Van Houten and his colleagues (1988) were progressive in their conceptualization of how effective treatment is defined. Although the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and certification were not established until 1998 the authors identified an “individual’s right to treatment by a competent behavior analyst” as required for ensuring their right to effective treatment.

At QSAC our education programs take this tenet very seriously. Does this mean that our students are only taught by Board Certified Behavior Analysts? No, what it means is that we strive to ensure that we are meeting the guidelines set forth by Van Houten and his colleagues (1988) when we train and supervise staff. According to the authors; those responsible for delivering, directing, or evaluating the effects of behavioral treatment should have “appropriate education and experience.” We have defined what “appropriate” looks like based on staff training literature (Sarokoff & Sturmey, 2004; Koegel, Russo & Rincover, 1977).  By using behavioral skills training packages we have observable and measurable performance criteria for newly hired staff. All teaching staff are trained to a predetermined criteria across specific skills before implementing practices with our students. The basic training sequence includes, but is not limited to: conditioning the instructor as a reinforcer, mand training, discrete trial instruction, and conducting preference assessments. By using this system we are able to attest to the ability level of each instructor. What does that have to do with competence?

This training systems was devised by a certified behavior analyst who consulted the literature and is monitored by three certified behavior analysts. To our pioneers Van Houten et al.; we ask does this meet the criteria? Because we do not yet have an answer, we work under the assumption that yes, by using practices derived from the behavior analytic literature, implemented and monitored by BCBAs, we are meeting our ethical requirements of treatment by competent behavior analysts.

To further support our argument we are able to test the rest of Van Houten et al.’s (1988) argument for treatment provided by competent behavior analysts. For example, is the academic training (of the behavior analyst) reflective of knowledge of behavioral principles, methods of assessment, and treatment; check! Our programs are supervised by BCBAs. Do our school leaders/trainers and supervisors have clinical competence with practicum/supervised experience with relevant populations? Check! See above. This is in addition to the many BCBA candidates we supervise in our setting who are looking for a similarly intensively supervised setting. Lastly do our students have access to doctoral level behavior analysts to manage more difficult treatment needs? Check, check, and check. Each of our programs has at least one doctoral level staff member on site who has the demonstrated ability to provide more intensive support when needed. Our efforts to train staff at times seems herculean, but our commitment to our students and their RIGHT to effect treatment is unwavering.

 

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.

 

 

Koegel, R. L., Russo, D. C., & Rincover, A. (1977). Assessing and training teachers in the generalized use of behavior modification with autistic children. Journal Of Applied Behavior Analysis10(2), 197-205. doi:10.1901/jaba.1977.10-197.

Sarokoff, R. A., & Sturmey, P. (2004). The effects of behavioral skills training on staff implementation of discrete-trial teaching. Journal Of Applied Behavior Analysis37(4), 535-538. doi:10.1901/jaba.2004.37-535

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. http://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.1988.21-381

Battling the winter blues? How visual supports can help!

February 16, 2015 3:00 pm Published by

It’s the dead of winter and for those of you living in the Northeast in particular, it’s been one winter! During these long, cold days it’s a good idea to have a snow day plan for you and your child with special needs. Consider the use of schedules and visual supports to help both YOU and your child when inclement weather keeps you indoors.  A basic schedule would include some of the things that need to get done paired with things you know your child would like to do. Set up your schedule so the fun activity follows the “chore”.  For example “First we brush our teeth”, then we “_______” (fill in fun activity here).  If your child reads he/she or you can write this out. If your child is better with pictures, it can look like this.  The picture of the activity can be drawn, copied, pasted etc in the corresponding box.

First

First

Then

then

 

If you have an older child or a child that can manage a longer list, try a checklist. You can add a sticker, smiley face etc once each task is completed.   Here is an example.

 

snowday

 

In November, QSAC released a free ibook specifically designed to support families.  In this engaging, interactive ibook, Chapter 3 is dedicated to helping families manage home life specifically through the use of visual supports.  There are many examples of visuals in the chapter,  as well as apps and websites to help you organize the worst of snow days.  If you have an Apple computer or Ipad click to download for free https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bridging-the-gap/id936759477?ls=1&mt=11

 

Don’t have an Ipad?  No worries.  Check out another great website with FREE printable resources such as calendars, sticker and job charts is http://www.kidpointz.com/printable-charts/

 

Take a deep breath…. winter can’t last forever.  In the meantime use these free resources to help get you through those snow days.  Chances are you will keep them in place because they really do help.

 

 

 

New Resource for Parents of Children with Autism

December 11, 2014 5:11 pm Published by

Receiving a diagnosis of Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a life altering event; a family’s hopes, dreams and aspirations for their child come crashing to a halt with those few words. Working in a preschool program we see families in varying states of understanding, acceptance and yes denial of this difficult news. This spring, QSAC received an anonymous grant to create a resource for just those families.

unnamedThrough this grant I had to the opportunity to work with Melissa Peltz to create a multi-touch, interactive ebook, published on the iBooks Store.  This ebook incorporates curated apps, videos, and interactive content that highlights topics families told us were important. These resources are meant to provide support for families who might be waiting to receive services or to supplement existing services.

 

Throughout the book, practical tips and solutions are provided in family-friendly language and cover topics including: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), assessment and intervention (important before beginning any teaching program), home routines, socialization, functional communication, pre-academic/academic skills, and managing problem behaviors.

 The book was launched in November and is free on the iBooks Store. We hope that you take a look, find utility in it and share it.

You can find it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bridging-the-gap/id936759477?ls=1&mt=11.

Progress in the Preschool: What the data say…

January 13, 2014 8:00 pm Published by

What?! It’s 2014 already?

Although much of our school year is still left, the first five months went so quickly. What better time than January to reflect on what we have done and where we want to go.  Setting measurable, attainable goals is essential for any behavior analytic program. For our graduating students this takes on greater urgency.  In the Turning 5 year of preschool each benchmark set is our last chance to  prepare our students for greater independence and potential opportunities in a less restrictive environment when they leave us. In September, we set two goals for our graduating students: being toilet trained and effective communication. Our definition of effective communication is having a mand repertoire, i.e. telling someone in their environment what his/her needs are. At our first assessment opportunity in September, of our 44 graduating students, 47% of our students were toilet trained, but that means 53% were not. Our student performance in functional communication was better: 72% of our students were able to communicate their most basic needs. Our criterion for success for both of these goals  is 100%.  We are confident we are going to get there.

How can we be so sure? Because we teach and measure.  In our first five months of school we have presented 499,440  instructional opportunities. Our students have mastered 5,951 goals/objectives and our students frequency of mands (requests) have increased from 1,576 week to an all time high of 10,000. That is a six-fold increase.  With this amount of success, productivity, and accountability in our first five months we know what we need to do to help our students meet these two goals.  By using the tenets of 3CROD (close, continual, contact with relevant outcome data; Bushell & Baer, 1994) we assess the need for learning objectives, teach to those objectives, collect data, analyze data, and adjust our teaching style based on student performance. By adhering to these practices we can apply strategies, tactics and technologies to increase our students’ probability of meeting these important goals.  Seven months of our school year are left, we have a lot of work to do! Watch here for our next update.

Turning over a new Leaf at the QSAC Preschool – PBIS comes to Preschool

September 30, 2013 3:13 pm Published by
During the long cold days of winter, the clinical team at the QSAC Preschool came to a consensus. We wanted to build a stronger foundation in which to develop stronger behavior analytic teaching practices for the 2013-14 school year. During the winter and spring we toiled, scouring and discussing best practice literature, ultimately deciding that PBIS ( Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports) fit perfectly into our behavior analytic program. In September, we launched a campaign called “Turning Over a New Leaf”. Because we pride ourselves in our use of behavior analysis system wide, subscribing to the tenets of PBIS would only serve to highlight this. We are teaching our staff that what we do daily promotes several ideals; the effective and accurate implementation of instructional and behavioral practices and interventions. We are confident that this will only make our program better.

While we are not stating we are a PBIS program, by incorporating these practices we think we can strengthening our teaching. The four integrated elements found in a PBIS program are already aligned with our school practices:

• the use of data for decision making
• measurable outcomes supported and evaluated by data
• practices with evidence that these outcomes are achievable and
• systems that efficiently and effectively support implementation of these practices

PBIS is guided by 6 principals, 2 of which are arranging the environment to prevent the development and occurrence of problem behavior while teaching and encouraging prosocial skills and behaviors. With all of this as our framework we adopted 3 tenets for preschool conduct: Be safe, Be responsible and Be Kind. Each classroom then created a matrix of how each of these should look in the classroom, the hallway, the gym and the bathroom.

By doing this everyone knew what being safe, kind and responsible would look like. We could now look for both staff and student behaviors to be reinforced. Although still in its infancy we have heard teaching staff tact that what they were doing was “being responsible”or “kind”. The data will tell us if “Turning over a New leaf” has lead to an decrease in inappropriate student behavior and an increase in prosocial behaviors. Stay tuned for updates!

Gina Feliciano, PhD, SAS, BCBA-D, Preschool Director

New Partnership will Train Future Educators for Children with Autism – QSAC’s Preschool and Queens College Sign Partnership Agreement

June 13, 2013 3:18 pm Published by

Queens, N.Y., June 13, 2013 – Quality Services for the Autism Community’s (QSAC) Preschool in Douglaston and Queens College have forged an agreement that will support a collaborative partnership to enhance the behavior analytic training of students enrolled at the college. Students participating in the program are enrolled in Queens College’s Psychology Ph.D. program and Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s degree program.

The College’s program will provide CUNY students with relevant mentored clinical and research opportunities to supplement the graduate program experiences. Specifically, the program will draw on QSAC’s more than 35 years of experience in serving the autism community as well as the organization’s staff including Gina Feliciano, Ph.D., BCBA-D, SAS, the Director of the QSAC Preschool.

The Preschool will benefit from this partnership by having teaching assistants who are pursuing at least a Master’s degree and are funded by an outside entity. With their onsite work at QSAC, not only will students in the preschool and QSAC staff benefit by the field of Applied Behavior Analysis will as well. As QSAC moves forward in our mission to provide the best evidenced based services for the people we serve, it is important that QSAC be a part of the research efforts. This new relationship with Queens College will aid in increasing QSAC’s visibility with regards to Applied Behavior Analysis as well as its long history of providing quality services for the autism community.

The QSAC Preschool is a center-based program which provides children between the ages of three and five with an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. The preschool is a full day, 12-month program with a continuum of class size ratios from small classes to less restrictive classrooms, which are led by New York State Certified Special Education Teachers. All classroom instruction at the preschool is implemented according to the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis.

This new partnership between the QSAC Preschool and Queens College is a testament to QSAC’s longstanding commitment to supporting new professionals entering the field. Throughout its history, QSAC has trained a number of leaders serving children and adults with autism. Regarding the new partnership, QSAC’s Deputy Executive Director who is an alumna of Queens College, Lisa Veglia said, “We are very excited about this new partnership. Our close relationship with Queens College goes back many years, so this agreement will allow us to work even more closely together as we train the next generation of professionals serving children with autism.”

ABOUT QSAC

Quality Services for the Autism Community is dedicated to providing meaningful educational, residential, habilitation, and support services for children with autism and their families. Today, QSAC serves more than 5,000 people per year throughout New York City and Long Island. Visit QSAC online at www.qsac.com.

Grant Will Help Families Navigate Services for Children with Autism

May 23, 2013 6:15 pm Published by
$145,000 Challenge Grant Will Help Families Navigate Services for Children with Autism
Grant Marks Largest Foundation Gift Ever Made to QSAC
 
New York, N.Y., May 23, 2013– Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) and the New York Center for Autism Charter School (NYCACS), as a sub-grantee, have received a challenge grant for $145,000 from The Heckscher Foundation for Children in support of its “Pathways for the Future” initiative. This collaboration will provide families throughout the region with access to meaningful support for navigating key transition points throughout the life of a child with autism.
The $145,000 grant from The Heckscher Foundation for Children is a matching grant in that it will need to be matched with new donations from the community over the two years. In essence, any donation over the next two years will be doubled with the support from the Heckscher Foundation.
The Pathways program is an educational initiative for parents and providers on transition periods during the life of child with autism and the various programs children are eligible for. The project will also incorporate a one-on-one component regarding support and advocacy on behalf of parents seeking services for their children with autism, so as to assist with program eligibility and linkage to services.
These workshops and conferences will be tailored so as to address key transition points in the life of a child with autism. Specifically, those transition periods are (1) diagnosis, (2) early intervention, (3) preschool, (4) school, and (5) adulthood. This resource will help to inform families about existing public and private programs that their children may qualify for as well as link them to concrete services when possible.
All of the programs offered through this initiative will be free for the family members of children and adults with autism. In the coming weeks, the date and location of AUTISM 2014 will be announced. The annual conference will be open to family members, educators, professionals, and other individuals interested in learning more about services for people with autism and their families as well as the various processes involved with obtaining eligibility for services. .
QSAC’s Executive Director, Gary Maffei said, “The timing of this grant and initiative are critical in that it will coincide with the forthcoming changes associated with the funding of services for people with developmental disabilities. This generous grant from The Heckscher Foundation for Children will ensure that we are well-prepared to assist families as they seek to obtain much-needed services and programs for their loved ones under the current system as well as the future processes.”
This grants marks the largest foundation gift ever to QSAC. If you would like to learn more about the Pathways program or if you are interested in making a donation toward the match campaign, please contact Joseph Amodeo, Director of Development, at jamodeo@qsac.com or (212) 244-5560, ext. 2016.
ABOUT QSAC
Quality Services for the Autism Community is dedicated to providing meaningful educational, residential, habilitation, and support services for children with autism and their families. Today, QSAC serves more than 5,000 people per year throughout New York City and Long Island. Visit QSAC online atwww.qsac.com.
ABOUT THE HECKSCHER FOUNDATION FOR CHILDREN
The Heckscher Foundation was founded in 1921 to promote the welfare of children in New York and elsewhere throughout the United States. Today, it provides grants to youth-serving organizations in the fields of education, family services, child welfare, health, arts and recreation.

Helpful Hints for Turning 5 and Kindergarten Registration

February 15, 2013 8:29 pm Published by

Helpful Hints for Turning 5 and Kindergarten Registration

Gina Feliciano, PhD, SAS, BCBA-D

Director of QSAC Preschool  

Long days of winter get us thinking about many things:  Spring, sun, flowers and Transition to Kindergarten…. It’s no coincidence that the registration process for Kindergarten occurs in winter, it’s a time to be thinking about new beginnings. For New York City families investigating kindergarten placement for a child with special needs, much thought and consideration is required. Below are some tips to help the process. 

When applying and registering for Kindergarten two separate processes have to be done at the same time.

1. Kindergarten registration. This is the process for ALL students in NYC who are entering kindergarten.

2. The turning 5 process. This is how a child moves from Preschool Special Education services (CPSE)  to School Age Special Education services (CSE).

These 2 processes happen simultaneously but are SEPARATE. If your child is receiving special education services you will complete both of these procedures.

Kindergarten registration

            The Kindergarten timelines are below. These are not the same as the “Turning 5″ timelines. If you have not yet started the Kindergarten process there is still time!

The Deadline is March 1st.

January 22, 2013

Application period begins

March 1, 2013

Deadline to submit application

Early April, 2013

Placement offers distributed to families

April 8-April 26, 2013

Pre-registration at schools (to accept placement)

            If you think your child will attend your zone school an application is still required. If you do not apply you will NOT  automatically be given access to your zone schools. Parents who live in “Choice” Districts 1, 7 and 23 can apply online and students will not be assigned to local zoned schools.  

            If you are interested in schools outside of your zone area, you must apply. You can apply to as many schools as you are interested in, but priority is given to children living in their home zone.  If you have difficulty submitting an application please send your questions here Turning5@schools.nyc.gov. Be sure to include the following information: school name, location, the names of any individuals interacted with (if known), and the names of the student and parent.

More information about the registration process can be found here:

http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/SpecialEducation/tellmemore/transitioning_to_kindergarten.htm
The Turning 5 process

            While you are working on Kindergarten registration, the Department of Education will be getting ready to transition your child from CPSE to CSE. By now you should have been contacted by a representative  from your zoned (neighborhood) elementary school or one of the ten Committees on Special Education (CSEs). This DOE representative will assist you with the transition to school-age services.  When you have any questions or concerns, this is the first person you contact.

             As part of the transition process an observation will be set up for your child at his/her current school. During this period, remember you are your child’s best advocate. Stay in touch with the representative from your district, keep copies of all correspondence and be mindful of timelines and deadlines.  Your child’s current school is often  a very good place to get updates on when the observations occur etc. Information gathered during the observation will be used in conjunction with information provided by your child’s school as part of the Turning 5 meeting. 

What if my child has an IEP and I want him/her to attend my zoned school?

            First complete an application for your zone school! Remember the deadline is March 1st.  Call the school to see if they will have an open house.   Ask about the special education services offered in the school.  If your zone school doesn’t have the services your child needs, your child will get them out of zone.  Some programs do require an online application.

Great information can be found here:   http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/SpecialEducation/tellmemore/transitioning_to_kindergarten.htm

or

http://www.advocatesforchildren.org/sites/default/files/library/turning_5_guide.pdf?pt=1

Autism Spectrum Disorders and NYC Department of Education

            While every community school has the capacity to serve the majority of students with disabilities, not every school has the required specialized expertise to serve students with certain specific needs, like Autism Spectrum Disorders. Therefore, some students may be eligible for specialized programs provided by a few specific community schools or for District 75’s programs and schools. If your child meets eligibility requirements, he or she may be offered a place in a school offering a particular program as an alternative to the placement offered through kindergarten admissions.  Two ASD specialty programs exist in New York City, The ASD NEST and the ASD Horizon Programs.  Both of these programs are  community based programs that do offer specialized services.  A separate application (ASD inquiry form)  has to be completed if you are interested in applying for either of these programs.

How do I know if one of these  programs is  right for my child?

            Review the information found on the following website.  If you think your child might be a  candidate for one of these programs be sure to complete the inquiry form ( also found on the website).

In brief

ASD NEST: Students in the program are in an integrated setting and are expected to be able to meet the requirements of the general education curriculum. Receptive, expressive and adaptive abilities have to be about age appropriate for a kindergarten student.  Children in this program have to be toilet trained. This program is run in collaboration with New York University.

ASD Horizon: Offers a smaller class and is not integrated. Horizon offers opportunities for individualized instructions, access to the general education curriculum and inclusion opportunities.  This program is run in collaboration with The New England Center for Children.

More information is available here:

http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/SpecialEducation/enrolling/specializedprograms/ASD.htm

Remember: Spring forward! 

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.