One in 68 Children has Autism

QSAC's blog – Community Relations » Community Relations

Valerie Smaldone to Emcee and Will & Anthony Nunziata to Headline Gala Benefiting Services for more than 2,100 Children and Adults with Autism

May 11, 2016 7:59 pm Published by
Valerie Smaldone
Valerie Smaldone

On Tuesday, June 14, 2016, QSAC (Quality Services for the Autism Community) will host its annual gala benefiting more than 2,100 children and adults with autism. Five-time Billboard Magazine Award winner and noted radio star, Valerie Smaldone will serve as the emcee for the event, which will feature a performance by recording artists and concert stars, Will & Anthony Nunziata.

The event will take place at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City from 6:00PM to 10:00PM. At the event, QSAC will be honoring AT&T, Pratima and Avinash Malhotra and their family, and three members of QSAC’s management (Paul Naranjo, Cory Polshansky, and Lisa A. Veglia).

Will & Anthony
Will & Anthony Nunziata

The event is being chaired by Mark Lacher of Koeppel Auto Group who is serving in memory of his mother, Clara Lacher, who was also a QSAC founder. Koeppel Auto Group is also underwriting this year’s $15,000 cash raffle.

AT&T is being recognized with the 2016 Innovation in Accessibility Award for their Connect Ability Challenge, which was hosted in collaboration with NYU. The goal of the Connect Ability Challenge was to leverage mobile and wireless technologies to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

Pratima and Avinash Malhotra, and their family, will be honored with QSAC’s Philanthropic Leadership Award for their outstanding service to QSAC. Mrs. Malhotra is a long-time board member of QSAC. The Malhotras will be recognized alongside both of their sons, Kanuj and Chetan.

In recognition of more than 20-years of service to the autism community, Paul Naranjo, Chief Financial Officer, Cory Polshansky, Deputy Executive Director, and Lisa A. Veglia, Deputy Executive Director, will be honored by the organization.

For additional information regarding the event, please visit or call (212) 244-5560 ext. 2000. QSAC is also hosting a silent auction, which will run simultaneously online at and is open to the public (gala ticket is not required to bid).

QSAC Opens New Center in Suffolk to Support Adults with Autism

May 20, 2015 9:29 pm Published by
QSAC Ribbon Cutting
Pictured L to R: Lisa Veglia, QSAC Deputy Executive Director; Cory Polshansky, QSAC Deputy Executive Director; Jackie Best, Director of the Long Island Developmental Disabilities Regional Office for the NYS Office of People with Developmental Disabilities; Gary Maffei, QSAC Executive Director; Brian Finnegan, Legislative Aide to Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci; Tom Cilmi, Suffolk County Legislator; Councilwoman Susan Berland of the Town of Huntington; and Paul Naranjo, QSAC Chief Financial Officer.

Quality Services for the Autism Community’s (QSAC), a nonprofit providing services for children and adults with autism, celebrated the opening of its new center for supporting adults with autism in Suffolk County with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. The center (320 South Service Road, Melville, NY) will provide person-centered support services for adults with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The opening of QSAC’s new offices in Melville are a part of the agency’s continued expansion on Long Island as it seeks to meet a growing need for services for families affected by autism living in the region.

Initially, the new site will provide day habilitation services for adults with autism living in the surrounding area. QSAC’s day habilitation program supports participants in developing the skills necessary for them to become active and participating members of their own homes and communities. QSAC will also offer trainings and support groups for families and professionals supporting individuals with autism.

Joining QSAC’s leadership team for the ribbon cutting was Jackie Best, Director of the Long Island Developmental Disabilities Regional Office for the New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) as well as local elected officials including Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi and Town of Huntington Councilwoman Susan Berland as well as Brian Finnegan of Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci’s office.

Regarding the new site, Gary Maffei, QSAC’s executive director said, “Our new office in Suffolk is a testament to QSAC’s ongoing commitment to providing quality services and supports for individuals with autism and their families throughout New York City and Long Island. With the opening of a Suffolk office, we look forward to serving this wonderful community and to helping to meet a growing need for services.”

$300,000 in Grants will Support Expanded Programs for Autism Community

December 3, 2014 9:32 pm Published by

Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC), a nonprofit serving New York City and Long Island, has received more than $300,000 in grants in support of its training programs to support children and adults with autism.

A $130,000 grant from The New York Community Trust (NYCT) will support the expansion of QSAC’s teacher training program in New York City public schools. The program will provide participating schools with a series of workshops regarding autism and the implementation of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in the classroom. The expanded initiative seeks to increase the capacity of educators to support students with autism in mainstream learning environments. Participating schools will receive 14 hours worth of in-person trainings as well as 6 hours worth of in-classroom feedback. Schools interested in learning more about the training program or applying to be a partner school can visit

Regarding the grant from NYCT, Lisa A. Veglia, QSAC’s Deputy Executive Director said, “The expanded in-person training program, made possible by the generous support of The New York Community Trust, will help us to reach hundreds of teachers and other educators over the next two years while also providing them with a more comprehensive curriculum. We’re particularly excited about expanding our program to New York City community schools.”

The Heckscher Foundation for Children awarded QSAC a $132,200 grant that will support the development and launch of a new online training platform for educators supporting students with autism. The project will ensure that teaching professionals have access to valuable training information regardless of their geography or their ability to access in-person trainings. The trainings will also be made available to parents and other support professionals working with the autism community. A $15,000 grant from the Frederick S. Upton Foundation will also support the buildout of the online learning platform and the videotaping of the trainings being funded by NYCT.

A $25,000 grant from the Long Island Unitarian Universalist Fund (LIUU Fund) has provided the funds needed to launch a new self-advocacy training program on Long Island for young adults with autism. The program will support the development of the skills participants need to effectively advocate for their rights in meetings with elected officials and community leaders. The project is unique in that it seeks to support the program participants in the development of their own policy agenda that they will present in meetings with local and state officials.

QSAC’s Executive Director, Gary A. Maffei said, “We are truly grateful for the generous support of The New York Community Trust, Heckscher Foundation for Children, Long Island Unitarian Universalist Fund, and the Frederick S. Upton Foundation. Their support will enable us to enhance and expand programs that will help to meet the needs of children and adults with autism and their families. By expanding our teacher training program in New York City, and with the rollout of a new online platform, we’ll be able to reach even more educators supporting learners with autism. In addition, the self-advocacy program will help train participants in valuable skills that will empower them to advocate for their rights. These grants will help us further live out our mission of helping children and adults with autism achieve greater independence and realize their full potential.”

In Honor of Mother’s Day…

May 14, 2014 10:33 am Published by

As a clinician who works every day with parents of children with autism, I see and hear how hard it is for parents to deal with the stress of raising a child with autism. When it is hard for their son or daughter to start something new, learn a social interaction, or communicate an emotion effectively, they are there through it all. Through all the trials and tribulations, what I see and hear most, is that their child is their biggest pride and joy. Even on the hardest of days, they smile because of them.

Parents of children with autism support each other, especially the moms, who are often the primary caretakers. They are a community of many mothers coming together as one. They discuss many aspects of their lives, drawing from their common experience as mothers, those caring for children on the autism spectrum.

To all the moms who have children with autism, you inspire me!  Your resilience and coping skills, your love, devotion and commitment to your child’s progress is truly something to be admired.

Below is a picture from our Long Island Sibling Support Group. They created cards and candy to share with their moms and had a great time doing so.

20140512_204635 (1)

Happy Mother’s Day!

A special thank you to the Blue Hill Troupe

April 15, 2014 11:31 am Published by

Dear Friends,

Over the past year, QSAC has been fortunate to partner with the Blue Hill Troupe (BHT) as their 2013-2014 charity. As a part of this partnership, the Troupe generously donates the net proceeds from their season to their charity partner. In fact, for more than 90-years, the Troupe has been producing first-rate productions throughout New York City to benefit community-based organizations.

Whether you joined us for their fall production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” or for their recent production of “Ruddigore,” both were terrific! On behalf of QSAC and the families we serve, I want to extend a special thank you to the Troupe for their commitment to our work in the community. Their generosity will have a direct impact on our efforts to increase access to educational technology for children and adults with autism participating in QSAC’s programs and services.

As the Troupe enters its 91st year of service to New Yorkers in need, I hope you’ll join me in thanking them for their tremendous commitment to our community. Their dedication of time, talent, and treasure is truly inspiring. You can joining me in congratulating the Troupe on another successful season while thanking them for their support by visiting them on Facebook or Twitter and leaving a comment or tweeting a short “thank you.”

Partnerships with organizations like the Blue Hill Troupe enrich our programs and the lives of the children and adults we serve. These partnerships remind us that together we can achieve great things.

Kind regards,
Gary Maffei, M.P.A.
Executive Director and CEO

CDC reports autism rates climb to 1 in 68

March 27, 2014 3:26 pm Published by

Dear Friend,

Earlier today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that autism diagnosis rates had climbed 30% over the past two years from 1 in 88, to 1 in 68 schoolchildren. The report issued by the CDC also mentioned that diagnosis rates among boys is now 1 in 42 boys compared to the earlier statistic of 1 in 54 boys.

With today’s news, I wanted to take a moment to share with you an article from CNN regarding the CDC’s new report: “CDC: 1 in 68 U.S. children has autism.”

As we reflect on the CDC’s new report, please know that QSAC has programs and services for families in need of support. In fact, for more than 36 years we have been providing person-centered educational, residential, habilitation, and support services for children and adults with autism throughout New York City and Long Island. In light of the CDC’s recent report, it’s clear that our mission is more important now than ever before.

If you know of a friend or family member who may be seeking services or supports, please encourage them to visit the “Our Resources” section of QSAC’s website to learn more about our support groups, parent trainings, and other community-based programs.

With the CDC’s new report, I hope you’ll join me and others in expressing the continued need for critical programs and services to support the autism community. As diagnosis rates continue to rise, so too will the need for support services.

Thank you again for your support of QSAC and our programs for the autism community.

Kind regards,
Gary Maffei
Executive Director

Support the Bronx Day Hab’s Dog Biscuit Company

March 26, 2014 1:02 pm Published by

An enterprising crew from the Bronx Day-Hab has started up their very own business!

Members of the Doggy Delights team began from scratch and have built a thriving dog biscuit company. The team bakes the biscuits on site using fresh ingredients and has marketed their product to members of the QSAC community.

Please support our efforts and give your dog a delicious peanut buttery treat! To place an order, contact Courtney Johnson at  (718) 728-8476, ext. 1800. (Note: delivery/ pick-up will be arranged depending on location- all bags are $3.00, payment is COD/ COP).

Job Fair on March 18: Join Us to Learn More About a Rewarding Career with QSAC

March 5, 2014 4:36 pm Published by

On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) will host a job fair at their office located at 25-09 Broadway to recruit and fill multiple positions. QSAC is seeking employees to fill vacancies for community habilitation and respite opportunities.

Positions are part-time during the afternoon, evening, weekend and school holidays. Locations are in consumers’ homes throughout Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Nassau. Jobs are available in May 2014.

The Job Fair will provide interested candidates with an opportunity to interview with QSAC’s hiring staff while learning more about job opportunities with the organization. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent, however, a college degree is preferred. Applicants with a familiarity with people with developmental disabilities, a plus.

QSAC will be primarily recruiting candidates for Community Habilitation Specialist openings. Habilitation Specialists are responsible for the implementation of client treatment plans. In addition, to client treatment plans, employees promote client socialization, recreation, communication, travel training and money management where applicable. On-the-job training related to the responsibilities of the position will be provided.

Interested applicants can register online for an interview time at Interview times are available for  4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 7 p.m. If you are unavailable to attend, please email your resume and a cover letter with a subject line indicating “Direct Care Worker” to

Council Member Johnson Visits QSAC

March 4, 2014 11:59 am Published by

Earlier today, Council Member Corey Johnson visited QSAC’s Day Habilitation Program in his district in Manhattan. The Council Member had an opportunity to meet with program participants and staff while also learning more about QSAC’s programs and services for the autism community throughout the borough and the city. Council Member Johnson represents Manhattan’s West Side (District 3) and serves as the Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Health.

Council Member Johnson shakes hands with a participant from QSAC's Day Habilitation program.
Council Member Johnson shakes hands with a participant from QSAC’s Day Habilitation program.
Council Member Johnson and a member of QSAC's Day Habilitation staff discuss the impact of our programs.
Council Member Johnson and a member of QSAC’s Day Habilitation staff discuss the impact of our programs.













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.