One in 68 Children has Autism

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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 www.QSAC.com/gala or call (212) 244-5560 ext. 2000. QSAC is also hosting a silent auction, which will run simultaneously online at www.501auctions.com/qsac and is open to the public (gala ticket is not required to bid).

April 2nd – World Autism Awareness Day

April 1, 2016 9:00 am Published by

WAAdayTomorrow, April 2nd is the eighth annual World Autism Awareness Day.
This years theme is “Autism and the 2030 Agenda: Inclusion and Neurodiversity”

Autism and other forms of disability are part of the human experience that contributes to human diversity. As such, the United Nations has emphasized the need to mainstream disability in the Organization’s development agenda. Mainstreaming disability requires an integral approach in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres, so that inequality is not perpetuated.

Disability and persons with disabilities are explicitly referenced in the following goals: 4) Quality Education; 8) Decent Work and Economic Growth; 10) Reduced Inequalities; 11) Sustainable Cities and Communities; and 17) Partnerships for the Goals.

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.

 

kdumoulin-blogKristen DuMoulin, Ph.D., BCBA, SAS, has been a devoted professional to the field of special education and individuals with autism since 1995. She joined Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) in 2002 and is currently the Director of Children’s Clinical Services, where she is responsible for managing the clinical and administrative aspects of the Early Intervention (EI), Special Education Itinerant Teachers (SEIT), Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS) as well as the CPSE and OPWDD evaluation programs. She is a permanently certified New York State Special Education Teacher and School Administrator.

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!!!

 

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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.

QSAC Sibling Support Group Celebrates its 10th Year!

October 5, 2015 3:00 pm Published by

QSAC’s Sibling Support Group entered its tenth year in July of 2015. The program is open to any family with a child on the autism spectrum. There is a Support Group for siblings, Respite supervised by QSAC staff trained in ABA, as well as an optional Parent Support Group. The program was a 5 week experience, held once a week in the evenings at the QSAC Preschool.

QSAC’s team of facilitators included: to Dita DeSena, Director of After School, Rocio Chavez, Assistant Director of After School, Nevena Savic, Assistant Director of Family Education and Training, Ana Lopez, Staff Trainer, and , Madelyn Wolfin, Social Work Coordinator.

QSAC’s Sibling Support Group provided an opportunity for brothers and sisters of children with autism to obtain peer support and education within a recreational atmosphere. The 2015 siblings ranged in age from 5 to 14 years old, and met for a series of 5 weeks. The children were grouped according to their age, and participated in fun and creative small group exercises. Each meeting was focused on a different theme, designed to elicit an open expression of feelings in a warm, non judgmental environment.

While the children were engaged in Sibling Group and Respite, the parents were invited to participate in a Support Group as well. Although the program was pleased to welcome several new families, a considerable number of participants continue to return year after year. The 2015 Sibling Support Program had 48 participants in total, with 16 children attending the Sibling Support Group, 13 children in Respite, and 19 parents in the Parent Support Group.

 

ThUntitled1e final meeting of the summer traditionally ends with a party for all. This “Bring a Dessert Party” is a time where parents and children join together to eat and share their experiences. It was fun and rewarding for everyone involved. In response to the requests of the participants, QSAC will be offering a series of sibling special events throughout the year. The first meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday October 21, 2015 at 6:30PM at the QSAC Preschool in Douglaston. Feel free to contact Madelyn Wolfin at (718) 728-8476 x 1519 or Mwolfin@qsac.com for further information.

A special thanks to all of the families who participated in the program. They were instrumental to the program’s success, and we look forward to many rewarding years together in the future!

 

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.”

An Open Invitation to QSAC Parents

February 23, 2015 3:00 pm Published by

Raising a child on the autism spectrum is a journey best understood by other parents.  Parents are often faced with unique challenges as well as incredible triumphs as their children grow.  QSAC provides a safe place to share these experiences within various facilities.

The QSAC preschool in Douglaston and the day school in Whitestone offer monthly parent support groups providing a forum to share their feelings, thoughts, and experiences.  Parents are able to discuss frustrations and compare parenting techniques without judgment.  The support group is also a great place to learn about services, support systems, recreation, and activities for their children.

As the facilitator of the QSAC parent support groups in Queens, I have had the privilege to meet parents with undying strength and compassion.  The participants support their children and each other creating an invaluable network for one another.  These parents are active participants in their children’s education and growth providing the foundation for their children to reach their full potential.

If you are a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, I invite you to join our network and share the joy.  Parents do not need to attend all sessions to become a member.  Feel free to drop in when you can; we are always pleased to welcome new members. If you would like to join one of the Queens parent support groups contact Madelyn Wolfin, LMSW at (718) 728-8476 x 1519 or Mwolfin@qsac.com.  A complete listing of QSAC parent support groups is available on QSAC.com.

 

Douglaston Parent Support Group 2014

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Douglaston Evening Support Group and ABA Training 2014

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Whitestone Parent Support Group 2014

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An unforgettable evening for the Manhattan SSG at “The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time” show

January 26, 2015 3:00 pm Published by

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On January 20th, 2015 the Manhattan Social Skills Group (SSG) were invited to the Barrymore Theater to meet with the cast of The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time. They were also presented with, and accepted, a donation on behalf of QSAC from Broadway Cares.  This was a very memorable experience for the students and they were so excited to be a part of this event. The SSG students previously provided technical assistance for the play in June 2014, where they had the opportunity to discuss life with autism.

When they arrived at the theater, they were ushered in by Benjamin Klein (associate director) and were allowed to sit in the theater before the audience members arrived. The SSG students were incredibly happy to be the only ones in the theater and witness, as one participant put it, “where the magic happens”. As they sat and waited for Broadway Cares to arrive, they chatted with Benjamin about what they were currently doing and events which had occurred since the last time Benjamin met with the them (in September, after viewing the show during the premiere week).

During this time, the cast members began to enter the theater to rehearse parts of the show which included stunts. When the boys saw Alexander Sharp (who plays Christopher) they immediately lit up and were thrilled to see him again (they also met with him after viewing the show during the premiere week in September). Alexander proceeded on to the stage with some of the other cast members, while Francesca Faridany (who plays Siobhan) approached the students to greet them and welcome them back to the theater. The students enjoyed a few minutes of watching the cast rehearse, and were in admiration when they saw Alexander perform some of the stunts, where he was lifted into the air. At this time, Broadway Cares arrived and the students were asked to step on stage with the cast members in order to accept their generous donation on behalf of QSAC. The students were delighted to feel part of the cast and to be able to set foot on stage. Francesca presented the donation and expressed how happy the entire cast was to have been able to fundraise on behalf of QSAC.

After photos were taken with the SSG students and cast members, Alexander approached the students to also catch up on what they had been doing since the last time he saw them (Alexander visited the SSG in June 2014).  The students did great discussing their lives and progress in the last few months. They also thanked everyone for the wonderful opportunity and generous donation which they accepted.

The students said their goodbyes and could not believe the experience they had just been a part of. Their smiles stretched from ear to ear and words cannot fully describe the happiness which emanated from each student.

PROJECT LIFESAVER: BRINGING LOVED ONES HOME

January 19, 2015 3:00 pm Published by

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The task of searching for wandering or lost individuals with Autism and other developmental and cognitive conditions is a serious responsibility. Without powerful procedures and devices, searches usually involve a large amount of people and expenses. More importantly, because time is so essential in this matter, every minute lost increases the risk of dreadful consequences.

The primary mission of Project Lifesaver is to provide prompt response to save lives, prevent injuries and bring people safely back home. Project Lifesaver combines state of the art radio technology and a highly trained Deputy Sheriff team. Project Lifesaver users wear a personalized transmitter bracelet which every second emits a tracking signal.

QSAC will be hosting a presentation by The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office for parents who would like to learn more about this device. Project Lifesaver is currently available in Suffolk County but coming soon to other NYS jurisdictions. The date of the presentation is still to be determined. Stay tuned!

First Autism-Friendly Screening Showcasing People on the Autism Spectrum

May 19, 2014 11:24 am Published by
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sprout film festival

On Saturday, May 31st in NYC, the Sprout Film Festival will be presenting an autism-friendly screening of 7 short films featuring people on the autism spectrum.

The program, ON THE SPECTRUM, will take place at 2:00pm on Saturday, May 31st at the SVA Theatre, located at 333 West 23rd Street in NYC.

The following are trailers of some of the films in this program:

Stephen Wiltshire: https://vimeo.com/91734706#at=0

For the Love of Dogshttps://vimeo.com/91729005#at=0

Tommy! The Dreams I Keep Inside Mehttps://vimeo.com/91737466#at=0

For the complete schedule of films and programs in the festival please visit: http://gosprout.org/film-festival/film-guide/

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 www.QSAC.com/JobFair. 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 jobs@qsac.com.

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.