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).

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.”

QSAC Releases New Multi-Touch Book for Parents and Teachers Supporting Children with Autism

November 21, 2014 7:32 pm Published by
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QSAC (Quality Services for the Autism Community), a 38-year old New York City-based nonprofit serving children and adults with autism, has released its first book for iPad for supporting parents of children with autism. Bridging the Gap: A Curriculum for Supporting your Young Learner with Autism (http://bit.ly/qsacbook), is currently available as a Multi-Touch Book on the iBooks Store. The book is free on the iBooks Store. Bridging the Gap provides parents with a resource for supporting their preschooler/toddler with autism. Gina Feliciano, Ph.D., BCBA-D, SAS, Director of QSAC’s Preschool, and Melissa Peltz, M.S.Ed, authored the book.

In addition to background information regarding autism, parents of preschoolers and toddlers will find interactive features including helpful videos and featured iOS apps that will help them support their children in improving skills in key domains including: Communication, socialization, academic skills among others. Parents can also test their knowledge regarding autism at the end of each chapter with a brief interactive quiz. The book will also be of interest to educators, behavior analysts, pediatricians, and others who work with and support children with autism.

CoverFinalDr. Feliciano and Ms. Peltz carefully vetted the inclusion of a number of apps, some are free and others require a purchase through the App Store, which will help parents to provide their children with engaging and educational tools. Featured apps include Toby PlayPad, Proloquo2Go, Autism Apps, ABA Flash Cards, Behavior Tracker Pro, and many others. Each app is featured alongside supporting material that has been written by Dr. Feliciano and Ms. Peltz regarding which skill areas the app supports.

“This new Multi-Touch Book is a testament to QSAC’s commitment to the families we serve and to the greater community. Dr. Feliciano, Ms. Peltz, and the creative team behind the book, have created an engaging resource that we’re confident parents, teachers, and others who work with children with autism will find to be helpful. Whether confronting a recent autism diagnosis or seeking a resource for helping their child build critical skills,Bridging the Gap will be a valuable tool for parents,” said Gary Maffei, M.P.A., QSAC’s executive director.

The Multi-Touch Book can be downloaded on the iBooks Store by visiting http://bit.ly/qsacbook.

About the Authors

Gina Feliciano is the Director of the Preschool at QSAC and has been in the position since 2012. Gina is responsible for the overall operation of the preschool. 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 (Ph.D.) 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.

Melissa Peltz has been working with children since 2007. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Queens College in Elementary Education and Sociology and her master’s degree at Queens College in Early Childhood Special Education specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Since 2011, she has taught a diverse group of children, including those with disabilities in various public, private, and special educational environments. She is also a member of a team that was instrumental in reforming a school supporting children with autism in Beijing, China and is currently in the process of publishing a book on evidence-based practices to be used at the school.

First Autism-Friendly Screening Showcasing People on the Autism Spectrum

May 19, 2014 11:24 am Published by
sproutfilm2014

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/

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

News Release: Sprint to Receive Change Maker Award at QSAC’s Gala for Commitment to Accessible Mobile Technology

February 27, 2014 10:00 am Published by

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Feb. 27, 2014 – Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC), a New York-based charity supporting children and adults with autism, has selected Sprint (NYSE: S) as the 2014 recipient of the Change Maker Award for its commitment to accessibility for people with disabilities. Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO, will accept the honor on behalf of the company at QSAC’s annual gala taking place on Tuesday, June 17, at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers (West 26 Street and West Side Highway) in New York.

Each year, QSAC’s Change Maker Award recognizes a company that has made a meaningful commitment to supporting the needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Sprint is being honored for delivering innovative accessible solutions that empower individuals with disabilities.

Sprint offers a variety of products and services, including unique, accessibility-themed ID packs for select Android™ devices that are designed to accommodate various ChangeMakerAwardSeal-2014Recipientaccessibility needs. Sprint’s Accessible Education ID pack, among other services, assists individuals with autism who are working to improve their socialization and communication skills.

“Sprint’s efforts to expand access to technology embodies our hope for more tools and resources to assist individuals with disabilities in achieving greater independence, empowering them to contribute more meaningfully to their communities,” said Gary Maffei, executive director of QSAC. “By recognizing Sprint, QSAC hopes to encourage others to actively support Sprint and similar efforts to expand access to technology for children and adults with autism.”

“At Sprint, we recognize how making wireless technology more accessible can reduce, and perhaps eventually eliminate, the communication barriers faced by individuals with disabilities,” Hesse said. “We embrace this challenge and we are proud to receive the 2014 Change Maker Award.”

Past recipients of honors from QSAC have included Pfizer and PIMCO. Each year, QSAC’s gala brings together more than 500 people to increase autism awareness while raising funds to support QSAC’s programs and services for the autism community of New York and Long Island.

Additional details regarding the gala are available online at www.qsac.com/gala. Current sponsors include Accenture, Astoria Financial Corporation/Astoria Federal Savings, Koeppel Auto Group, and Sprint.

Sprint’s corporate responsibility program, Sprint Good WorksSM, is guided by the principle that doing the right thing is good business. More than a statement, it’s also a belief: Good does indeed workSM. That’s why Sprint is committed to anticipating the needs of customers and making award-winning services accessible to all. By empowering seniors and people with disabilities through accessible technology, Sprint is demonstrating how good technology works as a positive force in society.

Download the Press Release (02/27/2014)

Download the Sponsorship Packet for the Gala

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.