December 3, 2014 9:32 pm Published by Joseph Amodeo
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 www.qsac.com/autismedu.
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.”
November 21, 2014 7:32 pm Published by Joseph Amodeo
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.
Dr. 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.