Air travel can be stressful for even the most seasoned travelers, but for those who have autism and experience difficulty waiting, hypersensitivity to crowds and noise, anxiety and communication challenges, it can be even more difficult. As a result, flying is simply not an option for many families in the autism community.
On Sunday, October 28th, Autism Speaks and JetBlue hosted families at JFK’s JetBlue Terminal to participate in their Blue Horizons Event. Families were given an opportunity to navigate the air travel experience in a realistic and controlled environment, surrounded and supported by caring volunteers, Jet Blue employees, members of the TSA and NSSA’s experienced clinical team, as well as other families in the autism community. They checked in, received boarding passes, went through security, waited to be called for boarding and sat through an in-flight safety training. Once everyone was on board, the plane taxied around the runway for 15 minutes giving everyone the feel of an actual flight.
A team of NSSA’s behavior analysts was on-hand to provide support to families, helping to reduce anxiety, stress and behavioral challenges.
Crisp autumn air and colorful fall foliage mean one thing – it’s time for NSSA’s Annual Halloween Party for students, clients and staff! The day began with bears, pigs, a dinosaur, The Back Street Boys and more entering the building in full costume.
Students went trick-or-treating from room to room asking for treats, waiting their turn and showing off their costumes.
But Halloween is not just about costumes and candy. The gym was turned into Halloween Hall for the annual party. Adult clients manned stations where students took turns making pumpkin slime, cheez-doodle jack-o-lanterns, q-tip skeletons and more.
At least one teacher got mummified by her students with toilet paper!
The grand finale of the party was the pinata where everyone took a swing or two at the hanging pumpkin. There were a few tentative swipes and then one decisive swing brought the pinata crashing to the floor!
Teachers, Direct Support Professionals and other administrative staff showed off their creativity in the costume contest–and while everyone is a winner–The Banana Splits got the most votes. Congratulations, Classroom 4!
anks to the hard work of Principal Deb Kennedy and all the teachers and staff for creating such a fun day for students and staff!
Classroom 1 headed to De Lea Sod Farms in Elwood, NY to pick pumpkins in preparation for Halloween. It was a crisp, clear morning and the students had the pumpkin patch all to themselves.
While they were having a brief break from their classroom day, they were still working on things like following group and individual direction and practicing waiting in line to make their purchases.
Some students chose the biggest pumpkins they could find!
While others chose more manageable sizes.
Not sure who had a better time – students or teachers!
Lugging pumpkins is hard work, but somebody’s gotta do it!
Pumpkin picking was a perfect break after a morning of classroom work for Classroom 1!
NSSA hosts A Special Night for Our Special Kids twice yearly at Adventureland in Farmingdale as part of its outreach to the greater autism community.
NSSA tries to schedule the spring and autumn events during program breaks to give our guests with autism and their families something to look forward to when there are few structured activities available.
In spite of rainy weather all day, the evening was lovely, dry and warm and families enjoyed their time at the park on September 28th.
Many families of a child with autism find going to an amusement park very challenging. Long lines and crowds can be especially difficult for these families. During NSSA’s events, Adventureland is closed to the general public and made available only to individuals with autism and their friends and families. Shorter lines and wait times for rides make it much easier for our friends with autism and more manageable and enjoyable for their families. Since the park is filled with people who understand and embrace autism, the atmosphere is very relaxed and suportive. We have heard countless times over the years that it is only during the NSSA events that many of these families would even consider going to an amusement park as a family.
Our next Special Night for Our Special Kids at Adventureland will take place Tuesday, April 23, 2019 from 7:30-10:30 pm. Raindate: Thursday, April 25, 2019 from 7:30-10:30 pm. You may call or email our office to be put on an email mailing list to get a registration flyer. Phone: (631) 462-0386; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a perfect fall day for NSSA’s 20th Annual Golf Classic at the luxurious Old Westbury Golf & Country Club on September 24, 2018. Golfers on the rolling 27-hole course played under sunny skies….
…and the generous cocktail hour was served on the outdoor dining terrace overlooking lush green hills and trees.
Congratulations to the Classic winners.
Winning Foursome of Mike Romeo, Jr., Mike Romeo, Sr., Steve DeMaio and Nick Marks.
Second Place Team: Chris Brutalera, Nicke Neverette, Mike Sweeney and Lance Slingter.
Third Place Team: Richard Cooke, Mike Kildale, Scott Fitzgerald and Clayton Taylor.
NSSA received generous Sponsorship support for this year’s event. For a complete list of our sponsors, visit our Event Sponsors page.
We were delighted to honor Joe Longo, who has chaired this event for the entirety of its 20-year history, with a commemorative plaque.
In 2016 were pleased to add a second golf chair. Thank you Joe Longo (Barrasso & Sons) and Joe Winters (Winters Bros. Waste Systems) for your tireless efforts in helping to create such a wonderful event for NSSA.
We are extremely appreciative of all our golfers, donors, and volunteers for adding to the success of this event.
NSSA received some spectacular prize donations. Many thanks to Joe DeNicola for donating two customized menu Chef’s Tables at his popular Ruvo restaurant as Live Auction prizes. We also thank Old Westbury Golf & Country Club for a donation of a golf foursome as a Board Prize.
Thank you to everyone involved in this popular and success event – we hope to see you all again in September 2019!
It was Spirit Week here at NSSA! The last week before program breaks we like to have a little fun and dress in a different theme for each day.
Monday was Character Day, where students, clients and staff dress wear a logo tee representing a favorite character.
Everyone’s favorite, Tie Dye Day, was Tuesday.
Some recreation time at Adult Services.
S. using the postage meter to finish the Adventureland flyer mailing. Are you coming? It’s Friday, September 28, from 6:30-9:30pm.
Through a grant awarded by Autism Speaks, NSSA was able to host a two-day workshop entitled Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorders for School District personnel from Long Island school districts.
R. washing veggies for the Salad Shoppe.
Adults do a yoga class for some relaxation.
Classroom 1 went to an end-of-year party at a classmate’s house!
And a last day of summer program field trip to Adventureland for some adult clients.
We had a great, active summer here at NSSA and now it’s time for a program break. Hope everyone enjoys their time off…and we’ll see you back here in September!
Every year NSSA holds a special “Sibling Day,” when families and friends are invited to spend a fun day with students, clients and staff. Siblings have a chance to interact with their own brothers and sisters, and to meet up with other siblings and family members like themselves.
It was another scorcher last week for this year’s Sibling Day, but students, clients and families made the best of it by playing on the giant bouncy waterslide, splashing in the pool and lunching in the shade.
The playground was put to good use, as well.
The NSSA Parent Association treated students and clients to a delicious lunch from the Eat Me, Drink Me food truck, while staff enjoyed a hero and accompanying sides.
Families and friends mingled and enjoyed watching the children (even the adult ones!) having a fun day.
Welcome to another week at NSSA. Here’s a little of what’s been going on around here.
The face you make when you see your buddy wearing the same shirt as you!
Who doesn’t love bubbles?
Classroom 2′s littlest yogis.
NSSA’s annual Sibling Day is always a lot of fun for families, students, clients and staff. Here’s a sneak peek….you’ll see more in a full blog post next week!
And that brings us to the end of another week at NSSA – join us again next week!
NSSA’s Education Program, The Martin C. Barell School, has four classrooms. Classroom 3 is the second oldest class, with seven students ranging in age from 16 to 17. They spend their days doing classroom work both individually and as a group, doing jobs in the community, and engaging in recreational activities, such as yoga, going in the pool, spending time on the computer, or relaxing in a beanbag chair in a quiet corner of the classroom. That said, every day is a little bit different…so let’s follow the students of Classroom 3 around for one day and see what their actual day is like.
This particular Wednesday started out drippy and steamy as the students arrived at school by bus.
They put their belongings away in their lockers then went to their classroom where they worked independently on tasks such as filing, counting, following written instructions, etc.
Early in the morning they headed to one of their job sites at Outback. They go well before opening time to clear off tables, wipe them down then re-set them with menu cards and folded napkins. They fly through their tasks but still do a really good job.
Great job, guys!
After finishing their work at Outback, everyone got back in the van to return to school. A few students went right back out to another job site with Classroom 4 and a couple headed to Elija Farm for a meditation class.
When everyone returned a little later, they all met in the gym for yoga with Miss Danielle. The practice involves following instructions, maintaining positions and breathing.
By this point in their busy day everyone was ready for some savasana!
After lunch the students had leisure time, during which they can go on the computer or iPad or do puzzles or other favorite classroom pastimes.
Then it’s Smartboard time where students work on taking turns, calendar skills, phonics-based learning and more.
After their long day the students got to relax until it was time to get on their bus, either having a snack or using a computer or iPad.
And then it was time to go home after a very full and productive day!
Hope you enjoyed spending the day with Classroom 3!
Welcome to another week at NSSA!
The week started early, with Brew-B-Q fun last Saturday!
NSSA staff and adult clients and Different Roads to Learning enjoy a working lunch at The Hog Pit in Chelsea, NY.
Mid-summer is a busy time at the Elija Farm. Adult clients are busy weeding and picking! This week they were picking green beans.
Doesn’t J look cute in her tie-dyed Brew-B-Q tee shirt? You can still get one by calling 631-462-0386 or emailing email@example.com or just stopping by the office. All sizes are available and they’re $10.
Buddies at Adult Services
Working out at the Winters Bros. gym.
As always, happy faces at running club!
Adult clients on a Friday field trip to the beach.
Classroom 1 went to a student’s birthday pool party.
And what better way to end the week than by watching J signing and signing the ABC song??