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!
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.
We started the week with a visit from Ginny Green from Autism Speaks who delivered a plaque regarding a grant they awarded NSSA for Building the Field and Scope of Educators Supporting Children with Autism. Thanks, Autism Speaks!
The week started out hot so some of the adult clients came over to cool off in our pool…
…and later to indoor air-conditioned glow-in-the-dark mini golf.
Students did more tie-dying in preparation for Brew-B-Q.
Adult clients were given the job of weeding this raised bed at the Elija Farm. Look at the great job they did! Great teamwork, everyone!
J from NSSA’s Green Team came to pick up the shredding and recyclables from the Martin C. Barell building. You can learn more about The Green Team in an upcoming blog post.
The Running Club had a second meeting on Friday morning.
And students enjoyed the weekly summer visit from Mr. Softee after lunch!
And so ends another week of NSSA’s summer session. Check back next week to see what we’re up to!
Welcome back! After a 2-week program break, students, clients and staff returned to NSSA this week for the start of the new year.
Students settled back into familiar classroom routines.
Adult clients started a new pilot program this week called “Life Long Learning Series” that will run two days a week over the six-week summer program and then throughout the rest of the year with more students and perhaps an additional day. You’ll be reading more about this in a future post but for now we wanted to share some pictures of clients getting right into the program this week.
A new group of enthusiastic summer interns started.
Adult clients made new friends at the Elija Farm.
The NSSA Cafe began serving morning coffee again to happy customers.
Classroom Four’s Salad Shoppe resumed business.
And they picked up again with their new Yogurt-Fruit Parfait product that staff can order for Friday mornings. Learn more about this in an upcoming blog post.
NSSA’s school-based running club started this week. Randy Horowitz, NSSA’s Associate Executive Director of Program Development, and Barell parent Jennifer Prince led the students through some warm-up exercises, an individual run, a couple laps around the playground track with their teachers and a brief cool-down at the end. You’ll be hearing more about the running club soon!
Jen and Tori from NSSA’s Development Team led adult clients in tie-dying tee shirts for July 28′s Brew-B-Q (are you going?).
And the week ended up with a visit from Mr. Softee!
It looks like our summer session is off to a great (and busy!) start. Thanks for sharing it with us and we’ll see you again soon!
The last week of the school year was jam-packed with activities here at NSSA!
It was Spirit Week, so there were fun themed dress-up days. Like Hawaiian Day…
…and Tie Dye Day.
Classroom 1 wore their tie dye looks to the Riverhead Aquarium that day.
Some adult clients visited Ralph’s Italian Ices to cool off on the hottest day.
Adult clients worked on painting projects this week at the Elija Farm. We have some budding artists in Adult Services!
It was a good year, everybody! We’ll see you all again in summer session!
Spirit Week tie-dying
Some adult clients going to the movies!
The NSSA Salad Shoppe has expanded to include yogurt parfaits! More about that next week…
And to end the week, a sneak peek of an end-of-year pool party…you can look forward to more pictures next week!
Have a great weekend!
Global Running Day is a worldwide celebration of running that encourages everyone to get moving. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far you run—what’s important is that you take part, and how you do it is up to you. Run a lap around the block, take your dog for a walk, or meet your friends for a jog along the beach. The important thing is that you have fun being active—and you inspire others to join you.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of Randy Horowitz, NSSA’s new Associate Executive Director of Program Development, NSSA students, clients and staff celebrated Global Running Day by running or walking a couple laps around our playground track. Students and clients made signs in honor of the day, and medals were awarded to all who participated. Everyone had fun at this impromptu break!
And they’re off!!!
Everyone’s a winner!
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Each December The NSSA Parent Association hosts a holiday party complete with pizza, dessert and live music.
Teachers and direct support professionals enjoy the festive atmosphere while students and clients enjoy lunch and dancing.
Some of the adult clients have been practicing for weeks to put on a Holiday Singalong, led by teacher assistant Shelley.
Teachers got in the act, too.
And everyone else came to watch and sing along!
As if that wasn’t enough, on Friday, SANTA surprised the boys in Classroom 1 by showing up with gifts for everyone in the room!
It was quite the way to end 2017…and now classrooms are empty and quiet waiting to be filled again after New Year’s with happy excited voices and activity.
Here’s a little video for you…have a Happy New Year.