NSSA Week in Review: July 9-13

i Jul 13th No Comments by

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.

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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.

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A new group of enthusiastic summer interns started.

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Adult clients made new friends at the Elija Farm.

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The NSSA Cafe began serving morning coffee again to happy customers.

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Classroom Four’s Salad Shoppe resumed business.

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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.

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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!

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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?).

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And the week ended up with a visit from Mr. Softee!

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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!

NSSA Camp 2018

i Jun 29th No Comments by

NSSA provides a week-long summer respite Camp Program each year for individuals with autism between the ages of five and twenty-one. The Camp Program provides much-needed structure and recreation for over 30 individuals with autism spectrum disorders during a week in June or August when education programs are closed on Long Island and families struggle to keep their loved ones with autism actively engaged in purposeful activities. In addition to developing sports and leisure skills, the camp benefits children with autism by giving them opportunities for social and community integration.

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Campers are kept busy with activities such as swimming under the supervision of a certified lifeguard, arts and crafts, movies, smart-board activities, bouncy houses and water slides, drum class, bowling and field trips to play centers. A special treat is a visit from the Mister Softee ice cream truck.

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It’s such fun each year to see a new batch of campers arrive and get in the swing of things here at NSSA but before we know it the week is over. Thanks to Stacey Agosta for running another successful week of camp…and special thanks to the hard-working camp staff who kept campers safe, occupied and happy!

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See ya next year at Camp NSSA!

NSSA Week in Review: June 18-23

i Jun 22nd No Comments by

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…

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…and Tie Dye Day.

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Classroom 1 wore their tie dye looks to the Riverhead Aquarium that day.

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Some adult clients visited Ralph’s Italian Ices to cool off on the hottest day.

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Adult clients worked on painting projects this week at the Elija Farm. We have some budding artists in Adult Services!

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It was a good year, everybody! We’ll see you all again in summer session!

Just Poolin’ Around!

i Jun 18th No Comments by

NSSA’s Executive Director, Nicole Weidenbaum, hosted an end-of-school year pool party for her young sons and their friends last Friday. Her sons asked if their friends from Classrooms 1 & 2 at the Martin C. Barell School could come to the party, too.

It was a pleasure to see children be so inclusive of their peers with autism. Our students were respectfully and happily welcomed and enjoyed a great day with their new friends.

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The kids played in the pool, went down the water slide, played soccer, and had pizza and treats from the ice cream truck. And basically just hung out together.

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Classroom teachers stayed close by at all times to supervise the fun and make sure everyone had a safe time.

Thank you to Nicole’s kind-hearted boys for welcoming our students into their home and hearts.

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NSSA Week in Review: June 11-15

i Jun 15th No Comments by


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Spirit Week tie-dying

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Some adult clients going to the movies!

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The NSSA Salad Shoppe has expanded to include yogurt parfaits! More about that next week…

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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!

A Visit from Carley of Carley’s Kicks for Cure

i Jun 12th No Comments by

Carley Schor (read more about Carley here) came to NSSA to visit her friend T, a Barell student, and donate more iPads to the school, purchased with money from sales of her handpainted sneakers at Carley’s Kicks for Cure. Carley has just graduated from high school and is preparing to leave for her first year of college at The George Washington University in Washington, DC this fall.

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Carley donated three more iPads to NSSA, bringing the total to over 17 iPads for students and a large screen tv for the school!

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Students from the youngest classroom help open all the packages.

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In appreciation of all Carley has done for NSSA over the years we presented her with an engraved plaque and a going-away gift for college.

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J. uses his iPad to say “thank you” to Carley.

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At college, Carley will be in the Human Services & Social Justice Program, preparing to serve people and communities in need. We’re sure Carley will be a success at whatever she does and make a great difference in the world. She has certainly made a generous impact on NSSA!

Thank you for your caring, donations and friendship, Carley!


NSSA Week in Review: June 4-8, 2018

i Jun 8th No Comments by

Here’s a quick look back at what went on at NSSA this week…


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Art projects.

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Snacks after a lap around the track for Global Running Day.

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Amazing prize for NSSA employee who brings the most guests to Brew-B-Q on July 28!

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Salad Shoppe delivery.

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Carley Schor from Carley’s Kicks for Cure stopped by to donate more ipads (thank you!) and visit with her friends (more about that next week!)

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Friends who Star Wars together, stay together!


NSSA sent a couple volunteers to man a Bike to the Beach rest stop, a hundred mile bike ride to raise money for autism and autism awareness.

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Hope you have a nice weekend and we’ll see you again next Friday!

Global Running Day at NSSA

i Jun 6th No Comments by

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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!!!

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Everyone’s a winner!

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A Little Breathing Room

i Jun 4th No Comments by

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NSSA’s adult clients recently started attending hour-long meditation classes at the nearby Elija Farm. Once a week they arrive at the peaceful farm in the morning and go directly to the farmhouse, where Tim & Steph of Astral Recess have set up the room for comfort and relaxation. The lights are low, gentle original Astral Recess music is playing and a scent diffuser is wafting a gentle aroma through the air. The floor is lined with cushiony mats, with thick yoga mats on top, creating individual spots for each client to lay. Another folded blanket will become a pillow under their head and a third blanket is laid atop each individual once they are laying down comfortably.

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In gentle tones, Tim & Steph welcome the group to the class and ask everyone to get comfortable and relax. Tim guides the clients through deep breathing while Steph annoints her hands with essential oils and walks quietly from person to person, bending down and holding her hands near their face so they can breathe in the calming scents. At this point most of the clients are quiet and still. Some make some slight movements but if someone is uncomfortable, their teacher accompanies them out of the room for a walk or bathroom break, and they rejoin the group when they can.

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Jason H (you met him here) joined Tim & Steph at the front of the room and began playing the singing bowl, which emits a gentle tone. Steph was using tuning forks to create even more soothing sounds in the room. Occasionally Tim reminded the group to relax and breathe and praised them. At one point he walked around the room from client to client, placing the metal singing bowl on their upraised palm and “gonging” it gently so they could feel the reverberation. Everyone seemed to enjoy this.

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For about the last ten minutes, Tim & Steph resumed their spots seated at the front of the room and continued playing the bowl and forks, so the room was filled with lovely soothing tones as everyone relaxed comfortably and quietly.

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Finally the music changed to a light jazzy version of Mr. Rodger’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” theme song, and teachers started helping their charges to a sitting position, everyone moving slowly and quietly. Tim & Steph thanked everyone for joining them that morning and wished them a good rest of the day…and the spell was broken. We all left the room, returning to the bright light of day…but carrying a bit of peace in our hearts.

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Tim & Steph have been developing and expanding the Astral Recess sound and meditation program for the Elija Farm since 2017. They are excited to be working weekly with their friends at the farm and hope to bring the program to more schools and learning centers soon.


Running for Autism Awareness: NSSA’s 12th Annual Jack’s Run

i May 16th No Comments by

In spite of threatening skies, Mother Nature graciously held the rain off til just after the last award was handed out, and NSSA’s 12th Annual Jack’s Run for Autism Awareness went off without a hitch.

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Over 150 runners came out to run and support NSSA.

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Staff, families and even clients participated in the run…

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As well as behind the scenes…

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Jack himself had a great time running!

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There were enthusiastic runners of all ages.

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Congratulations to Overall Winner: 12-year-old Alex Addison and and Top Overall Female: 13-year-old Ishil Kirkhan
JR 2018 1 blogsizedThis gentleman has run Jack’s Run every one of its 12 years – thanks for your support!

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We are grateful to the Miranda and Slone families for starting Jack’s Run 12 years ago in support of their nephew and NSSA.

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We are so appreciative of everyone who helped make this event a success: runners, volunteers, donors, staff and sponsors.

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Thanks to everyone who participated – we look forward to seeing you at future events!