A Day in the Life – Classroom 3

i Jul 22nd No Comments by

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Have you ever wondered what Barell students really do all day? Let’s follow the students of Classroom 3 to see what their day is like….

The students start their day off with some quiet independent work with their teachers – practicing describing the parts of their days using complete sentences, counting using visual prompts, and practicing writing their names.

A little later in the morning the classroom splits up to go to their separate jobs at Applebees and TJ Maxx. The TJ Maxx crew signed in as volunteers and went to work in the storeroom unpacking and sorting new merchandise.

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The TJ Maxx team after a job well-done.

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After work all the students met up again at Barell for lunch before heading to the playground for a little fun, exercise, or just some quiet time outside on a beautiful day.

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Then it was back into the classroom for a group building game of Bingo, a game which develops listening skills and gives students an opportunity to practice matching to sample and sitting appropriately.

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Then it was over to the JCC for a little refreshing leisure time in the pool.

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By the time they got back from swim, it was time to pack up to go home. The students have a little down time waiting to be called for their buses.

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And another day at the Martin C. Barell school comes to a close, and students head home…

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The New Playground is Here! The New Playground is Here!

i Jul 17th 3 Comments by

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After a week’s vacation and a week of the backyard being off-limits, you can only imagine the students’ joy at being allowed out back to The New NSSA Playground! Not only did the playground get a total makeover with a rubber surface system (very cushy on the feet and much more forgiving if a child takes a spill), there are also two new features – a “zipline” swing and a “cozy cocoon” (that spins!)!

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Of course, there are still all the old favorites – swings, slide, basketball, etc., but the children seem pleased at some new variety.

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The playground rebuild was an important project for NSSA as we have found the old engineered wood shred surface to be very challenging for use with children with autism – shred getting into students’ eyes and creating intolerable discomfort in the summer when shred would get caught in sandals and toes. It also required a lot of upkeep keeping it mushroom-free and level. The new surface is much safer, ensuring that our playground continues to provide a natural instructional environment where leisure and play skills can be taught.

The NSSA playground also plays a vital role in the academic and behavioral success of our students. Because it is so well-loved by our students, the playground serves as a powerful reinforcer. To motivate students to positive behavior and skill acquisition, instructors offer each student a choice from a variety of potential rewards in advance of instruction. The student receives the selected reinforcer only if he is successful at the lesson being taught. At NSSA’s programs we increasingly see time on the playground selected as a reinforcer for successful skill acquisition and/or appropriate behavior.

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We’d like to thank the following funders for making this wonderful (and fun!) project possible:

The Andy Foundation
Ronald McDonald House Charities of the NY Tri-State Area
Ronald McDonald House Charities Global
The Kohnen Family Foundation
Schulz Charitable Foundation
The Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation “Angels for Autism”

They’re B-A-A-A-A-C-K!

i Jul 9th No Comments by

And by the looks of their faces, they’re happy to be back.

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Seems like everyone enjoyed the June vacation, but this week started the new 2014-2015 (can you believe 2014 is half over already???) school season here at NSSA. The 6-week summer session gives us a full house here with consultation students from district, some new staff, and this year’s group of eager interns. So many new faces! Looks like a good summer ahead – we’ll keep you posted!

Team Building with Classroom 5

i Jul 1st No Comments by

Classroom Five is spending time this summer working on Team Building. Girl Scout and Manhasset High School senior Danielle Nicosia is working towards her Girl Scout Gold Award by developing this summer-long program and working with Classroom 5 students on interactive, life, and motor skills.

Danielle spends two afternoons a week with the students. A typical session includes reading their goals for the summer and stretching exercises and calisthenics. Each week new trust and team-building exercises are added, such as trusting their partner to catch them if they fall backwards, walking through an obstacle course blindfolded by following their partner’s verbal instructions, and team sports.

We thank Danielle for challenging our students and offering them new experiences.

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