Summer Enrichment Programs at NSSA

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For more information, visit Long Island Music Therapy and Live Through Rec.

You can follow NSSA at Facebook and Instagram

Month in Review ~ October 2020

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Month in Review ~ September 2020

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March Madness!

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March 2020 was certainly one for the history books!  Before coronavirus (BC) hit NY, our students and clients were busy with their usual activities.


NSSA’s Embracelets Team at Hofstra’s Irish Fest

NSSA staff, one Barell student and one Adult Program participant spent March 8th at Hofstra University’s popular Irish Fest. The Embracelets table had many admirers and shoppers throughout the day. 

People especially loved the green bracelets, made especially for St. Patrick’s Day by students and adult participants.


Adult Services Newest Program:  Sandwich Shoppe

Last fall, NSSA’s Adult Services Program started running a Sandwich Shoppe for program participants. The shop allows participants to generalize their mastered skills across people, settings, and materials.

Task analysis is used to teach hygiene rules (e.g., wearing gloves) to promote a safe and healthy environment. Visual cues are used to facilitate client collaboration to assemble sandwiches. And the process of delivering sandwiches to staff who have ordered them allows for generalizing communication goals of speaking slowly and clearly in a real-world setting.

 And while it is benefiting participants, it benefits staff as well!


Smiles of Success


13-year-old Tommy recently celebrated a milestone—he got his braces off! 

Prior to getting braces put on when he was 11, Tommy would go into his dentist’s office monthly to just spend time and get acclimated to the dentist and other staff. He would sit in the chair and the dentist would count his teeth, allowing Tommy to get used to having someone put instruments in his mouth. Dr. Schindel would go over a social story with Tommy, telling him each step of what was going to happen. Sometimes Tommy was able to watch other patients having their braces adjusted so he would know what to expect. In the beginning some of his classroom teachers would go with Tommy and his mother to the appointments to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

Tommy looked forward to his appointments and visiting his friend, Dr. Schindel. Earlier this month, after two years, Tommy had his upper braces removed and he now has the most beautiful smile! He currently wears a retainer at night and had no trouble adjusting to it. In fact if Mom forgets to give it to him at night, he reminds her.

You did a great job, Tommy, at handling this entire process with such maturity!


Keeping Active

Since March came in like a lion, Adult Program participants continued making good use of the indoor exercise opportunities at the JCC and the Winters Bros. gym.


A Birthday Celebration!

Jamie, an Adult Services Program participant, turned 33 in March and her friends at NSSA had a party for her with balloons and cake. You can tell from her big smile that she had a great day!

Happy Birthday, Jamie!


Smiling Faces

We’re always happy to see smiling faces on students and participants as they go about their day at program and at home.


And Then…

NSSA’s school and adult programs were closed as of March 16, in response to the Covid-19 virus. But that didn’t mean that learning stopped! Our teachers, Direct Support Professionals, and clinical staff stay in contact with families, students, and adult participants via phone, email, text, and virtual learning via video conferencing.

Families shared with us how they’re all doing during this challenging time.

Exercise continues, even if indoors!

Students and adult program participants are putting skills learned at NSSA to good use in the real world.

And families are just enjoying having more time together,


And Last, But Certainly Not Least…

We hope everyone is well, and being safe and careful. We look forward to seeing everyone back at NSSA soon!





Month in Review ~ February 2020

i Mar 2nd No Comments by

While February was a short month, NSSA managed to fill it full of activities!


On February 7, the students of Smithtown High School East invited NSSA Adult Program participants and Barell students over the age of 14 to attend a Winter Wonderland themed dance. As always, everyone had a great time dancing, enjoying dinner and refreshments, and socializing with their peers from Smithtown High School East. Thanks to DJ Matt Figuccio  for keeping the dance floor hopping!


Martin C. Barell School staff and students, and NSSA’s Adult Services participants and staff had fun dressing in themes each day of Spirit Week.

Adult Services Camo Day

Adult Services Flannel Day

Adult Services Favorite Team Day

Adult Services NSSA Day


Barell Pink & Red Day

Barell Favorite Sports Team Day

Barell NSSA Day

Barell Fancy Friday


A Girl Scout mom, who works for Adult Services parent Joe Longo, arranged to have her girl scout troop visit NSSA on Valentine’s Day. They gave out cards they had made to our students and Adult Program participants.


February 11 marks the 15th anniversary of Autism Speaks. NSSA’s Executive Director, Nicole Weidenbaum, and Associate Executive Director, Kathy Mannion, attended a celebratory event where our colleagues at Autism Speaks unveiled a new re-imagined look and logo and launched a commitment to make 2020 the “Year of Kindness” for people with autism.

Part of the night’s program was a video presentation narrated by NSSA’s own Chris Cortale. Chris did a fantastic job and we are so proud of him! You can view the video at…/introducing-new-autism-speaks.

Chris is also featured in a video that launched Autism Speaks’ #KindnessCounts Campaign which can be viewed here

We are so proud of Chris and his advocacy efforts on behalf of the Autism Community – congratulations, Chris!

From left to right: Lisa Goring, Director of Family Services at Autism Speaks, Chris Cortale, and Angela Timashenka Geiger, President and CEO of Autism Speaks


Chris with the Autism Speaks social media team


Some of NSSA’s Adult Program participants spend a few days each week at Winters Bros. in a Lifelong Learning program. They have classroom lessons, fitness sessions in the gym, and do office tasks such a shredding and filing.

NSSA students go out in the community regularly to learn new skills and practice those they’ve already acquired. Here students are shown working at Panera and purchasing reinforcers.


Mikey has been practicing blowing out candles with his teachers and on the day of his birthday party, he did a great job blowing out the candle on his cake. Great job, Mikey!


Classroom 4 designed and created this beautiful bulletin board. Students colored each of the wing feathers. Don’t you think it makes a charming photo backdrop?

See you again in March!

NSSA Honors Teachers on Teacher Appreciation Day

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Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day, which is part of Teacher Appreciation Week, the first full week in May of each year.

The National Education Association describes National Teacher Day “as a day for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives.” And NSSA is more than proud to honor our teachers, who are kind, patient, dedicated and SO hard-working.

Today, teachers were treated to a barbecue lunch outside on this beautiful day, opportunities to win prizes at the prize wheel and early dismissal!

NSSA could not do the valuable work it does without its talented teachers and to say we appreciate them is an understatement.


Thank you for all you do!


The True Meaning of Autism Awareness Day

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On April 2, 2019, World Autism Awareness Day, 10-year-old Jake Prince got up in front of his entire school at Waverly Park Elementary School and gave a presentation about autism to his fellow students.

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Jake’s younger brother has autism and attends the Martin C. Barell School in Commack, NY.

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Jake’s presentation was called “What is Autism” and shared what it’s like living with a brother with autism. When he asked the audience if there were any questions, one girl asked, “Do you ever wish your brother didn’t have autism?” His very mature and poised response was, “I wish NOBODY had any disabilities!”

All during the week, Jake has been reading to his 5th grade classmates from Meet LISA at NSSA, a book featuring stories inspired by those served by NSSA, and selling Autism Awareness bracelets. His bracelet sales raised $477 which he donated to his brother’s school!

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Jake is a wonderful example of today’s youth that is being raised to be compassionate and accepting of differences in people in the world around them. Young men like Jake give us hope that the future can be a better place.

We’re so proud of Jake that we’re officially declaring him an NSSA Champion!

Smithtown High School East Rolls Out the Red Carpet to NSSA

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On January 11th, the Smithtown High School East Leadership Club hosted an evening of dancing, food and fun at their Red Carpet themed winter dance for NSSA adult participants, consultation students and Barell students over the age of 14. This is a unique opportunity for our students to participate in a typical school dance experience. They are able to interact with and learn from the students of Smithtown as well as have fun and create friendships.

Attendees arrived by walking up a red carpet and into a gym filled with high school students dressed up and ready to dance with them.

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It’s so great to see our students and clients having a great time with their peers and the Smithtown High School students.

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The students served their guests a pizza dinner with dessert that was enjoyed by all.

Many thanks to Stacey Agosta for helping to coordinate the event, NSSA teachers and direct support professionals for accompanying their students and adult participants and Smithtown High School East for their graciousness and hospitality in hosting for us once again.

NSSA’s Beaded Bracelet Business is Booming

i Dec 14th No Comments by

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Participants in NSSA’s Adult Services Program have been busy making bracelets to sell to staff, families and at a local holiday fair. They started with Chakra bracelets, but they have branched out to other decorative beads and colors.

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They work as a team, sorting and stringing the beads and packaging them according to size. Barell parent Liza Hein, has generously assisted the endeavor by sourcing and donating materials for the bracelets, as well as sharing her industry expertise.

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On November 25, some of the adult program participants took their handmade bracelets and body scrubs, as well as knitted items donated by a staff member’s parent, to a local Holiday Fair. The Creating Keys Inclusive Holiday Fair was an ideal location for the clients to sell their items to the public.

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Alyssa was an excellent salesperson, engaging with potential customers and upselling bracelet quantities. She was even interviewed by News12 (video below).

These handmade bracelets aren’t just beautiful to wear. They have provided an engaging project that contributes to the learning, growth and skill development of our adult program participants. We can’t wait to see where this project takes them next!