They Could Have Danced All Night…

i May 8th No Comments by

On Friday, May 1, students at Smithtown High School East transformed their cafeteria into an under-the-sea wonderland for the NSSA Spring Dance.

Barell students and NSSA Adult Service clients dressed up in their springtime finery…some teacher “dates” were surprised with floral corsages (so sweet!).

Smithtown students provided and served pizza, salads and beverages, and boogied with our students and clients on the dance floor. There was even a photo-booth set up complete with fun props!

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Everyone had a blast dancing, singing, eating, laughing.

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Thanks again to Smithtown High School East for inviting our students and clients and for being such great hosts. Thanks also to NSSA’s Stacey Agosta for coordinating the event.

A Special Night for Our Special Kids

i Oct 8th No Comments by

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As part of its outreach to the greater autism community, NSSA hosts A Special Night for Our Special Kids twice a year at Adventureland in Farmingdale, NY.

Many families with a child with autism find the prospect of attending an amusement park on a typical evening extremely daunting. Long lines and crowds can be especially challenging for these families. During NSSA’s events, Adventureland is closed to the general public and made available to people with autism and their friends and families. On these special evenings, the amusement park is at reduced capacity. The shorter waiting times for rides make it much easier for our friends with autism and more manageable for their families. Since the park is filled with people who understand autism, the atmosphere is very relaxed and caring. We hear over and over again 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 most recent event was Friday, September 26, and it was a perfect night – warm and clear-skied…and as a result it was the most well-attended Adventureland event we’ve ever had!

But even with so many attendees there was still little to no waiting for rides and games.

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Families and friends enjoyed time together…

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…arcade games…

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and just hanging out.

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(not to mention terrorizing the ticket sellers!!!)

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Stay tuned for the date of our spring 2015 Adventureland event!

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”

Hello, Ruby Tuesday

i May 7th No Comments by

NSSA’s Adult Clients have many jobs in the community, practicing vocational integration and skill development.

Yesterday a team was at Ruby Tuesday’s for the “Weekly Sparkle,” where they take the chairs down off the tables, remove all the tabletop items, spray and wipe down tables, then reset the tables with menus, napkins, condiments, etc.

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The Team.

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M. takes chairs off tables.

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1 (6)A. & S. remove items from the tabletop and place them neatly on a chair.

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A. & M. spray and wipe tables clean.

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M. puts all the items neatly back in place on the tables….

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…and then surveys a job well done.

Fun Fall Field Trip

i Nov 20th 2 Comments by

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The autumn holiday season swung into NSSA with Classroom 5 visiting Schmitt’s Farm in Melville to pick pumpkins and learn fun farm facts.

Did you know that a single cornstalk only grows two ears of corn? Me neither! But some of our students did!

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