Many individuals with autism do not know how to pursue leisure interests on their own or have extremely limited areas of interest. Due to a generous grant received from The Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation, NSSA is able to offer more opportunities for enriching instruction than ever before, in areas such as music, yoga, bowling, cooking, painting, horseback riding and more. Activities such as these help broaden the interests and skill development for our clients and help them to lead fulfilling lives of dignity and purpose.
In recent weeks, adult clients have been expanding their experience horizons with cake decorating, decorative sign painting, and horseback riding, all of which were a big hit!
On October 24, a group of clients went to LumberJax in Commack to make decorative signs. Family names and design choices were sent in ahead of the paint session and the LumberJax staff had stencils prepared for when the clients arrived. The use of layered stencils made it possible for clients to create unique and beautiful hand-painted signs for their home or family.
Decorative sign-painting was such a success, other groups from NSSA’s Adult Services have already returned to LumberJax for more creativity. What do you think of their artwork?
Thanks to the instruction and help from LumberJax. I’m sure we’ll be back!
Last fall we shared the story about Classroom 4’s Salad Shoppe program (read full story here). The program was such a resounding success they decided to expand their product line and delivery days. The teachers were able to replicate the program they created for salads and apply it to a new product with the same outcome and success. Now, in addition to Salad Thursdays, Classroom 4 is offering staff Fruit-Yogurt Parfaits on Fridays.
Each Wednesday staff members get a parfait order form delivered to their desks where they can choose yogurt type, up to 3 mix-in fruits, such as blueberries, honeydew melon, grapes, etc., and whether or not they want granola. When the forms are submitted on Thursday, the Classroom 4 team takes inventory of what is needed to fill the orders and goes shopping for all the ingredients. They keep track of the money and budget so they can make all the necessary purchases.
Friday mornings are spent rinsing, chopping and melon-balling.
Afterwards a production line is set-up on long tables in the classroom and everyone has a specific job to do: layering yogurt in cups, measuring and dropping in berries, filling separate cups with granola and writing customer names on labels. Students are assigned jobs based on their IEP goals and they are also learning to work as part of a team.
As with the salad production, health and safety are of paramount importance. The students use special tools for chopping, everyone handling food and containers wears gloves and students are closely monitored during the entire preparation process.
Everyone’s happy to see the delivery team arrive at their door with their Friday morning fruit parfait.
Classroom Four’s Salad Shoppe and Fruit-Yogurt Parfait delivery is an excellent illustration of the creativity and ingenuity of our teachers, who are tasked not only with teaching academics but also (and perhaps more importantly) teaching vital skills necessary to navigate and progress through everyday life. With careful assessment of each student’s needs and goals, our teachers created a new and exciting endeavor that combines their students’ academic goals with daily living objectives while generalizing and building upon skills that have already been mastered.
Congratulations on your success, Classroom 4!
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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.
NSSA Adult Services clients recently spent a day at Commack Old Navy experiencing what it’s like to be an employee at a retail clothing store.
General Manager Doug Wadsworth and Business Operations Manager Lisa Simonelli invited five adult clients to be a part of the on-the-job experience.
Clients first watched a training video on safety and then went out onto the sales floor split up into groups: cashier, fitting room, clothes folding and sweeping. Each client got to take a turn and experience each area.
They got right to work!
Happy faces at the register.
They had lunch in the break room and then returned to their duties in the store.
It was a wonderful day for everyone and we appreciate Old Navy allowing our clients this opportunity to experience a day in the life of an Old Navy employee.
ELIJA Farm extended an invitation to NSSA’s Adult Services clients to attend a Cooking Demo with natural foods chef and food activist Bhavani Jaroff. Currently Bhavani is running a program called iEatGreen which is helping to facilitate change in our communities, home, schools and workplaces.
On July 12 she visited the ELIJA Farm to speak to our clients about healthy cooking and eating.
The demo was beneficial for our clients so they could learn how to prepare healthy food choices. They were also practicing attending to a speaker while in a group. And the most fun part, they got to try new healthy foods.
A. is enjoying the demonstration.
B. & J. eagerly await their sample meals…
…and relish the new dishes when they arrive!
Bhavani shared some recipes for healthy cooking:
Wilted Kale Salad with Pepitas, Pomegranate Seeds & Lemon Dressing
Remove the stems of the kale and discard in compost. Chop the leaves into small pieces and put into large bowl. Squeeze 1/2 lemon onto the kale, drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinle 1/2 tsp of salt over. Massage the kale leaves for 3 minutes, until softened. Add the grated carrots, parsely, pomegranate seeds and pepita seeds. Make a salad dressing with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with avocado right before serving.
Watermelon, Mint and Feta Salad
Drain 1″ watermelon cubes for 1/2 hour with a bowl underneath (this way you can drink the juice!). Whisk together the white balsamic vinegar, oilive oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Mix the drained watermelon, feta, onion and mint in a large bowl. Chill in refrigerator. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and toss right before serving.
Jack Licitra of South Bay Arts is passionate about music. NSSA was fortunate to be introduced to Jack by a staff member and now he’s bringing his love of music to our students and clients.
Jack came to the Martin C. Barell School in April with enough bongos in tow for each class to have a 15-minute trial session. From this brief trial, NSSA staff were able to determine which students and clients would enjoy and benefit from ongoing drum classes at Jack’s studio.
Some clients and students have enjoyed music classes in the past and they have been used as reinforcers for skill acquisition and appropriate behavior. It’s also a good group activity and practice for following group directions and remaining on task. Music classes are also an excellent way to teach and develop new leisure interests and skills that our students and clients can enjoy during their down time.
The happy faces and enthusiastic drumming indicated that this exercise was a beneficial one and some of our students and clients will be attending and enjoying future drum classes at South Bay Arts in Bayport.
Smithtown High School East once again hosted a Winter Dance for NSSA students and clients who were over 14 years old.
The cafeteria was decorated with a winter theme, refreshments were served by Smithtown High School students, DJ Matt Figuccio kept the dance floor jumping…and there were smiles everywhere.
Thank you to Smithtown High School East with providing our students and clients with another evening of fun and friends!
NSSA Adult Clients were fortunate to spend a crisp autumn morning last week at ELIJA CSA, a ten-acre farm on the beautiful North Shore of Long Island. The farm is a sustainable, non-profit farm committed to using environmentally responsible practices to raise high quality, organically grown produce.
The ELIJA CSA is dedicated to enriching the health and wellness of our community by providing an innovative community supported agriculture (CSA) program that offers dynamic learning opportunities to its diverse membership. On this particular day, NSSA and Elija Adult clients were planting garlic. Rows were tilled in advance by hand, then clients were instructed how to plant the garlic bulbs (pointy end up!) without stepping onto the freshly turned soil.
Clients took a break when needed and just enjoyed the fresh air.
There was even a mascot!
And everyone seemed to enjoy their work in the beautiful sunshine.
We can’t wait to visit the ELIJA CSA farm again soon!
Jason Harris, long-time NSSA consultation student, made a touching presentation today at The Martin C. Barell School when he presented his new video “Jason Harris-Transitioning from High School” and officially ended his time with NSSA and announced his newest venture as a student at Vaughn College of Aeronautic Engineering, Aviation and Technology.
Jason’s friend Chris, an NSSA Adult Service client, began the presentation with a talk about some of his own experiences at NSSA.
NSSA’s Transition Coordinator Jacquie Frangoulis introduced Jason and congratulated him on all his hard work at achieving his goals.
After the video presentation Jason removed his NSSA ID card and replaced it with his new Vaughn College ID.
Students and staff congratulate Jason on his exciting new future.
Morgan Kauffman, who has known and worked with Jason for many years, was on-hand to celebrate with him as well.
Everyone at NSSA is so proud of Jason and excited to watch him take the next steps into his future – Congratulations, Jason!
And here is Jason’s story…..
Cake batter was mixed with frosting and coloring….
Hand-rolled into balls…
Stuck onto lollipop sticks with melted chocolate…
And iced, decorated, and placed in cellophane bags to be sent home.
There were definitely smiles all around with tubs of smooshed-up cake on the table! Hope some of the cake-pops made it home that day!