New School Year Kickoff 2016

4th Annual New School Year Kickoff 2016-2017
Presented by the ASD Nest Support Project at NYU Steinhardt

On August 25th, two weeks before school officially started, over 350 teachers, therapists, and administrators came together to kickoff the school year right! 

The theme of Kickoff—and of the school year in Nest—is neurodiversity. Neurodiversity is the concept that neurological differences are common as as any other human variation and that these differences enrich society. Nest staff will be exploring what this means in practice this year in professional development and through in-school consultation. 

After a rousing welcome from Metro Center's Executive Director, David Kirkland, author and presenter David Finch delivered his keynote, "Oh, You Need Me to Pay Attention?" based on his own experience growing up with Asperger's Syndrome. Finch's talk was equal parts entertaining and poingant, with important reminders for teachers about the need for love, understanding, and guidance for individuals with autism. 

Attendees received a few good freebies for attending, including a ten-color "comic stripping" pen, a figet toy courtesy of Tangle Creations, and raffle tickets to try their luck at one of over 25 prizes. 


Special thanks to all those who helped to make the day possible: 


ASD Nest Staff Grants

For the third year, the ASD Nest Support Project is continue our ASD Nest Staff Grant Program, to provide funds for teachers and therapists to address Nest students' strengths and challenges.

Click here to download the ASD Nest Staff Grant Program application.

Grants are only available for teachers and therapists currently working in the NYC DOE's ASD Nest Program schools, as a part of that school's Nest team.

Applications are due October 15


Breakout Workshop Handouts

Kickoff attendees attended two Breakout Workshops of their choice. Everyone recevied copies of presentation handouts for all workshops. You can download them all as well, here

Workshops included:

A.C.T. Like an Adult: Successful Transition for Square Pegs
David Finch, Kickoff 2016 Keynote speaker and author

How Could Someone Not Love a Bearded Dragon?
Lauren Hough, Director of Coaching Program, ASD Nest Support Project 

There's Always a Pattern
Brandy Stanfill, Senior Training Specialist, ASD Nest Support Project

Destination: The Middleground
Susan Brennan, SDI Lead Developer, ASD Nest Support Project & Kirsten Lindsmith

Stuff You Can Do for Kids with Free Money
ASD Nest Staff Grant Awardees

Creating Comic Strip Conversations
Allison Brown, Director of Professional Development, ASD Nest Support Project

DynamICONs: Visual Supports for Concrete Communication
Aaron Lanou, Co-Project Director, ASD Nest Support Project

Nest Badges

At Kickoff, a select few educators received "Above and Beyond" magnet badges for their stellar work over the past school year. This year, the consulting team at the ASD Nest Support Project will be recognizing Nest staff for the incredible work that they do by awarding "Nest badges" for particular achievements. Staff can receive badges for engaging in professional developing, putting PD into practice, using SDI strategies in the classroom, and many other ways of going above and beyond.

A small token of recognition for a job well done. 

Memories from the Day