6th Annual New School Year Kickoff 2018

Presented by the ASD Nest Support Project at NYU Steinhardt 

Kickoff 2018 poster: August 30, 2018. Lifelong Learning

On August 30th, nearly 400 teachers, therapists, and administrators came together to kick off their year in the ASD Nest program!

Life Long Learning

The theme of the work in ASD Nest for the 2018-2019 school year is life long learning. Throughout the day, Kickoff attendees added a Wikki Stix loop-de-loop to the wall with a learning goal they identified for themselves. As educators, we must be lifelong learners, continually trying new things and challenging ourselves and our assumptions—being models for our students and improving our practice. We will be exploring this concept further in professional development and through discussions in school consultation throughout the year. 

Kicking Off the Year

After welcoming remarks from the NYCDOE's Christina Foti, Metro Center's Dr. David E. Kirkland, and the UFT's Carmen Alvarez, author and activist, Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, delivered the morning keynote, "Forged By Fire." Morénike shared her perspective as an autistic woman of color and parent to autistic children and challenged Nest educators to recognize, understand, and respond to the impact of gender and race—in addition to autism—when supporting students in inclusive settings. 

The student speaker was Millennium Art Academy's Benny Reyes, who shared his experience as a student in the ASD Nest program for the past ten years. 

The afternoon keynote, delivered by Executive Director of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, Julia Bascom, shared perspectives on indepedence and self-advocacy, and challenged attendees to consider what it means to include everyone.

Attendees also received a few freebies for attending, including a life long learning slinky and raffle tickets to try their luck at one of 15 prizes.

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

  • Richard A. Carranza, Chancellor, New York City Department of Education
  • Michelle Netzler, Kate Dolan-Cheney, and the NYCDOE ASD Programs Team
  • Carmen Alvarez, Vice President, United Federation of Teachers
  • David E. Kirkland, Executive Director, Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, NYU Steinhardt
  • All 48 of the terrific ASD Nest school principals 
  • Our raffle prize sponsors, including BrainPOP and Stimtastic, and Super Duper Publications, Different Roads, FitHouse, and TimeTimer


ASD Nest Staff Grants

For the 5th year running, the ASD Nest Support Project is proud to continue our ASD Nest Staff Grant Program, to provide funds for teachers and therapists to address Nest students' strengths and challenges.

ASD Nest Staff Grant preview iconClick 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 Conference Handout preview iconKickoff attendees attended a Breakout Workshop of their choice. Everyone recevied copies of presentation handouts for all workshops. You can download them all as well, here

Workshops included:

Comic Stripping for the Fearful or Unrefined Artist
Christina Annunziata

"Well, I do declare...” Using Declarative Language in the Classroom
Lauren Hough Williams

Fidget Making 101
Brandy Stanfill-Hobbs

We're All in it Together: Creating Classroom Communities
Jules Csillag

Let’s Talk About Sex: Sexuality and Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sarah Kern

Connecting the Thoughts: Making Instruction Visible
Aaron Lanou

Balloons are Not Just for Birthdays
Panos Rekoutis

Stuff You Can Do for Kids with Free Money
Dolores Troy-Quinn & Grant Awardees


Further Reading

Our keynote speakers each recommended books for further reading:

Julia Bascom:
Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking (ASAN)

Morénike Giwa Onaiwu: 
All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism (L.X.Z. Brown, E. Ashkenazy, M.G. Onaiwu)


Memories from the Day