Steinhardt’s ASD Nest Program kicked off the school year with a conference attended by Department of Education (DOE) staff members who work with approximately 750 higher functioning children on the autism spectrum in New York City Schools.
More than 400 DOE staff members came out to the event, which took place on August 29th at the United Federation of Teachers office in lower Manhattan. The program included sessions on handling student difficulties, integrating movement into school routines, and best practices for using visual, animation, and sound in the classroom. Experts also offered school and occupation-specific workshops to Nest staff.
Kristie Patten Koenig, associate professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at NYU Steinhardt and principal investigator of the NYU’s ASD Nest Support Project, welcomed ASD Nest staff and met with ASD Nest occupational and physical therapists to discuss strategies to implement in the classroom.
NYU’s ASD Nest Support Project — and its collaboration with the New York City Department of Education — has grown steadily since it began ten years ago serving just nine students, noted Dorothy Siegel, the project director of the ASD Nest Support Team.
“To build and sustain lasting change, we bring teachers and therapists together, regularly, across and within schools, to deepen classroom practices and to spread Nest norms, beliefs, and principles,” Siegel said. “Having more than half of the Nest teachers and therapists come together on Aug 29th was a wonderful opportunity to foster that coherence. The energy level and the excitement made for a kick-off event that was more than fabulous.”
The ASD Nest Support Project is one of several community-focused programs serving special populations hosted by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The goal of the ASD Nest Support Project is to advance the development and implementation of educational solutions for children living with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
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(Photo credit: Cara Metz/United Federation of Teachers.)