The NYU ASD Nest Support Project has been awarded a $929,100, one-year contract from the New York City Department of Education to provide support services for its ASD Nest Program, which now serves more than 1,000 children with autism in 39 public schools across the city. The grant also includes funding to train Department of Education staff working in non-ASD Nest schools on evidence-based and promising strategies to help children with autism.
“We are thrilled to continue working with the Department of Education as the ASD Nest Program expands into new classrooms, from Staten Island to the Bronx, and are proud of the work that is done in New York City schools every day to help students on the autism spectrum reach their full potential,” said Kristie Patten Koenig, principal investigator of the ASD Nest Support Project and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
The ASD Nest Program is the New York City Department of Education’s integrated co-teaching program for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Nestled within supportive neighborhood schools, the ASD Nest program helps children with autism learn how to function well academically, behaviorally, and socially in school and in their community. The goal is to provide a therapeutic environment and supports within a grade-appropriate academic setting.
NYU’s ASD Nest Support Project – housed within the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools at NYU Steinhardt – provides training, professional development, and on-site consultation for teachers, therapists, and administrators. The project’s team, led by Patten Koenig and project co-directors Dorothy Siegel and Aaron Lanou, also conducts research, provides workshops and a newsletter for ASD Nest parents, gives presentations at national professional organizations, and writes articles and other publications on relevant topics.
NYU’s partnership around autism with New York City’s Department of Education and Hunter College’s School of Education began in 2001; it aimed to fill a gap in the programs offered for children on the autism spectrum who were capable of doing grade-level work. The fruit of that collaboration was the ASD Nest program, piloted at P.S. 32 in Brooklyn in September 2003.
The ASD Nest Program continues to grow in every neighborhood of New York City. Now, in the 2016-17 school year, the program serves just over 1,000 children with autism in 256 fully inclusive ASD Nest classrooms in 21 elementary schools and 18 middle and high schools.