Recognizing that the core deficits of autism are communication and socialization, NYCA is sponsoring after school programs in order to help children with ASD learn about and relate to the world around them. Through Boost!, NYCA provides grants to local organizations in New Jersey, Long Island and New York City to implement after school programming for children with ASD ages 6 to 18.
The Boost! model is a highly structured after-school program. Each class is comprised of a series of activities designed to develop critical social and day-to-day living skills, and provide remediation in deficits commonly found in children with autism. Structured classes teach children independent living, safety, leisure and recreation, self-care, and communication, all of which can lead to greater personal and economic self-sufficiency. Within these classes, participants are offered the same activities that their typical peers enjoy such as off-site activities including visits to stores, restaurants and bowling facilities.
A unique component of Boost! is the involvement of typically developing children ages 8-15 who become the social buddies of the program participants. The buddies’ role is to help child with ASD learn how to play with friends in a group setting.
NYCA’s objective in replicating Boost! is to develop capacity in the community. To this end, extensive staff training and ongoing professional development are offered. Colleague Roundtables are conducted and electronic exchange of information allows professionals in the three sites to develop a strong infrastructure which facilitates problem solving thereby ensuring a high level of program quality. NYCA helps build a cadre of future professionals by engaging college interns as a regular component of Boost!.
Boost! is based on an exemplary after school program in Chicago, Have Dreams. NYCA’s goal is to create a model for replication so that other after school programs across the country can be created to enable children with ASD to develop the skills that they need to live joyful and productive lives within society.
Click here for Manhattan Boost! .
Click here for Long Island Boost!
Click here for New Jersey Boost!
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