The ASD Nest Program

The ASD Nest Program is the New York City Department of Education’s Collaborative
Team Teaching (CTT) program for higher functioning 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.

“If children do not learn the way we teach them,
then we must teach them the way they learn.”

The ASD Nest Program opened in September 2003 at PS 32 in Brooklyn with nine
children on the autism spectrum. PS 32 now serves thirty-two children with ASDs in eight
Kindergarten through fifth grade CTT classes. Over the past four years, the Department of
Education opened ten additional ASD Nest programs across the city. Programs usually start
with two kindergarten classes and expand by one grade each year. There is also a middle
school ASD Nest program in Brooklyn, and a high school program in Queens.

The ASD Nest Program was developed in collaboration with New York University’s
Institute for Education & Social Policy. New York City Department of Education:
Marcia Lyles, Deputy Chancellor for Instruction
Linda Wernikoff, Executive Director, Special
Education Initiatives
Lynn Kandrac, Director, Office of Special
Education School Improvement
Terry Cooper Feuer, Sr School Improvement
University partners:
Shirley Cohen, Ph.D., Professor of Special
Education, Hunter College
Dorothy Siegel, Senior Project Director,
NYU Institute for Education and Social Policy
For information please call:
CSE 1: Joseph Ponzo, 718-294-0862
CSE 2: Karen Reiss, 718-324-2854 x1740
CSE 3: Donna Pomeranz, 718-831-4031
CSE 4: Elissa Finkelstein, 718-391-8468
CSE 5: Aña Rodriguez, 718-348-2905
CSE 6: Freya Novack, 718-968-6224
CSE 7: Linda Clark, Brooklyn: 718-759-4969
Staten Island: 718-556-8304
CSE 8:
Elementary: Renee Mason, 718-330-9295 x102
Middle: Madeline Fisher, 718-330-0329 x5191
CSE 9: Nilofer Naqvi, 917-339-1665
CSE 10: Diane Carnegie, 212-342-8420

Each classroom has two teachers with training in the specialized  curricula and instructional
strategies used in the program.

In addition to the standard academic curriculum, specialized curricula and
instructional strategies to foster relationship development, adaptive skills,
language and communication development and sensory/motor development
are infused throughout the day, thus minimizing the need to service children
outside the classroom. Staff receive pre and in-service training in these curricula
and strategies.

Language development and sensory/motor skill development are  integrated
into the academic day, using a transdisciplinary collaborative approach.

Collaborative problem-solving is used to assess children’s needs and
progress. Times for staff to co-plan and conduct case conferences take place on
a regular basis.

A strong home/school component includes an initial phase-in process, frequent
ongoing two-way communication, collaborative planning meetings,
monthly parent support groups, support for families in home-based skills and referrals to
outside services.

The ASD Nest Program is integrated into the fabric of its
school. The goal is to provide a therapeutic environment and supports
within a grade-appropriate academic environment. The entire school supports
positive behavioral support. . CTT kindergartens serve four children
with ASDs and eight typically developing children.
. CTT classes for children in grades one through three serve four children
with ASDs and twelve typically developing children. CTT classes for
higher grades may be slightly larger.
Rev. 11/01/07