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HeartShare’s Autism Services: Early Childhood

April 14, 2015

In The Media

HeartShare transforms the lives of children diagnosed with autism, beginning with early intervention.

Since 1977, HeartShare has provided services and supports to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Five years later, those services were expanded to pre-school children as medical evidence showed that early intervention benefits children diagnosed with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, including those with an autism spectrum disorder. Throughout its over 100 year history, HeartShare strived to respond to the needs of the New York community, which is why it developed programming responding to the growing outcries from the community and increasing numbers of children, now 1 in 68, diagnosed with autism. HeartShare’s early intervention programs, for example, target developmental delays as soon as possible.

During his two years as a pre-schooler at HeartShare’s Governor Mario and Matilda Raffa Cuomo First Step Early Childhood Center, Brandon was exposed to the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) curriculum, in which he learned Common Core academic units, while also receiving specialized therapeutic interventions.

At HeartShare, Brandon gradually was introduced to a less restrictive classroom environment and ultimately transitioned to an integrated Kindergarten at P.S. 62 in Queens. Alongside his classmates and under the guidance of one of his Kindergarten teachers, Veronica Fera, Brandon completed his morning word exercises. When asked about his favorite school activities, Brandon smiled and said, “I like to take books out of the library.”