The ASD NEST Program

The ASD NEST Program

The ASD Nest Program is the New York City Department of Education’s Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) program for higher functioning children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Nestled within supportive neighborhood schools, the ASD Nest program helps children with ASD learn how to function well academically, behaviorally, and socially in school and in their community.

Each 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 embraces positive behavioral support.

  • ICT kindergartens serve four children with ASDs and eight typically developing children.
  • ICT classes for grades one through three serve four children with ASDs and twelve typically developing children. ICT classes for higher elementary grades may be slightly larger.
  • 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 supports needed for 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 trans-disciplinary 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.

 We currently have ASD Nest classes in all grades.

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

- Dr. Kenneth Dunn

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