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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Slootsky

New York City Department of Education Accommodates Autistic Students

Does the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) have specialized programs for autistic students?

The NYC DOE has two specialized programs for autistic students—“Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Nest” and “ASD Horizon.”

What are the features of the ASD Nest program?

The ASD Nest program mixes autistic students with general education students in a small Integrated Co-Teaching class which has one special education teacher and one general education teacher. The classes follow the curriculum that NYC DOE schools use. In addition, ASD Nest teachers are trained with a curriculum developed by NYU called “Social Development Intervention.” This program is led by speech therapists to help autistic students develop social engagement and cognition skills.

What are the features of the ASD Horizon program?

The ASD Horizon program puts eight autistic students in a Special Class, which is taught by one special education teacher and one classroom paraprofessional. As part of the ASD Nest program, ASD Horizon classes follow the curriculum that NYC DOE schools use. Instructional materials are provided by Rethink Ed Platform Solutions based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis.

What is the significance of small classes for autistic students?

As mentioned, ASD Horizon students learn in classes of up to eight people. This is necessary as many autistic individuals feel overwhelmed in large groups. Furthermore, teachers can devote their time and undivided attention to help an individual student develop certain skills rather than having to worry about teaching 30 other students. With the features that these programs provide, autistic students will learn to feel more comfortable and inclined to participate in the classroom.

Which schools on Staten Island offer the ASD Nest program and/or ASD Horizon program?

The following schools on Staten Island offer at least one of the ASD programs: P.S. 4, P.S. 9, P.S. 69, I.S.27, I.S. 72, I.S. 75, and Tottenville High School.


“Specialized Programs for Students with Disabilities.” Schools.Nyc.Gov, The New York City Department of Education, Accessed 6 June 2021.

New York University: NYU - NY: Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development: Office of Research: Metropolitan Center for Research and Equity and the Transformation of Schools

“NYC Public Schools with the ASD Nest Program.” Steinhardt.Nyu.Edu, New York University, Accessed 6 June 2021.

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