WPIX-TV – Pace’s BOSS Program for Students with Autism Featured

Pace’s Build on Special Strengths (BOSS) program for students with autism was featured twice on Sept. 28 on WPIX TV’s morning news program in a segment that was over three minutes long. The piece follows three of the students to classes and their dorms to get a feel for what their college experience is like.

Pace’s Build on Special Strengths (BOSS) program for students with autism was featured twice on Sept. 28 on WPIX TV’s morning news program in a  segment that was over three minutes long. The piece follows three of the students to classes and their dorms to get a feel for what their college experience is like. Director of the program, Professor Dianne Zager, Ph.D., was interviewed as well.

From the WPIX web site: “With the help from its Communication Sciences and Disorders program, Pace University’s School of Education is offering students with autism a chance at an authentic college experience.

From the classroom to the dorm room, students in the Build on Special Strengths (BOSS) program live and learn alongside their peers. Weekly group and individual counseling sessions, academic tutoring, and weekly social communications sessions help them learn how to succeed and feel comfortable participating in the classroom. Career development and internships are another part of the program.

Established in 2009 for students on the autism spectrum, BOSS began with four members. By 2011, they are expecting thirty. The program is paid for primarily by tuition, program fees and private gifts. Grants may help expand the program.

For more information, log onto www.pace.edu.”

Click on the link to see the segment on the WPIX web site or view the video below.

NY PIX Morning News Blog – WPIX-TV.

ABA Journal – The Immune Response

Pace Law School’s assistant dean Alexandra Dunn was quoted in a thoughtful article in the American Bar Association Journal on the disappointing record of the federal “vaccine court” set up to adjudicate disputes about diseases related to vaccines, including autism.

Click “The Immune Response” to read the full article.

Vaccine Problems? The Hazelhurst Family

Pace Autism Inclusion Program Featured on WNBC TV

Pace’s autism inclusion program was featured on WNBC TV with Chuck Scarborough on September 10. The video of the segment can be viewed on the WNBC web site.

“Look, I’m in College!”

Pace’s autism inclusion program was featured on WNBC TV with Chuck Scarborough on September 10 in a five-minute long segment. The video of the segment can be viewed on the WNBC web site.

From the WNBC web site: “Pace University has a program that enables students with autism to attend college. This brave program is called “Inclusion” and is the subject of the documentary “Look! I’m in College.” Ken Browne, the filmmaker, and two autistic students who made their way through the NYC public school system to college told Chuck Scarborough what this amazing program is all about.”

Pace now has the Build on Special Strengths or BOSS program that has opened the door for additional students with autism to attend Pace.

Fresh off her Emmy Award buzz, Temple Grandin speaks at Pace University | LoHud.com | The Journal News

Temple Grandin, the subject of HBO’s biographical film “Temple Grandin,” speaks at Tuesday’s 2010 Convocation at Pace University in Pleasantville. Grandin is one of the world’s most famous autistic activists for people with autism. (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)

Fresh off her Emmy Award buzz, Temple Grandin speaks at Pace University | LoHud.com | The Journal News.

Temple Grandin, the subject of HBO’s biographical film “Temple Grandin,” speaks at Tuesday’s 2010 Convocation at Pace University in Pleasantville. Grandin is one of the world’s most famous autistic activists for people with autism. (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)

NEWS ADVISORY: Temple Grandin, Subject of Film That Won Five Emmys, to be Convocation Speaker Sept. 7

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., the subject of the biographical film “Temple Grandin” starring Claire Danes that won five Emmys last week, will keynote Pace University’s Convocation on Tuesday, September 7 from 2 to 3 p.m.

MEDIA ADVISORY

Contact: Cara Cea, (914) 773-3312, ccea@pace.edu

TEMPLE GRANDIN, SUBJECT OF FILM THAT WON FIVE EMMYS, TO BE PACE UNIVERSITY CONVOCATION SPEAKER SEPT. 7 IN PLEASANTVILLE, NY

Recently named a Time magazine “hero,” Grandin is expected to deepen understanding of “outsider” feelings common to many students

Entire university urged to read “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

PLEASANTVILLE, NY, AUGUST 31, 2010 – Temple Grandin, Ph.D., the subject of the biographical film “Temple Grandin” starring Claire Danes that won five Emmys last week, will keynote Pace University’s Convocation on Tuesday, September 7 from 2 to 3 p.m. on the Pace campus in Pleasantville, New York (Goldstein Health and Fitness Center, 861 Bedford Road, entrance #3). Media admission by press pass.

Temple Grandin is perhaps the most famous of the world’s many professionally successful people with autism. Her pioneering understanding of animals, drawing on her own special sensitivities, has led to her designing humane handling systems for half the cattle-processing facilities in the US. A Ph.D. in Animal Science from the University of Illinois, she is a professor at Colorado State University.

The feature-length film on her early years premiered Saturday, February 6 and is still airing on HBO.

From the official Emmy press release: “Temple Grandin, the story of a woman who overcame autism to pioneer humane treatment for cattle, received five Emmys, including best made-for-television movie. Claire Danes was selected for her performance as Grandin and Julia Ormond and David Strathairn won for their supporting roles. Mick Jackson received an Emmy for directing the film.”

Jackson hailed Grandin in the audience. “I tried to make your movie like you: spunky, smart, honest, vivid, sometimes crazily emotional, never sentimental.”

The Pace appearance will be her first in the NY Metropolitan area since the Emmys.

Common reading, common moments

Grandin’s appearance at Pace dovetails with this year’s Common Reading selection, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon (Doubleday), a bestselling novel that imaginatively takes readers inside the brave and funny perceptions of a brilliant 15-year-old who happens to have autism. This year Pace is beginning the second year of its Build on Special Strengths (BOSS) program, which  gives students with autism the opportunity—and the support they need—to participate fully in college. The program is believed to be the only one like it in the country.

Grandin’s story is less about people who are “different” than it is about the moments almost everyone has of being an outsider. As one observer noted, “Grandin… is revered.… She is a voice for those who are sometimes challenged to make themselves heard.”

Grandin grew up with what doctors originally wrote off as incurable peculiarities – withdrawal, skittishness, difficulty responding to other people. Thanks to a mother who refused to give up on her, she eventually found teachers and mentors who encouraged her interests in science, supported her awakening sense of her own creative powers, tolerated her stubborn streak, and eventually recognized her gifts.

An advocate for others with conditions on what is now called the “autism spectrum,” she has written seven books and 700 articles, is in high demand as a speaker, and has been featured on media from People to the Today Show. Among others, she has consulted for Burger King and McDonald’s.

Grandin was recently listed as one of twenty-five “Heroes” of 2010 in this year’s Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

About Pace

For 104 years Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu

###

Pace Inclusion Programs and New HBO Film Highlight Growing Understanding of Autism

One of the nation’s most experienced pioneers in autism is Dianne Zager, PhD, a vibrant professor of education at Pace University in New York City. She is increasingly known for developing alternatives for older students with autism in regular, non- “special” college classes.

Contact: Cara Cea, Pace University, 914-773-3312, cell 914-906-9680, ccea@pace.edu

EXPERT ADVISORY: HBO film starring Clare Danes marks changing attitudes to autism

The heavily-promoted HBO film forthcoming Saturday night, February 6 at 8:00pm about Temple Grandin, played by Claire Danes, is possibly the biggest publicity splash yet for promoting understanding and appreciation of individuals with learning and behavior differences. Grandin, an international advocate for autism, has autism herself. Her life challenges and accomplishments create a powerful story of human spirit and shed light on the mystery of autism.

One of the nation’s most experienced pioneers in autism is Dianne Zager, PhD, a vibrant professor of education at Pace University in New York City. She is increasingly known for developing alternatives for older students with autism in regular, non- “special” college classes.

Zager is well-informed and articulate, and is available for independent pre and post screening comments on the film and the growing concern for providing needed services for people on the spectrum. Disclosure: Grandin wrote the introduction for Zager’s latest textbook. Pace has just chosen the bestselling book, “The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime,” about a boy with autism, for its University-wide common reading this summer.

Pace Proves College is Good for Students with Autism and They are Good for Colleges

Students with developmental disabilities on the autism spectrum have been integrated into general education in public schools since the mid-‘90s. But what should they do when they turn 18 and see others their age heading to college?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Cara Halstead Cea 914-906-9680, chalstead@pace.edu

“Work is the best part of my day at Pace because it gives me the chance to meet a lot of people and prepares me for the real world.”
– Benny, student with autism

“I hope I never underestimate anyone again.”
— Emma, Pace University undergraduate

PACE UNIVERSITY PROGRAM SHOWS
COLLEGE IS GOOD FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS AND THEY ARE GOOD FOR COLLEGES

Documentary on inclusion class, “Look, I’m in College!”
chosen for 2008 Sprout Film Festival at Metropolitan Museum of Art

NEW YORK, NY, April 11, 2008 – Students with developmental disabilities on the autism spectrum have been integrated into general education in public schools since the mid-‘90s. But what should they do when they turn 18 and see others their age heading to college?

Well, some of them can go to college, too, and create valuable experiences for both themselves and their non-autistic classmates.

That is the heartening result of a gamble that Pace University took in 2005 when it admitted four New York City public school students with developmental disabilities, Terence, Benny, Donald, and Rayquan, to a special “inclusion” program.

Now the experience of being treated very nearly like collegians has helped them graduate into full time jobs and high levels of self sufficiency.

And it has helped non-autistic students in the classes they took see them as people rather than for their disabilities.

The four students are featured in a half-hour, professionally-produced documentary called “Look, I’m in College!” made by Ken Browne Productions. Chronicling a journey that took the students beyond expectations, the film has just become one of the 31 official selections of the 2008 Sprout Film Festival of films, to be screened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, about all genres of disabilities (www.sff.gosprout.org), and has been accepted for airing on public television station Channel 21 this summer.

The festival will show “Look, I’m in College!” on Friday, May 9 at 2:00pm at the Museum’s New Uris Education Center, 81st St. & 5th Avenue, in the Bonnie J. Sacerdote Lecture Hall and the Art Study Room.

Shortage of Peers. Because of their challenges, the four students faced uncertain futures. But by 2005 they had done well with support in inclusion classes in high school at P226M in the special education program for students with disabilities operated by New York City’s public District 75, which runs programs at more than 300 school sites throughout the city.

The students’ problem was that New York City provides funding for their education through age 21, but once they turn 18, few facilities have been developed where they can associate with people their own age. At the time the first students came to Pace, Manhattan public school students with autism had not typically attended college. Pace opened the door for such programs in Manhattan.

With District 75, Pace developed the “inclusion” program for students with autism and other developmental disabilities in its School of Education. The Pace effort was led by Dianne Zager, Ph.D., the Michael C. Koffler Endowed Professor in Autism and the director of the Center for Teaching and Research in Autism.

Over the last three years, Zager has helped develop a significant program in autism education at Pace’s downtown campus, through which future educators are prepared for the growing field of educating students with special needs.

Subways to self-reliance. Terence, Benny, Donald, and Rayquan were accompanied by a full time teacher and two paraprofessionals from District 75 as they attended college-level introductory classes that matched their interests – introductory psychology, sociology, art history, criminal justice, nutrition, computing, and math.

The District 75 teacher and paras pre-taught them, modified their assignments, worked with them on study skills, and guided them as they began part-time, five-day-a-week campus jobs, including entering computer data, sorting, and other jobs in the campus bookstore. The students also received “travel education” in their preparation to get to Pace every day by public transportation.

The original goal was to provide a next step for students who are older than their companions in District 75’s high school sites.

But Zager says “the autism inclusion program at Pace has exceeded even our expectations.”

The students make the daily trip to and from school on their own. Though their work is modified and they do not generally take exams, they have absorbed the material in their classes, as illustrated by a section of the film showing some of them analyzing literature in class discussions. Their job supervisors rate their job performance highly, and several have been promoted to more challenging tasks.

Indeed, the first two students, who had to “graduate” from the program when they turned 21, have found full-time jobs, one for a large food service firm and the other for an electrical lighting company in Long Island City.

The program has added students each year and in the fall expects to be up to its planned maximum of nine.

Mutual understanding. Zager stresses that “this is happening without diluting the education we offer non-autistic students. In fact, it’s making education better for everyone who participates.”

Fellow-students have learned that students with autism and developmental disabilities are people, not case studies. “That’s what I’ve learned – to really not judge a book by its cover,” said Suzanne Hijeck, undergraduate student at Pace, in the film. “Just because you are labeled autistic or ‘LD,’ it doesn’t mean really anything. It’s just a part of you. It isn’t you.”

The school of education recognized that the four students could provide a unique teaching opportunity for students majoring in elementary education and so the four young men were invited to join a math methods class.

“This was my first opportunity working with students with autism of this age,” said Emma Hatton, a Pace undergraduate. “The first day, we did an icebreaker where we blew up balloons and bubble gum and took measurements. It was fun. The connection that we built in that class was great and it was something I never expected it. That barrier that might have existed has definitely been lessened for me. I hope I never underestimate anyone again.”

Robots on Mars. One student in the film says his first year at Pace was exciting because of the variety of classes he could take. In his first semester, he took psychology and a computing class where he and other students created a web site. Later an art class taught him to draw with charcoal and pencil. In math, he took part in group activities, and in a robotics class he was part of a “Mission to Mars” simulated by LEGO robots. “At Pace we explore different job opportunities,” he says.

At work, some students in the program enter data, sort mail, and do small jobs for faculty members in the Pace education school’s Center for Urban Education and in the school’s administrative offices. Other students work at the Barnes and Noble campus bookstore, sorting books, keeping the store clean, helping customers and giving out free samples. One works the cash register and the credit card machine. “Work is the best part of my day at Pace because it gives me the chance to meet a lot of people and prepares me for the real world,” says Benny.

The Pace inclusion program is part of a large school known as P226M, a special education “cluster school” with seven units in New York City including the one at Pace. Students who attend P226 M range in age from preschool to 21 and have diagnoses that as well as autism include emotional disabilities, mild/moderate intellectual challenges, language delays, and hearing impairments.

For more information about the film, including contact information to request a copy for screening at meetings and events, visit http://www.kbprods.com/look.html. For more information on the program visit http://www.pace.edu/page.cfm?doc_id=19438 and District 75 at http://schools.nycenet.edu/d75/.

Professional education. Since 1906 Pace University has offered professional education that combines liberal arts with practical experience and the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York. It enrolls more than 13,500 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, Lubin School of Business, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu.

Koffler Pledge Establishes Pace Professorship in Autism

An increasing number of diagnoses of autism and rampant controversy over its causes and treatment has created growing demand for teachers prepared to educate autistic students. To meet this need and clarify the issues, Pace University announced today the establishment of the Michael C. Koffler Endowed Professorship in Autism and the creation of a new national Center for Teaching and Research in Autism.

Contact
Rosemary Mercedes, Pace University
212-346-1637, Cell: 914-424-3845
rmercedes@pace.edu

Diedre Schremp, G.S. Schwartz & Co.
212-725-4500 Ext. 324
dschremp@schwartz.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PACE UNIVERSITY TO ESTABLISH ENDOWED PROFESSORSHIP IN AUTISM WITH GIFT FROM MICHAEL KOFFLER,
PRESIDENT AND CEO OF METSCHOOLS

Dianne Zager, national leader in autism education, appointed to establish what is believed to be the largest U.S. program in autism education

New York, NY, September 7, 2005 – An increasing number of diagnoses of autism and rampant controversy over its causes and treatment has created growing demand for teachers prepared to educate autistic students. To meet this need and clarify the issues, Pace University announced today the establishment of the Michael C. Koffler Endowed Professorship in Autism and the creation of a new national Center for Teaching and Research in Autism.

Dianne Zager, a pioneer in autism education who most recently was a professor at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University, has been named to serve the first three-year appointment.

The Koffler Endowed Professorship will allow the University to establish the Center as part of Pace’s School of Education. The Center will research and provide recommendations regarding best practices for educating students with autism.

The University hopes to expand its commitment to autism education by establishing model school centers for children and Centers for Professional Development in autism in select public and private school settings.

The endowed professorship is being established with a pledge of $1.25M from Michael C. Koffler, President and CEO of MetSchools, Inc., a leading provider of private schools serving typically developing and special education students in nursery, preschool and kindergarten through eighth grade programs in New York City. Koffler was the 2004 Executive in Residence at Pace University, a program that each year brings chairmen, CEOs, presidents and other top executives from the world’s leading corporations to interact with students and provide a unique perspective on business problems and opportunities from a non-academic point of view.

“Michael Koffler’s gift will enable the School of Education to increase the number of faculty members with specialization in autism education and to establish what I believe will be the biggest program in the country dedicated to autism education,” said Jan McDonald, Dean of Pace’s School of Education.

“I want this gift to Pace University to directly impact the needs of autistic children by increasing the number of professionals trained to teach them in public and private schools across the country,” said Koffler. “Ultimately, the goal is to enhance the lives of students with autism.”

Leadership A nationally recognized leader in the field of special education, Dianne Zager, Ph.D., brings over 30 years of special education experience to the endowed Koffler Professorship. Previously, she served as Director of Pace’s Special Education Teacher Preparation Program at the University’s downtown New York City campus. Zager has been President of the Northeastern Educational Research Association and the New York State Council for Exceptional Children. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Division on Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities of the International Council for Exceptional Children.

In 1994, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry named Zager a Furman Fellow. She has published numerous books, chapters, and research papers on a variety of topics related to the education of students with disabilities. To wide acclaim, earlier this year she authored the third edition of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Identification, Education, and Treatment.

Zager has served as special education consultant to school districts across the United States, including the New York City Department of Education where she has served on the Autism Best Practices Committee since its inception in 2003. She was the founding editor of the scholarly journal, Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, and has served as editor of The Educational Researcher.

MetSchools Koffler’s company (www.metschools.com) currently operates seven schools, with the newest site, Claremont Preparatory School, which opened September 6, 2005. MetSchools’ first program, Sunshine Developmental School, was established in 1985 (www.sunshineschool.org). The company now provides services to over 1,800 children from ages newborn to eighth grade in a variety of academic programs, including special education, early intervention and daycare settings. Rebecca School, scheduled to open in September 2006 in Manhattan, will be solely dedicated to educating children on the autistic spectrum. Rebecca School will provide Pace with its first Center for Professional Development in Autism where teaching professionals will learn their skills.

A private university in the New York Metropolitan area, Pace has a growing national reputation for offering students opportunity, teaching and learning based on research, civic involvement and measurable outcomes. Pace has seven campuses, including downtown and midtown New York City, Pleasantville, Briarcliff, White Plains (a graduate center and law school), and a Hudson Valley Center at Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, N.Y. Approximately 14,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lubin School of Business, School of Computer Science and Information Systems, School of Education, Lienhard School of Nursing and Pace Law School. www.pace.edu