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L ife L ong L earNING


2013 Volume 2

Anderson Moves Mountains Anderson is thrilled to announce they are the 2013 recipient of the “Moving Mountains” award for their Learn & EarnsmProgram. This annual honor is given out by the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP). The Best Practice Award recognizes staff workforce development and selected Anderson for their innovation. Staff Development/Human Resources worked together compiling data and gathering information to complete the 20-page application. Jennifer Parsons, Staff Development Specialist, describes how crucial staff development has been to Anderson for decades, “The Mid-Hudson Coalition, a previous recipient of the Moving Mountains award, was actually founded at Anderson in 1989. We still collaborate with them, and I am currently serving as President of the Coalition. Anderson has long been an exemplary employer in the Hudson Valley and now we are being recognized nationally for these efforts. It truly makes a difference to our hard-working staff to feel supported and encouraged to follow their dreams.” Cindy Mowris, Coordinator of Staff Development, refers to herself as the “Poster Child” for Anderson’s continuing education programs. “I came to Anderson in 1988 with a high school diploma. A Program Director and Professor at Dutchess Community College (DCC) suggested a class that would be useful to me. After that, I was fortunate to receive an incentive offered by some parents to further educate staff. Anderson’s leadership saw the potential in promoting staff development this way and decided to expand these opportunities. As a direct result of Anderson’s encouragement and support, I went on to earn my Bachelor and Master’s Degrees. It is a privilege to take point in the Staff Development Department and promote this culture of learning.” Neil Pollack, Executive Director, states, “It all comes back to training. Anderson is a leader in providing care and services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. We must recruit and retain the highest-quality staff to operate at this level—so it is critical for us to invest in staff development.” Since Neil joined Anderson in 2001, the department has increased from two to four employees. A one-page description of the Learn & EarnsmProgram evolved into a tri-fold brochure, then into a 24-page booklet. Orientation for new staff members increased from two days to two full weeks. Cindy calls Neil “the other member of the Staff Development Department.” Anderson’s progressive training has the additional benefit of offering the chance to connect with other non-profits in the Hudson Valley. Jen Parsons explains, “DSP Competency Program will be a mandate by OPWDD starting in 2014, but we started mentoring programs 12 years ago. We have been asked by numerous sister agencies and trade associations to share with them how we started our program and how effective it has been to our staff. We really enjoy educating our community about Anderson’s mission and programs. It is truly exciting!” The Moving Mountain Award will be presented to Anderson at the NADSP Conference later this year. For more information on NADSP and this award, please visit

what’s inside Executive Director


Staff Kudos


Notes & Notables


Special Olympics


Save the Dates


Look for our “Supportive Environment” logo at a business near you!

Executive Director’s Message Executive Director

autism today

Thoughts from the desk of Neil J. Pollack, Executive Director who choose human services do not expect to get rich, have the best hours, or be recognized— most people do this work simply because of their inherent desire to serve others. While noble, passion for the field is simply not enough.

The Importance of Being a DSP

Who answers the door when you drop off or pick up your child? Who comforts your child in the middle of the night when he/she is ill? Who supports your child during community activities? The requirements from our state More than likely, it is a Direct agencies continuously add pressure Support Professional (DSP). to these essential staff, but they Without question these staff are not recognized in a financial way that allows for higher wages. members are the cogs that keep Organizations are left to find creative solutions to motivate the wheel going in human services. They carry out the day-today tasks in- and outside the home, they must follow plans of their workforce. I have long advocated and continue to fight for support, and care for our loved ones. This group can easily be uplifting this field. It is my fervent belief that education is the overlooked but have an indescribable impact on the lives of the fundamental key for warranting increases in compensation. As a individuals we serve. And their role is “front and center” to the result, in 2001 we expanded our education assistance to include families whose children/adults they support on their journey financial incentives for DSPs encouraging them to continue their formal education. We then took all the educational program towards independence. offerings for staff and placed them under one umbrella known DSPs are responsible for the wellbeing of children and adults today as Learn & EarnSM. I am pleased to report that our average who require equal amounts of instruction, support, compassion, DSP has 51 college credits with those numbers steadily climbing. creativity and consistency. These staff members encounter At Anderson Center we offer staff incentives to continue their difficult behaviors and in the face of turmoil, maintain calm education, to work their way up our career ladder and to set composure while calling upon their training to ensure the safety higher goals including career planning. In a time of budget cuts, of the individual, other people in their care and themselves. They expecting inducements by government to help organizations are required to participate in ongoing training, work with other preserve quality DSPs may be unrealistic. I counter, that departments and auditing their work. it is impractical for government not to include proper DSP As someone who began as a DSP, I will tell you it is one of the compensation when setting rates. At Anderson we are constantly most rewarding, and challenging, positions I have ever had. People striving to enhance the work environment for our essential DSPs.

board of trustees

Anderson Center for Autism operates under the guidance of our exceptional Boards of Trustees. We appreciate the contributions that each of these talented and generous individuals makes towards the achievement of our goals.

Anderson Center for Autism* Francis M. Synan, Chair

Richard W. Lewis, Secretary

Jason P. Christopher, Trustee

Jeanne R. Raichle, Trustee

Eric D. Gorman, 1st Vice Chair

Neeraj Alimchandani, Trustee

Pompey Delafield, Trustee

John A. Scileppi, Ph.D., Trustee

Elizabeth P. Corcoran, 2nd Vice Chair

Elinor B. E. Arnold, Trustee

Alayar Kangarlu, Ph.D., Trustee

Rebecca M. Blahut, Trustee

Joseph Lepore, Trustee

Joan Blutreich, Trustee

Peter M. Olympia, Jr., Trustee

*Trustees for Anderson Center for Autism are also Trustees for Anderson Center Services, Inc.

Justin L. Cole, Treasurer

Anderson Foundation for Autism, Inc. Margaret Cusumano, Chair

Susan Angeles, Trustee

Joseph T. Kirchhoff, Trustee

Marisa Perez-Rogers, Trustee

John Maserjian, Vice Chair

Gregory S. Burns, Trustee

Harold L. Mangold, Trustee

Maryann R. Pilon, Trustee

Justin L. Cole, Treasurer

Barry R. Feirstein, Trustee

David W. Melby, Trustee

Robert Shoemaker, Trustee

Tondra Lynford, Secretary

Vance A. Gage, Trustee

William F. Melcher, Trustee

Rebecca A. Valk, Trustee

Fritz Sonnenschmidt

Lifetime Honorary Trustees Ellen L. Baker

David W. Melby

Wilfred Rohde

Michael McNaughton

Jaime Rodriguez-Tellez

Sarah E. Sholes

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Staff Kudos

staff kudos

Employee of the Month March

Children’s Services

Adult Services

Education / Chris Eichhorn A Teacher’s Assistant, Chris was nominated for being extremely helpful not only in his own Classroom 106, but also in others over the past few months. His hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated!

Sonia Hall-Jackson and Anthony Lancaster The choice for the Adult Services Employees of the Month was made for us when Sonia Hall-Jackson and Anthony Lancaster of the Hill and Hollow IRA safely and calmly evacuated the four residents from the IRA after a small fire broke out in one of the bathroom ceilings in February. Both were praised by our staff, as well as by the Hyde Park Fire Department, for their calm and quick handling of the emergency. The evacuation could not have gone any smoother. Sonia and Anthony also happen to be great RHS staff even when they’re not dealing with emergencies! Sonia has been with us in multiple locations for almost 11 years and Anthony has been with ACA at Hill and Hollow for just over two years. Both have proven to be excellent RHS staff and their Residence Manager, John DeLorenzo, sings their praises for their efforts.

Residential / Steven Whyte A Direct Support Professional in the Locust house, Steven was nominated for being well-liked and for knowing and respecting students. He brings new ideas to improve programming and has been specially acknowledged by parents of Locust students for going above and beyond in the care of their children. Steven always goes the extra mile, knows each one of the students own personal interests and works very to improve their quality of life.


Congratulations Chris and Steven!

Congratulations to Sonia and Anthony.

Education / Todd Miller A Teacher’s Aide in Classroom 125, Todd is a long-term employee who has never wavered from his commitment to professionalism and integrity. He embraces his role and makes everyday a learning experience for students, regardless of the setting or task. Administrators depend on him to assist with difficult situations and he does so with a smile. Students love him. Staff love him. He is a rock star at Anderson!

Jessica Bates Jessica is an RHS at the East Meadowbrook IRA and has been with us just under one year. In her time with ACA, Jessica has displayed great enthusiasm and compassion when working with the five gentlemen at her IRA. She always goes the extra mile whether it’s with the meals she cooks with the men or the outings she plans with them in the community and she always tries to find new experience for them to enjoy. She has been very accommodating with her schedule and her Residence Manager (who enthusiastically nominated her for this recognition), noted that she is always willing to help out when needed. She is a very confidant and competent staff who has become an integral part of the IRA.

Residential / Nigel Simms A Direct Support Professional in the Aspen house, Nigel is enthusiastic about working with students and is always trying new things with them. He truly understands his responsibilities related to teaching and skill development. and welcomes opportunities to provide leadership among his peers. Nigel is a team player and is well respected by coworkers and supervisors.

Thank you & congratulations Sonia, Anthony and Jessica!

Great job, Todd and Nigel! May

Education/ Jeff Paggi A Teacher’s Aide in Classroom 112, Jeff is the newest member of the 112 team. He has demonstrated a respect and understanding for the individual supports necessary for each student and implements all strategies with integrity. Jeff and his coworkers have made a huge impact on student behavior—increasing positive, independent behavior and decreasing challenging behavior. Jeff has great insight and offers helpful suggestions as part of problem solving and strategy development. Jeff is a “go with the flow” kind of guy—a trait that serves him well in Classroom 112! Residential / Dushane West Direct Support Professional in the Willow house, Dushane was nominated by Chris Bucci, Residence Manager. Chris noted that Dushane is new to this field but from the moment he began working, he showed a great interest in learning all that he could to do his best to support and teach the students. He has demonstrated a great work ethic and is very professional. He actively works with the “Willow guys” to ensure they are engaged and experiencing new challenges and is a valuable member of the Willow team!

Congratulations to Dushane and Jeff! Thanks for all you do!

2013 Volume 2  3 3

April Autism Awareness Month Two amazing third-party fundraising events benefited Anderson Center for Autism in April … a walk, organized by SUNY Orange student Tiffany Mendez, took place in Middletown and the Culinary Institute of America planned and hosted “Melt Into Spring”, an elegant five-course dinner at their beautiful Hyde Park campus. “1 in 88” Anderson’s Hudson Valley radio show hosted by Eliza Bozenski featured special guests including Didi Conn, Dutchess County Health Department’s Jamie Farrell-Lizotte and Anderson alumni and best-selling author Jesse Saperstein. Team Anderson enjoyed a gorgeous day while exercising and raising awareness of autism at the Autism Walk William Favaro, Anderson parent and CIA graduate, & Expo in Rhinebeck. We look forward to more exciting activities next April! addresses guests

Program Initiatives iPad Initiative Update Over the past year, we have been using iPads as a part of our Speech Therapy Program in both our Children’s and Adult Programs! These devices are the result of a generous donation which enhance the communicative and language abilities of our individuals. The iPads are used by our Speech Pathologists for individual-specific needs that include use as a teaching tool to target receptive and expressive vocabulary, discrimination skills of picture symbols, attention to task, following directions, responding to questions, conversational skills, and/or phonemic awareness. For many of our folks, their level of engagement and attentiveness increases significantly while using the iPad, allowing for extended learning opportunities. We are excited to continue exploring vast possibilities of these devices and continue to expand on their effectiveness for our students and adults!

Marist Offers Anderson Employee Discount Anderson Center is pleased to announce a special partnership with Marist College offering our employees, and their families, a 25% tuition discount on a wide variety of Marist’s full- and part-time graduate and adult undergraduate degree and certificate programs— online and on campus. Marist is known for its flexible adult programs, allowing adults credit for life and career experience as they continue toward their degree. Anderson is thrilled for the opportunity to provide this tremendous benefit, together with such a recognized institution of higher learning. Our thanks to Marist! Certain conditions apply and final determination of eligibility for the discount is made by the college. For more information, please visit

Staff Kudos cont. Congratulations to Brandy Haight on passing her Licensing Exam! Brandy, who currently works as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in our Adult Services Program, is now a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW).

Sharing Their Knowledge

Praise for Therapy Dogs

Elizabeth Gray, Occupational Therapist, and Rebecca Stanmyer, Speech Language Pathologist, recently presented at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference in San Diego on the interdisciplinary treatment model that they have implemented here at Anderson. The model addresses the unique functional, social and communication needs of adults with autism in the community. Congratulations Beth and Rebecca! Great job!!!

In April, Mary Anne Enea, M.S., CCCSLP (Speech Pathologist in our Adult Program) and Marc Condon, owner of Canine Link, Inc. along with his therapy dog, Dutchess, presented on the benefits of dog-assisted therapy at Lehigh Carbon Community College in Schnecksville, PA. The focus of the workshop was to inform attendees of various ways that therapy and assistance dogs can positively impact individuals on the autism spectrum. The audience was thrilled to hear about the great things being done with therapy dogs at ACA. Nice work Mary Anne and Marc!

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Art Stars

Student of the Month

Listed are Art Star winners (and their work) since January. Art Stars are chosen by reviewing the student work/behavior over the previous month.


January, Eugenie P. (Room 310)

Andrew R. (Classroom 119)

February, Mikaila C. (Room 120)

Jake T. (Classroom 117

March Karl K. (Classroom 306) March, Darien R. (Room 125)

April Nate C. (Classroom 119)

April, Kelly W. (Room 119)

May Nathaniel H. (Classroom 112)

2013 Volume 2  5

Notes & Notables

notes & notables

Notes & Notables

Advertising in a big—and effective—way

We’ve rolled out of our newest advertising campaign—billboards!. Through these billboards, we highlight the personal stories of some of the individuals here at Anderson Center. A big thank you goes to the many students and adults, their family and staff who participated in this important project. The individuals put their best effort forward in working with a professional photographer— they did great! The parents and family were involved in many ways, including providing personal testimonials. Staff members were so supportive of the individuals during their photo sessions—some really got into it—and also provided necessary assistance in transporting everyone to where they needed to be. Opportunities like this major campaign truly demonstrate the importance of teamwork as we continue helping the wonderful group of people that we serve. As you drive, run or walk past one of the billboards and/or hear the ads on the radio, we hope you will pause and allow yourself a moment (or two) of pride in what Anderson Center accomplishes each day. The billboards are located on:

• Route 44 East of Pleasant Valley • Route 9W Milton • Route 9G Hyde Park and Rhinebeck

Cleaning Up In April, Kyle G. and Leonard A. teamed up with staff to kick off the Campus Cleaning Group. It was a great success as they were able to clean areas in both the Village Center and the Business Center. In the Village Center, they cleaned the foyer windows and the tables and counter tops in the front conference room. In the Business Center, they dusted the furniture in the foyer and wiped counter tops in the downstairs break room and dusted shelves in the library. They were able to plan out where the cleaning carts would be kept and how the supplies should be replenished. A list of their responsibilities will be compiled and Kyle and Leonard can check them off as they are completed. It is exciting see them growing and acquiring new skills through this great initiative.

April is for Artists Art and proud smiles were on display as Starr Library in Rhinebeck, showcased the beautiful artwork created by Anderson’s Expressive Outcomes participants for the entire month of April.

On the Radio

Several local radio stations are currently airing our latest radio commercials. Featuring the most heartfelt, sincere and touching testimonials from several Anderson these commercials are sure to complement our new marketing campaign individuals currently living and receiving services at Anderson Center. These radio commercials are recorded by the parents of many of the individuals featured on our billboards (see article above), sharing their very personal and positive experiences as Anderson families. The stories they share allow listeners to understand the incredible impact that work here at Anderson Center has had, not only on the individuals themselves, but on their entire families. These commercials are currently running on the following radio stations:

• • • • • •

WCZX-FM, Mix 97.7 WHUD-FM, 100.7 WDST-FM, Radio Woodstock, 100.1 WSPK-FM, K104.7 WRNQ-FM, Lite 92.1 WRWD-FM, 107.3

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Bill H. is a Good Neighbor Bill H. with David Stewart, President of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, receiving the “Good Neighbor Award” at the annual Business of Year dinner.

s p e c i aSpecial l Olympics olympics Well Worth the Chill In February, Special Olympics Coordinators and Coaches Amanda C., John D., and Kwame W. jumped in for the annual S.O.N.Y. Polar Plunge in Fishkill. Their team “A Bit Chilly,” raised $2,592. In total, this fun fundraiser—one of S.O.N.Y.’s largest—raised over $135,000 that directly benefits our 85+ athletes.

A Busy March In March, our athletes competed in both the S.S. Memorial Regional Aquatics competition, and a local basketball skills event hosted by TDDSO. In aquatics Ed H., Chrissy C., and John H., trained by Steve Mulvey, brought home a Gold, two Silvers, a Bronze and a fourth place finish. In basketball skills, athletes Ella J., Richard B., David A., Kyle Z., Matt T., Michael “Spike” V., Tommy L., and Steven L., coached by John D., earned two Golds, two Silvers, three Bronzes, and one fourth place finish. Great job!


their full potential in all aspects of their life. Amanda, John and Kwame, you are so deserving of this recognition. We applaud your collaboration and true teamwork! The day’s second surprise came when Marcos D. won the 2013 Houghton Award, given annually to an athlete who shows bravery and leadership amongst his/her peers. Marcos devotes himself to each sporting event, providing motivation and encouragement to his teammates every step of the way. The ceremony concluded with an emotional run led by Jonathon Brunot, a participant in our Adult Day Program, holding the torch and opening the games. That’s what happened in the first hour of the day, now on to the games…

In April, 35 Anderson athletes and 11 coaches participated in the Annual Regional Aquatics, Basketball, and Power Lifting competition at Marist College. Our athletes won medals in Aquatics, Basketball Skills, and Basketball Team Play—with the highest score of the entire day being earned by Dominic “Chipper” C. in Basketball Skills. In the quarter-finals, the bball team won by two points. In a hard fought finale, they were defeated, but proudly took home the Silver. Congratulations to all the athletes and many thanks to the coaches, staff, friends, and families for their support.

A Day Full of Surprises and Success Anderson Center was a BIG WINNER at the West Point Games in May. At the morning Awards Ceremony, a surprised Amanda Coons, John DeLorenzo and Kwame WiafeAkenten were named the 2013 NYS-HVR Special Olympics Coaches of the Year! This prestigious honor goes to coaches who dedicate time beyond their regular work hours to the training and success of each athlete on their team. They help individuals reach

Fifty Anderson Athletes participated. With over 760 athletes from several organizations across the region. The following are some of the highlights, but we encourage you to talk with the coaches and the athletes to find out more. Check out our new Special Olympics page on Facebook, with many great photos! • Our adult athletes competed in the 4x100 meter relay, taking home the Silver and securing their spot to participate in 2013 Summer State Games in Buffalo, NY. • Our student athletes took home a total of 6 Golds! Also awarded were many Silvers and Bronzes. • All Anderson athletes gave their all and left with so much to be proud of! Congratulations to Marcos, Jonathon, Amanda, Kwame, John and every Anderson athlete who participated. 2013 Volume 2  7

4885 Route 9 · P.O. Box 367 Staatsburg, NY 12580-0367 Ph: 845-889-4034

April 21, 2014

Save the Dates

save the dates

October 5, 2013 12th Annual Gala The Grandview in Poughkeepsie, NY

Please visit our online store and family site.

October 19, 2013 ACA’s Open House & Harvest Festival Anderson Center for Autism

April 21, 2014 Autism Tomorrow Conference ACA’s 90th Anniversary For details, participation and sponsorship information, or to register for the above events, please contact RonDeena Ross at 845-889-9224.

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