Strategic Partnerships

Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC)

We supported a strategic partnership between QSAC and Stages on the Sound, a New York City theater education nonprofit. Our pilot program tested the academic impact of theater education on children with autism.

QSAC is an innovator in methodologies, best practices, and technology solutions for both children and adults with autism in New York City. After reading nascent research on the use of the dramatic arts to improve literacy outcomes for children with autism, QSAC partnered with Stages on the Sound to develop a 46-week pilot. The pilot shifted Stages’ typical teaching arts program to align with students on the spectrum; the curriculum pulled from Stages’ background in theater education and QSAC’s background in autism and application behavioral analysis.

This pilot showed that theater education can have a substantial impact on the academic learning outcomes of autistic children.

Through the continued support of Heckscher, QSAC has implemented an innovative Theater Education Program for students with autism, which supports the development of communication, socialization, and literacy skills. Through dramatic play, students are given the tools needed to express themselves, engage with their peers, and explore the world around them. We have seen incredible outcomes as a result of this program: preschool students have said their first words, teachers have witnessed reserved students breaking out of their shell and forming relationships with peers, and students have written and performed their own plays. Children with autism learn best through dynamic and tailored educational activities and, with Heckscher's generosity, we are able to support the learning needs of all of our students and help them reach their full potential.
Lisa A. Veglia, L.C.S.W., M.P.A., SAS, Chief Executive Officer
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