Annual Appeal 2016-17

Dear Friends,

On behalf of everyone here at the NYC Autism Charter School, I want to thank you for the support you shown us over the last 11 years. It feels like just yesterday that we opened our doors for the first time. Since then, we have grown and learned and evolved so much — but our commitment to changing the lives of our students and their families has been unwavering.

I am often asked what makes our school different from other schools, what makes it special. I could fill a book with my answer, but there are a few key qualities that stand out to me. One is our focus on each child as an individual — an individual who brings different strengths and challenges to the table. We work hard to find and encourage our students’ passions, and to leverage those passions in order to teach other critical skills. From communicating basic wants and needs, to engaging in simple conversations; from learning to use the toilet, to completing complex self care routines (e.g., washing face, brushing teeth); from tolerating a dental visit without the need for restraint or sedation, to traveling on a New York City bus independently — we work with families to identify the most important and meaningful skills for each of our students, and break out of traditional educational boundaries to ensure that those areas are addressed.

Another is our emphasis on collaboration and partnerships. We know that the only way we can figure out all of the problems we face, and give our students all of the opportunities they need and deserve, is by working together and forging relationships with others who can help. Places like Harlem RBI and DREAM Charter School, Fairway Market, Facebook NY, White Castle, Shake Shack, El Museo del Barrio, Snack*works, JobPath, Asphalt Green, The Baseball Center NYC — all of these organizations have opened their doors to our students, giving them a chance to be included, to practice job skills in real-world environments, and to expand the community of people they interact with every day.

And last, but certainly not least, is our warm and loving culture. You feel it when you walk through our doors and see it in the smiles on the faces of our students and staff. Every tiny step is celebrated; every person is seen as a contributor; every day is a time to find gratitude. This is the kind of environment our students, families, and staff deserve, and one I am so proud to be a part of.

So often parents and professionals who visit ask, “Why aren’t there more schools like this one?” As you can imagine, operating a special school like ours takes resources – money, time, and expertise. We have worked hard to spread our successful practices through different forms of outreach, but have always wanted to be able to expand our footprint of direct service to children and families. I am thrilled to say, that day has come. In September of 2017, we will be opening NYC Autism Charter School Bronx, allowing us to double the number of children we serve!

We can’t do all of this important work without you. Please help us continue creating possibilities for all of our families — and soon so many more. Thank you in advance for your generosity, and may the New Year be filled with peace and love.


Julie Fisher
Executive Director