The Nest Program is speaking out for autistic students

Staten Island, New York – the Nest Program at Paulo Intermediate School, Huguenot, helps students with ASD to make a smooth transition into the upper grades.

The program enables students with High Functioning ASD to have correct structure, support and services that they need to be successful in an inclusive setting.

Jessica Jackson, assistant principal for special education at Paulo told Diane C. Lore from

“Students in the program learn skills necessary to function socially, academically and behaviorally,”

The Nest Program was created at the school 3 years ago.

Jessica Jackson further adds:

“Many have learned to better accept who they are and become advocates for themselves, and the disorder, so that people know they are not defined by their disorder,”

Paulo recently hosted its first “Autism Awareness Night” were ASD students were involved and spoke up for themselves.

Students read poems about how to cope with ASD. They also sang songs about acceptance.

There was also a performance of the play “Pumpkin Soup” that ASD students presented.

Nest coach Jonelle Marenda worked with the children after school together with speech therapist Jaime Scalfani, to rehearse the play which informed others about accepting autism in their family.

The play was written by Paulo Nest student Christopher Delgado and his mother Holly Pepe.

Christopher is quoted as saying:

“We wanted to show that people who have ASD are not disabled; we just see the world differently,”

Ms. Jackson told of how proud she was of Paulo’s ASD Nest students.

“The way they are advocating for themselves is a message to us all to stand up and listen.”

The full article by Diane C. Lore on the website can be found here