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19 Students set to Graduate at Anderson Center for Autism’s 99th Annual Commencement Ceremony

Date June 1, 2023

Staatsburg, New York…Anderson Center for Autism announced today that it will host its 99th annual commencement on Friday, June 23rd at Anderson Center for Autism in Staatsburg, New York. A total of 19 will graduate from the organization’s educational program.

Said Patrick Paul, CEO/Executive Director at Anderson Center for Autism, “Our commencement celebration reflects many years of hard work and dedication on the part of our students, their families, and Anderson team members; it is incredibly rewarding to see our graduates receive diplomas, and to see the smiles spread across their faces as they do so. We all love this event and look forward to it every June.”

Graduates all share a primary diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which presents with a wide range of communication, sensory processing, and behavioral challenges and impacts 1 in 36 people (Centers for Disease Control, 2023).

School Principal at Anderson Jayson Pistritto reflected: “We are incredibly proud of our students – and the extraordinary perseverance they demonstrate every step of the way. It is an honor to witness their progress and to share in this extraordinarily meaningful milestone.”
Anderson Center for Autism’s Class of 2023 includes Samantha C., Riley E., Cameron E., Connor F., Gianna F., David G., Jennifer G., Joseph H., Alexander J., Max K., Jonah K., Joseph L., Isabella L., Michael L., Hayden M., Johnathan M., Joel M.,Timothy P., and Daniel S. (note: Daniel S. was recently honored with the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce Good Neighbor Award).

This year’s keynote speaker will be Abby Edwards, the sister of Class of 2023 Anderson Center for Autism graduate, Riley.
Edwards, of East Moriches, Long Island, just completed freshman year at Marist College, where she is pursuing degrees in Elementary and Special Education. A Dean’s List student, Edwards is involved in the National Society of Leadership and Success, Kappa Delta Pi (an education honor society), and is a member of the Teachers of Tomorrow and Best Buddies Clubs.

Said Eliza Bozenski, Chief Development Officer, Anderson Foundation for Autism: “We are delighted to welcome Abby as this year’s keynote speaker. She has given so much of her time, energy, and heart to further our mission over the past eleven years since her brother Riley joined Anderson’s family. Abby coordinated an annual Pajama Day fundraiser, which ran for seven years in schools throughout her home region of Long Island and ended up extending into districts right here in the Hudson Valley. Through the initiative, Abby raised nearly $60,000 for Anderson in support of her brother and his peers. In addition, she envisioned and launched Anderson’s sibling connection group, and has shared with us that her professional plan – to teach – is a direct result of the strong bond she shares with her brother. In preparation for her career, Abby will be working as a teacher aide this summer in a special education program at the elementary school that she and her brothers attended. We are in awe of Abby, and as we celebrate graduation, we applaud all of the family members out there who have likewise supported their siblings with autism as they go through their school years.”

At Anderson Center for Autism, the collaborative, interdisciplinary education program incorporates behavioral analytic teaching strategies, interventions, and evaluative data review; visual, environmental, sensory, and communication supports are utilized as needed by the team of behavior specialists and analysts, speech and occupational therapists, and certified special educators. Classroom content is developed in the context of New York State Learning Standards, and progress is measured against goals set forth in IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) developed and adopted annually for each student.

In addition to its educational program at the Staatsburg campus, the organization also offers programs for younger students through Anderson Early Learning Academy at Cold Spring Elementary School in Stanfordville, New York and the recently-launched Anderson Early Learning Academy in Latham, New York.
Said Paul, “Our families are extremely supportive, and inspire us to grow and evolve. In order to carry out our mission of ‘optimizing the quality of life for individuals with autism,’ we will continue to seek opportunities to expand our reach – not only in our education program, but in all of our programs – so that we can maximize potential for people at every age and stage of life.”

For more information, call 845.889.9208 or visit andersoncenterforautism.org.

About Anderson Center for Autism
Our mission at Anderson Center for Autism is to optimize the quality of life for individuals with autism.