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Anderson Center for Autism Announces Opening of its First Preschool Program for Students Ages 3-5 With Autism and Related Disorders

Date August 23, 2021

Staatsburg, New York…Anderson Center for Autism announced today that it has obtained final approval from the New York State Education Department to open its first preschool in September. The program, designed for students ages 3-5 with behavioral characteristics of autism and related disorders, will be housed at Cold Spring Elementary School in Stanfordville, New York.

Said Patrick Paul, CEO/Executive Director of Anderson Center for Autism, “This will present a long-awaited, much-needed option in Dutchess County for young children with autism and their families. With a capacity of 20 students, we expect full enrollment very quickly as we open our doors for the first time in September. We’re also pleased to incorporate daycare services into the preschool, which have already been approved by the Dutchess County Department of Health.”

Anderson’s leadership team noted that the launch of this preschool has been a team effort.

Paul added, “This initiative has really come to life because of Anderson’s collaboration with many people who share a passion for our cause. We are so grateful to the Pine Plains School District, particularly Dr. Martin Handler (Superintendent), Janine Babcock (Director of Pupil Personnel), Gian Starr (Principal), and Richard McKibben (Facilities Director). In addition, we want to extend our deep thanks to New York State Assemblymember Didi Barrett, New York State Senator Sue Serino, and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, all of whom have been unfailingly devoted to our mission of optimizing the quality of life for people with autism.”

Said Janine Babcock, Director of Pupil Personnel at Pine Plains Central School District: “The Pine Plains Central School District is pleased to be partnering with Anderson Center for Autism in their new preschool program for children with special needs. The new program will offer two full-day classrooms at the Cold Spring Early Learning Center in Stanfordville. Currently, children have to travel to center-based programs in the southern or western ends of the county.  Anderson’s new program will provide a much-needed local option for families and school districts in the Northern Dutchess area. We look forward to being able to help serve children with special needs and their families for years to come. “

Rooted in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis, Anderson Center for Autism’s preschool will incorporate occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy, along with special education, into its program. The two classrooms which have been designated for the preschool will include a self-contained special education room and an integrated setting. Both will include learning and therapeutic experiences customized to the needs of each individual child. Families of enrollees will have a chance to participate in regular team meetings and will also have opportunities for in-home education and support to ensure that the skills being taught in the school program can be generalized to each student’s home environment.

Said Dr. Tina Covington, Chief Operating Officer at Anderson Center for Autism, “We all know that experiences during preschool years play a significant role in human development. And for young people with autism, those early childhood years are extra-critical. I’ve seen it first-hand in previous roles with preschools for children with autism and related disabilities. Without question, these types of evidence-based education and therapies that we’ll be offering lead to more favorable outcomes – it’s a privilege to be part of a team working to make these opportunities available. We are so excited to introduce Anderson’s preschool to our Hudson Valley region, and very much look forward to getting to know all of the children and families who will benefit from these services.”

Anderson Center for Autism, a nonprofit, also offers educational, vocational, and residential services to people with Autism Spectrum Disorder on their Staatsburg campus and offsite throughout Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster Counties. This will be the organization’s first initiative focused on preschool-age children.

Noted Paul, “A longtime goal of Anderson Center for Autism is to offer a continuum of service across an individual’s lifespan. This preschool is a big step toward achieving that, and we can’t wait to see how the stories of our students take shape.”

For more information, call 845.889.9208 or visit  www.AndersonCenterForAutism.org

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