About The HeartShare School
The HeartShare School serves children ages 5-21 with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) who require an enhanced learning environment specific to their individual needs. The HeartShare School has a contract with the New York City Department of Education to provide special educational services, which are offered at no cost to eligible children. We are also approved by the New York State Education Department.
Opened in April 2007, The HeartShare School (THS) was created by HeartShare Human Services of New York at the urging of parents who had gone to their local elected officials seeking a school program that incorporated the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) approach to learning and behavior management. At that time, there were no schools in the borough specifically structured to meet the needs of children and adolescents with autism focusing largely on the ABA approach.
Located at Bath Avenue and Bay 19th Streets in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, the school occupies a two-floor wing of a large and spacious former private elementary school. It also has a full cafeteria on third, lower level, a playground at the center of the school complex, and regular access to a large gym and auditorium. It has been renovated and adapted to best meet the needs of the children with ASD and currently serves 56 students from all over New York City, but especially from Brooklyn.
Our Curriculum and Services
The HeartShare School's goal is to offer students an educational program that provides the best possible instruction in the New York City Core Curriculum, with individualized modifications. Our school offers a comprehensive educational curriculum that includes science, language arts, math, world history, geography, visual arts, and music. Learning takes place classroom-style, and each classroom is especially fitted with adapted computers that use the special Tech4Everyone learning system that allows each child to learn at his or her own pace. Touch screen computers and specialized software programs allow each child to learn at his or her own pace. Additionally, interactive SmartBoards are used to engage students in visual, auditory and tactile learning.
In addition to Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and its emphasis on discrete trial learning, other approaches are used depending upon each child's unique needs. These include the TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication Handicapped Children) approach to independent learning and the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) of visual schedules and visual cueing, both of which can be highly effective tools for individuals on the autism spectrum. Classroom instruction is supplemented with speech, occupational and/or physical therapies as identified in each child's Individual Education Plan (IEP). The HeartShare School also offers Music Therapy, Art Therapy, Social Skills Training, and Adaptive Physical Education to round out the educational, social and physical needs of our students.
Our teachers and teachers assistants educate 56 children in six classrooms on a daily basis, with plans to expand to 72 students and eight classrooms overall. Our ultimate goal is to provide our students with the necessary education and social skills so that they can progress to the point of joining their peers in a community-based public school.
The HeartShare School maintains an open-door policy and parents are welcome at any time. Parents are invited to participate in team meetings regarding their child's educational plans, join parenting groups and participate in holiday celebrations and special occasions. We believe that involvement of their family is vital to each child's success.
- "Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained."
- ~James Garfield