SNACK, the Special Needs Activity Center for Kids, is the creation of New York mom and SNACK’s Executive Director, Jackie Ceonzo. In 2003, after being unable to find a fulfilling program for her son, Joey, whose disabilities fall on the autism spectrum, she worked with a team of professionals to create a place for special needs children with challenging behaviors to socialize and enjoy recreational activities while learning practical skills in a collaborative, fun and welcoming environment.
The mission of SNACK, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, is to fill a void in the lives of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other similar developmental and behavioral disabilities by providing after-school and weekend recreational programs designed and staffed to address their needs. Our mission is accomplished by establishing activity centers that offer a variety of group and individual activities to provide these children with the help they need to thrive – the opportunity to make friends, improve skill levels, build confidence, participate in activities that typical kids do everyday and have some fun.
SNACK provides specialized instructional techniques not available in other special needs programs and is committed to never turning a child away—no matter how challenging the behaviors. We strongly believe that everyone deserves to have the same opportunities available to typically developing children in an environment that is committed to their success.
A key philosophy of SNACK is to accept children of all capabilities, through our no “in-take” policy. We offer free trial classes and families decide if SNACK is right for their child, not the other way around. SNACK’s activity centers are devoted to “Fun, Friends, and Hope” and welcome those with physical disabilities, verbal and non-verbal language abilities, across all socio-economic, race, and ethnic backgrounds.
SNACK programs, geared toward children ages 3-18 with special needs, are designed and staffed to address challenging behavioral issues, increase skill levels and promote improved social interaction. A variety of group and individual activities are offered including: art, music, movement, yoga, game time, soccer, sports and swimming, that run across six days of the week, in three locations. Vacation time programs provide a continuum of services that spans 42 weeks per year. Additionally, parent education and community outings provide further socialization opportunities to the children and their families.
At SNACK, children learn to participate in purposeful play and everyday childhood activities that don’t come as easily to them as they do typical children. The ratio of students to staff is not more than 2:1, class size limit (maximum 8 per class); use of the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to manage behavior and provide reinforcement, and our staff’s unique skill set, enables the children who participate to make progress.
SNACK staff includes teachers and teaching assistants from special needs schools, many trained in the science of ABA. Our Activity Leaders are comprised of those individuals certified in their particular discipline such as art therapy, drama, yoga, movement, swimming and sports. At SNACK, parent can be confident that their child is safe, happy, and having fun!
SNACK programs include: SNACKtivities socialization classes – a highly structured 2-hour program including music, art, drama, yoga, movement, fun and games and snack time; Private Swim lessons; Soccer classes; Sports classes, Family Swim Program and SNACK Parent Education Lecture Series.
What Makes SNACK Unique:
- Created by a parent of a special needs child
- A high staff to student ratio
- Teachers and therapists experienced in working with special needs children
- Activities designed especially for children with developmental disabilities
- A curriculum designed to foster self-confidence and emphasize social interaction
- Accommodations for non-toilet trained children
- Accommodations for non-verbal children and teens
- Sibling inclusion at no charge
- Outside therapists welcomed
- Ability to accommodate children with challenging behaviors
- Programs evolve to age along with the children as they develop and reach puberty
If you have any questions or would like further information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-439-9996.