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SNACK & Friends: Helping Children Thrive!

SNACK (Special Needs Activity Center for Kids) provides recreational activities after school and weekends for children, teens and young adults ages 3-21 with autism and other special needs. The mission of SNACK is to fill a void in the lives of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other similar developmental and behavioral disabilities through these programs. SNACK was the recipient of an Autism Speaks Family Services Community Grant in 2010. The following is an excerpt about their wonderful program from the SNACK website.

SNACK's 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.

SNACK strongly believes 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 their no “in-take” policy.  SNACK offers 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 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 for the children and their families.

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, visit, email or call 212-439-9996.

Visit‐videos to see SNACK programs and children in action and hear from parents how SNACK positively impacts their children’s and their lives!

SNACK 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.

This is the fourth post in a series this week highlighting after school programs for individuals with autism! Check out Autism Foundation of the Carolina's Inclusion-Based Program, New York Transit Museum's Subway Sleuths Program and SNAP Mentor Programs for more great ideas!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.