Meal Planning and Nutrition - small groups meet twice weekly where they choose two recipes, plan a food shopping list and then go to the supermarket. In the supermarket, the students learn how to navigate the store, comparison shop, how to choose produce, and ask for assistance. During the cooking component, students are exposed to a variety of nutrition lessons, learn how to follow a recipe, cook the meal and eat together as a group.
Individual Cooking Instruction - Weekly lessons take place in the students’ apartments. The students will prepare a meal while also learning about safety in the kitchen, use of the microwave and oven, practice measuring skills, knife skills and proper cleanup after cooking. The goal is for our students to develop a repertoire of meals they can cook independently.
Apartment Organization - instruction focuses on learning how to clean and maintain their apartment, proper use of cleaning materials, division of chores between roommates, and how to do their laundry. Staff will also work with students on preparing a shopping list and budgeting for weekly expenses.
Our students reside in a modern, attractive tree-lined apartment complex in Hauppauge, New York, about one hour from New York City and one hour from Long Island’s eastern end. The apartment complex is equipped with two swimming pools, tennis courts, a fitness center and other recreational facilities.
Giant Step is an ideal alternative for academically able young adults with other significant deficits to pursue college while living in a supportive environment that promotes growth in the area of executive functioning, social skills and vocational development. The college students with Asperger’s Syndrome at Giant Step will receive individualized academic supports and will find strong appropriate social opportunities. They will also receive educational supports geared towards building skills in independent living, life skills and social skills.
A mainstay of Giant Step is our highly individualized vocational program. Prior to a student’s official starting date, our vocational coordinator assesses each student’s aptitude for particular training or job placement. This assessment is coordinated with parent input and that of prior schools and work placements. Each student is assigned to a work setting or training program for approximately 10-15 hours per week.
Initially, our members spend half the day in a work training program, internship or paid position where they learn about the essential factors for success on the job.
Through weekly vocational counseling, Giant Step staff assist members in maintaining a job by working on specific tasks required for the job, including:
We support our members’ career development by teaching them to:
Current and past employers:
The Step Vocational Coordinator and her vocational staff have strong working relationships with over fifty employers in Suffolk County ranging from large organizations such as Stony Brook University Hospital and Applebees Restaurants to small local businesses in and around the Hauppauge area. Each organization in which our students are placed is assigned a liaison staff member to maintain consistent and frequent contact with these employers. Our goal is to address issues before they become problematic so that the student has every opportunity to thrive in the workplace.
BOCES-Board of Cooperative Educational Services are New York State training facilities for the development of work skills in many different fields. If a Step student shows an interest and potential aptitude for any area that BOCES teaches, we will help to enroll the student into that program.
Giant Step considers the development of positive social skills to be one of the most important goals for our members . Through structured and unstructured interactions and events, the members can develop and practice social skills seven days a week. The Giant Step staff guide the members through their social experiences, teaching them problem solving and negotiating skills for various social and vocational settings.
With input from the members, a monthly calendar includes a wide variety of activities :
Fitness Club at the YMCA in Bay Shore
Monthly group meeting
Additionally, the weekends have organized social activities such as :
We offer yearly overnight weekend trips which are chaperoned and supervised:
New York City for Broadways shows and Museums
Frost Valley Environmental Center
Each year there are longer travel experiences. Past excursions have included :
Disney Cruises to Disneyworld and Atlantis
Cruise to Italy, Spain and France
These social experiences provide our members with opportunities for learning about different cultures, environments and customs outside the world in which they live their daily lives. The members strengthen their skills with strategies to enhance all levels of interaction. Through interpersonal relationships with people outside of their familiar circle of family, friends and co-workers, the members improve their understanding of their place in the world. The members also work on improving their communication skills as they encounter new places and people, all while making memories for themselves that they share with their friends for years to come.