About Us

The Keeping It Real project brings together three self-advocates from the autism community who serve as role models for adolescent students on the autism spectrum. Each advocate developed a strength-based module on an area of expertise that can be used in middle schools to nurture students’ self-esteem and foster critical self-advocacy skills. Through impact videos, PowerPoints, classroom lessons, and follow-up activities, these self-advocates share both their experiences and expertise with both students and their teachers.

  • Jesse Saperstein is keeping it kind, using lessons in compassion to combat bullying
  • Stephen Shore is keeping it strong, helping students recognize their strengths and utilize their passions
  • Zosia Zaks is keeping it true, teaching students why and how to self-advocate

Join us, as we challenge schools to keep it real!

For more information about the Keeping It Real Project, please contact:

For more information about NYU Steinhardt’s ASD Nest Support Project click here

The “Keeping It Real” Project Team would like to acknowledge the following contributors to the project:

The FAR Fund and Autism Speaks Family Services Community Grants for generous funding and support of the “Keeping It Real” Project.

The New York City Department of Education for its support of NYU Steinhardt’s ASD Nest Support Project and specifically the following schools whose staff and students were integral to the development of the “Keeping It Real” modules:

Our incredible self-advocates, Dr. Stephen Shore, Zosia Zaks, and Jesse Saperstein, who exemplify what a collaboration between professionals and self-advocates can be and how it can directly impact the lives of our students.

Susan Brennan, CCC-SLP, for thoughtfully integrating our self-advocates' perspectives from the “Keeping It Real” Project into the ASD Nest Social Development Intervention (SDI).

Shravan Vidyarthi and Michael Gaylin for their time and talents in all video production associated with the “Keeping It Real” Project.

Rex Huang and Kaman Lam for website development and coding and bringing to “digital life” a year’s worth of work.

Meet the self-advocates