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Devereux Millwood has new leader

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New York - A new face is now leading students at the Devereux Millwood Learning Center, a school for children with autism serving students from Westchester & Rockland Counties and New York City.

Cindy Alterson, Ph.D., is no stranger to students and staff at this innovative school which serves the needs of over forty students, ages five to 21. Alterson has served as clinical director at Devereux Millwood Learning Center for the past five years and recently served as interim principal, overseeing an expansion of the school to accommodate six additional students in 2007. This expansion included the construction of two new classrooms and a renovation of the school kitchen, site of vocational and life skills training for Millwood students.

John O’Keefe, executive director of Devereux New York, is confident that Alterson will lead staff and students to new heights, commenting: “during her role as interim principal, Alterson clearly demonstrated her ability to positively face challenges. It was during this interim period that management and implementation of the major project of expanding the program, with its extensive renovations, was completed in time for the start of the school year and the center was fully staffed for that expansion. Not only is she clinically and academically superior, but she "rolls up her sleeves" to address practical problems and issues as the need may arise."

DMLC is unique in the Hudson Valley region in that it operates with a 1:1 student: teacher ratio, applying a learning therapy known as applied behavioral analysis (ABA). The school is in its 11th year and serves as a model program for educating children and young adults with autism.

Alterson earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University at Albany, State University of New York, in 1999 and is licensed by New York State as a psychologist. She is a board certified behavior analyst. In 2004, Alterson was certified in school district administration. Alterson has seventeen published works to date. She has served as a guest speaker and workshop facilitator at conferences sponsored by the New Jersey Center for Outreach and at the Association for Behavior Analysis annual convention.

Alterson has most recently conducted workshops at the Stepping into the Future Conference on Autism sponsored by FECA and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Alterson is affiliated with The American Psychological Association, The Association for Behavior Analysis, and The New York State Association for Behavior Analysis.

DMLC is able to operate through a fiscal partnership between the Devereux Foundation, Devereux New York, and FECA, the Foundation for Educating Children with Autism. FECA is made up of parent advocates, medical advisors, and trustees. FECA supplements the funding provided by each students’ local school district to provide the one-to-one learning environment. Additionally, FECA enables students to perform 200 hours of vocational training at community businesses and non-profits by underwriting transportation and staffing expenses. “Alterson has a deep understanding of all of our students,” states Jay Wedin, FECA volunteer and board president, “her relationships with the students and staff, as well as her talents and expertise, enthusiasm and creativity, all point to a very exciting future for our school.”
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