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Special Resources for Special People

Compiled by Jody L. Weinstein
Challenged individuals and their families often have difficulty finding schools, services and organizations to help them on their difficult lifetime paths. Hopefully, this compilation will be the first of many to come and will prove useful to the world of special people as well as those who guide them and share their lives.

American Diabetes Assocation
The American Diabetes Association is the nationís leading non-profit health organization providing diabetes research, information and advocacy. The Association conducts programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia reaching more than 800 communities. Its mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The Association works with governmental bodies at a state level, establishing relationships with local corporations and agencies to help provide support services, organizes screenings to detect the disease, raises funds to support research and educational programs, and conducts educational programs for health care professionals. The American Diabetes Association can be contacted at (212) 725-4925.

American Sign Language Institute (ASLI)
The ASLI offers a classes which introduce and expand upon the basics of American Sign Language: its syntax, hand shapes, movements, and the corresponding facial expressions which are so important in the use of the language. We also introduce the students to Deaf culture and compare similarities and differences of both the hearing and Deaf worlds. Most of our ASL instructors are Deaf, native signers or hearing people who have learned ASL as their first language. Additionally, ASLI provides sign language interpreting services to the greater New York area including the five boroughs, New Jersey and Long Island. Call the ASLI interpreting services at (212) 675-1917. They also have a 24 hour interpreting hotline at (917) 448-3149. For general information call Voice: (212) 675-7275, TTY (212) 675-3323 or write them at ASLI, 242 West 27th Street, Suite 3B, New York, NY 10001.

Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities (CCLD)
This is the first public awareness campaign on a national level that involves the six leading LD groups, with the goal of promoting greater understanding of the issue of learning disabilities. The organizationís are Council for Learning Disabilities, Division for Learning Disabilities, International Dyslexia Association, Learning Disabilities Association of America, National Center for Learning Disabilities, and Parents and Educators Resource Center. The CCLD works to bring information to parents and to promote the need for early detection and intervention. Further questions can be forwarded to Communications Consortium Media Center, 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, D.C., 20005-1754. (202) 326-8700.

The Dependent Care Connection, Inc. (DCC)
The DCC Inc. provides services to help locate a variety of programs and resources for individuals with special needs. DCC can help with prenatal services, adoption services, child care services, emergency care services, special needs services, summer care services, academic services, colleges and universities, adult care services, personal services and educational materials. Contact DCC counselors by calling Voice: 1-800-873-4636, TDD 1-800-873-1322 (TDD Counselors are available between 9 am and 5 pm Eastern Time). Website:,

Epilepsy Foundation New York City (EFNYC)
EFNYC helps people to evaluate and understand the medial and personal issues associated with epilepsy. EFNYC provides for individuals and families affected by epilepsy. Services are informational and referral, epilepsy education seminars, childrenís programs, volunteer corps, counseling and crisis intervention, support groups, education and advocacy, and financial aid to families. For more information about epilepsy and the services provided by the EFNYC, contact the Foundation at: 305 7th Avenue, Suite 1202, New York, NY 10001. (212) 633-2930.

Herbert G. Birch Services
Since 1975, Herbert G. Birch Services has offered a wide range of educational and therapeutic programs designed to enable children with special needs to achieve their highest potential. An independent non-profit organization, we operate early childhood centers in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx, as well as Head Start programs, a large day care program and classroom programs that integrate children with and without special needs. We also operate residential homes for children and adults and a camp providing training and respite care to children with AIDS and their families. Our work extends beyond the individual child. We help strengthen and empower whole families. And, to ensure that we continue to maintain the skilled, dedicated and hardworking staff we require, we train professionals in a variety of disciplines.

Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA)
LDA is the only national organization devoted to defining and finding solutions for the broad spectrum of learning problems. LDA has 50 state affiliates with more than 775 local chapters. Learning disabilities occur in many forms - visual, auditory, motor control, communications, logic, etc. Effective correction must include a total approach to the educational, psychological, psychological and medical needs of the individual child. LDA offers information and referral, school program development, public affairs and legislation, and newsletters. For more information write to: LDA, 4156 Library Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15234-1349.

The Lexington School for the Deaf/Center for the Deaf
They provide services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and their families. These include: school-early intervention through high school, hearing and speech center, mental health center, vocational services center, and a research division. For more information, call 718-899-8800 or write to them at 30th Avenue and 75th Street, Jackson Heights, NY 11370.

Lighthouse International Inc.
Lighthouse International is a leading resource worldwide on vision impairment and vision rehabilitation and enables people of all ages who are partially sighted or blind to lead independent and productive lives. Direct services such as orientation and mobility, career counseling, technology training, low vision services and adaptive living skills are provided to people with impaired vision in the metropolitan New York area. Continuing education for health care professionals, research on the effects of vision loss, and advocacy on behalf of people who are visually impaired are undertaken on a national and international level. The Lighthouse Information and Resource service (800-829-0500) can refer callers nationwide to vision rehabilitation services in their locale. They can be contacted in New York at (212) 821-9200 or written to at 111 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022. Lighthouse International is a not-for -profit organization.

The Mayorís Office for People with Disabilities
For information contact Harvey Fisher, Deputy Director. Tel. 212-788-2830; Fax 212-788-2858 or TTY 212-788-2838.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)
Headquartered in New York City, the NCLD is one of the foremost national not-for-profit organizations committed to improving the lives of those affected by learning disabilities. NCLDís mission is to promote public awareness and understanding of children and adults with learning disabilities, and to provide national leadership on their behalf, so they may achieve their potential and enjoy full participation in our society. NCLD serves a broad constituency of individuals with learning disabilities and their families, researchers, and practitioners in the general and special education fields. Their primary services are: National Information & Referral Service, Educational Programs, Public Outreach and Communications and Legislative Advocacy and Public Policy. For more information, call NCLD at 1-888-575-3737 or 212-545-7510 or write them at 381 Park Avenue South, Suite 1401, NY, NY 10016 or visit them at

National Multiple Sclerosis Society
The National Multiple Sclerosis Societyís mission is to end the devastating effects of MS. Through its fifty-state network of chapters, the Society funds research, furthers education, advocates for and provides a variety of empowering programs for the third of a million Americans who have MS and their families. All people need to do is pick up the phone and call 1-800-FIGHTMS, 24 hours a day.

New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. (NYSID)
The NYSID mission is to provide New Yorkís disabled citizens with vocational training and employment leading to personal independence, as well as individual and community economic benefit. NYSID has a member marketing council, ďbusiness trackĒ training seminar series, and work center product training seminars. To contact NYSID please write to 155 Washington Avenue, Suite 400, Albany, New York 12210 or call (518) 463-9706.

Prevent Blindness America, New York City Division
Prevent Blindness America is the nationís leading volunteer health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness American works through public and professional education, patient services community, programs and research. Together with a network of volunteers and professionals, we seek to end preventable blindness in New York. Specifically Prevent Blindness America, New York Division has two major services. One is called photoscreening. Since one out of every 20 pre- schoolers has a vision problem it is important to get their vision checked early. However, for pre-school children and children with special needs it is often difficult to get them to respond to traditional screening tools. The photoscreener is an alternative. The test takes less than five minutes. Another service is the Glaucoma Support and Education Group. Members of the group are people who have glaucoma, are at risk for the disease, or know someone who has it. The third Saturday of each month, the group invites a different doctor to speak on various topics. For more information please contact the Prevent Blindness American, New York City Division at (212) 980-2020 or write via email at or by snail mail at 160 East 56th Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10022.

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D)
The RFB&D is the nationís educational library for people who could not effectively read a standard print due to visual perceptual or other physical disabilities. In 1995 they changed their name from RFB to RFB&D to reflect the organizationís growing membership with learning disabilities. RFB&D has 32 recording studios across the country. The organization meets the growing demand of schools and institutions for a convenient and flexible method of providing an accessible education to their students with print disabilities. Each year they produce more than 3600 new educational books on tapes and in computerized form for our 77,000 title library. They distribute a quarter of a million text on tape and computer disk to people with print disabilities every year. RFB&Dís New York studio can be reached at (212) 557-5720.

Xavier Society for the Blind (XSB)
XSB currently serves nearly 11,000 blind, deaf-blind, visually impaired and print-disabled persons in the United States and Canada, and 700 more worldwide. They have one of the oldest and largest lending libraries for the visually impaired. XSB, 154 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010-4595. (212) 473-7800

Many of these organizations would not exist without the help of volunteers. Your services would be greatly appreciated by these organizations if you have time to contribute.

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