Out There, & How to Get It
Raffa Cuomo and Karen T. Schlesinger
school starts in September, parents and children focus on the
beginning of a new year: new classes, new teachers, new classmates,
new friends, new school outfits, sometimes a new school. Hope
is in the air, and the possibilities seem boundless.
of children with disabilities and other special needs—learning,
developmental, emotional, physical, sensory, and medical—anticipate
the school year just like other parents do. But at the same
time, they prepare differently.
of children with special needs participate in meetings with
their child’s school and committee on special education to
develop the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for their child
for the coming year. When developing educational strategies
and expectations for the IEP, parents need to ask themselves
and the school many questions about their child’s progress
thus far and expectations for the coming year. Parents also
must determine how they can follow their child’s progress through
the year, and what to do if their child’s IEP is not being
questions go beyond the classroom. Many parents work, and child
care is a concern for all. For parents of children with disabilities,
arranging child care and after school activities is often a
parents of children with disabilities have questions about
school, after school programs, camps and summer programs, child
care, health and medical services, the transition from school
to work, family support services, or the laws, rights and entitlements
that affect them and their children, there are places to go
for information and help. Among them is Resources for Children
with Special Needs.
for Children with Special Needs (RCSN) works directly with
parents of children with disabilities and professionals to
locate and obtain programs and services of all kinds. This
New York City-wide not-for-profit organization provides individual
information and referral, educational advocacy, support, and
guidance. An annual free training series of 34 workshops held
all over the city informs parents about IDEA (the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act) and the rights of children
and parents under IDEA, and introduces them to the world of
available community resources.
is part of a national network of Parent Training and Information
Centers funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education,
and is also designated as a New York City Parent Center by
the New York State Education Department. As such, RCSN works
with a wide variety of organizations committed to insuring
a free and appropriate education for children with disabilities
in the least restrictive environment, the fundamental principal
also publishes directories that list all types of after-school
programs and services. One such program, which can make a great
impact on the life of special needs children, is Mentoring
USA, another not-for-profit in New York City. Mentoring USA
is an effective, early-intervention mentoring program to prevent
school dropout. The largest site based one-to-one mentoring
program in New York City, Mentoring USA operates at 50 sites
throughout the five boroughs, and fully trains all mentors
to develop with their mentees relationships that provide both
personal and academic support. By providing mentors to at-risk
youth, ESL students and foster care children, Mentoring USA
helps improve their self-esteem, broaden their vision of opportunities,
and succeed in school.#
more information on RCSN visit www.resourcesnyc.org,
or call (212) 677-4650.
more information on Mentoring USA, visit www.mentoringusa.org,
or call (212) 253 1194.
Raffa Cuomo is the Founder and Chair of Mentoring USA, Board
of Directors, RCSN.
T. Schlesinger is the Executive Director, Resources for Children
with Special Needs, Inc.
Update, Inc., P.O. Box 1588, New York, NY 10159.
Tel: (212) 477-5600. Fax: (212) 477-5893. Email: email@example.com.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of
the publisher. © 2003.