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Current Openings At The YAI: Unique Special Needs Programs and Services Around NYC

September 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Since we recently moved to a new borough I thought it would be a good idea to see what special needs programs and services YAI  had in Brooklyn. I saw that there are a bunch of great openings and opportunities being offered all over NYC so I’ve posted the entire list, current as of 9/30/12:

Service Openings

Featured Program Openings 

Potential Residential Opening, Brooklyn ICF:  Potential opportunity for a male, age 21-55 years, who functions within severe/profound range, but who can evacuate two flights of stairs without physical assitance. Contact Tom Ott, 212-273-6462, for more information and to apply.

Potential Residential Opening, Bronx 24-Hour IRA: Potential opportunity for a female with mild/moderate intellectual disability. Contact Tom Ott, 212-273-6462, for more information and to apply.

Family Services

About YAI’s Family Services

YAI Autism Center: Offering private-pay programs including: Yoga with ballet or dance, social skills groups and music therapy. Call 1-888-YAI-AUTISM.

Manhattan Recreation Programs: Recreation programs for New York City residents over the age of 18, from Tuesdays through Saturdays. Weeknight group activities and Saturday trips. Transportation is not provided. Contact Pamela Accardo at 212-645-1616, ext. 618 or Edna Bay at 212-645-1616, ext. 620.

Project Intervene: Short-term intervention services for behavior management, toilet training, travel and other skills training are provided to individuals and their families in the home and/or group settings. Training programs are designed for parents of children with disabilities who reside in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Availability is based on where you live. Toilet training workshops are also available. Services provided in English and Spanish. For more information, call 212-273-6314 in Manhattan, and 212-273-6297 for Spanish. In Brooklyn, please call 718-306-1300, ext.411 for English and ext.412 for Spanish.

Family Reimbursement: Provides limited funds to families for services and goods that are not reimbursed through other programs or funding streams. For Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens residents. Contact Shanique Soto at 212-273-6585.

Manhattan Autism Social Skills Groups: Accepting applications for program teaching social skills to children aged 9-18 years old on the autism spectrum residing with their parents in Manhattan. Contact YAI LINK at 212-273-6182.

Family Support Series for Caregivers of Children with Autism (all ages): Support groups for parents and caregivers of people with autism. New groups begin this month. To pre-register and for more information, contact YAI LINK at 212-273-6182. See latest group schedule

Leisure Trax Vacation Program: Free or low cost trips and vacations for Bronx residents 18 or older, living with their families. Trips are open to residents of other boroughs. Contact LINK at 212-273-6182. Application and travel schedule available on the Leisure Trax page

Parents With Special Needs: Accepting referrals for program for parents with developmental disabilities who live with their children in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens. Contact Nafiza Somaipersaud at 212-793-2182, ext. 203.

Manhattan Overnight Respite: 24-hour professional supervision from Friday afternoon until Monday morning for children 5 and older. Must be ambulatory. Contact Vanessa White Germany at 212-255-2673.

Manhattan Holiday Respite – ages 6-18 with DD, live at home with their family. Taking applications for waiting list – contact Tanicqua Davis 212-273-6503

Independent Living Program: Six-month classroom course for Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan residents to develop independent living skills. For application forms, contact Shanique Soto at 212-273-6585.

Brooklyn Children and Adolescent Program: Saturday recreation program for children 6 and older. Contact LINK 212-273-6182.

Brooklyn Leisure Trax: Recreation program for adults 18 and older. Contact LINK212-273-6182.

Brooklyn Saturday Drop Off: Recreation programs Brooklyn residents 16 and older. Contact Cheryl Jones at 718-743-5311.

Brooklyn Autism Social Skills Groups: Accepting applications for program offering structured and supervised opportunities for socialization in an after school setting to children aged 5-12 years old on the autism spectrum residing with their parents in Brooklyn. Contact YAI LINK at 212-273-6182.

Brooklyn Yoga Ballet: 10-week Yoga/Ballet class for girls and boys with autism, between the ages 3-10. For more information, contact LINK at 212-273-6182.

Project Grow: Seven-week behavior management training for parents of children with developmental disabilities, conducted in group settings. Topics include specific behavior techniques to promote positive family interactions. Peer support is provided. Families must reside in Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island or Queens. Day and evening groups are available in both English and Spanish. Possibility of Cantonese groups. For more information, call 212-273-6259.

Project Grown-Up: Five-week education group for parents of children with developmental disabilities. Basic and advanced parent training covers relationships and sexuality with adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities. Focus on child’s physiological development and interpersonal issues of relationships. Program is available to parents whose children reside with them in Manhattan or Queens. Day and evening groups are available in both English and Spanish. Possibility of Cantonese groups. For more information, call 212-273-6259.

Queens Crisis Intervention Program: In-home behavioral management program for parents available in both English and Spanish.  Parent training groups outside of the home (like project GROW) are also available. Call Lewanda Wallace at 718-793-2182, ext. 221 or Jackie Nunez at 718-793-2182, ext. 231 assistance in Spanish.

Brooklyn Extend-a-Family: Overnight respite provided in the home of a host family. Available for young children who are non-ambulatory. Contact Cheryl Jones at 718-743-5311, ext. 6313.

Bronx In-home respite – In-home respite for children and adults with DD. Contact Tanicqua Davis 212-273-6503.

Queens Saturday Recreation Programs: Activities for individuals 16 and older. Contact Michael VanConant 212-645-1616 x 667

Queens Thank Goodness it’s the Weekend: Socialization group meet twice a month on Fridays for people 16 and older. Contact Michael VanConant 212-645-1616 x 667.

Queens After School Program: After school respite for children 6-15. Contact Stacy Tinglin 718-793-8695 x 210.

Queens In-Home Respite: In-home respite for children with special needs, age 3 and older. Contact Stacy Tinglin 718-793-8695 x 210.

Manhattan STAR Academy

About Manhattan STAR Academy

Manhattan: Accepting inquiries for the Manhattan STAR Academy, a unique learning opportunity for elementary school children. Contact Rae Eisdorfer at 212-420-0510 for information, application and tuition.

Premier HealthCare

About Premier HealthCare

Manhattan: Openings for internal medicine, pediatrics, dental, gynecology, physical therapy, speech therapy, podiatry, neurology (adult), weight management program, and a program for people with physical disabilities.

Bronx: Openings for internal medicine, pediatrics, dental, neurology (adult), podiatry, occupantonial therapy, physical therapy,  prosthetics & orthotics.

Queens: Openings for internal medicine, pediatrics, dental, dental desensitization, podiatry, dermatology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, physiatry/wheelchair clinic, prosthetics & orthotics, and endocrinology (adult).

Brooklyn: Openings for internal medicine, dental, dental desensitization, pediatrics, dermatology, neurology (adult), gynecology, speech therapy, podiatry, endocrinology (adult), and physiatry/wheelchair clinic.

For new referrals, additional services or information, contact YAI LINK at 1-866-2-YAI-LINK, TDD: 212-290-2787.

Center for Specialty Therapy

About YAI’s Center for Specialty Therapy

Manhattan: Psychosocial evaluations in English and Spanish are available. Contact YAI LINK at 212-273-6182

Queens: Psychosocial evaluations in Enlish and Spanish (includes evening and Saturday hours) are available. Contact YAI LINK at 212-273-6182.

Brooklyn: Psychosocial evaluations in English are available. Contact YAI LINK at 212-273-6182.

Bronx:  Psychosocial evaluations in Elblish and Spanish are available. Contact YAI LINK at 212-273-6182.

Families living in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn who need evaluations to access OPWDD services but who do not have insurance that will cover them can contact YAI LINK at 212-273-6182.

Day Services

About YAI’s Day Services

Manhattan: Openings in Manhattan programs. Contact Domingo Hernandez at 212-645-1616 ext. 634.

Employment Services

About YAI’s Employment Services

Manhattan Employment Services: Training in job-specific skills for adults with developmental disabilities. Openings in a variety of programs. Contact Satera Febus at 212-273-6100, ext. 2448.

Bronx Employment: Accepting applications for a variety of programs. Contact Ruth Jeffers at 718-792-6221, ext. 205.

Brooklyn Supported Work and Training: Accepting applications. Contact Sara Schacter Erenburg at 718-368-9311.

Queens Supported Work and Training Accepting applications. Contact Chris Bechler at 718-389-1300 x227.

There are openings citywide for people with developmental disabilities who are employed and need follow-along support services.

Seeking Respite, Part 1: The Labyrinth

I have often been asked by family, friends and well-meaning strangers why I don’t get some help with James a few hours a week to make things easier. God, this is such a loaded question for me. Initially, I felt like finding help would look like I couldn’t “handle” James myself. Not that I see that as a real parenting failure; I mean, raising a special needs child is truly the labyrinth of my life. It was actually the flipside: I felt like needing respite from James would make it look like he was hard to handle, or that he had behavior problems that needed outside help. Generally speaking, James has always been a well-behaved child, yet not an easy child. I also relish the little privacy we enjoy here at home – it relaxes me to be able to hang out in my PJs once I’m in for the afternoon or to let my toddler roam the house in her underwear (or less). It stresses me out to have an audience to temper tantrums, accidents, James peeing with the door open, etc. even though these things don’t bother me too much when I’m alone. It’s the same reason that I complain about my house being a mess but don’t want to hire anyone to help me clean it.

Over time I have changed my tune about respite services. Now I am in the part of Labyrinth where Jennifer Connelly finally accepts Hoggle’s help to save her baby brother from David Bowie, even though Hoggle seems a little weird. (If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s a classic) Though respite might be an “invasion” of sorts, a foreign experience if nothing else, it might turn out to be the thing that helps me figure out the labyrinth. I have been looking at respite as a break for me, as a decision about me. But, James deserves to have some time away from his younger siblings (and me), and since it is near impossible to achieve that the way I could with a typical child (playdates, sleepovers, dropoff sports and classes), maybe respite will be the thing that gives him some time to himself.

The decision to seek respite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respite_care) has probably been half the journey for me, and has been a very personal decision that I am not 100% certain about yet. But at this point I figure that I should get through the paperwork and see how it goes – worst case we change our mind if it doesn’t work out. In the meantime, I plan to explain my decisions and document the process to get respite for James and myself, one excruciatingly slow step at a time. Hopefully it will kill three birds with the same stone: 1) to help others seeking respite for their special needs family member, 2) to explain to friends, family and well-meaning strangers how the process works and why the decision can be complicated, and 3) to give me a document to refer to when I am banging my head against the wall in frustration, boredom, or while sitting on hold for 8 hours.

Now that I have started my search for respite the questions I am asked have changed slightly to when I am going to get respite, or why haven’t I hired someone yet, or what in the hell is taking so long to get the help? It’s not that easy – let me tell you what has happened to date. One year ago, I contacted someone at the YAI intake department (www.yai.org) to inquire about respite as well as a bunch of other services I was interested in for James, and spoke with a very nice woman named Laura. She told me James would need a psych and psycho-social evaluation before he would be eligible for services. I am sure many of you know that evaluations, while helpful and necessary, are often not covered by insurance and can cost thousands of dollars. If you have Medicaid or are financially comfortable, this is probably not an issue for you. However, regardless of income, if your child qualifies based on their disability, you may be eligible for some kind of instant grant that allows the YAI to do these evaluations for your child at no cost. You can ask about this when you call their intake department. For information on programs, services, evaluations or referrals, you can call 1-866-2-YAI-LINK or e-mail link@yai.org. If someone does not answer when you call, just leave a message and you should get a call back within a day or two.

Okay, so fast forward 3-4 more phone calls with Laura, who was helpful in explaining the process and what we needed to do very patiently. We scheduled James to have a psych and psycho-social evaluation since his were outdated. There is a wait to get appointments for these things, in our case about 4 months. Presto, 5 months passed and we had our evaluations completed this past Fall – 1 trip for intake and 2 other trips for the actual evaluations, and no surprise – James qualified based on his disabilities for all support services. I read the evaluation reports, had them corrected where there were errors, and then my husband made a bunch of copies for me.

You need the hard copies of these evaluations because from here on out, everything I do and everyone I call is going to want to see them in order for James to get any services. Though we have had a very good experience with YAI, they currently have no openings for respite. However, Laura gave me a great reference that lists other agencies who do, and I have narrowed it down to her recommendations and a few others that I thought would be a good fit for us. Today I called AHRC intake at 212-780-4491, because I heard that the waiting period for them was a little shorter than average. I got a voicemail and was told to leave a message. So after the beep I rambled for a few minutes about our past evaluations, about there being no respite openings at YAI, and about how we wanted to get on their waiting list for Respite and were also interested the Waiver (to help with excessive medical bills) and to please call me back and tell me what we needed to do thanks bye.

So now you’re all caught up. As I continue my search and hear back from places, I will write more posts so that those of you in our shoes (and those of you who are just plain curious) will know how this whole process works here. If you have a question or recommendation as far as the process or agencies go, or an experience to share, please leave it in the comment section!

I wonder who David Bowie will be in my Labyrinth analogy…