Wednesday, February 25, 2009

March 22: Adaptive Technology Fair at the JCC, 76th & Amsterdam

Adaptive Technology Fair: Pre K-5

Innovative ‘assistive technologies’ (AT) can dramatically change the way challenged students of all abilities become successful learners during the critical years from preschool to elementary school. Experts in the field will address educators, therapists and parents on current research in the use of AT for literacy, communication, improving attention, cognitive development and physical access to educational materials. On exhibit will be a range of effective technologies available with opportunities for ‘hands-on’ demonstrations. Co-sponsored with CogniTech CafĂ© and Pace University Thinkfinity Initiative.

Sun, Mar 22, 3:30-6:30pm

To register call 646.505.5708 or visit

Please call Hannah Cohen, 646-505-4460, for additional information.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Protect Services for People With Developmental Disabilities

The Governor’s budget proposals will greatly damage critical services for people with developmental disabilities:

No trend (cost of living increase) for OMRDD services. For the first time in 15 years, there is no trend for OMRDD services! The trend provides a salary increase for the hardworking and underpaid direct support staff who keep our children safe and help them gain new skills. The trend is critical in helping to stem the turnover of our valued direct support staff! It’s downright heartless to deprive direct support staff in voluntary agencies of a trend, while staff who do exactly the same work for the state will get a trend as part of their contract!

Cuts to day habilitation services. Day habilitation services provide education and life skills experiences to 10,000 adults every day, through small-group community activities. The Governor is proposing a huge cut to these services, amounting to a total annual loss of $28 million—a huge 4%! In addition, he is asking for a regional flat fee for all day habilitation programs, so that, for example, a program serving people with complex medical needs who require intensive staffing would receive the same fee as a program serving people who require a much lower staffing ratio. Day habilitation programs cannot absorb these two cuts without (a) rejecting individuals with more severe disabilities; (b) cutting staff, thereby endangering individuals’ safety; or (c) shortening program hours, thus jeopardizing the jobs of the many parents who will have to stay home to care for their children!

Moratorium on residential development. Residential projects currently in progress have been delayed, cancelled, or put on indefinite hold because the proposed budget provides only minimal funding for residential development. The Governor’s budget breaks New York State’s commitment, guaranteed in law, to provide residential services for families who are too old or infirm to continue caring for their adult disabled children at home. Parents are frightened about their children’s future!

Federal stimulus money should be used to preserve essential services for people with developmental disabilities:

The federal stimulus bill will send billions of dollars in federal money to New York State, including $11 billion for Medicaid funding for human services. This money can help to restore the cuts and provide vital increases. But only if we speak up! We face tremendous competition from other groups for the available federal funds. We must make our voices heard!
Call or e-mail the Governor and key legislators today. Visit your own local legislators in their home offices. Keep calling and writing. E-mail and calls should be continuous. Get family and friends to call, too. Volume is critical.

Use the following message, use the website below, or use your own message:

We urge you to use federal stimulus money to support services for people with developmental disabilities:

Don’t penalize our dedicated and underpaid direct support staff. Restore the trend for OMRDD services!
Don’t devastate day habilitation services for adults with developmental disabilities. Restore the 4% cut and reject the regional fees for day habilitation services!
Uphold New York’s commitment to families unable to continue caring for their adult children at home. Provide sufficient resources for residential development for families in need!

Contact 5 State Legislators:

You can easily contact all 5 at this website: Go to , click on Resources, click on Action Center, scroll down to Action Alert – Protect Services for People with Developmental Disabilities, click on Take Action, and follow the simple instructions.

To call or send your own e-mail:

Governor David Paterson: 518-474-8390 or

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: 518-455-3791 or 212-312-1420 or

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith: 518-455-2701 or 718-528-4290 or

To find your own state Assemblymember: 518-455-4100 or

To find your own state Senator: 518-455-2800 or; click on Senators

Friday, February 06, 2009

Reach for the Stars Benefit



A Cocktails, Dinner* and Comedy Revue

To Benefit



April 1st 2009- 6:30 PM


80 5th AveNew York, NY10011


Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central)

Mark Anthony Ramirez (Comic Remix)

Bill & Betty Holland (Punch 59)

Susannah Perlman (Last Comic Standing)

Dave Konig (HBO/Showtime)

To Purchase Tickets Go To

Or call 347 284-6087

*Kosher Catering and Supervision by

Zami Catering 707 Avenue U Brooklyn, NY 11223

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Rethink Autism: FREE ABA for Tri-State Children

At this point, this organization is recruiting families to test their service model and develop training and demonstration materials for the program. Hence, they are offering ABA services free of charge to area families with children aged 4 - 12. This is an intriguing model and possibly worth trying out if you have lost ABA services in the transition to preschool or kindergarden. -- LD

Our Mission
The mission of Rethink Autism is empowering parents, caregivers and schools with access to effective and affordable treatment delivery options for the growing population affected by autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Our Focus
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 150 new born children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is widely recognized as the leading intervention methodology and has been endorsed by a number of federal and state agencies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the New York State Department of Health, and the U.S. Surgeon General.

Our Services
While the effectiveness of ABA is widely recognized, the controlled availability of credentialed providers and high cost of this intervention, as much as $70,000 to $100,000 per year for the prescribed 25-40 hours/week of therapy, limit its potential benefit for the growing population affected by ASD. The absence of insurance coverage and limited public support services amplify this challenge for typical families caring for an affected child.

Rethink Autism is creating a unique online service providing caregivers with training for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)-based interventions, tools for evaluating an individual child’s needs, a comprehensive video-based curriculum with hundreds of exercises, tracking systems for measuring a child’s progress, information on ASD and a 24-hour support system wherever the caregiver is located. Using structured video training segments featuring ABA principles and techniques, parents and caregivers will be instructed on how to teach their children academic, social, emotional, language and play skills. Online support for subscribers will be provided through a combination of curriculum planning tools, reporting functions and 24/7 online customer service and the Company plans to develop its services in both English and Spanish.

Rethink Autism will donate a share of the Company’s profits to support autism awareness and research. In addition, the company will develop a subscription assistance program for qualified low-income families. Rethink Autism also believes over time that its real-time collection of user data can be appropriately shared with the autism research community to significantly aid in the understanding of ASD at the grassroots level.

For more information, contact: or (646) 257-2919, x202
Rethink Autism Inc.
19 W. 21st St., Ste. 403
New York, NY 10010