FREQUENT ASKED QUESTIONS
Information about AHRC New York City
What does AHRC stand for?
AHRC New York City, the City Chapter of NYSARC Inc., was originally the acronym for the "Association for the Help of Retarded Children." After years of advocacy across the nation and internationally by individuals served and their families, the term "mental retardation" is no longer used. In its place the terms intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities are utilized in both common parlance and now in State and Federal law. AHRC New York City chose to continue using this name as we have been known as such for 62 years. We no longer use the words that the letters AHRC once represented.
Where is AHRC located? How do I get there?
AHRC New York City has over 100 locations throughout the five boroughs of the City. You may vist our locations section to see these facilities. AHRC’s main office is located at 83 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038.
Our main office is easily accessible from the public transportation.
By Train: J,M,Z,4 or 5 to Fulton Street / 2 or 3 to Wall Street / A or C to Broadway/Nassau
By Bus: M1 or M6 to Cortlandt Street / M9 or M15 to Maiden Lane
By Ferry: Whitehall Terminal (South Ferry)
General Information on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
An intellectual or developmental disability is a disability that originates before the age of twenty-two and is expected to continue indefinitely. It is attributable to a condition such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, neurological impairment, autism or traumatic brain injury, when such conditions result in impairment of general intellectual functioning or adaptive behavior. Impairment of intellectual functioning means that a person has an intellectual quotient (an IQ as measured by a standardized IQ test ) which is two or more standard deviations below the mean (an IQ of 70 or less using a scale with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15). Impairment of adaptive behavior means that the person has overall adaptive behavior which is significantly limited in two or more skill areas (communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure and work). These limitations are a direct result of the person’s cognitive deficits.
A developmental delay is slowed or impaired development in a child who is under five years of age and who is at risk of manifesting a developmental disability because of the presence of one or more of the following: chromosomal conditions associated with intellectual and developmental disabilities; congenital syndromes associated with delay in development; metabolic disorders; prenatal infections and significant medical problems; low birth weight; postnatal acquired problems known to result in delays; or delays of 1.5 standard deviations or more in the area of communication, and/or self-help, and/or social emotional, and/or motor skills, and/or sensory development, and/or cognition.
AHRC recognizes that all individuals, regardless of their limitations, have a capacity to learn new skills and live a worthwhile life. AHRC primarily serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism and traumatic brain injury; and, serves children whose developmental delays are significant and attributable to many causal factors.
What are Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities?
An individual is considered to have intellectual and developmental disabilities based upon the following three criteria: his/her intellectual functioning level as measured by an IQ test is below 70; he/she has significant limitations in two or more adaptive skill areas (which might include communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure and work); and the condition is present from childhood (defined as age 18 or earlier). Intellectual and developmental disability is not a disease, nor should it be confused with so-called mental illness. About 85 percent of people with the condition fall within the mild range of disability, whereas the remaining 15 percent have disabilities of varying severity.
The prevalence rate of intellectual and developmental disability in the United States is between 2.5 and 3 percent of the general population, or an estimated 6.2 to 7.5 million people based on the 1990 census. Intellectual and developmental disability is 12 times more common than cerebral palsy and affects 100 times as many people as total blindness. One out of every ten families is directly affected.
There are currently hundreds of known organic and acquired causes of intellectual and developmental disabilities. For instance, the most common chromosomal cause is Down syndrome, whereas the most commonly known single gene cause is Fragile X syndrome. But these are only two of many different etiologies and make up a small percent of those diagnosed with the condition. In addition to the long list of organic causes, adverse environmental and social factors (which include poverty, lack of prenatal care, drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy resulting in FAS - fetal alcohol syndrome) are placing greater and greater numbers of individuals at-risk for intellectual and developmental disability. In spite of all that is known, in 50 percent of all cases of intellectual and developmental disability there is no known specific cause.
For more information on services offered for individuals with Developmental Disabilities, please visit the Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities section of this website.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
In the diagnostic manual used to classify disabilities, the DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994), autistic disorder is listed as a category under the heading "Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD’s)" which also includes Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, Williams syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). These PDD’s are developmental disabilities that share many of the same characteristics (twelve characteristics are listed with different disorders being defined by the presence of some or the twelve), are usually evident by the age of three, and affect, to a different degree, an individual child’s ability to communicate, understand language, play and relate to others.
Autism specifically, is defined by federal education law as "a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction...that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences." Individuals with autism vary widely in their intelligence and abilities, as well as in the behaviors they exhibit.
Estimates on the prevalence of autism vary, with some estimating 1 out of 110 live births. Autism and PDD’s are four times more common in boys than girls. The causes of autism and PDD are unknown. Currently, researchers are investigating areas such as neurological damage and biochemical imbalances of the brain, whereas in the not too distant past, psychological factors were blamed for the disorder.
For more information on services offered for individuals with Autism, please visit the Services for Individuals with Autism section of this website.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external force, resulting in a change in level of consciousness or an anatomical abnormality of the brain, and does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital, degenerative or induced by birth trauma. However, service provision can include individuals with strokes, aneurysms or other acquired brain injury. Every incident of head injury is different. In each individual with TBI the type of injury, the locus of the primary brain damage, the ensuing secondary damage, and the resulting pattern of deficits in the areas of physical, cognitive, psychosocial and/or executive functions, are unique. Factors creating even more diversity are the age of the individual upon sustaining the injury, "who" that individual was prior to injury, the care (if any) received immediately following the injury and subsequent care, and the physical and psychosocial environment surrounding that individual before and after his/her injury.
But regardless of individual differences, a number of underlying facts implicit in the definition of traumatic brain injury constitute a common ground. A traumatic brain injury occurs suddenly in the course of normal development leaving a person significantly changed. Damage to the brain is usually diffuse and widespread (not typically resulting in one kind of deficit), but is not global. And, the brain’s ability to be aware of the changes incurred is frequently impaired. These underlying facts that constitute the basic commonality between individuals with TBI are the very same facts that make these individuals different from those born with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. Although many of these same specific deficits acquired by individuals who have sustained injuries, if viewed in isolation, are also characteristics of individuals born with developmental disabilities, the gestalt is quite different and their needs are different.
If a person acquires a traumatic brain injury before the age of 21 and manifests developmental problems, that individual is considered to be developmentally disabled. Although quite arbitrary, if the injury occurs at the age of 22 or later and results in disability, it is not considered to be a developmental disability.
The CDC reports that Falls are the leading cause of brain injury (28%); Motor vehicle crashes (20%); Struckby/against events (19%) and Assaults (11%). Men are twice as likely as women to suffer traumatic brain injuries.
For more information on services offered for individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury, please visit the Services for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury section of this website.
About AHRC New York City Services
What kind of Services does AHRC New York City offer?
AHRC New York City offers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities a wide range of programs, services and supports tailored to meet their specific needs. For information on services offered at AHRC New York City, please visit the Services section of this website.
Are evaluations available through AHRC that can determine if an individual has an intellectual or developmental disability?
Yes. AHRC New York City has a staff of qualified professionals available to conduct evaluations such as: psychological evaluations; psychiatric evaluations; medical evaluations; nursing, nutrition and podiatry evaluations; occupational, speech and physical therapy evaluations. Arrangements can be made to provide other evaluation as needed. For more information, please call our Referral and Information Center at (212) 780-4491 or (212) 780-4493.
How Can I obtain services through AHRC New York City?
Services can be obtained by contacting our Referral and Information Center at (212) 780-4491 or (212) 780-4493 OR by visiting our How To Obtain Services page and using our online contact form.
Is there someone I can speak to about services at AHRC New York City?
If you would like general information about AHRC New York City and the services offered, please email your inquiry and someone will contact you. Please note if you have a special area of interest and be sure to include your name and appropriate contact information (address, phone number and email) and indicate the best time to reach you. If you prefer to reach our Referral and Information Center by telephone, please call (212) 780-4491 or (212) 780-4493.
Employment and Internships
What kind of jobs are available at AHRC New York City?
AHRC New York City offers a variety of employment opportunities including Direct Care, Clinical, Social Work, Teaching, Finance, Case Management, and IT.
How do I apply for a job at AHRC New York City?
This website contains a list of positions that are currently open and allows you to submit your resume for consideration using our on-line application. We encourage you to visit the employment section of this site and and apply for positions that may be of interest to you. If you have trouble with this site or have further questions, you can also contact Seth Krakauer
Getting in Touch
How do I speak to someone about AHRC Services?
Information about services can be obtained by contacting our Referral and Information Center at (212) 780-4491 or (212) 780-4493 OR by visiting our How To Obtain Services page and using our online contact form.
How do I speak to someone about employment opportunities at AHRC New York City?
This website contains a list of positions that are currently open and allows you to submit your resume for consideration using our on-line application. We encourage you to visit the employment section of this site and apply for positions that may be of interest to you on-line. If you have trouble with this site or have further questions, you can also contact Seth Krakauer.
How can I help AHRC support individuals with disabilities?
There are many ways that you can support AHRC New York City and the individuals we serve. For more information on, please visit our How You Can Help AHRC page.