AHRC New York City


IAC ACTION ALERT: This week is our final opportunity to influence the budget!


Calls are best made today and tomorrow.

Even though there is more than a $7 billion surplus from the bank settlements and both the NYS Assembly and Senate have identified an additional $300 million  in revenue, neither has recommended that there be any increase in funding for people with developmental disabilities!  Neither Assembly nor Senate has recommended any increase for our 4410 preschools and only the Assembly recommended a 2.4% increase for our 853 school age programs which is insufficient considering their financial condition!



- additional funding is critically needed to provide new day and residential supports and services to meet the needs of those who can no longer live safely at home with families

- we need an increase for our 4410 preschools and 853 school age programs, which will close their doors without additional revenue NOW.


- Distribute this alert to your staff, families and groups!

- As a constituent you are very important to your elected officials and you must tell them what is important to you NOW.

Every one of us needs to call our Senators and Assemblymembers, and the Legislative Leaders—Senator Skelos and Assembly Speaker Heastie and tell each of them that New York State must invest in supports and services for people with developmental disabilities.


New York must invest an additional $30 million for people with developmental disabilities who are currently living at home with families who are struggling to meet their needs

- New York must increase tuition for 4410 preschools by $37 million to save these essential services for 3-5 year olds with developmental disabilities. We also need an increase of $20 million for 853 school age services to ensure that these essential programs are available for 5-21 year olds with developmental disabilities who can’t be served by school districts due to the severity of their disabilities.


Senate switchboard – (518) 455 – 2800

For Senators home page go to:


Assembly switchboard (518) 455 – 4100

For Assembly members home page go to:


Communication techniques for caretakers of people with developmental disabilities & Autism

Family Ed Board wide

Saturday, April 25, 2015 and Saturday, May 2, 2015

from 10 am – 2:30 pm

AHRC New York City’s Main Office, Penthouse

83 Maiden Lane New York City 10038


Will this technique help my loved one with a developmental disability to communicate?

Can this method be used with very young children?

After attending this workshop series will I be able to use what I learned immediately?

The answer to all of these questions is YES!  Difficulties with communication are frustrating for many individuals with developmental disabilities. AHRC has developed a teaching model known as Word Sign – a total communications curriculum designed specifically for people who have trouble communicating. Word Sign employs the use of signs and words along with facial expression and body language. Come and learn this comprehensive technique that can be used with individuals who have developmental disabilities and are nonverbal or those who have difficulties in spoken receptive and/or expressive language.

Presenter: Ray Franzem, Ph.D., Director of Social Services for Education, AHRC New York City


How to Register:

To register call Jennifer Amendola at 212-895-3446 or Donna Gifford at 212-780-2713 you can also email: jennifer.amendola@ahrcnyc.org    or    donna.gifford@ahrcnyc.org

Please note – You must be able to attend both Word Sign sessions.


AHRC NYC Celebrates Siblings

Having a sibling with a developmental disability is a uniquely challenging experience that few can understand. AHRC New York City‘s Sibling Services offer a variety of ways for brothers and sisters to connect and help each other through professional assistance and peer support. On March 9th, AHRC NYC staff, leadership, families, and siblings gathered at India House in Lower Manhattan to support programs for brothers and sisters of those with disabilities and provide professionally guided opportunities for peer support and education. The night included raffles, silent auctions, food, and speeches from siblings, board members, and professionals.


When we were growing up, many of us felt very alone,” Ruth Pickholz, AHRC NYC Board Member and a sibling of a person with disabilities, said. “We felt that we were the only ones and had no one to talk to. But now there is a place.”


Laura Kennedy, President of AHRC NYC and President of NYSARC, Inc., has a daughter with a developmental disability and stated that her first interactions with the agency were with the sibling committee. “I thought ‘Wow, this great agency really thinks about the siblings,'” she said. “When AHRC NYC was founded 65 years ago, siblings were home, siblings were not included. But over time siblings and family members are now part of the leadership and advocates for our loved ones.”

Three people supported by Sibling Services also shared their experiences. Patricia Wright has an older sister with autism. “What’s the number one question I get asked about my sister?” she said. “It’s ‘How do you live with a sibling with disabilities. It’s easy through the sibling support group.” Patricia has been attending the group since she was five years old. “I can honestly say that the sibling support group has become like family to me.” She said that she had raised money through her school for the event and that she plans to walk with friends at the upcoming Autism Speaks Walk NYC in May.

Siblings speaking

Gina and Donna Celentano also have a sister with autism, (whom is also Donna’s twin). Each of them mentioned their early struggles with coping with their sister’s disability. “I wasn’t upset at her,” Gina said, “I was upset that she had a disability and I couldn’t do anything to help her.” Donna expressed a similar, heart-wrenching sentiment. “When I was younger I used to cry to my mother because I thought I gave her a disability,” she said. “Once I came to SibShops I learned that it wasn’t my fault.” Donna said that she learned activities to help her connect with her sister. Gina also spoke on how SibShops help her cope. “They taught me ways to share my emotions and that what I was going through is completely normal.”

Artist Alex Torres Receives Art Award at Brooklyn Borough Hall

Alexander Torres, a longtime artist who receives services at Brooklyn Day Hab and is part of the art collective Artemoose, was recognized for his digital designs and paintings by the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). Alex received a Community Arts Grant, which was made possible by BAC through the support of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Group Shot copy

Alex was nominated by Megan Hummel, a former Community Support Professional at Brooklyn Day Hab who now works at a shelter in Brooklyn. “[Alex] has been working so independently in a lot of his art projects and I thought he would make a great candidate,” she said.

BB Prez and event

The grants ceremony was held on March 18 at Brooklyn Borough Hall and featured speeches by a number of distinguished guests, including Ella J. Weiss, President of BAC; Eric L. Adams, Brooklyn Borough President; and Edwin Torres, Deputy Commissioner of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs.


The night also included performances by Truthworker Theater Company, a social justice oriented hip-hop and dance group, and Batala NYC, an all-female samba drumming group.

Alex salute sm

I feel happy about this grant because I love my art,” Alex said. He thanked his parents; Raquel PinnockProgram Director of Brooklyn Day HabChad DeRoche, his friend and fellow Artemoose member; Megan, for her longstanding assistance and mentorship; and “everybody who supports and helps me achieve my goals in life.” He also passed along some inspiration for his peers. “I know that people like me with disabilities can always do art and win every day. I hope that winning this grant will inspire people like me. I promise one thing by getting this award – to get more goals and achieve more. I won’t stop doing my art any day.

The World of Psychiatric Meds

AHRC New York City’s Family Education Series

How Psychiatric Medications Work and What They Do

Psychiatric medications have multiplied in number and in their indicated uses over the last 50 years.  With these increases, talking about them clearly, and making thoughtful decisions with your prescriber has become increasingly difficult.  This workshop is designed to help you gain a better understanding of psychiatric medications, what they do, how they do it, and why they are prescribed. Taken from the point of view of a typical office visit, we will walk through different psychiatric symptoms, how a prescriber decides whether or not medications will be helpful, how the most appropriate medication is selected, and what they do to prevent side effects.  Rather than focusing on each individual medication, we will discuss how to think about them.


Presenter:  Dr. Ernesto Gonzalez, M.D. Access Community Health Center


Wednesday March 25, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT



AHRC New York City headquarters, Penthouse
83 Maiden Lane
New York, NY 10038


To Register for this event, please Click Here.


If you have specific questions about this event, please contact:

jennifer.amendola@ahrcnyc.org  (212) 895-3446, or

donna.gifford@ahrcnyc.org (212) 780-2713