More than 70 years ago,

a small group of parents joined together to obtain services for their children with developmental disabilities who were then considered ineducable. Originally, their coming together was a response to a two-line classified ad in the New York Post placed by the mother of a then 5-year-old child. At first, only a few parents responded, but within a year, word of mouth, a number of brief news items, and a human-interest story in the newspaper united hundreds of parents.

These parents were accustomed to hearing words such as, “Your child is not normal and will never be able to learn anything.” “He/she will be a burden to you and your family.” “Institutionalize him/her now.” The parents did not listen. Instead, they banded together to support one another, and to provide their children with every opportunity to grow. This was the beginning of AHRC, the New York City Chapter of NYSARC, Inc.

Created for AHRC New York City’s 50th Anniversary, this video follows the journey of AHRC founder Anne Greenberg, and the history of AHRC New York City.

The vivid memory of that time, when people with disabilities were treated as outcasts, has been an underlying force propelling AHRC to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, to change legislation and public policy, and to develop programs for new and emerging populations that are under-served.

The goal of our work has been to offer individuals with disabilities day to day living that is as rich, absorbing and worthwhile as possible, with an emphasis on helping people with disabilities to live up to their maximum potential in the community.

What We’ve Accomplished Together

Over the past seventy years, AHRC New York City has helped to create a life for people with developmental disabilities that did not exist previously. Some of AHRC’s “firsts” include:

  • 1950 – Created the first medical clinic for children with disabilities at Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital
  • 1954 – Established the first service options funded by a federal grant for adults aging out of the school system.
  • 1970 – Opened the first group residence in New York State on East 16th Street in Manhattan
  • 1974 – Ceded portions of its special education program to the New York City Board of Education, to use as a model for public school special education classes
  • 1985 – Created the first sibling network to deal with the issues of sisters and brothers of people with developmental disabilities
  • 1989 – Collaborated with the City University of New York, (CUNY,) to create the CUNY Consortium on Disabilities
  • 1994 –  Opened the first licensed outpatient alcohol and substance abuse clinic for people with developmental disabilities
  • 1995 – Opened the first facility in New York State providing ongoing community-based services to people whose disability is the result of incurring a traumatic brain injury
  • 2007  – Opened the Bloomberg Residences (ICF’s of Intermediate Care Facilities) for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who are medically frail, requiring 24/7 nursing care; Opened the Dixon Goodman Residences in 2010
  • 2008 – Developed first College programs for people with I/DD at the College of Staten Island and Kingsborough Community College. Now operating at a total of four community colleges. The programs are known collectively as the Mellissa Riggio Higher Education Programs.
  • 2009 – AHRC New York City Healthcare, an affiliate of AHRC New York City with expertise in the provision of healthcare to people with I/DD, granted the prestigious status of federally qualified health center (FQHC) by the federal government and began doing business under the name Access Community Health Center.
  • 2014 – Joined with the other four Metro Chapters of NYSARC Inc. to create Partners Health Plan (PHP), a not-for-profit managed-care company to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).  Currently, a provider in the PHP network, participating in New York State’s first I/DD FIDA or fully integrated Duals advantage program, a managed care initiative providing supports to people with I/DD
  • 2015 – Received an award from OPWDD to begin the development of long-term services and supports, electronic health record, (EHR) as there are none in existence, that meets the comprehensive needs of I/DD service providers.

Documenting Our History

The History of AHRC 1948-1998 by David Goode, City University of New York, 1998