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, change legislation and public policy, and 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:


Created the first medical clinic for children with disabilities at Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital


Established the first service options funded by a federal grant for adults aging out of the school system


Opened the first group residence in New York State on East 16th Street in Manhattan


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


Created the first sibling network to deal with the issues of sisters and brothers of people with developmental disabilities


Collaborated with the City University of New York, (CUNY,) to create the CUNY Consortium on Disabilities


Opened the first licensed outpatient alcohol and substance abuse clinic for people with developmental disabilities


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


Opened the Bloomberg Residences (ICF’s: 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


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.


AHRC New York City Healthcare, an affiliate of AHRC New York City with expertise in the provision of healthcare to people with I/DD, was 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.