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4 | Playgrounds Sensory-friendly playgrounds and play spaces in Westchester and beyond 6 | Special Child Glossary Part of navigating a special needs or disability diagnosis is knowing the words used to describe it. Check out our helpful glossary 8 | Caregiver Support Special needs parents need support. A trusted resource, INCLUDEnyc shares tips, and resources for emotional wellness and healthier wellbeing for the parents and caregivers of kids with disabilities
10 | Books Representation is so important in books, especially for kids looking for guidance and inspiration. In these books, kids can see themselves in the characters they read about 12 | Museums It can be challenging to visit an ample space if your child has a disability, and museums in New York tend to be quite spacious. Our museum guide lists some of the accessibilities of many of your favorite cultural institutions 16 | Special Needs Listings
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SensoryFriendly Play Spaces By Serena Norr
lay is an integral part of all children’s lives as they discover and process their world. However, if your child has autism and/ or is on the spectrum you’ll want to find nearby sensory-friendly playgrounds and play spaces that all-inclusive opportunities for kids of all abilities to engage their senses. There are a few options in Westchester as well as nearby parks in Dutchess County and Rockland. Plus, check out our list for a range of sensory-friendly indoor play spaces throughout the County. Sensory-Friendly Playgrounds in Westchester Harmony Park (Rye) Located at the Cerebral Palsy of Westchester, Harmony Park is an adaptive playground and sensory garden. Installed in 2019, the park offers wheelchair-accessible equipment and sensory activities. Here, individuals with mobility issues can swing, play, experience nature and practice critical skills. This includes a merry-go-round, a table for water play, music, games, and more — all of which are wheelchair-accessible. Thus, this benefits children and adults with autism, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities. 1186 King Street, Rye Brook, NY 10573 Granite Knolls Sports Complex (Mohegan Lake) Located on 15 acres of the Granite Knolls Park, this inclusive playground was opened in 2022. Here, families can find an area where children of all abilities can play. This include areas where kids can explore their senses through site, sound, smell, and touch. Additionally, there is a sensory garden with planters that are designed to lower stress and anxiety. This includes jasmine, peppermint, and lavender. Granite Knolls Sports & Recreation Complex, 2975 Stony Street, Mohegan Lake, NY 10547 Saxon Woods Park (White Plains) This facility is known as the location of an
18-hold golf course and swimming pool. The location is also home to Andy’s Playground where you will find some adaptive playground equipment from Boundless Playground. 1800 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains, NY 10605. Sensory-Friendly Playgrounds in Rockland Lowland Park (Rockland) The Lowland Park is not specially an all sensory-friendly park but they do have a wheelchair swing available. Sisters Amanda and Kelly Casey, along with the help of friends and family, donated a wheelchairaccessible swing to Lowland Park in an effort to provide equipment to children with disabilities. Lowland Hill Road, Stony Point, Rockland. Sensory-Friendly Playgrounds in Dutchess County Julies’s Gym (Hopewell Junction) Take a drive to Hopewell Junction to enjoy this all-inclusive playground. The facility includes an ADA interactive music experiences, accessible swing sets, an aero glider, and more. Additionally, the park boosts 16,000-square-foot of accessible playground spaces and a 5,500-squarefoot accessible serenity garden. Incredibly, Julie’s Gym is the first accessible playground constructed in Dutchess County. 5 Old Lime Kiln Rd, Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
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Sensory-Friendly Spaces in Westchester We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym (New Rochelle) We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym offers fun and safe indoor gym for kids with special needs and those on the spectrum to run, jump, play, and climb. This includes a range of equipment such as suspended equipment with swings; crash mats and pillows; a trampoline, a fine motor and arts and crafts area; and more. They also have respite and break time care for families and one-to-one attendant care for those who require more support. In addition, they offer classes, host open plays, and host birthday parties. 606 Main Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801. Gigi’s Playhouse (Ardsley) Gigi’s Playhouse offers programs and events for children with Down’s Syndrome. Programming includes yoga, dance, music, art, and more. Northeast Westchester Special Recreation (Hawthorne) Northeast Westchester Special Recreation offers therapeutic programs to kids and adults who have developmental disabilities. This includes a summer camp, community trips, bowling, sports, and more. Additionally, all experiences are designed to help with physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning as well as foster and cultivate meaningful relationships. 63 Bradhurst Ave, Hawthorne, NY 10532
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November 2023 | The Special Child
Terms that families with children with disabilities should know By Mia Salas
art of navigating a special needs or disability diagnosis (Developmental disability: Physical, learning, language, or behavioral impairments that will delay your child’s development. ADHD, Autism, learning disabilities, etc. are all examples of developmental disabilities) is knowing the words used to describe it. But it can be intimidating to ask what everything means, especially when doctors or websites seem to be speaking another language with acronyms like “ERSS” and “OT”. We’ve all been in that confusing place before and, as parents, it’s not a fun feeling. That’s why, we’ve created a glossary for keywords that you may want to know as a parent of kids with disabilities. This guide includes common disability words, phrases, and acronyms so that you can feel more confident in your parenting journey!
ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) : A developmental disability
that makes it difficult for your child to pay attention or stay focused. Look out for squirming and fidgeting, talking a lot, not being able to wait for their turn, or trouble concentrating.
Be on the lookout for aggressive behavior, withdrawal or nerves related to social environments, and vocal outbursts in public places. Learning Disability: Difficulty learning and grasping new concepts. Learning disabilities include dyslexia (reading), dysgraphia (writing), and dyscalculia (math). See Special Education for more. Stutter: A speech disorder that makes it challenging for your child to say what they want to say. You may hear them repeat a sound a lot, hold one sound for a long time, or stop speaking mid-sentence.
education as a special needs student. According to the NYC Department of Education (DOE), this means your child is guaranteed a free and appropriate public education in a Least Restrictive Environment (see below). Your child’s IEP will also include development and progress reports, evaluation results, specific needs, and anything else that is relevant to your child’s success. IEP Teams : Your IEP team will be made up of you (as a parent/guardian), a school psychologist, a special education teacher (and sometimes a general education teacher), and the district representative. It may also include a school physician or other service providers who have worked with your child. LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) : Your child will be in a classroom with kids who do not have a disability diagnosis. SETSS (Special Education Teacher Support Services) : Either a special
York organization that can help connect your family to nonprofit services, based on what kind of treatment/therapy they need, and provide funding.
education teacher will design specific activities for children with special needs or the special education teacher will collaborate with the general education teacher to modify the entire classroom to accommodate.
Transition planning : Creating an action
plan for what your child with disabilities will do after high school. This is often a part of your IEP (see below).
Down Syndrome : A condition caused by
INCLUDEnyc : A non-profit organization
an extra chromosome that affects how your child’s brain and body develop. Diagnosis typically happens before or during birth.
that advocates for young people in NYC to be included in their communities: classrooms, workplaces, etc. They have super informative resources for parents of kids with disabilities, and they can connect you with professionals who can help you navigate your options even further.
disorders such as anxiety, bipolar, OCD, etc. that have no direct, identifiable cause.
IEP (Individualized Education Program) : A written plan for your child’s
OPWDD (Office of People with Developmental Disabilities) : A New
developmental disability that may delay your child’s speech, motor, learning, and social skills. Early intervention (see below) can help improve skills.
Emotional Disturbance : Mental health
feels welcomed by the school, teacher, and classmates. For kids with disabilities, inclusion is definitely a keyword to look for when choosing a school!
Service provider: An agency or organization that will help your family navigate some aspect of your journey. This could be everything from speech therapy to after school programs with a focus on special needs to horseback riding as a form of physical therapy.
ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) : A
Special Education Inclusion : Everyone in the classroom
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SEDL (Special Education Distance Learning) : Modifying special needs
education for virtual/online students. This became especially important during the pandemic. SWD (Students With Disabilities) : Used to refer to special needs children in the classroom. SC– Special Class : If your child’s needs
cannot be met in a general education classroom, they will have all classes taught specifically by a special education teacher. These classes are typically very small in NYC schools, with up to 12 students for elementary/middle school and up to 15 for high school. PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions
& Support) : NYC school-wide approach
that encourages positive behavior instead of punishing or pointing out the negative. One example of this is changing a poster from “No Food. No Weapons. No Drugs.” to “School Rules: Be Safe, Responsible, Respectful”. This positive environment is especially important for special needs education. Treatment & Evaluation
can often help improve your child’s skills and progress. OT– Occupational Therapy: Focuses on ADL’s (see above) and other everyday skills that your child will work on. PT- Physical Therapy: Focuses on physical
developmental disabilities and helps your child with mobility and movement.
ADL (Activities of daily living) : Day-to-
day actions like brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom, walking up and down stairs, etc. that are used to determine your child’s diagnosis and progress.
Speech pathology: Focuses on language and speech disabilities to help your child communicate their thoughts. Regression : Your child loses skills that they
Early intervention: Services and support
for infants and young children with developmental disabilities. Early intervention
previously had. If regression happens, you may want to revisit and revise your child’s IEP (see above).
AT (Assistive technology) : Any device
that helps your child’s special needs by improving their capabilities. AT’s include wheelchairs, text to speech, voice recognition, and more. ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) : A positive-reinforcement program designed to understand your child’s behavior in real life situations. It is most commonly used for children with Autism, but it can also be effective for other developmental disabilities. Developmental milestones : Key movements, expressions, speech etc. that show your child’s progress. For little ones, this may include smiling at people, crawling, copying sounds, and reaching for toys. November 2023 | The Special Child
Caring for the Caregiver Tips and resources for emotional wellness and healthier wellbeing of the parents and caregivers of kids with disabilities By INCLUDEnyc
s caregivers, we all grapple with the impact of stress in our lives, and how we experience, respond to, and manage it can vary greatly. This is no different for children, teenagers, and young adults. Stress management influences our well-being and profoundly affects the children under our care. In the following, we present some fundamental guidelines to help you navigate the effects of stress in your life, along with valuable resources for local mental health support. Stay connected with the people who matter and support you. Be mindful of the time spent on social media or news sources that may overwhelm or drain your energy. Dedicate daily moments to enjoyable
activities! Whether through exercise, playing sports, board games, or planning quality time with your children and family. Create a space for daily tranquility to allow your mind to relax. Be a role model for positive selfcare practices, including taking breaks, nourishing your body with healthy food, staying hydrated, engaging in regular physical activity, and ensuring adequate sleep. These practices should benefit not only yourself but also your children and loved ones. Remember, taking care of your emotional well-being is vital for your sake and those you care for. Mental Health Resources Autism Speaks (Autism Speaks.org)
A pretty famous non-profit in the U.S. is all about spreading the word on autism, supporting people with autism spectrum
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disorders (ASD) and their families, and doing some solid advocacy and research. It all started back in 2005 when Bob and Suzanne Wright decided to make a difference after their grandchild was diagnosed with Autism. Parent to Parent of NYS (ptopnys.org)
This organization is all about giving a hand to families dealing with special needs, disabilities, or chronic illnesses. They’re on a mission to connect parents and family members looking after loved ones with disabilities. They want to create a support squad where families can chat, swap stories, and give each other much-needed emotional aid. Westchester Institute for Human Development (wihd.org)
WIHD is a non-profit hangout in Valhalla, New York, and they’re all about getting down to the nitty-gritty of developmental disabilities and health things. Along with New York Medical College, they do a lot of work in intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, and other health and service specialties. Their goal? Making life better for people with developmental disabilities and their families by offering services, training, and helpful resources.
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11 Books About Kids with Disabilities R
epresentation is so important in books, especially for kids looking for guidance and inspiration. Kids want to be able to see themselves in the characters they read about. That’s why we rounded up our top picks for books about children and families with disabilities. These books cover physical and developmental disabilities for all ages, ranging from PreK to young adult. Remember– books are a great way to open up the convo with your kiddos. Talk with them about what they read, what they learned and what they might still have questions about. Read (pun intended) on for the list of 11 children’s books about disabilities. PreK to 2nd grade
Different– A Great Thing to Be, by Heather Avis
A New York Times Bestseller, Different– A Great Thing to Be follows the story of Macy, a young girl who doesn’t quite fit in with her classmates. She jumps to her own beat, sometimes quiet and sometimes loud, and the other children don’t understand her. Written in a rhyming style, this book celebrates differences and encourages kids to accept everyone. When Things Get Too Loud, by Anne Alcott
A story about sensory overload, When Things Get Too Loud is a reminder that the world can be an overwhelming place for a lot of people. When Bo’s Feel-o-Meter goes from 1 to 10, he just wants to hide. Children and parents can walk through a visual guide of emotions and ideas for dealing with them during overwhelming situations for kids with sensory overload. The Girl Who Thought in Pictures, by Julia Finley Mosca
A picture book about a girl diagnosed with autism, The Girl Who Thought in Pictures
diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother. But when Caleb meets Kit, his world completely changes. This is a wonderful story about the meaning of friendship and coping with disability. A Kind of Spark, by Elle McNicoll
is an empowering story that debunks myths and stereotypes. No one expected Temple to talk, let alone become one of the best voices in modern science. But as a visual thinker, Temple did just that, inventing groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe. 3rd grade to 6th grade Stuck, by Jennifer Swender
Learning disabilities are the subject of Swender’s book that follows Austin, the new kid in school who struggles to read. Slowly but surely, Austin finds people at his new school who support him along the way, making him feel comfortable and confident. Roll With It, by Jamie Sumner
Ellie is a young girl who recently changed schools and has to suddenly be the new kid— who’s also in a wheelchair. She’s overwhelmed, nervous and challenged at first. Will the other kids make fun of her? Will they accept her? But soon she makes really good friends. This is a great book for kids who also have physical disabilities and need a glimmer of hope that everything will be okay! 6th grade to 8th grade Hummingbird, by Natalie Lloyd
Twelve-year-old homeschooled Olive is tired of being seen as “fragile” just because she has osteogenesis imperfecta (otherwise known as brittle bone disease). When she starts at a new school, she hears about a magical, wish-granting hummingbird that supposedly lives near Macklemore and embarks on a hunt to find it. Along the way, she makes friends and meets new people who show her that being different is not so bad after all. Caleb and Kit, by Beth Vrabel
12-year-old Caleb has cystic fibrosis, a
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Award-winning and neurodivergent author Elle McNicoll delivers an insightful and stirring debut about the European witch trials and a girl who refuses to relent in the fight for what she knows is right. This book unpacks what it means to have autism– to think differently than everyone else, to see things others do not. Young adults Sitting Pretty: The View From My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body, by Rebekah Taussig
Disability advocate and creator Rebekah Taussig was paralyzed growing up, and now she shares her story in this memoir. The collection of essays talks about what it means to live in a body that doesn’t fit, and how that affects day-to-day life. It encourages us as society to bring more stories to light, sharing our experiences with others. Same But Different: Teen Life on Autism the Express, by Holly Robinson Peete, RJ Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
Triplets join forces to write a book about what it means to be a teen with autism. This book covers not only the experience of having autism, but what it means for those around you, like siblings. Dating, sports, parties, body changes, school– it’s all tackled in Same But Different, making it the perfect book for young adults with developmental disabilities. The Ables: 4 Book Series, by Jeremy Scott
Phillip is excited to start his superhero classes, gifted with the power of telekinesis. That is until he learns he’s assigned to the special-ed classes. Bullied, threatened, and betrayed, Phillip struggles, even as he and his friends–calling themselves the Ables–find ways to maximize their powers to overcome their disabilities. This supernatural story is a 4-part series, making it great for avid young adult readers.
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November 2023 | The Special Child
Empowering Museum visits
How to navigate museums with a child with disabilities By Serena Norr
roviding accessibility is crucial to ensure that kids of all abilities are able to enjoy the many cool things to do in Westchester, including visiting our many museums. This may include a range of options such as wheelchair accessibility, access to service animals, discounted and free admission, special sensory rooms, sensory kits, and much more. We hope this list provides you with some guidance to ensure that your memorable trip to a local museum can accommodate your child’s needs.
Westchester Museums Katonah Museum of Art 134 Jay Street, Katonah, NY 10536 914-232-9555 Adults, $12; students, $6; children under 12 are free Discounted general admission ($6) for visitors who identify as disabled and their caregivers wheelchair:yes Known for its compelling collection of rotating art exhibits, the Katonah Museum of Art hosts many events for families throughout the year. This includes creative community Fridays with stroller tours, artful Fridays with museum games, artmaking crafts, storytime, and a summer social with live music. For children on the autism spectrum or those who have sensory processing differences, the museum offers a KMA Sense Family Backpack. This includes noise-reducing headphones, fidget toys, an art activity, and some special books. They also have a KMA Social Story, which helps to prepare children and their families for their visit to the Museum. This is accessible on the Learning Center exhibition page, or at the
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Photo by Yumi Matsuo
The American Museum of Natural History 200 Central Park West The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation 415 Columbus Ave. AMNH is a museum that families visit regularly as it is never-ending in all it offers. This museum’s adventure is endless, from the Hall of North American Mammals to the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals and more. For people with disabilities, the museum provides much support, and we recommend visiting the accessibility section of its site to map out your visit. The services that stand out: service animals are welcome, and there are excellent tour programs. For Autism families, The Discovery Squad, in collaboration with the Seaver Autism Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, can, on specific Saturdays, explore activities related to the Museum halls before the museum opens. Science Sense Tours for blind or partially sighted visitors can check out this monthly tour, where specially trained museum tour guides spotlight specific themes and exhibits through descriptions and touchable objects. In circling back to mapping out your visit, the museum offers an actual route app for free. The Explorer app will help you to find accessible (with directions) routesand the best part is to see where the elevators are. Choose the accessible route and receive turnby-turn directions. And there is more. Your admission also works for AMNH’s newest addition, The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Fun things you can do are bug out at the Susan and Peter J. Solomon Family Insectarium, gawk at the gorgeous architecture, and, for a fee, visit the gorgeous exhibits the Invisible Worlds and the Davis Family Butterfly Vivarium.
front desk to provide guidance for anyone who will be in the new environment of the museum. Additionally, the gallery has two all-gender wheelchair-accessible restrooms, wheelchair and gallery stools, and all public spaces are located on the ground floor. They also have elevator access if guests need to reach the second floor. Service animals are permitted as well. They also offer a discounted general admission for disabled guests and their caregivers. Neuberger Museum of Art Purchase College 35 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY 10577 914-251-6100 neuberger.org Free admission wheelchair:yes Located on the campus of Purchase College, Neuberger Museum of Art features modern, contemporary and African art. In fact, this museum is one of 14 sites on the African American Heritage Trail of Westchester County. For children with special needs and disabilities, the museum offers wheelchair accessibility throughout the building. This includes wheelchair access in the galleries and restrooms. Additionally, wheelchairs are available without charge at the museum’s entrance. Guests can call 914-251-6100 or 914-251-6117 for additional information regarding their entrances and access points. Hudson River Museum 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10701 914-963-4550 hrm.org Adults, $13; youth (3–18) $8; kids under 3 are free (separate fees for Planetarium & Glenview) $3 discount off general admission for visitors with disabilities and free admission to caregivers of visitors with disabilities. wheelchair:yes Located in Yonkers, kids will love checking out the Hudson River Museum, with its focus on art, science, and history. Highlights include the cool Planetarium shows, interactive arts and science events, a tour of the historic Glenview estate, a rotating collection of contemporary art, and access to their gorgeous outdoor courtyard. For special needs and disabilities, they provide wheelchairs for visitors, which can be used throughout the museum and the Planetarium. Additionally, the Planetarium and the Amphitheater are equipped with Radio Frequency Assisted Listening Systems to assist with sound delivery for those with
any hearing impairments. The museum also offers a $3 discount off general admission for visitors with disabilities, and caregivers of visitors with disabilities are free. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710 914-775-6015 legolanddiscoverycenter.com/westchester $29.99 for kids (3-12 years old) and adults. Children 2 years and under are free. free admission to caregivers of visitors with disabilities wheelchair:yes Kids will love a day of brick-building at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester. Dubbed the “ultimate indoor playground,” your kids will instantly be “wow-ed” by Miniland and its 1.5 million bricks, the Merlin’s Apprentice ride, Lego Friends, Duplo Village, and more. The center is also designed for special needs and disabilities, with the majority of its attractions being (ADA) accessible to those who use wheelchairs or need special services. This includes an ADAaccessible theater with indoor seating areas for visible impairments, front-row spaces for wheelchairs, scripts are available for those with hearing impairments, and wheelchairaccessible rides. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester also offers a no-cost caregiver ticket to those accompanying guests with special needs and/or disabilities. Leashed service animals are also permitted in the public space throughout LEGOLAND. Guests with autism can use their birthday party rooms (when not used) as a quiet space for breaks. They can also offer services for kids who can’t wait in line. Westchester Children’s Museum Playland Bathhouse 100 Playland Pkwy, Rye, NY 10580 914-421-5050 $9 per person and free for kids 1 and under. wheelchair:yes This immersive museum dedicated to play and discovery offers a fun collection of permanent and rotating exhibits and interactive events such as storytime, music, and more. For visits with special needs, the museum is wheelchair accessible and located on one level. Additionally, they are always looking to improve their programming for groups or those with individual needs and encourage parents to call them at 914-4215050 to help plan a special visit for your child. They also have partnership with The November 2023 | The Special Child
Nicholas Center where they offer volunteer work for adults with autism, promoting accessibility, inclusion, and equity for autistic adults while breaking stigmatization as well as building on the quality of life and self-esteem of autistic adults. "The partnership between The Nicholas Center and the Westchester Children's Museum exemplifies our mission in action - to create innovative programs and services that allow Autistic adults to learn, live, and work in the community. The Museum staff is welcoming and inclusive, and our team thrives as Play Workers, promoting inclusion and equity for Autistic individuals. This experience shines a light on what this wonderful population offers and breaks stigmatization to all who witness individuals thriving. The impact on the children and families who visit the Museum is already being felt. The Nicholas Center seeks and welcomes these types of inclusive opportunities within the community. It is a win-win for all involved." - Jeremy Scalchunes, Associate Executive Director of Programs, The Nicholas Center.
its renowned modern and contemporary art collection, it is also one of the world’s most famous museums. Designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, its building is iconic. Although the building is stunning, it may feel out of reach if you are a parent of a child with disabilities. Thankfully, the museum has helpful resources to aid parents on their museum visit. There are ADA-compliant bathrooms located on Levels 1 and 7. There is plenty of room for wheelchairs; however, the High Gallery does not have wheelchair access. The space is quite open, so if your child is sensory sensitive, you may want to download the sensory map (guggenheim.org/accessibility) that maps out the areas (usually with seating) that tend to be quiet, less crowded, and low light. For your ASD child, there is also a social narrative map. For visitors with low vision or who are blind, Mind’s Eye Tours runs excellent tours that share through verbal descriptions, conversations, sensory experiences, and clever practices. These free tours should be emailed (access@ guggenheim.org or call 212 360 4355. a week before the program you would like to attend.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Pier 86, W 46th Street From checking out historic planes, a prototype Space Shuttle Enterprise, a dieselelectric powered submarine, and more, families can spend an entire day at this museum by discovering history through Interactive exhibits and artifacts through hands-on experiences while learning about American military and aerospace technology. The Intrepid Museum has a robust roster of programs for kids with disabilities -we recommend checking out their accessibility page for all their offerings. For blind and visually impaired visitors, there are verbal description and tactile guides that use raised images, Braille, and large print, as well as (ALDs) including stereo headphones, single-ear headphones, or T-coil compatible induction loops are available to borrow at no cost to something pretty cool like a talking pen. Autism kids aged 3 to 18 and their families can sign up for a free program called Early Morning Openings on Saturdays. There are also sensory-friendly evenings for teens (14+) and adults with Autism who can have a fun evening after hours. As we mentioned in the intro, it’s easy for sensory-sensitive kids to get overstimulated; before you start exploring the museum, pick up a sensory bag for noise-reduction headphones and fidgets. There are also visual vocabularies, checklists, scavenger hunts, and activity sheets for all
Museum Guide by Donna Duarte- Ladd & Barbara Russo DiMenna Children’s History Museum Located in the lower level of New York Historical Society 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street) Families can explore the nation’s historical narrative and the vibrant tapestry of New York City through captivating exhibits illuminating prominent historical figures’ life journeys from childhood to adulthood. The facilities, galleries, and auditorium are wheelchair accessible, with complimentary wheelchairs for visitors. For those who are blind or visually impaired, free verbaldescription docent-guided tours are available by appointment in conjunction with museum admission. For deaf or hard-of-hearing museum go-ers, most exhibitions are accessible for T-coil hearing aid users. T-coil compatible audio guides are available, also free of charge with admission. ASL interpreters are available but must be scheduled to accompany docent or educator-led group tours, such as school trips. Appointments for these services can be made by contacting email@example.com. The Guggenheim 1071 Fifth Avenue While the Guggenheim is an art space with
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public programs at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028 People worldwide visit The Met, one of New York’s most extensive museums. This is something to remember when visiting, as it can be overwhelming, especially for kids. The museum features gorgeous paintings from renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Vermeer. The Met houses sculptures where kids can look at Greek and Roman statues and contemporary pieces. There is also ancient, Asian, European Decorative, modern art, and more. The Met supports many people with different disabilities. On the museums’ visibility section, a parent can find helpful resources for visitors on the Autism Spectrum such as tips, social narrative, Tour Visual Checklist, Sensory Friendly Mapand more. There are also art workshops for kids, teens(and adults) who are Blind or Partially Sighted. Visitors can also find programs in American Sign Language, with Sign Language interpretation and real-time captioning. For caregivers of visitors with disabilities, head to the museum ticket counter, where you can pick up a free ticket. The Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St., MCNY is an excellent spot to visit and learn about the city’s history, starting from its colonial days. Visitors can view paintings, maps, art, decorative costumes, and more. The museum also hosts fun exhibitions, films, and immersive installations. If your child needs noise-reduction headphones, head to the front desk; if available, you can pick up a set- free of charge during your visit. A caregiver can receive free admission at the Museum Ticket Desk. Service dogs are welcomed, but emotional support animals need to stay home. Wheelchairs are accommodated at the museum, and if available, there are manual wheelchairs available. For large print and high-contrast transcripts of exhibition texts, head to the accessibility page on the Museum of the City of New York site. There is also a QR code in the Museum Guide that you can access once you’re there. Assistive listening devices are available for events, and you can find a form online for ASL interpretation guided tours on the accessibility page. Museum of the Moving Image 36-01 35th Ave, Queens, NY 11106
For the film buffs in the family, you’ll want to head to the MoMI, where all things art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media come together. Guide dogs and therapy animals are welcome. This museum is fully accessible by wheelchair and is also available for free. On the first Saturday of each month until May 2024) there are free Access Mornings for families with children on the autism spectrum workshops where the kids can craft and explore the museum before it opens. A big plus is the reduced volume; videos not part of the workshop are not on. Call the museum for more info at 718 -777 6800. MoMA 11 West 53 Street For modern and contemporary art lovers, New York (again) has one of the best in the world. From paintings by Jackson Pollack, Pablo Picasso, and Roy Lichtenstein to world-famous photographers (Irving Penn, anyone?), sculptures, film and media art, design and architecture, and more, MoMA is one outstanding institution to visit. For
families with disabilities, you can find Sensory and Social guides. Guide dogs and trained service animals are welcome, and while the pet guinea pig may bring comfort, they must stay home. For wheelchair access, look for a security or a guest guide so you do not have to wait in line. MoMA works with Art inSight, and blind or low-vision visitors can download recorded verbal descriptions of several artworks on the free Bloomberg Connects app. Email AccessPrograms@ moma.org at least two weeks in advance for a touch and description tour. Visitors with disabilities are eligible for a discounted admission of $18, and admission is free for an accompanied—care partner. A huge favorite the museum features are the QR codes placed throughout the Museum. These QR codes include maps, additional artwork information, verbal descriptions, and assistive listening for sound artworks created to enhance your visit. There is no sensory room if your child tends to be sensory sensitive, but on the MoMa site, you can find a sensory map of quiet spaces within the museum.
Whitney 99 Gansevoort St · (212) 570-3600 There are many reasons to head to the West Village; one is to spend time at the iconic Whitney Museum. The Whitney focuses entirely on American art, with each floor presenting vibrant and unique art, such as Georgia O’Keefe Edward Hopper to Layla Ali. And for our kids with disabilities and challenges, this museum offers support. The Whitney gets very busy- for wheelchair visitors, there is a helpful map; for kids on the ASD spectrum, a social narrative can be downloaded (all of this can be found under the Accessibility tab on the museum’s site) to help with the visit before you arrive. Service animals are welcome at The Whitney, and if your child needs an ASL-English interpretation, Live captioning, or Verbal description for their public programs and events, these services can be requested in advance. Parents with Sensory Sensitive kids will appreciate that the museum offers sensory-friendly art-making workshops on select Saturdays before the museum opens. Visit their events pages for postings.
ho we are Winston Preparatory School is a leading school network for students with learning differences, including dyslexia, executive functioning difficulties (ADHD), and nonverbal learning disorders (NVLD). Winston Prep Connecticut offers Rolling Admission
inston Prep by the Numbers hours
Average Time Spent in one-to-one Focus Program Each Week
Overall Faculty to Student Ratio
Average Number of Students in Each Class
Learn more at winstonprep.edu
Scan the QR code to visit our CT Campus
November 2023 | The Special Child
special needs Directory | Special Advertising Supplement
Camp Kodiak 905-569-7595 campkodiak.com firstname.lastname@example.org Canada’s premier overnight summer camp for children and teens with and without learning disabilities, ADHD and ASD Level 1. Your camper should attend because of Camp Kodiak’s social skills program, academic program, 50+ activities, 2:1 camper-tostaff ratio, increased self-esteem and confidence, Leader in Training program (16 to 18 years old), comfortable cabins with electricity and bathroom, over 400-acre site with 2 miles of waterfront. Your camper deserves a summer of fun, friends, and success!
The Charter School of Educational Excellence (CSEE) 260 Warburton Ave, Yonkers, NY 10701 914- 476-5070 charterschoolofeducational excellence.org CSEE is a regional charter
school open to students in grades k-12, that reside in Westchester, Rockland and Bronx counties. In partnership with parents, teachers and community, CSEE instills in students a passion for learning, to be critical thinkers, leaders and lifelong learners. The School’s special needs program and robust academic curriculum fosters a healthy body and mind course of study, which has led the school to be recognized by the NYS Department of Education as an “Exceptional School”.
Creative Wonders Therapy Center 470 Mamaroneck Ave, Suite 204, White Plains 101 South Bedford Rd Suite 404, Mt. Kisco 914-421-8270 ext. 1 creativewonderstherapy.com Creative Wonders is a pediatric therapy center in both White Plains and Mt. Kisco. Their speech clinic has speech therapists trained extensively
16 WestchesterFamily.com | November 2023
in PROMPT as well as oral motor and feeding. Seasoned occupational and physical therapists trained in specialties including sensory integration and evaluations including SIPT. They have toddler rooms as well as a sensory gym in a state-of-the-art facility! They also provide OT and ST in the home and daycares/ pre-schools throughout the county.
FlexSchool Bronxville, NY and Berkeley Heights, NJ 908-279-0787 flexschool.net Accredited private school for gifted and twice-exceptional (2e) learners. Our gifted curriculum, infused with executive functioning support and social-emotional learning, is custom-designed for insatiable minds. Summer enrichment / ESY offered on Cloud and NJ campuses. International students are welcome on all campuses. FlexSchool is proud to provide financial
aid and scholarships to those who qualify. Weekly Virtual Open House.
Green Chimneys School Campuses in Brewster & Carmel 400 Doansburg Rd Brewster, NY 10509 33 Clearpool Rd Carmel, NY 10512 845-279-2995 greenchimneys.org admissions@greenchimneys. org Green Chimneys is an accredited special education program for students who have been unsuccessful in traditional school environments, and benefit from a highly structured and supportive setting. Therapeutic day and residential programs feature an enriched curriculum for individualized academic, behavioral and emotional support. An innovative approach integrates animal-assisted activities and outdoor exploration into treatment and education plans, helping
Unlock your child’s potential Unlock child’s potential Unlock your child’s Unlock youryour child’s potential at Talk potential of the Town . atatTalk ofofthe Town . . Recreational Therapy Talk the Town at Talk of the Town . Where speech-language therapy UnlockWhere yourspeech-language child’s potential means fun, progress, and success!Creative Art therapy, therapy Where speech-language therapy Where speech-language therapy fun, andand success! Music, Theater, Dance, at means Talk offun,progress, the . means progress, success! means fun, progress, and Town success! CONVENI ENTLY LOCAT E D IN
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For more info contact Grahams.email@example.com Rscwestchester.com
November 2023 | The Special Child
special needs Directory | Special Advertising Supplement
students connect with nature, discover their own special talents, and develop skills to grow into independent young adults.
Hershey Therapy Practice Greenwich and New Rochelle NY, CT, NJ, FL hersheytherapypractice.com Tala@HersheyTherapyPractice. com Hershey Therapy Practice has an office in Greenwich, CT and in New Rochelle, NY. We also provide school screenings and in-home therapy. Tala Hershey, M.S. CCC-SLP, owns and operates the practice, focusing on pediatrics. She and her highly trained clinicians work with children targeting early language development, school-aged language development, articulation / phonology, fluency, feeding, tongue thrust swallowing, social skills, and more! We are trained in PROMPT Therapy, DIR-FloorTime, Sounds In Motion, and Feeding.
Jawonio 176 S Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10701 914- 963-8666 jawonio.org firstname.lastname@example.org Jawonio is a non-profit provider for children and adults with special needs from infancy and throughout the lifespan. Services include early intervention, special education preschool, summer program, day services, residential, care management, mental health, and consumerdirected assistant program. Jawonio is based in Rockland and Westchester Counties. Please contact us via email at email@example.com, phone 845.708.2000 and visit our website at www.jawonio.org. The word Jawonio is an Indigenous American Word for Independence. Our mission statement is: Dedicated to Advancing the Independence, Well-Being and Equality for People With Special Needs.
John Cardinal O’Connor School 16 North Broadway, Irvington 914-591-9330 jcoschool.org admissions@ johncardinaloconnorschool.org JCOS empowers children to thrive academically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially in their supportive school community. JCOS faculty are NYS certified and committed to students with mild to moderate special education needs mainly centered around speech, language, reading, writing, math, attention, and social skills. This K- 8th grade private Catholic school is a great affordable choice in Westchester County. All faiths are welcome.
Littman Krooks, LLP 800 Westchester Avenue, Rye Brook 914-684-2100 littmankrooks.com Littman Krooks Special Needs Planning and Special Education Advocacy Attorneys
work for the empowerment of individuals with special needs. Planning for your child’s future can seem overwhelming but you do not need to face these tasks alone. Seeking the assistance of an attorney can be the best approach.
Main Street Pediatric Dentistry 115 Main St., Suite 302, Tuckahoe, NY 914-633-4440 firstname.lastname@example.org mainstreetpediatricdentistry. com Main Street Pediatric Dentistry’s experienced staff has specialized training to work with special needs patients and those with disabilities. They focus on behavior management, working closely with the patient and their families to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Patients of all ages are welcome.
Monster Mini Golf Yonkers Ridge Hill Mall 221 Market St., Unit 2950, 2nd fl.,
The Westchester School • NYS approved and funded non-public school providing therapeutic and educational services to students diagnosed with AU, MD, ID, OHI, OI, ED, & PWD, ages 3 - 21, with locations in Yonkers & North Salem
Helping Special Families Plan for the Future
Special Education Advocacy Special Needs Trusts Guardianship Transition Planning Special Needs Planning
800 Westchester Avenue • S-436 Rye Brook, New York 10573 • 914.684.2100 1325 Avenue of the Americas, 15th Fl. • New York, NY 10019 • 212.490.2020
18 WestchesterFamily.com | November 2023
• Ungraded, self-contained classrooms with a student to staff ratio of 12:1:4 & 8:1:2 in SchoolAged classrooms and a ratio of 10:1:2 in Preschool classrooms. • Customized classroom instruction based on IEP goals, enhanced with SMART boards, IPads, and computers in every classroom • Counseling, Behavioral Services, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, as well as Speech and Language Therapy
• Assistance with transitioning to post academic life by providing Vocational and Job Skill opportunities • Adaptive Physical Education and a Sensory Room
Yonkers NY 914 346-5072 email@example.com monsterminigolf.com/yonkers Monster Mini Golf is an indoor, fun, affordable, upbeat experience for special needs humans of all ages. Their 18 holes of monster-themed mini golf, glow-in-the-dark experience is wheelchair accessible, climate controlled, with interactive team members. For more excitement they have an on-course DJ, arcade games, bowling, and private party rooms!
RSC Therapeutic Service 914-772-0864 rscwestchester.com firstname.lastname@example.org RSC offers adaptive sports and performing art programs. Their programs are adapted to be accessible and enjoyable for everyone. This is a learning environment where they encourage selfexpression, instill confidence through social interaction and making friends. While these
programs encourage a fun environment, their mission is to significantly improve the overall quality of life of their participants. A 501C# not for profit that provides therapeutic programs. Ask them about their special Olympics program.
SAIL at Ferncliff Manor 1154 Saw Mill River Road Yonkers, NY 10710 914 968-4854 ferncliffmanor.org The School for Adaptive and Integrative Learning (SAIL) at Ferncliff Manor is a NYS Education Department approved private, non-public special education program serving residential and day students with severe ASD and developmental disabilities. SAIL provides 24-hour medical services, rehabilitative and psychiatric care and an intensive staff to student ratio. We accommodate a variety of meal plans (ie: kosher, diabetic, gluten free). We strive to provide each student with
the skills they need to enjoy a personally rewarding life
Talk of The Town Speech and Language Therapy PLLC 39 Smith Ave, Mt Kisco, NY 10549 914-244-9600 Talkofthetownspeech.com Talk of the Town Speech and Language Therapy provides children with individual therapy, evaluations, and social skills groups. Their program is rooted in Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), social cognition, developmental language acquisition, and various learning theories. Group work includes forming friendships, picky eaters, and social success events.
Westchester BrainCore Therapy and Wellness 604 Fifth Avenue, Pelham NY 10803 914-738-4460 drwillmck.com email@example.com Dr. Will McKenna offers Brain-
Core Therapy for children and adults at his Pelham and Dutchess locations. BrainCore Therapy non-invasively alleviates symptoms associated with ADD/ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, Learning Disorders, Migraine and Tensiontype Headaches, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Insomnia, Chronic Pain, and more. One main area of treatment involves children with ADHD. BrainCore Therapy encourages children to focus by watching videos of their choice for 30 minutes, without any drugs or side effects. Dr. Will says children love this therapy and parents love the 95% success rate and permanent results.
Westchester School 45 Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY 520 Route 22,North Salem,NY 33 Seymour St., Yonkers NY (Pre-K) 914-376-4300 westchesterschool.org A New York State approved, non-public school that provides educational and thera-
Do You Know a Child with Learning Disabilities? The John Cardinal O’Connor School helps children who learn differently thrive. The John Cardinal O’Connor School invites parents to learn about our affordable language-based academic curriculum for children in grades K-8 with learning disabilities, speech or language impairments or other health impairments. Our certiﬁed special-education teachers use multi-sensory teaching techniques and blended learning in small classes to help children thrive academically, spiritually, emotionally and socially in our supportive school community. JCOS is a Catholic elementary school that welcomes children of all faiths. Call Sister Jeannie at (914) 591-9330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment today!
Now welcoming Kindergarten and 1st Grade! November 2023 | The Special Child
special needs Directory | Special Advertising Supplement
peutic services to students from Long Island, New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Connecticut. With campuses in Yonkers and North Salem, NY the program provides services to over 300 students with the classifications of Autism, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Emotional Disability, and Preschool Student with a Disability.
The Windward School 1275 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains - Lower School 40 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains - Middle School 914 949 6968 212 E. 93rd St, NYC – Lower and Middle Schools 212 222 8628 thewindwardschool.org A coeducational, independent day school located in NYC and White Plains for children in grades 1 through 9 with language-based learning disabili-
ties such as dyslexia. Committed to helping students achieve their full potential in order to successfully return to a mainstream educational environment, Windward remediates students’ skill deficits through a proven instructional program—combined with opportunities for social and emotional growth—to enable students to understand their learning differences, build confidence, and develop self-advocacy skills. Visit our website to sign up for an information session!
Winston Prep Connecticut
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57 West Rocks Road, Norwalk, CT 203-229-0465 winstonprep.edu/ourcampuses/connecticut Michelle Rolfe, Director of Admissions email@example.com At the core of Winston Preparatory School’s unique, individualized learning program for students with learning differences is the continuous commitment to an in-depth
understanding of each and every student. At Winston Prep, emphasis is put on discovering who each student is, what their strengths and learning needs are and, based on their learning profile, designing an individualized curriculum that is grounded in continuous assessment and evaluation by expert faculty and staff.
Yes She Can 10 Church St. (by City Center) White Plains, NY 914 358 1460 YesSheCanInc.org. firstname.lastname@example.org Yes She Can Inc., a non-profit founded in 2013, is dedicated to helping young adults with autism and related disabilities develop transferable job and workplace social skills – through authentic work experience. We serve teenagers transitioning from high school to adulthood and young adults with autism spectrum disorders in an inclusion setting at Girl AGain Boutique.
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20 WestchesterFamily.com | November 2023
ParentEd Talks series has a tremendous lineup of expert speakers who will help boost your parenting IQ.Topics include tips for raising technology-savvy kids in a screen-obsessed world; deepening connection with our partners and children; fostering the key traits and habits that are predictors of children’s success and good health — and much more.
Don’t miss out! One quick registration gains you access to the entire lineup. Christine Rosen, Ph.D. | Nov. 14, 2023 Promise and Peril: Emerging AI Technologies in Education Joe Clement and Matt Miles | Dec. 6, 2023 Screen Schooled: Raising Screen-Savvy Kids in an Era of Technology Overuse Stacey Freedenthal, Ph.D., LISW | Jan. 10, 2024 Brave Listening: The Secret to Safeguarding Your Child’s Mental Health Amelia Bachleda, Ph.D., and Marley Jarvis, Ph.D Jan. 23 , 2023 How the Power of Play Cultivates Healing and Resilience
Katie Davis, Ph.D. | March 5, 2024 Technology’s Child: Empowered Parenting in the Digital Age David Heppard and Kimonti Carter | March 27, 2024 Beyond Resilience: Raising the Next Generation of Anti-Oppression Leaders Nate and Kaley Klemp | April 16, 2024 Stronger Together: A New Model for Modern Marriage ����������������������������������������May 1, 2024 The Quantum Power of Self-Nurturing for a Balanced Life Janine Halloran, LMHC | June 5, 2024 Calm and Connected: Coping Skills for Kids in High-Anxiety Times
Julietta Skoog, Ed.S. | Feb. 6, 2024 Positive Parenting: Conscious Discipline Strategies for More Peaceful Days
www.NewYorkFamily.com/ParentEdTalks November 2023 | The Special Child