Special Needs Resources

Note: the following list is not meant to be comprehensive, but to provide a range of websites that address various aspects of each topic.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) American Association of the Deaf-Blind

Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment (A.V.R.E.), Inc.

55 Washington Street, Binghamton, NY; 607-724-2428

The A.V.R.E. is a private, non-profit organization that serves people of all ages, from infants to elders, with vision disabilities. Serving the Southern Tier of NY and Northern Tier of PA.

Autism Research Institute (ARI)

Autism Society of America (ASA)

BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services)

1605 Davis Avenue, Endicott, NY; 607-786-8524

Early Childhood Direction Center—The Direction Center is an information and referral resource providing comprehensive educational and legal information regarding the Special Education Process for both families and professionals.

Special Education Training and Resource Center (SETRC)—SETRC provides resources, information, technical assistance, and training related to the education and integration of persons with disabilities.

Broome Developmental Disabilities Services Office

1257 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY; 607-273-0811

The Tompkins Regional Center is a unit of Broome Developmental Disabilities Services that serves individuals of all ages in Tompkins County with developmental disabilities.

Center for Parent Information and Resources

CPIR serves the nation as a central source of information on disabilities in infants, toddlers, children, and youth; IDEA, which is the law authorizing special education; No Child Left Behind (as it relates to children with disabilities); and research-based information on effective educational practices.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Disability.gov is your online connection to the federal government's disability-related information and resources. Provides quick and easy access to comprehensive information about disability programs, services, laws, and benefits.

Empire State Speech and Hearing Clinic—Lions Camp Badger

1408 Lake Street, Elmira, NY; 607-732-7069

Lions Camp Badger offers a unique, overnight summer program for campers ages 5-21 with an intense or severe speech and language impairment or a special education designation of the deaf, hearing impaired, speech impaired, LD, MR or multiply handicapped. Campers receive 5.5 hours of education daily and recreation during the six-week session. Students/campers may be eligible for state funding.

Epilepsy Foundation of Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton Region

1650 South Avenue, Suite 300, Rochester, NY; 800-724-7930 or 1-800-332-1000 (National Epilepsy Foundation of America)

Family Center on Technology and Disability

The Family Center on Technology and Disability provides a wide range of resources on assistive and instructional technologies, from introductory fact sheets through CEU's for practitioners and educators.

Family and Children’s Service—Child/Adolescent Mental Health Program

127 W. State St., Ithaca, NY; 607-273-7494

A primary treatment center resource for children ages 1-17 with diagnostic, treatment and consultation services, the program also provides individual, group, and family therapy and psychiatric evaluation for medication and treatment planning.

Family Resource Network

46 Oneida Street, Oneonta, NY; 607-432-0001

The Family Resource Network provides information, support, and advocacy services to families who have children with developmental, special health care, and mental health needs.

Finger Lakes Independence Center

215 5th Street, Ithaca, NY; 607-272-2433

The Finger Lakes Independence Center educates individuals and organizations about their rights and responsibilities and helps solve problems of independent living. The Center provides information about benefits eligibility and procedures, independent living skills training, peer counseling, support groups, and training on disability issues. Taped reading of Ithaca Journal, sign language interpreter referrals, American Sign Language classes, and architectural accessibility consultations are offered.

Franziska Racker Centers, Inc.

3226 Wilkins Road, Ithaca, NY; 607-272-5891

Franziska Racker Centers, formerly Special Children’s Center, helps individuals, primarily those with special needs, and their families achieve their goals for success and happiness. Services include education and daycare for young children, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and audiology for all ages, mental health services in public schools, residential services, home, and community supports, service coordination, and advocacy.

Health Department of Tompkins County

401 Dates Drive, Ithaca, NY; 607-274-6644

Early Intervention Program—Services provided include, but are not limited to evaluations, vision and hearing, speech, physical, and other therapies; child development groups, and family counseling. For children ages birth to three years. Children with Special Health Care Needs Program—provides assistance to families of children with special health care needs birth through age 21 who need help in accessing various health care professionals and other community resources. Physically Handicapped Children’s Program—offers financial assistance to families with children birth to 21 years of age, who have or are suspected of having a chronic and/or disabling medical condition.

Hillside Children’s Center Finger Lakes Campus

7432 County House Road, Auburn, NY; 315-258-2100

The Finger Lakes Campus is a residential treatment facility designed to meet the needs of severely emotionally disturbed children and adolescents aged 10-18. Care includes 24-hour supervision, intensive clinical services for children and families, individualized special education, and highly structured group living experiences. Services include assessments, psychiatric and psychological services, medical treatment, recreation therapy, and special education.

Ithaca Youth Bureau

1 James Gibbs Drive, Ithaca, NY; 607-273-8364

Recreation Support Services—striving to help children and adults, primarily those with disabilities, achieve their goals for happiness and well-being by creating leisure opportunities for active participation, making friends, fostering independence, and community inclusion. 

The Iroquois Program—a summer community-based program for youth ages 12-21 with developmental disabilities. Activities include trips to state parks, horseback riding, swimming at local public pools, visits to the Cayuga Nature Center, Sciencenter, etc.

March of Dimes, Central New York Division

5 Adler Drive, East Syracuse, NY; 315-463-0700

The March of Dimes mission is preventing birth defects and infant mortality through research, community services, education, and advocacy.

Mental Health Association in Tompkins County

518 West State Street, Ithaca, NY; 607-273-9250

The Mental Health Association offers advocacy services for parents or legal guardians of children with a variety of mental health issues, such as learning disabilities, developmental, behavioral, and/or emotional disturbances. The Parent Advocate Program facilitates parental support and training groups. The Parent Advocate, along with the Information and Referral Director, serve as referral sources offering information and referrals on diagnosis and treatment options for children, both community based and state wide.

Muscular Dystrophy Association

NY; 315-451-8269

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) provides comprehensive medical services to people with neuromuscular diseases at more than 200 hospital-affiliated clinics across the United States. The MDA’s worldwide research program annually funds about 400 individual scientific investigations to advance knowledge of and find clues and treatments for neuromuscular diseases.

National Early Childhood Transition Center (NECTC) National Eye Institute

National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders

New York Relay Service

7-1-1; 800-421-1220 Voice; 800-662-1220 TTY/TeleBraille

The New York Relay Service helps people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or have a speech disability enrich their independent lives. Traditional phones are not for everybody. Teletypewriters (TTY) and telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDD) have proven themselves to be useful and easy to use. The relay services take advantage of TTY/TDD devices that allow the user to communicate with friends, loved ones, business associates, and service providers so they may participate in daily community life. New York Relay operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. All calls to the center are free and confidential.

Parent to Parent of New York State

500 Balltown Rd., Schenectady, NY; 800-305-8817

A place where families of individuals with special needs and the professionals who serve them can meet and share information.

Patchwork Therapeutic Riding Center

90 Old Peruville Road, Groton, NY; 607-898-3808

The mission of Patchwork Therapeutic Riding Center is to provide people with disabilities an opportunity to ride horses in a therapeutic as well as recreational setting.

Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA)

Ithaca, New York, NY

SEPTA is a Special Education Parent-Teacher-Student Association. It’s a group of parents, caregivers, and professionals with a tie to students with special needs, and others who want to learn more about students with special needs. SEPTA members are encouraged to join the local PTA of their children’s schools.

Special Olympics New York


To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities, including mental retardation giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of skills and friendship with their families, Special Olympics athletes, and the community. Through their participation in Special Olympics, New York athletes gain confidence and build a positive self-image, which carries into the classroom, the home, the workplace, and the community.

Social Security Online, Disability Programs Social Security Administration

127 West State Street, Ithaca, NY; 607-256-3651

Sir Alexander Ewing—Ithaca College Speech and Hearing Clinic

233 Smiddy Hall 233, Ithaca, NY; 607-274-3714

The Sir Alexander Ewing Speech and Hearing Department at Ithaca College offers speech, language, and hearing evaluations, as well as therapeutic services. Basic hearing evaluations, speech/language evaluations, and speech and hearing outpatient rehabilitation are available.

United States Department of Education

800-USA-LEARN (800-872-5327) or 800-437-0833 TTY

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSEP)

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is dedicated to improving results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21 by providing leadership and financial support to assist states and local districts. (www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/index.html)

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA)—governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to children with disabilities. (http://idea.ed.gov/)