UPDATED OCTOBER 2014: Raising a child with special needs in Manhattan? Find support by connecting with other NYC families, parents, and caregivers in New York City who have kids with special needs.
Joe Soll, program director
74 Lakewood Drive, Congers
This nonprofit compiles resources on how to answer tough questions from your adopted child and pools together resources that can help parents locate their biological children, and vice versa. Group meetings, which are held every other week, are also an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences. Program director Joe Soll has written four books covering various issues that arise when raising adopted children.
Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association
303 Fifth Ave., Suite 1003, Flatiron District
The Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association offers several no-fee support meetings throughout New York City (as well as Nassau County) for parents, family members, and caregivers that focus on educating, advocating, and creating activities for families to help them cope with their child’s diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome and related conditions.
Autism Society Of America - Manhattan
370 E. 76th St., #C1208, Upper East Side
With autism chapters nationwide, the Autism Society has several local chapters with support groups that are all led by volunteer parents and care providers of children with autism, providing families with information, support, and encouragement.
Center For Hearing & Communication
50 Broadway, 6th Floor, Bowling Green
917-305-7700; 917-305-7999 TTY
The Center for Hearing and Communication, a nonprofit organization, offers weekly therapeutic support groups for parents of children with hearing loss, from coping with the news to connecting with parents who are dealing with a similar situation.
The Child Mind Institute
445 Park Ave., (entrance on 56th Street) Midtown East
The Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to transforming mental health care for children and empowering their families with help, hope, and answers, holds a wide variety of workshops for parents and educators to gain invaluable skills and learn how to help children take control of their condition and thrive. Find workshop schedules on the website.
An ADHD Series covers a range of issues affecting children with ADHD and their support networks, from navigating friendships and family gatherings to the ins and outs of treatment and medication.
An OCD Workshop for Parents series covers a range of issues affecting children with obsessive-compulsive disorder and their support networks, from navigating friendships and family gatherings to the ins and outs of treatment and medication.
The organization also holds seminars on Selective Mutism.
Children and Adults with Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders
New York City
129 W. 83rd St., #133, Upper West Side
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a national nonprofit organization with local chapters, including in New York City. Monthly support group meetings focus on providing resources and support as well as socializing and information-sharing among those dealing with family and friends with ADHD.
Churchill School and Center
301 E. 29th St., Kips Bay
The Parent Educational Network at Churchill School hosts a series of programs and workshops during the school year that focus on helping parents to better support their children’s needs.
Downtown Spectrum Parents
Parents of Individuals with Autism Support Group
Lynn Decker, moderator
This online Yahoo! group is for parents and guardians of a child on the autism spectrum. The forum provides a safe space for parents to share their insights, stories, and resources. Parents and guardians can subscribe to the Yahoo! email group, which provides a safe space for them to share insights, stories, and resources. Those who are not parents or guardians can send resources or information to the address above to be distributed to the group.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Metropolitan New York
65 Broadway, 5th Floor, Suite 505
The foundation hosts bimonthly New York weekend trips as part of a socialization program that fosters a welcoming community of young adults with epilepsy. Support groups for developmentally disabled adults meet biweekly at the foundation.
FEGS, Health And Human Services System; Family, Advocacy, Information and Referral
315 Hudson St., 4th Floor, Soho
212-366-8400; 212-524-1789 TTY
FAIR: 6900 Jericho Turnpike, Syosset
Along with offering support groups for parents and peers with developmental disabilities, FEGS serves as a comprehensive resource for families and caregivers who want to attend workshops and seminars regarding behavioral, emotional, and mental health issues.
Finding A Cure For Epilepsy and Seizures
223 E. 34th St., Murray Hill
FACES, part of the NYU Langone Medical Center, provides a Parents Network that connects parents with parent mentors who have experienced similar obstacles raising a child with a chronic illness such as epilepsy. Valuable mentorship teaches parents about the hospitalization process, educational services, and offers social support.
GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Awareness Center
106 W. 117th St., Harlem
Support group for new and expectant parents of children with Down syndrome. Meet other parents, discuss experiences, make connections, receive support, and learn about resources helpful to the Down syndrome community. Experienced mentors who can answer your questions about Early Intervention and other services are also available. This is a group that frequently invites guest speakers to talk about best practices in caring for infants with Down syndrome.
The Global And Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership
666 Broadway, Suite 825, Noho
Both online and regional support groups (adult and teen) are available through GRASP. There are separate support groups for families and clinicians, siblings, significant others, women, and Spanish-speakers.
Harlem Independent Living Center
289 St. Nicholas Ave., Suite 21, Lower Level, Harlem
212-222-7122; 212-222-7198 TTY
In addition to offering peer counseling and support groups for people living with disabilities, the Harlem Independent Living Center, a nonprofit organization, works in the community to help these people live independently.
The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Ave., Upper West Side
The JCC has support groups that cater to parents, grandparents, fathers, parents of twins, and parents of teens. Support groups are for parents of children who have been diagnosed with developmental challenges of all kinds. Facilitators and parents’ experiences provide those in the support group with resources, the chance to network, emotional support in a sense of community, and also shed light on therapy options.
Light House Guild International
Dan Callahan, director of the Children’s Vision Health Initiative
111 E. 59th Street, Midtown East
The Jewish Guild for the Blind’s Parent Tele-Support Groups are open, informational phone forums for parents to discuss their concerns about raising children who are visually impaired.
Manhattan Mothers & Others
160 E. 65th St., Apartment 25D, Upper East Side
Advised Advocacy Network for children of all ages with any developmental disabilities. Family members who share similar experiences in raising a child with developmental disabilities provide support for one another in this safe community.
National Alliance on Mental Illness – New York City
Program director: Mary Lee Gupta
505 Eighth Ave., Suite 1103, Midtown
The National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City offers a broad range of support groups that are categorized by age, type of relationship, or illness. All groups aim to provide support, education, and advocacy.
New York City Children’s Services
150 William St., 18th Floor, Financial District
Circle of Support, part of the NYC Administration for Children’s Services and available in all five boroughs, is a neighborhood support group with varying topics such as adoption, ADHD, and depression and anxiety in children.
New York Council on Adoptable Children
589 Eighth Ave., 15th Floor, Midtown
Parents of adopted children benefit from peer support as part of the Parent Support Group, which helps parents cope with the unique developmental and psychological issues that they and their adopted children may face. An Adolescent Support Group is also provided for teens to communicate and interact with their peers in a safe, non-judgmental environment.
460 W. 34th St., 11th Floor, Chelsea
888-YAI-AUTISM (924-2884); 212-273-6100
Family Support resources include strategies for managing everyday stress and changes in funding for people with developmental disabilities. Geared toward all caregivers of people with autism spectrum disorder.
Support Groups for Parents of Children with Special Needs in Brooklyn
Support Groups for Parents of Children with Special Needs in the Bronx
Support Groups for Parents of Children with Special Needs in Queens