Support Groups for Parents of Children with Special Needs on Long Island

Support Groups for Parents of Children with Special Needs on Long Island

These local groups offer support, inspiration, and resources for parents and families of children with special needs.

UPDATED APRIL 2019: Raising a child with a unique set of special needs can have you feeling isolated and unsure of how to connect with other parents going through the same thing—and unfortunately, support groups are hard to find if you don’t know where to look. To make this process easier, we curated a list of support groups across Nassau and Suffolk counties that offer parents of kids with a wide variety of special needs a space to share experiences and resources—and help each other know no one is alone in this journey. Many of these organizations also connect parents to information and resources that can help their children live fulfilled lives.

Nassau County

ADHD Parent and Teen Coaching, Education, and Support 

Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC

[email protected]

516-802-0593 

Cindy Goldrich is a certified ADHD coach specializing in parenting children and teens with ADHD and executive function delays. Goldrich conducts a seven-session parent coaching workshop series in which specific strategies are developed to establish realistic rules and expectations, reduce homework stress, and improve compliance, self-advocacy, and communication skills. She also offers coaching for high school and college students, consults with teachers on behalf of students, and can help parents develop IEPs and 504 Plans for their children.

 

Asperger Syndrome & High Functioning Autism Association

Mid-Island Y JCC, 45 Manetto Hill Road, Room 202, Plainview

888-918-9198

These support groups are for family members to meet and discuss the needs of their loved ones on the autism spectrum. There are separate groups for family members of individuals of all ages, tweens and teens, and older teens and adults.

 

CHADD, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Local Chapter of Nassau County 

The East Meadow Jewish Center

1400 Prospect Ave., East Meadow

[email protected]

Shirelle Pearson: 516-242-3263

This group offers monthly meetings; call for more information. Parent training is available online and information for the trainings can be found from the CHADD national website: chadd.org. 

 

Julie Cohen, LCSW 

Great Neck

[email protected]

516-504-1881 

This group specializes in helping couples navigate the ups and downs of parenting children with special needs while strengthening their care and connection with one another. Cohen offers periodic workshops in which parents come together to discuss their children with special needs and the difficulties and issues that go along with parenting children with special needs.

 

EPIC Long Island 

1500 Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow

516-739-7733

Offers support groups for children and teens that have epilepsy, children who know someone with a seizure disorder, and parents of children who have epilepsy, as well as psychotherapy and medication management. The young adult support group is held on the first Wednesday of each month; professional support group is every second Wednesday of the month; and the parent support group is every fourth Tuesday of the month. All support groups are by appointment only.

 

Friendship Circle, Chabad of Great Neck 

400 E. Shore Road, Great Neck

516-654-6000 

[email protected]

This Jewish organization pairs children with special needs with caring, dedicated volunteers who form special relationships with them, and provides support to their families.

 

Friendship Circle, Chabad of Roslyn 

75 Powerhouse Road, Roslyn Heights

210 Forest Drive, East Hills

516-484-3500 

This group provides services and support for Jewish children and teens with special needs through the help of trained teen volunteers and professional therapists.

 

Friendship Connection Foundation 

1500 Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow

516-450-6103 

This nonprofit serves the needs of adolescents and adults with learning and developmental disabilities, and their parents who are battling anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Meetings are held on Sundays at EPIC Long Island. Friendship Connection also hosts day trips and recreational activities for its members.

 

Gifted and Twice Exceptional and Families Network 

Melissa Sornik, LCSW

268 Sea Cliff Ave., Sea Cliff

516-724-7100 

Counseling and support for gifted/twice exceptional (2e) children and families.

 

Grandparent Advocates Supporting Autistic Kids 

480 Old Westbury Road, Roslyn Heights

Dr. Sue Cohen: 516-484-2729 x402

This support and advocacy group is for concerned grandparents of children with autism, many of whom are also activists and lobbyists. All adult family members are welcome.  Meetings are held at the guidance center’s Roslyn Heights location on the last Thursday of each month. Contact Dr. Cohen to confirm attendance.

 

Kindred Spirits: Parents of Children with Diabetes 

The Community Church of East Williston

45 E. Williston Ave, East Williston

Lori Benzoni: 516-663-2112

Free monthly support group providing education, support, and camaraderie for parents of children with diabetes who are patients at Winthrop. Meetings are on Thursdays from 6:30-8pm.

 

Mental Health Association of Nassau County Family Resource Center 

16 Main St., Hempstead

516-489-2322 • Help Line: 516-504-4357

Offers support groups that assist family members who have relatives with mental illnesses.

 

National Alliance on Mental Illness Queens/Nassau 

1981 Marcus Avenue, C-117, Lake Success 

516-326-0797

Provides education and support for groups for families of those with mental illnesses.

 

New Horizons Counseling Center

108-19 Rockaway Blvd., Ozone Park

718-845-2620

The center provides individual and family counseling in Queens, Brooklyn, and Nassau County. Parent support groups and referrals to social agencies and other professionals are available. New Horizons serves a multicultural population with professionals on staff that are fluent in Spanish.

 

New York Families for Autistic Children 

164-14 Cross Bay Blvd., Howard Beach

347-566-3122

Call to learn about various services for families and fundraisers.

 

New York Self Determination Coalition 

Provides resources for parents who are transitioning their children from school to self-directed lives. 

 

North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center 

480 Old Westbury Road, Roslyn Heights

516-626-1971

Children with developmental disabilities and their families can participate in parent and sibling support groups, along with children with various other mental health needs such as depression, anxiety, abuse, and ADHD. See the website for more details about the support services offered.

 

Parenting Resource Network 

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Friedberg JCC, 15 Neil Court, Oceanside

516-634-4341

Check the website for information about upcoming programs.

 

Parents of Hearing-Impaired Children Support Group 

430 Lakeville Road, New Hyde Park

The group meets at 7pm on the first Wednesday of every month in the lower level conference room at Long Island Jewish Medical Center Speech and Hearing Center. Free and open to the public. There are no meetings in July and August.

 

Resources for Special Needs Kids

Wantagh

A free online resource for parents with discussions on therapies, success stories, tips, and more about children on the spectrum or with developmental delays.

 

Suffolk County

Ariella’s NY Friendship Circle 

The Chai Center of Dix Hills

501 Vanderbilt Parkway, Dix Hills

[email protected]

631-351-8672

The Friendship Circle extends a helping hand to families who have children with autism and other special needs. The Circle introduces teenage volunteers to the children through shared experiences, including Hip Hop, Teen Scene, Puppy Fun, Bowling Buddies, and more.

 

Asperger Syndrome & High Functioning Autism Association 

775 Park Ave., 2nd Floor, Huntington (group for families of older teens and adults)

North Shore Youth Council, 272 N. Rocky Point Landing Road, Rocky Point (group for family members of individuals of all ages)

888-918-9198

These support groups provide a space for family members to discuss the needs of their loved ones on the autism spectrum.

 

Association for Mental Health and Wellness 

939 Johnson Ave., Ronkonkoma (Wednesday group)

Brigette Kremens, Family Support Group facilitator

[email protected]; 631-471-7242 x1313

1380 Roanoke Ave., Riverhead (Tuesday group)

Kelli Regula, Family Support Group Facilitator

[email protected]; 631-471-7242 x1212

[email protected]

Provides weekly support groups and counseling services for friends and relatives of persons with mental illness.

 

Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders 

Stony Brook University, Putnam Hall, South Campus, Stony Brook

631-632-8850

Offers individual, group, and family therapy, including parent and social skills training and crisis/intensive behavioral interventions for children who identify as a Person with a Developmental Disability through the NYS OPWDD, along with comprehensive evaluations.

 

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Local Chapter of Suffolk County 

New Village Community Recreation Center,
20 Wireless Road, Centereach

[email protected]

Marie Elena Gandini, coordinator: [email protected]

This chapter offers support groups and lectures to provide support, education, and resources in the community.

 

DDI, Developmental Disabilities Institute 

99 Hollywood Drive, Smithtown

631-366-2900 

A nonprofit multi-site agency serving children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Provides educational, residential, day habilitation, vocational services, respite care, and Medicaid Service coordination. The DDI Parent and Advocacy Network is affiliated with DDI and is made up of families receiving services from DDI. 

 

Eating Disorders Support Group

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital

75 N. Country Road, Port Jefferson

Sue Morin, RN: 631-473-3877 x7956

Monthly support group for people with eating disorders; family and friends welcome; registration is not required. Meets the first Monday of every month from 7-8:30pm.

 

St. Charles Hospital Support Groups 

St. Charles Hospital – St. Camillus (BR1)

200 Belle Terre Road, Port Jefferson

631-474-6000

St. Charles offers support groups for a variety of issues, from Alcohol and Narcotics Anonymous to speech and communication, strokes, muscular dystrophy, brain injuries, and more.

 

Neurology Associates of Stony Brook 

181 N. Belle Meade Road, East Setauket

631-444-2599

As Suffolk County’s only Child Neurology program based in an academic medical institution, the team works on the front lines of medicine to take care of children with neurological disorders. There are two specialty centers that provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment/long-term management of multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

 

South Shore Neurologic Associates at Brookhaven Memorial Medical Center for Individuals and Families 

Epilepsy Patient Support Group

100 Hospital Road, 2nd Floor, Conference Room,
Patchogue

Amanda Pflumm, coordinator: 631-758-1910 x2111

631-666-3939 

Free monthly support groups designed for epilepsy patients ages 18 and older, as well as families, loved ones, and caretakers of all individuals with epilepsy and seizure disorders. This group meets on the fourth Monday of the month from 5:45-7:30pm.

 

Long Island Sibshops  

Thompson Middle School, Syosset

631-805-2100 

Ann Winter: [email protected]

Sibshops are held monthly on Saturdays from 11:00am-1pm. Siblings of children with special needs will enjoy games, crafts, fun discussions, and meet other siblings of children with special needs.

 

Our Little Heroes 

Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

Division of Pediatric Hemotology & Oncology,
HSC 11-029, Stony Brook

Nicole Gutman, newsletter editor: 631-444-7521 

This support group for families of children with cancer provides a newsletter, quarterly support groups, and parties at least twice a year away from the hospital setting for children to see the medical staff in a non-hospital setting.

 

Parent to Parent of NYS Inc. 

415A Oser Ave., Hauppauge

Valerie Colavecchio: [email protected] 

Alissa Morris: [email protected]

631-434-6196

A place where families of individuals with special needs and the professionals who serve them can meet and share information. This organization provides 1-on-1 parent support, assistance in accessing services, educational advocacy, workshops, e-groups, and a comprehensive website of resources. A parent matching program pairs adults, based on their request, with a trained support parent who has a child with a similar disability or health care concern.

 

Suffolk Independent Living Organization

755 Waverly Ave., Holtsville

631-880-7929 

This group assists parents with the many issues surrounding the education of children with disabilities, including advocacy and legal, communication, housing and shelter, information and referrals, transportation, and training.

RELATED: Want more special needs news, tips, and resources? Read Special Parent.