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Special Needs

Some children have needs that are not fully served by a typical school curriculum. Parents often struggle to ensure an appropriate educational experience and a secure future for their special needs child. Below is a sampling of the many resources available to help parents stay informed and feel supported.

General Information and Referral

Resources for Children with Special Needs, Inc. is the New York City organization that works to connect families with the appropriate resources for their needs. Consult with one of their staff members by phone (212-677-4650) or make an appointment to speak to someone in person about educational programs and legal, medical and social support services. Their website includes a free searchable database of programs and services in NYC.

Advocates for Children of NYC offers over ten guides for parents with children with special needs, including how to secure appropriate education services for your preschool age child, special education services in NYC public schools, a timeline of the special education assessment and referral process, and more.

All Kinds of Minds Parent Toolkit offers tips on appreciating, celebrating, and managing differences. The Resources section provides tips and resources for students and parents.

NYU Child Study Center focuses primarily on learning disabilities and mental health of children, the AOK Library has many helpful articles, a glossary of terms and a list of print resources and organizations a monthly e-mail newsletter provides current information on parenting and mental health topics.

Developmental Disabilities

YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities is an award-winning organization that strives to help people with developmental disabilities reach their fullest potential. They provide a wide range of services for people of all ages in and around New York and New Jersey.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Service and Information offers an online directory of providers to NYC residents. The website outlines programs and services available to NYC residents with developmental disabilities.

Early Intervention Services

Bilinguals, Inc. offers evaluation services, education, and therapies for children from birth to five years old. Their team of professionals speaks many different languages. They provide service for children with physical, language, cognitive, and emotional developmental delays. They also have services for children with autism and other PDDs. Many of their services are free to families in New York City.

New York State Early Intervention Program is part of a national program under IDEA. This program provides services for disabled and developmentally delayed children under age 3.

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene provides information about how early intervention services work and includes a listing of NYC-area service providers.

Learning challenges

LD Online is a resource for all types of learning disabilities. The site features areas for parents and kids, has experts who answer your questions, and features a store that sells a wide variety of tools and resources.

National Center for Learning Disabilities has a parent center where you can chat with other parents, get information about important legislation like IDEA and NCLB, and search for local resources. Addresses learning disabilities across the lifespan.


Hunter Elementary School a NYC publicly funded school for intellectually gifted children, answers the question "What is Gifted?"

National Association for Gifted Children includes a user-friendly parent section, state-specific information, publications, and list of summer programs for gifted children.

U.S. Department of Education provides lengthy listing of resources related to gifted children in the parents section.

NYC Department of Education The Resources of Parents section includes a G&T handbook and information on how to apply to citywide programs.