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News and Events


Thurs., October 1st, 10-1pm, Erie County Office for the Disabled represented at Outreach Table @ Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Downtown Central Location *

Fri., 2nd, 10-1pm, Erie County Health Dept . represented at Outreach Table @ Central Library.* 

Sat., 3rd , 7-9 pm, Museum of disABILITY History presents "Night of a Thousand Stars" @ 3826 Main St., Buffalo, 716-629-3636 

Sat., 3rd, 10am, Epilepsy Association -Maggie Lee Memorial 5k @ Delaware Park 

Mon., 5th, 10-1pm—Compeer represented at Outreach Table @ Central Library.* 

Tues., 6th, 10-1pm, WNY Independent Living Center represented at Outreach Table @ Central Library.* 

Tues., 6th, 5:30-8:30pm, Parent Network-The Nurtured Heart Approach, Helping Children Flourish, a 4 week parenting series. on Tues., 10/6, 10/13, 10/20 & 10/27 @ Baker Hall School Cafeteria, 777 Ridge Rd., Lackawanna, 716-886-1242 ext. 346 , to register.

Wed., 7th, 10-1pm, Acces VR represented at Outreach Table @ Central Library * 

Wed., 7th, 1-3pm, Center for Disability Studies —Historicizing the Metaphors: Disability and Representations of Slavery, by Sami Schalk @ 509 O’Brian, UB North Campus 

Wed., 7th, 9-11am, NYS Office for the Aging—Office of Community Living Feasibility Study @ Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 701 E. Delevan Ave., to pre-reg. call 518-391-4553. 

Thurs., 8th, 10-1pm, Parent Network represented at Outreach Table @ Downtown Central Library. *

Thurs., 8th, 10am, ACE Employment Services—Informational Session @ 327 Elm St., Buffalo, 716-884-5216. Refreshments served. 

Thurs., 8th, 8:30-12pm, Safe at Home-Meaningful Safety Education for People with Intellectual Disabilities Living Independently @ Monroe Community College, for Information call 585-383-6507.

Thurs., 8th, 1-2pm, Olmsted Center for Sight , "Distinguished Speaker Series" @ 1170 Main St., Buffalo, RSVP by 10/5 by calling 716-888-4564. Free. 

Fri., 9th, 10-1pm, Epilepsy Assoc. represented at Outreach Table @ Downtown Central Library * 

Fri., 9th. 10-11:30am, Southeast Works-Candidates Hour @181 Lincoln St., Depew. Free. 

Fri., 9th, 11-1pm, Restoration Society, Inc.-Ride the Subway for Mental Health World Day, meet at 327 Elm St. & wear lime green, 716-832-2141, x 221. 

Fri., 9th, 5:30-8:30pm, Autism Services, Inc ..-Arts Work Auction @ Asbury hall, 341 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, 716-631-5777,x 369, $35 pre; $45 door. 

Sat., 10th, 9-3pm , Olmsted Center for Sight —Literacy Day FinnFest-Recorded Spoken Picture Books, EC Public Library, Central Library * 

Sat., 10th, 8am, St. Mary’s School for the Deaf —Breaking the Sound Barrier 5k. 

Sun., 11th, 8:30am registration– National Federation for Just Communities of WNY -Dash for Diversity @ Delaware Park, 716-853-9596.

Mon., 12th, 10-1pm, National Federation of the Blind represented at Outreach Table @ Central Library *

Tues., 13th, 10-1pm, Children’s Mental Health Coalition of WNY represented at Outreach Table @ Central Library* 

Tues., 13th, 5-7pm, WNYDDRO Front Door Information Session , Southeast Works, Maryvale HS, 1050 Maryvale Dr., Cheektowaga, 716-683-7100. 

Wed., 14th, 10-1pm, People, Inc. represented at Outreach Table @ Downtown Central Library.* 

Thurs., 15th, 10-1pm, Deaf Access Services represented at Outreach Table @ Downtown Central Library* 

Thurs., 15th, 5:30-8:30pm, Disability Awareness Training @ 150 Delaware Rd., Kenmore 

Fri., 16th, 10-1pm, Learning Disabilities Association represented at Outreach Table @ Central Library*

Fri., 16th, 8-4pm, The Summit Center - New Approaches for Early Detection of Autism and Predicators for Optimal Outcomes @ Salvatores, 6461 Transit Rd., Depew, 716-629-3425 

Fri., 16th, 10-2pm, Seneca Nation of Indians Employment and Training Dept . - Career Fest 2015 @ Cattaraugus Community Ctr., 12767 Rte. 438, Irving, 716-532-1033 

Sat., 17th, 8:45-12:45pm, Autism Society WNY Chapter & Autism Services Center for Learning - Guide to Apraxia, Is It Part Of Your Child’s Autism? Workshop @ Classics V, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst , Registration by 10/13, www..friendsofasi.org 

Sat., 17th, 7pm, The Center for Handicapped Children -The Boys of Summer & The Hitmen Horns Concert @ Tralf Music Hall, Tickets $25advance; $30 door, 716-831-8422. 

Sat., 17th, 9-12:30pm, Erie County Clerk & Erie County Office for the Disabled -Non-Driver ID Card Event, @ Dept. of Motor Vehicles, 3095-A Sheridan Dr., Amherst 

Mon., 19th, 10-1pm, Starlight Studios represented at Outreach Table @ Central Library* 

Mon., 19th, 8-3pm, Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention -2015 Annual Conference @ Classics V Banquet Center, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst. Reg. by 10/16 @ gse.buffalo.edu/alberticenterconference. 

Tues., 20th, 10-1pm, Bornhava represented at Outreach Table @ Downtown Central Library.* 

Wed., 21st, 10-1pm, 211 represented at Outreach Table @ Downtown Central Library.* 

Wed., 21st, 5:30-7pm, Restoration Society, Inc. .-Dress for Success @ 340 Military Rd., Buffalo, 716-832-2141, x221. Free. 

Wed., 21st, 2-5pm, WNYIL -"Meet the Candidates," 3108 Main St., Buffalo. 

Thurs., 22nd, 10-1pm, DISABILITY HISTORY WEEK EVENT @ Downtown Central Library.* 

Thurs., 22nd, 12:30-3pm, NDEAM—2015 Employer Recognition Awards Luncheon, @ The Grapevine Banquet Facility, 333 Dick Rd., Depew, 716-856-4202, ext. 1364 

Thurs., 22nd, 10-3pm, The Mental Health Association of Erie County -Screening for Mental Health @ Boulevard Mall Sears Court, 716-886-1242 ext. 326. 

Thurs., 22nd, 6-8pm, WNYDDRO Front Door Information Session @ NF Memorial Medical Center, 621 10th St., Aud. B, Niagara Falls, NY , 716-517-3509. 

Mon., 26th, 10-1pm, Alberti Center represented at Outreach Table @ Central Library* 

Tues., 27th,, 10-1pm, Parent to Parent represented at Outreach Table @ Central Library.* 

Tues., 27th, 5-8pm, Learning Disabilities Assoc. of WNY – Final Food Truck Tuesday Fundraiser @ Flying Bison Brewery, $25. for 3 hour open bar, appetizers, & music. 

Tues., 27th, 10-1pm, Parent to Parent represented at Outreach Table @ Central Library * 

Wed., 28th, 10-1pm, Help Me Grow of WNY represented at Outreach Table @ Central Library * 

Thurs., 29th, 10-1pm, Mental Health Association of Erie County represented at Outreach Table @ Downtown Central Library* 

Thurs., 29th, 6-8pm, WNYDDRO Front Door Information Session @ People, Inc., 3763 Southwestern Blvd., Orchard Park 

Fri ., 30th, 1-4pm, CAREER FAIR, In honor of Disability Mentoring Day 2015 @ Central Library., 716-858-6215 * 

Fri., 30th-Sun., Nov. 1st, National Federation of the Blind State Convention , Albany


(716) 858-6215

Note: Agency Representation and events at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Downtown Central location, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, are designated by an *


National Disability Employment Awareness Month — Celebrating 70 Years!

Held each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a time to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The theme for this year — which marks 70 years since the first observance — is "My Disability is One Part of Who I Am." This year's NDEAM theme comes from the Campaign for Disability Employment's Who I Am" PSA, which features nine people with disabilities sharing the many ways they describe themselves, including their occupations. Check out the blog post NDEAM 2015: My Disability Is One Part of Who I Am by Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.


 From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein 

Date September 29, 2015   

 Erie County Recognizes National Preparedness Month

Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today!

ERIE COUNTY, NY— The Erie County Departments of Health and Emergency Services and the Office for Disabled Persons recognizes September as National Preparedness Month.  This year we are asking you to take action now before the storms hit – make a plan with your community, your family, and for your pets.  Plan how to stay safe and communicate during the disasters that can affect your community.

Erie County residents are encouraged to participate in the national day of action, National PrepareAthon! Day, which culminates the National Preparedness Month on September 30. Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. An emergency or disaster could be anything from a natural disaster, technological & accidental hazards, terrorist hazards, pandemics and home fires. 

There are important differences among potential emergencies that impact the decisions you make and the actions you take depending upon the type of disaster. Each household should develop a plan that incorporates the following:

  • How to plan with your household and prepare in advance so you are ready
  • How to recognize signs of hazardous events that come with very little warning
  • How to protect your household during the disaster
  • How to begin recovery following the initial disaster 

“We encourage everyone to take part, make a plan or review your existing strategy, and know what to do during an emergency or disaster.  Update your contact list, develop a notification and reunification plan, and think about essential supplies including, food, water and medications,” said Daniel J. Neaverth, Jr., Commissioner, Erie County Department of Emergency Services. “The best way to start is to ask yourself: What will my family and I need to survive if we are on our own for 72 hours?” 

“Everyone remembers the October Surprise storm in 2006 and the “Snovember” storm last year,” said Gale Burstein, Commissioner, Erie County Department of Health.  “Many people were caught with insufficient medical supplies, including both prescription and over-the-counter medications. If you rely on medication and medical supplies, be aware of your current supplies and the possibility of adverse winter weather. Take precautionary steps to ensure you do not run out should you be unable to leave your home. This includes an accessible list of pharmacies in your area in case your usual pharmacy is closed. A plan is crucial for individuals with diabetes who are dependent on insulin or other essential medications.” 

Disaster preparedness is even more critical to the disabled community. “It’s especially important for people with disabilities to be prepared for both man-made and weather-related disasters,” stated Frank Cammarata, Executive Director, Erie County Office for Disabled. “That is why we plan year-round to be prepared, no matter what type of emergency we face.”  Preparedness planning is a collaborative effort in Erie County with involvement from Emergency Services, Health, Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Senior Services, Veterans Affairs and the Office for the Disabled.

For More Information:

Erie County Department of Health

NY State Department of Health

America’s PrepareAthon!






DDAWNY Family Committee Members:

We have learned that in order for data to be included in OPWDD's report to the Legislature, family/individual/caregiver surveys must be completed by Saturday, October 10th by 5:00 PM.  After that, needs can continue to be registered, but will not be reflected in this year's report.  Therefore, it is urgent that families/individuals with a need for out of home residential services call the toll free number ASAP to complete the survey.

Attached below is the original letter from OPWDD, as well as the survey questions, which families should review before calling. 

The call in number is: 844-679-3369 

NOTE: We have been informed that it is likely that the caller will get an answering machine.  Your message should include the best time to call back.  

Letter to Families

Survey Document


The Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY) is a collaborative group of member voluntary agencies that provide services to people with developmental disabilities.  

While honoring individual agency missions, it is the intent of the Alliance to assist agencies to develop relationships, promote unified strategies and share risks for the mutual gain with and for the benefit of people with developmental disabilities.


This group is open to all women who care for a child with special needs. The group is facilitated by the Bornhava Social Worker (a LCSW). This group meets one time a month, on a Thursday evening during the school-year at 6:30 p.m. (usually the first Thursday of the month). If you have any questions about this Women Caregivers・ Group, please contact Ann at Bornhava (839-1655 ext. 309).

To receive notices on upcoming meetings, please complete the information below and either send the form to Bornhava, c/o WOW MOMs, 25 Chateau Terrace, Amherst, NY 14226, or give to a Bornhava staff person.

There is no cost or fee to participate in the group. Attendance is not required monthly・ participants may attend when they are able. Childcare is offered. 

25 Chateau Terrace

Amherst, NY 14226

(716) 839-1655

Fax (716) 839-1656





A place for male caregivers of children with special needs


This group has ongoing discussions about coping as a male caregiver facing so many additional challenges or obstacles in today's world.  The group is also a great place to share the rewards of being a father/male caregiver of a child with special needs.

Contact E. Crawford

25 Chateau Terrace

Amherst, NY 14226

716-839-1655 ext. 303


 Meets one Tuesday each month at 7:30pm.


 Diabetes Self-Management Workshops Coming to Erie County

Starting in September, Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL) is offering a six  session  FREE “Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes” workshop in Erie County, one in Buffalo and another in Clarence.  This is a peer-led health education program for people dealing with Type 2 Diabetes, (once known as “adult-onset”).  Workshops are designed to complement the participants’ existing health care regimens.  Specific program content includes: decision making and problem-solving skills; developing and maintaining a safe, long-term physical activity program; preventing complications; dealing with anger, depression and difficult emotions; communicating effectively with family, friends and health professionals; using prescribed medication appropriately; healthy eating; monitoring blood sugar levels; skin and foot care; and planning for future health care.

  • In Clarence, the workshop will take place at The Claremount, a Senior Residence at  10338 Main Street 14031, east of Strickler Road, from 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM on Sept. 16 and 25, Oct. 1, 7, 15, and  21, 2015.
  • In Buffalo, the workshop will be held at the Salvation Army of Buffalo, 960 Main Street  14202, north of Allen Street, from 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM on  Sept. 28,  Oct. 6, 14, 19, 26,  and  Nov. 2, 2015.

Participants in the free workshops are required to pre-register by calling Patricia McAllister at (716) 836-0822, ext. 402.


The Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.--

Ernest K. Churchwell
Public Information Officer-Writer
Office of Community Engagement
Western New York Independent Living
3108 Main Street
Buffalo, New York  14214
716-836-0822, ext. 181
visit our website at:  www.wnyil.org
Last year, the WNYIL Family of Agencies' work in assisting individuals to leave or avoid institutionalization saved New York State taxpayers over $60 million, for a two-year total of over $80 million.

Information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to
which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged
material.  Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of, or
taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons or
entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited.  If you received
this in error, please contact the sender and delete the material from any

**SCENT-FREE POLICY:  WNY Independent Living, Inc. respects the health and
safety of persons with chemical sensitivities.  The ingredients in many
fragrances and scents are known to irritate the respiratory tract, nervous
system, and eyes; lower immunity to disease; and trigger allergies and other
severe health reactions.  In the case of asthma and epilepsy, reactions
triggered by exposure to scented products can be life-threatening.  Thank
you for your consideration of others in providing an environment in which
everyone can feel safe and comfortable by not wearing such products.



 New on Disability.Blog:


By Guest Blogger Marcie Roth, Director, Office of Disability Integration and Coordination, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Every day has the potential to bring the unexpected. That’s why it’s critical to raise awareness about the importance of being prepared for emergencies. 

I’m delighted to share that as part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), FEMA’s Ready Campaign and The Ad Council partnered on a public service announcement (PSA) titled We Prepare Every Day. The PSA shows people, including those with disabilities, preparing themselves, their family and their community for emergencies by assembling a disaster supply kit that meets their specific needs, making a communication plan to stay connected to family and friends following a disaster, and taking steps to help their community prepare to accommodate the access and functional needs of the whole community. The video provides equal access and includes open captioning, a certified deaf interpreter, and audio description for viewers who are blind or have low vision.




Statler Center is a New York State proprietary business school, certified by the state department of education and a program of the Olmsted Center for Sight.

 Who we serve...

Blind and Visually Impaired Adults

Physically Disabled



 *On-going admissions and application process for our programs which are run three times a year in Buffalo, NY - Winter, Spring and Fall

 *Classes are limited to 15 students; because of this and because we are drawing applicants from all fifty states we must operate on a first come, first served basis.

*Statler offers a comprehensive curriculum adapted for persons with disabilities, industry specific software and presenters, a modern instructional facility with state of the art tech and hands on real life experience

Our Programs:

Business Fundamentals (five weeks)

Builds upon computer literacy

Incorporates the use of adaptive technology if needed

 Enhances skills in regards to written and electronic communication

Assists with the development and creation of Employment documents

Develops the ability to search job opportunities and build their professional network

using web based programs

Instructs on how to exude confidence on job interviews

Reviews business math to prepare people for assessments administered during the job search process


Contact Call Center (four weeks)

 Instructs telephone courtesy and techniques

Technology: multi-line phone systems, note taking, multi-tasking,

incoming/outgoing calls with a variety of contact center contracts

Ability to utilize Assistive/adaptive software including dual headsets if applicable

Industry presenters


Hospitality (five weeks)

Standards of the hospitality industry

Front and back of the house service and operations

Exposure to property management software

Industry presenters

Conflict Management

Externships at local hotels

Our job doesn’t end when the program does: Placement Assistance Post Graduation

82% placement rate

Placement Contracts

Placement assistance- job leads, assistance completing applications if needed, resume and Cover letter retrieval

Job development


For more information:

Elizabeth Schmidt, Admission Coordinator

Phone: (716)888-4638

Email: eschmidt@statlercenter.org

Website: www.olmstedcenter.org

Address: 1170 Main St

Buffalo, NY 14209



Dear Family Committee Members: 

Is your child or loved one on the Residential Request List?  If yes, the following is important information OPWDD has asked us to share: 

During the months of August and September OPWDD will be calling families of individuals currently on the Residential Request List, or in some instances the individual if he/she made the request to be on the list, to talk with them about their current situation and whether they continue to have a need for certified residential services now or in the future.  Additionally, families or individuals will be asked about the services they are currently receiving and those they may be interested in getting.  The information obtained in the survey will help OPWDD plan for future residential service needs. 

Individuals who have a Priority One status on the Residential Request List will not be called for this survey as their needs are already well known to OPWDD.  It is also important to know that this survey is not part of an individualized planning process.  Any individual needs that are identified during the survey will be referred to the MSC or local DDRO. 

OPWDD is asking MSCs to help by providing updated contact information for individuals and family members, including their current phone number and address and their primary language.  OPWDD is also asking MSCs to talk to individuals and families about the survey and, if they want help, to help them decide what their answers are to the survey questions. 

A copy of the anticipated questions surveyors will ask family members is available at the "Learn More" or "Download PDF" link.  We encourage families to review the questions in preparation for the survey call. 


For more information click here  or visit: 





25 years after landmark Americans With Disabilities Act, efforts to aid the disabled continue

Changes sought in employment, independent living





Families in Crisis/Residential Needs. 





Afterschool Care

Designed for Young People with Developmental Disabilities

Now Accepting Participants!

Western New York’s leading organization helping individuals with developmental disabilities and special needs lead more heathy, independent and productive lives currently has openings for its afterschool respite programs in Buffalo.

The Programs

  • For young people, ages 4 to 21
  • Free to families, pending eligibility

Great Activities

After the Belle Program

104 Maryland Street

Buffalo Afternoon Respite

2635 Delaware Avenue

  • Assistance with homework
  • Arts and crafts
  • Peer socialization
  • Community outings

To enroll or for more information, call 716.817.9215



Looking for a job you’ll love?




What is Afternoon Respite?


After school care for young people with developmental disabilities, ages 5 to 21.


Program instructors assist with a number of enriching activities, such as homework, arts and crafts, peer socialization, community outings and more!


Western NY's leading human services agency is now seeking program instructors for our Southtowns Afternoon Respite program!


Apply today at www.people-inc.org  


Job Requirements


• At least 18 years of age

• High school diploma or GED 


• NYS driver’s license that meets agency policy 


• Pre-employment drug test 



Special Needs Parent 

Support Group 

Gather with other moms and dads who understand what you’re experiencing, regardless of your child’s diagnosis. We’ll support and encourage one another as we pray together and share resources. We’ll also look at what the Bible has to say about our kids and our role in their lives. 


2nd Thursday every month, 6:15 - 7:45 pm 


Kenmore Alliance Church, Room 303, 175 Bonnett Ave.,Tonawanda, NY 14150 

For information, contact: 

Phil & Shannon Welty at 417-3042 (text/call) or e-mail smwelty@gmail.com


 Be Part of an Exciting NEW Project!

 **   Family Driven Planning   *** 

Collaboration of Hillside Family of Agencies & School of Social Work,

University at Buffalo 

      Do you have a child with a developmental/intellectual disability? 

      Do you feel like you or your child could use more support? 

Family Driven Planning is to help increase the support network for children and youth with developmental disabilities and their caregivers.  Hillside staff have been doing Family Driven Planning with youth to:

(1)      strengthen their circle of support

(2)      identify & engage family members/other caring adults to increase support to the youth and their caregivers

(3)      increase youth’s quality of life, support their interests and dreams 

The project is for children and youth who:

  • Have a developmental or intellectual disability
  • Currently eligible for but not yet receiving residential services
  • Between the ages of 8 to 25 years
  • Receive Medicaid or are eligible for Medicaid 

The first 35 youth/families to enroll will participate in the Family Driven Planning with Hillside.  The next 35 will be placed on a waiting list to be a comparison group for the project.  A representative from the School of Social Work will talk with participants about relationships, quality of life, and Medicaid services at the start of Family Driven Planning and again 6 months later in a location convenient to the family.  Youth will receive $5 gift cards at both times and there is no cost to the family.   

Interested?  Questions?   

Please contact:

Annette Semanchin Jones, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work at the University at Buffalo

716-645-1862 or amsemanc@buffalo.edu 

For more information on Family Driven Planning at Hillside:

Michelle Belge, Director of Hillside Institute for Family Connections, 315-935-6701 or

Dan Lesinski, Hillside’s Director of Disability Services at 585-654-1465 

Thank you for your time and consideration! 

Ruth Malinowski

Early Childhood Direction Center

Special Needs Outreach Liaison

716 880-3881

716 880-3875 ( main number)


Please like us on facebook www.facebook.com/ECDCWNY1

Join our email list  ecdc@kaleidahealth.org 

Vickie Rubin, M.S. Ed.  Phone - 716-880-3880 

Early Childhood Direction Center
3131 SHERIDAN DRIVE, People Inc Building
The only acceptable R-word is “respect”. 


7 Things Parents of a Child with Special Needs Should Know


The Learning Disabilities Association of WNY (LDA of WNY) provides support for parents and guardians who need assistance in getting the right services to help their child and pave their way for future success.

If your child is struggling in school it can be extremely stressful. The special education process can be a very trying time, because it may be unfamiliar to you. There may be things you are unaware of and school districts don’t always provide this information.

The LDA of WNY offers the following information to help you gain a basic understanding of what is involved in the special education process:

1) As a resident of a school district, your child is entitled to be evaluated at the school district’s expense and receive services at no additional cost to you. This is due to Federal laws that all school districts are bound under called FAPE and IDEA, which stand for Free and Public Education and the Individual with Disabilities Education Act. These laws have existed since 1975.

2) It is important to request to have your child evaluated in writing to your school district’s Committee on Special Education (not the principal) and state the reason why you would like to have your child evaluated. The Committee on Special Education (CSE) office or Pupil Services office will reply to your correspondence and request that you sign a consent form giving them permission to evaluate your child.
TIP: It is a good idea to start a folder for your child beginning with a copy of your letter (referral) and the consent form. Once this consent form is received by the school district, they have 60 school days to complete a psychological evaluation, speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy testing and hold a CSE (committee on special education) meeting.

3) You are a very important member of the CSE meeting. The district may have gotten to know your child through the evaluations, but you spend valuable time and know your child best. You are the one who can provide the information on your child’s likes and dislikes, how your child reacts to and completes homework, how they handle school projects. This information is valuable to your child’s success in school.

4) Not all children evaluated will be found to need special education. Upon evaluation, your child may only need few accommodations to succeed. This may fall under the category of 504. Maybe your child is having a lot of difficulty in math and the evaluation determines your child would benefit from extended time on tests and a smaller location to take tests in. These accommodations can be fulfilled with a 504 plan.

6) If your child is found eligible for special education, an IEP (individualized education plan) will be developed. To create an effective IEP, parents, teachers, and other school staff must come together to look closely at the student’s unique needs. The purpose of your child having an IEP is to give your child a “level playing field” in the educational arena. There are a couple of things about this statement that deserve specific attention. First of all, the CSE is only concerned with the things that affect your child at school. Maybe your child’s bedroom is a disaster; this does not affect the school. However, if your child’s desk is just as disorganized as their bedroom, this becomes a school problem. The inability to be organized is having a negative effect on your child’s education. Secondly, the plan needs to be individualized to your child. Your child may have similar needs and may have an accommodation that is the same as another child; however their IEP should not look the same as someone else’s. The reward for turning in their homework needs to be something that motivates your child personally. Passing the class may be enough for some, other children may need something additional. Lastly, the IEP is not meant to allow your child to do better than the other children. What an IEP is meant to do is give your child as much of a chance as the other children in their class or grade. If your child is receiving a sticker for turning in their homework, the rest of the class probably is not. Chances are this is only a short-term solution for your child, but will be in place long enough for your child to complete their homework and remember to turn it in. The reinforcement of this behavior will slowly be phased out until the sticker is no longer needed and the IEP can be amended.

7) Whatever is determined necessary for your child to succeed and is written in the IEP has to be done. An IEP is a legally binding contract that must be upheld by the teachers and the school. Things put in writing to assist your child need to be completed. Even when there is substitute teacher, the IEP needs to be followed. The IEP cannot be changed without the parents’ consent and the parent does have the right to disagree. The parent is an equal member of the IEP team. The information provided here is only meant to give you an idea of your rights as a parent. If you would like more information, please contact LDA at 716-874-7200 and request the educational advocacy department.

In today’s technological society we like to think we have all the answers at our fingertips. The truth is, sometimes it takes another person to see us through a stressful situation. The LDA of WNY educational advocacy team is available to assist you in the special education process. They will listen to your concerns and provide suggestions as to what may help in the future. There is no charge for this service.

 Learning Disabilities
Association of WNY
2555 Elmwood Avenue
Kenmore, NY 14217
1-888-250-5031 Outside of Erie County



April 8, 2015              



New Service to Benefit Residents with Speech, Hearing Impairments; Traditional Telephone Calls to 911 System Still Preferred Communication Method 

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Commissioner of Central Police Services John Glascott, Emergency Services Commissioner Dan Neaverth, Jr., and Executive Director of the Erie County Office for the Disabled Frank Cammarata to announce that “text to 9-1-1” is now available to Erie County residents seeking assistance during an emergency. While traditional telephone calls to the system remain the preferred method of communication in an emergency, the alternative “texting” form of communication will be beneficial to individuals with speech or hearing impairments, as well as for use in situations where a telephone call is not possible such as when a crime is in progress or when the caller is facing domestic violence or abuse. 

“Adding a texting component to the 9-1-1 system allows individuals who may not be able to speak into a telephone for whatever reason to access emergency help when it is needed, without ever speaking a word. In accidents with injuries, in domestic violence situations, or whenever a person can’t speak but needs help, a text to 9-1-1 will get assistance on the way,” said Poloncarz. “However, everyone should be aware that use of the text to 9-1-1 service carries the same responsibilities as the traditional phone 9-1-1 system, and that this is not something to be abused. This is a life-saving resource, and frivolous or non-serious usage of the system could result in critical resources being diverted away from an individual who really needs help. The system is there to be used when it is needed, and as with the traditional 9-1-1 phone system, abuse of the system carries penalties.” 

Over the past several months, Erie County’s E-9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center received major equipment upgrades to provide these enhanced 9-1-1 capabilities. Text messages to 9-1-1 follow the same parameters as other texted wireless messages; callers are limited to 160 characters and reception and service will be limited if cell phone service is interrupted. 

“We have been working with the mobile carriers in the area such as Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile to make sure this system is operational for our citizens,” said Erie County Central Police Services Commissioner John Glascott. “All of the public safety telecommunicator call takers at the 9-1-1 center have been trained to respond to text-to-9-1-1 calls. After a vigorous testing period we are pleased to activate it and offer it as another life-saving tool for the public.””

 “This system provides better access to the 9-1-1 system for the deaf and hard of hearing community and will also help people who may be non-verbal,” added Executive Director Cammarata. “Assistive technologies for people with a disability have greatly increased in the past few years, allowing them greater access to services. This is another terrific and helpful example.”  

“Erie County will be one of the few counties in Western New York capable of handling text-to-9-1-1 calls,” said Michelle Kerr, Erie County’s Deputy Director of Law Enforcement Communications. “The 9-1-1 text message rings in similar to a normal phone call. The incoming text message will appear on all of our equipment. Once we answer the call, a text screen will open, at which point text dialogue with the caller can begin.” 

In most cases Erie County’s equipment will be able to see the general location of the caller/texter. If for some reason text to 9-1-1 service is found to be unavailable, the caller will receive a text message instructing them to make a phone call because there is no text service available to 9-1-1 at that time. When the call is over, the caller will receive a text message confirming that the dialogue has closed. 

County officials remind everyone that calling 9-1-1 remains the fastest and most efficient way to communicate with emergency personnel. 

The following steps must be taken in order to text to 9-1-1 during an emergency:

 •          Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field. 

•          The first text message to 9-1-1 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help that is needed. 

•          Push the “send” button.                                         

•          Be prepared to answer questions and follow all instructions. 

•          Text in simple words and do not use abbreviations. 

Below are a few things to know about the text to 9-1-1 service: 

•          Text location information may not be equal to current location technology. 

•          As with all text messages, 9-1-1 messages can take longer to receive, can get out of order, or may not be received. 

•          Text-to-9-1-1 is not available if you are roaming. 

•          A text plan is required to place a text to 9-1-1. 

•          If texting to 9-1-1 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you will receive a message indicating that texting 9-1-1 is not available and to contact 9-1-1 by other means. 

•          Photos and videos can’t be sent to 9-1-1. 

•          Text to 9-1-1 cannot include more than one person. Do not send an emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1. 

•          Don’t text and drive.




Budd Bailey’s Running: Group puts focus on including the disabled

on February 14, 2015 - 7:22 PM, updated February 14, 2015 at 11:45 PM 

A group of Western New Yorkers believe that as many people as possible should have the chance to be involved in local running events. During the past few months, they’ve tried to do something about it.

They formed the Rollin’ Athletic Club Inclusion Network, which shortens to “RACIN!”

“I work for the Western New York Developmental Disabilities Office as a psychologist,” Eric Frank said. “One of my colleagues, BJ Stasio, is in a wheelchair, and he was unable to enter the Corporate Challenge. We said, that’s not cool. We need to make sure people in wheelchairs, and those with developmental disabilities, can take part in local operations.”

Frank and the rest of the group contacted Frank Cammarata of the Erie County Office for the Disabled along with other groups in 2013 on what to do next. It should be noted that RACIN! is not a government program and received no funding from that source, and it’s also separate from Frank’s employer.

A committee was formed, monthly meetings were held, and an organization was formed. RACIN became a part of the Developmental Disability Alliance of WNY. All of that, naturally, was the easy part.

“Financially, it’s going to take a big effort,” Frank said. “We’ve been talking to people in the community. Our goal is to get people in the racing community on board. The goal is inclusion for people with disabilities. They haven’t been included in activities that are out there. We want to break through.”

There were a couple of obvious starting points. The group contacted race directors of 5-kilometer events around the area to see if they would be willing to accommodate such participants. They were.

Then RACIN! collected enough money to buy a racing chair. A basic chair costs about $2,300, while one that has extra stability built in goes for $3,400.

“In 2014, we were in five races – Linda Yalem Run, Breaking the Sound Barrier, Heritage Center, Dash for Diversity and Kidney Foundation,” Frank said. “This year, we’re slated to be in 10. About five races came up to us and said, ‘We’re inspired, we’re all about inclusion.’ ”

Sending one person out on a race course isn’t a small task under these circumstances. It takes a team of people to do it. Some of the assistants take turns pushing a person and the chair around the course.

“It’s an average of five people,” Frank said. “We’ve had a number of community members be pushers. If you talk to the pushers, they say it’s what Buffalo is all about, that it makes sense to break down barriers. ... They love it because they love running, and open it up to others. You run alongside and get to know the people in the chair a bit.

“We’ve had high school students on local race teams. We’ve had parents, fathers and mothers, who make up a core group that goes racing.”

Veteran runners who have taken part in many races know that street surfaces around Western New York can be on the bumpy side. What’s more, weather like this weekend’s certainly will ensure that “pothole season” will be with us for a long time in 2015.

Frank said his organization has tried to account for potential problems in that area.

“It’s been a concern,” he said. “We’ve looked for races with flat terrain. If it’s too hilly, it’s too much work for the pushers.

“Also, each group has a scout to ensure that the group goes in the right direction. We want to make sure it’s a smooth ride. We’ve done a good job of ensuring the safety of those in the chair and of the pushers.”

By the way, while wheelchair athletes are the most visible participants in some ways, RACIN! also has a goal of expanding past simply wheelchair athletes.

“We also want to get people with any disability walking or running with us,” Frank said. “We’re not limited by the chairs we have. We can get many people. What some people might see as a limitation, we’ll find a way to get as many people as possible involved.”

There’s a nice reward for those who are part of the program – the reaction to those who are aided as they travel the course.

“The people who have developmental disabilities – some are verbal, some are not verbal – they just light up,” Frank said. “They are lighting up right on the track.”

Additional information about the organization can be found at buffaloracin.org.

Race calendar




Looking for support? There's help available! Our group is dual-purposed, and serves as both a parent/guardian support group in addition to a child play group. Children with visual impairments ages birth - 5 are who our group primarily serves, however; this group also welcomes children with any developmental delays or disabilities in that age range. We meet once a month to talk about concerns, obstacles, and successes you may be encountering with your child, in addition to allowing free play time for our children. The overall purpose of this group is to provide support and allow for new connections to be fostered among a community of parents, caregivers, and children


You can contact ECDC Staff at ECDC@kaleidahealth.org 

telephone 1-800-462-7853




Creating a Sensory Friendly Home Environment for Children on the Autism Spectrum - National Autism Network


Individuals with autism often experience sensory difficulties that can make everyday interaction painstaking. Noises that typically go without notice to the general public can be a huge challenge for an individual with autism, and prevent them from being able to focus on a given task or possibly even lead to a meltdown.  

Although not considered core features of autism, sensory issues, which can impact all 5 senses, have been found to affect nearly 90 percent of children on the spectrum in some way or another. While it is impossible to control others out in public, there are steps you can take as parents to make your home more sensory-friendly for your child. A child's sensory needs could involve the reduction of stimuli or an increase of stimulation depending on the situation.2 This article will discuss features you can add in your home to make it more comfortable for your child experiencing sensory sensitivities.  

Children with autism have sensory needs that may be viewed as odd to the layman individual unfamiliar with the disorder. Actions like lining objects in a row or stimming can seem peculiar, but may offer therapeutic value for that individual. Below are some examples of household features that can assist these sensory needs as well as items that can transform your home into a living space that is more sensory friendly:  

Design: When planning a sensory-friendly environment it is important to envision how the design or the layout of the area will affect the child's abilities. You are going to want to design a room to be sensory-friendly by constructing it so that it cuts down on outside stimuli, is organized (and can be easily reorganized).  Plan as much out in the design phase as possible including furniture arrangement, color schemes, child's needs, how much sunlight is getting in, the type of theme you desire, if any, outlet placement, what your budget is, the types of sensory devices/activities you would like to include, etc.   This is most important in rooms in where your child spends the majority of their time, such as their room, the living room, kitchen, and bathroom.   

Color: Colors have the power to incite specific emotions and feelings inside of us. For example, red, which triggers stimulation, appetite, and hunger, and yellow, which triggers feelings of happiness and friendliness, are often used by fast food companies to get you to subconsciously desire their food. 

When it comes to colors for children on the autism spectrum, less is more, as some research has found that children with autism see color more intensely than their neurotypical peers.  

One of the cornerstones of making a room sensory-friendly is to cut down on overstimulation. To stay true to this concept, colors should be low-toned, or muted, patterns should be minimal, and colors should be chosen wisely. For example, blue has been found to be the most calming, while reds were found to be the most arousing in children with autism. No matter how you plan your room's colors, you can always add sensory stimuli to them according to your child's needs.  

Lighting: This is where you get to really be creative, especially for your child's room. A calming environment will naturally be void of intense lighting from fluorescent bulbs, but in their place a number of different lighting techniques can be used. Bright or fluorescent lights can be disorienting for those on the spectrum, causing them to seek refuge or isolate themselves in a more controlled environment.  Every room in your house should have a dimmer switch so that the lighting can be adjusted according to your child's needs. For your child's room, you can introduce lighting in a variety of ways. Black lights, Christmas lights, bubble tubes, projectors, LED lights, fiber optics, night lights etc. are all viable ways to provide lighting in your child's room.  Putting a piece of fabric safely around a lighting fixture can also reduce light. While there is a consensus within the autism community that fluorescent lighting should be avoided, the jury is still out on natural light. Some argue that natural light aids cognitive abilities and overall health. However, there are others who believe that natural lighting is detrimental to an individual with autism because distractions like glare, shifting sunlight patterns, and outside visual stimuli are too great. However, for a home setting natural light is encouraged, and there is nothing stopping you from drawing a curtain if it becomes too big of a distraction. Blackout curtains can be helpful, especially for children who often experience sleep issues.  

Organization/Structure: Let's face it, kids will be kids, and that means they will be messy. However, keeping rooms structured and organized is important for maintaining routine. Play things do not only need to be organized in a logical manner, but able to be easily accessed by your child whenever he/she pleases. Of the utmost importance is safety. Be sure to arrange furniture and your electronic devices so that there aren't any exposed wiring or outlet holes. Your structure and organization doesn't need to end in your child's room or even have to involve their possessions.  Other organization tips include a toy bin on wheels, a sensory "sweet spot" full of pillows and other sensory-friendly items, simple routines, and anything that will make your child feel more comfortable.  

Furniture: The type of furniture you have in your house can go a long way to providing structure and organization, as well as ensuring your child's safety. Children tend to be rough on furniture, especially their own, so make sure to purchase durable items. In the dining room, cushioned, heavy chairs with long backs provide the most support and security. For children who have poor motor skills, a low-rise table may be suitable to prevent from tipping or falling out of chairs.  

In their room, arrange furniture so your child can easily transition from activity to activity without breaking routine. Also, arrange the furniture in such a way that they are away from shelves or other places where the child may climb. It is also important to keep in mind that doorknobs and hooks can be viewed as invitations for climbing in the eyes of a child who views the entire world as their personal play palace. For children who have the motor skills and the desire, there are sensory room designs that include rock climbing walls.  Labels on the furniture can be helpful at not only assisting a child with identifying an object, but also its purpose. For example, if you label a bed as "for sleeping", then your child will be less likely to use it as a trampoline. Your furniture can take on the same principles of other sensory items, and that is to either calm or stimulate the senses depending on the situation.  

Sensory Items: While it may seem impractical to introduce some of the items you might see at an Occupational Therapy session, such as a ball pit (although, one can be easily created using an empty child's pool and plastic balls) , many of the therapeutic tools utilized during OT can be affordable and easily applied in the home. Big pillows, rope ladders, tactile paths/discs, OT therapy tunnels, swings, and many other variations on these themes are essential for enhancing and calming your child's sensory needs. Your child's mattress is another item that warrants careful consideration as sleeping problems are common for children with autism, not to mention potential bed wetting scenarios. Like the rest of the furniture your child uses, your bed frame should be heavy and durable. Weighted blankets, although not entirely without controversy, have been used by some to help children with autism conquer sleep issues or for the calming effect.   As for the mattress itself, you want it to be firm, soft, and durable, which is why memory foam or latex mattresses work best, but take your child to the store for a test drive, if possible. For themed rooms, your child's bed frame can make bedtime feel like more of an adventure than a chore. Some families have installed curtain rods in the ceiling above the bed so the child can block out excess light and have more privacy.  

Shelves: This may seem like a small feature to be given its own section, but shelf placement and use can help keep your child engaged. First of all, arrange shelves horizontally as to suppress any notion of climbing. Secondly, children with autism tend have a proclivity for lining things up or stacking items (the latter of which can come in handy when deciding upon organizational tactics). According to The Sensory Hippo, which provides idea for sensory living, "creating a play space in your home that appeals to their desire to line things up can be calming for them."  

These long shelves should be placed just below eye level and be installed in multiple rooms in the house.  These shelves can be therapeutic as a calming strategy, but can also work as a new coping strategy. For example, if a child with autism isolates themselves when strangers come over, then you can give them a new toy or special item they find comforting for them to line up and play with in the living room or family room. The new coping strategy can work to help get them through the visit as opposed to running into their room. 

Bathroom: The bathroom is likely anything but a haven for your child on the autism spectrum. The bathroom can cause a number of sensory sensitivities such as the ringing of echoes on tile surfaces, cold floors, hard/cold toilet seats, loud toilets, running water, and bright lights reflected on mirrors can all be disorienting for individuals on the spectrum. 

The first thing you should consider when trying to make your bathroom more sensory-friendly is safety. Some safety issues to install would be a bath rail and a rail next to the toilet, a toilet lock, non-slip surfaces on tiles and in the tub, non-slip stools, etc.  In terms of comfort, non-slip rugs and mats next to the tub and sink, cushioned potty cover, shelves and hooks for towels to decrease the echoes in the room, night lights over bright lights (natural lighting during the day if possible), and a towel warmer to cut down on the anxiety shivering can cause children. Other features you may want to consider is a removable, handheld shower head, a shower head with LED lights, portable bath jets that can reduce pain and induce relaxation through massage, a waterproof pillow, bath toys (naturally), music in the bathroom, and be sure to utilize non-toxic cleaners. Glass mirrors frequently used by your child should be replaced with a reflective acrylic surface to avoid breaking. 


There are infinite possibilities out there when it comes to constructing a more sensory-friendly environment in your home that cover a wide range of expenses. You do not have to break the bank to create an effective sensory-friendly environment and some sensory items you can even create myself. Include your child in the planning, decision making, and creation process as much as possible. Tailor their sensory-friendly environments to their favorite subjects because after all they will be spending a lot of time there. Have fun with the process and remember it doesn't have to be perfect.  

We would love to hear about some sensory activities or objects you have installed in your home in the comment section below. We have also included some resources relating to sensory-friendly environments below. 



The Learning Center (TLC) has open spots for Adult Education classes for adults with a learning disability. TLC provides individualized educational instruction to adults who do not have a high school diploma. TLC offers small group instruction to those interested in obtaining their GED, as well as classes to improve basic literacy in reading, writing and math. For more information, contact the Learning Disabilities Association of WNY by emailing information@ldaofwny.org or calling (716) 874-7200.
Thank you! 

Parrish Gibbons

Director of Community Relations

Learning Disabilities Association of WNY

O: 716-874-7200

F: 716-874-7205

C: 716-390-9435



Family Support Services

Family Support Services Coordinators are available at each of OPWDD's Developmental Disabilities Regional Offices (DDROs) to help families access Family Support Services. Each DDRO also has a Family Support Services Advisory Council to represent the interests of family members and people with developmental disabilities. The councils work in partnership with the DDROs to make decisions supporting families and loved ones.

Family Support Services can help in times of crisis when a family member or loved one becomes ill, or when things get difficult at home for other reasons. With assistance and support, families can often work these situations out and stay together. Find out more information about these services and supports by calling the Family Support Services Coordinator at the DDRO representing the county in which the individual/family lives.

DDROs continually work with local community agencies to ensure that other family support services for people with developmental disabilities and their loved ones are available when and where they are needed. These family support services may include:

  • information and referral
  • family and individual counseling
  • family-member training
  • recreation
  • camps (Adult Overnight Summer Camp Information )
  • after-school programs
  • transportation
  • sibling services
  • support groups
  • service coordination

DDROs can also arrange for specialized equipment and home modifications.  For information about these types of FSS supports and services, please contact the Family Support Services Coordinators Listing of the Developmental Disabilities Regional Office (DDRO) representing the county in which the individual/family lives.

 Vickie Rubin, M.S. Ed.  Phone - 716-880-3880 

Early Childhood Direction Center
3131 SHERIDAN DRIVE, People Inc Building
The only acceptable R-word is “respect”. 



 The TRAID-In Equipment Exchange Program is a statewide service that connects individuals with disabilities, searching for an affordable means to acquire needed devices, with people who have devices they wish to sell or donate. Call the NYS Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities at 800-624-4143 or email at webmaster@cqcapd.state.ny.us and ask for the TRAID-IN Equipment Exchange Program to list, at no cost, devices being sought or devices that are available. 


STARLIGHT STUDIO GIFT STORE-click on websitehttp://www.cafepress.com/starlightstudiogiftstore

SAVE THE DATES:           



Funding for this program is provided by a Family Support Services grant from the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities.


Please contact Early Childhood Direction

(716) 880-3875 or e-mail: ecdc@kaleidahealth.org



If you are interested in attending but have transportation or other

barriers that would limit your participation, please let us know.


Provide a welcoming environment for parents and other caregivers

of children with autism spectrum disorders to meet, share experiences, ask questions and receive support. 




Literacy Day FinnFest—Recorded Spoken Picture Books; A gift from The Olmsted Center for Sight/National Statler Center to the Blind and Visually Impaired People of Finland

October 10, 9-3pm  Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

Lafayette Square, Buffalo 

One of The National Statler Center’s long standing funders is the Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation. For many years, Reader’s Digest has supported agencies that provide services to the blind and visually impaired population. This year, in honor of Reader’s Digest long commitment to Statler and in a token of friendship and collaboration, The National Statler Center will be donating spoken picture book recordings made at FinnFest’s Literature Day and flag raising ceremony on October, 10, 2015 in Buffalo, NY to our sister agencies in Finland- ONERVA, Celia Books and the Finish Federation for the Visually Impaired. 

As we are a non-profit agency, we recognize the important collaboration and dedication of those agencies that have helped us realize this unique cultural opportunity and gift from one corner of the globe to another- they are: The Access AK program at the Albright-Knox, Odessa Pictures, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library . 

On behalf of the population of blind and visually impaired in Western New York, on behalf of our Finnish colleagues and their clients and in recognition of this great event celebrating the unique accomplishments of Finnish society , we are so pleased to offer this gift. 

The public and attendees of FinnFest are asked to stop by our studio within the downtown library on October 10, 2015 from 9-3 and read a book to make these recordings which will be recorded in English and translated into Finnish at the same time.   

I hope you can share this information and look forward to registering for the library. 

Kind Regards, 

Elizabeth Hassett Schmidt, M.S.

Admissions Coordinator

National Statler Center for Careers in Hospitality Service

Olmsted Center for Sight

1160 Main Street, Buffalo, N.Y. 14209

716-888-4638, fax 716-878-0540









PARTICIPANTS NEEDED FOR A PAID FOCUS GROUP - pass along to clients, colleagues, friends and family

The WNY Independent Living, Inc. in conjunction with the University at Buffalo's Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer Center is conducting a focus group on a new wheelchair navigation route planning system.  Individuals who use manual wheelchairs are invited to participate. 


Eligible participants will be paid $75 for this two hour discussion group and will be provided with dinner.  The group will be held at WNY Independent Living, 3108 Main Street, in Buffalo.  


Focus groups such as this one are sponsored by the Administration for Community Living under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and work to promote improvements in various technological devices.   

Participants MUST REGISTER to attend a group on one of two days: 

Thursday October 8, 2015 @ 6:00 PM 


Tuesday October 13, 2015 @ 6:00 PM  

Registration deadline is September 28th. To learn more or to participate in this group, please contact: Michelle Lockett   mlockett@buffalo.edu  716.204.8606 x203  



We are expanding the writing group!

We are excited to announce that we are expanding our efforts to organize writing groups.

We will keep the existing group which meets at Starlight Studio on Friday at 10 AM and is open to all who wish to join us.

Additionally there will be a second group that meets on Thursday at 5 PM on the UB south campus in Harriman Hall. Our first meeting will be Thursday, October 15 at 5 PM. This writing group is also open to anyone who wishes to join us. For more information or if you wish to confirm a spot at our table please contact: Aimee Levesque <aimeelevesque@gmail.com>

We will be seeking various venues in which to publish our work



Book Presentation and Signing

They Did No Harm:

Alternative Medicine

Featuring Museum of disABILITY History

Founder and Author James M. Boles, EdD

Friday, October 16, 2015

7 -‐ 9 p.m.

Museum of disABILITY History

3826 Main Street, Buffalo

The book, They Did No Harm: Alternative Medicine in Niagara Falls, NY, 1830-1930, describes how medicine was primitive in the 1800s. Physicians often were

untrained and licensing was not yet organized. In the same period, healing facilities and health products ranging from medicinal mineral water, patent medicine,food and devices were developing in Niagara Falls, NY as alternatives to traditional medicine. With good marketing and common wisdom, these enterprises used a ariety of colorful methods, mostly harmless, to help their customers. Dr. Boles will provide an overview of the book and his research. 

The presentation is ideal for:

  • Medical professionals and alternative medicine enthusiasts
  • Historians interested in Niagara Falls, NY
  • Human service employees
  • Students

About Dr. Boles:


Upon retiring as president and CEO of People Inc. in October 2014, Dr. Boles serves the agency as the business development and senior research advisor. He has been instrumental with the development of a new educational exhibit at the Museum of disABILITY History that will provide visitors a unique learning experience. He continues historical research and writing for publications. Dr. Boles remains connected to People Inc. as his leadership extends as an advisor for any future affiliations with other human service agencies and long-range planning.#


Throughout his career, Dr. Boles has made valuable contributions to the human services field. In 1998, Dr. Boles founded the Museum of disABILITY History. He was honored for his work with the Hervey B. Wilbur Preservation Award from the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. In 2006, Dr. Boles was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as an advisory committee member on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities for two terms. In 2010, he established People Ink Press, a company dedicated to publishing books relating to disability history and awareness. 


Dr. Boles is dedicated to advancing the understanding, acceptance and independence of people with disabilities. 


Registration encouraged. RSVP to 716.629.3626.




Chris Jacobs cordially invites you to a special COMMUNITY OUTREACH 


The Erie County Auto Bureau and the Erie County Office for the Disabled will be on hand to assist individuals and their family members obtain state issued picture identification and other matters pertaining to the Department of Motor Vehicles.  


Please visit the Auto Bureau at www.erie.gov/clerk/autobureau for a complete list of required documentation needed to obtain either a Driver’s License or Non-Driver Identification or call the Erie County Auto Bureau Customer Call Center at 858-7450 or if you require a reasonable accommodation please contact the Erie County Office for the Disabled at 858-6215.  


Saturday, October 17th


9:00 AM - 12:30 PM 


Northtown Auto Bureau


3095 Sheridan Drive, Amherst, NY 14226  


Be sure to bring the following documents: Original Birth Certificate (or Certified Copy) & Social Security Card 

Please visit the Auto Bureau at www.erie.gov/clerk/autobureau for a complete list of required documentation needed to obtain either a Driver’s License or Non-Driver Identification or call the Erie County Auto Bureau Customer Call Center at 858-7450 or if you require a reasonable accommodation please contact the Erie County Office for the Disabled at 858-6215.


Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention 

2015 Annual Conference 

October 19, 2015 | 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

Classics V Banquet Center | 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd. | Amherst, NY 

Keynote Presentation:

"Ending Bullying, Harassment, and Intimidation in Our Schools  


Hard Steps Not Yet Taken"

Maurice Elias, Ph.D. 

Prof. of Psychology and Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab and 

Co-Director, SEL Academy (SELinSchools.org) | Rutgers University 

While we have made progress in reducing bullying and related behaviors in many of our schools, the problem persists in too many others. This is partly because we see it as an "engineering" problem, when in fact it is a philosophical/moral problem and an organizational problem. Dr. Elias will review the core tenets of universal bullying prevention approaches and selected/indicated prevention approaches, the social-emotional and character development underpinnings and essential school-wide organizational considerations required for effective implementation. We will also screen an important new video, 

Ripple Effect, a powerful tool toward addressing the moral/philosophical dimension. Dr. Elias will conclude with the development of multiyear action plans that address the hard steps not taken. 


Panel Discussion

Afternoon Presentation: 

"Transitioning to College: The Experienceof First-year Students with a History of Childhood Bullying"


Jennifer Greif Green, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor of Special Education | School of Education | Boston University


This presentation will describe the results of a cross-site study of college transition among previously bullied students. Using data from students at four universities, we were able to track patterns of both challenging and successful college adjustment experiences. This presentation will focus on factors associated with positive college transitions for students who were bullied in their K-12 settings and specifically describe the experiences of LGBTQ youth, for whom a new college environment might be particularly important. Implications will be discussed, both for college settings and for high schools preparing students for the college transition.

Registration Information Professionals: $75 per person | $550 per table of eight Students: $35 per person Register online by October 16 at gse.buffalo.edu/alberticenterconference


Contact Brie Kishel at (716) 645-1532 or alberticenter@buffalo.edu



O c t o b e r 2 2 , 2 0 1 5 | 1 0 a . m . - 3 p . m .

B o u l e v a r d M a l l S e a r s C o u r t

The Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc. will be offering free and anonymous screenings for depression, bipolar, anxiety, and PTSD.  The screening only takes a couple minutes; individuals will have the opportunity to speak with a clinician privately following each screening.  If you have any questions, please contact Kelly at 716-886-1242 ext. 326 or kmiskovski@eriemha.org.




Can DO*

NDEAM 2015


We cordially invite you to attend the 2015 Employer Recognition Awards Luncheon on Thursday, October 22, 2015 from 12:30PM to 3:00PM at The Grapevine Banquet Facility -333Dick Rd, Depew, NY 14043.This event is part of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and is presented to honor   those local businesses for their work in improving the diversity of their workplace through hiring persons with disabilities. 

This is an annual event that  is sponsored by the Western New York Employment Consortium, Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) , and the NYS Commission for the Blind  (CBV). 

Tickets for the awards lunch cost $25 each.  A special discount rate of $225 is offered for those who reserve a table for 10.  A luncheon buffet will be served at 1:00PM  

For registration form, contact Pam Sutherland @ 856-4202, Ext. 1364 or.  Registration deadline October 09, 2015. 

If you have additional questions, please call Pam Sutherland at 856-4202 ex.1364 or email psutherland@heritagecenters.org




Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan




Focused on transportation for older adults, persons with disabilities and individuals with limited incomes in Erie and Niagara Counties


(See Schedule Below) 

Help to shape transportation improvements and coordinated services for seniors, individuals with disabilities and persons with limited incomes in Erie & Niagara Counties.

  • Learn about the development of the Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan Update for Erie & Niagara Counties
  • Provide suggestions and input about your community’s transportation needs and priorities 
  • Share your opinions and ideas about ways to meet those needs 
  • Recommend methods to improve regional mobility

 Who Should Attend?

  • Local Residents 
  • Human Service Agency Representatives
  • Elected Officials and Community Leaders
  • Tribal Members and Representatives
  • Metro Riders and Friends 

Coordinated Transportation Plan Meetings: 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 5:30pm

Niagara Falls Public Library

1425 Main Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14305 

Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 10:00am

Holiday Inn Buffalo Airport

4600 Genesee Street, Cheektowaga, NY 14225 

Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 5:30pm

Olmsted Center for Sight

1170 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14209 

For More Information:

Contact the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council

856-2026, ext. 315






The Buffalo Implant Group (B.I.G) Presents: 


       Saturday November 14th 2015


St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, Gallagher Gym


2253 Main Street Buffalo, NY 14214

Doors Open: 11:30am


Light lunch included- served @ 12:00pm


Bingo to follow


Tickets: $20.00


All attendees require a ticket (10 & up) 


All items donated in loving memory of Vickie Fitchlee.


100% of proceeds go to the Buffalo Implant Group (B.I.G.) 


v Bring your dabber


v 15+ games, winners choose from bags retail value $55-$90.


v 25+ door prizes-wallets, book covers, belts, cosmetic, lunch bags, luggage tags etc.


v Duffle, laptop bag , travel set raffle & 50/50 raffle 


For more information contact Lisa Hill Nowicki at lhill@rich.com or (716) 878-8202 


Checks payable to: The Buffalo Implant Group


Include: Your name, address, email/phone number


Mail to: Lisa Hill Nowicki


               1 Robert Rich Way


               Buffalo, NY 14213