SIDDC

Dyslexic students to benefit from new Staten Island charter school

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Plans are moving forward to establish a charter school that addresses the needs of children who are having difficulty learning because they are dyslexic.

“We’ve got a problem on Staten Island. Students, our children, with dyslexia are going to public schools and their needs are not being met,” said Laura Timoney, the borough’s deputy director of education.

Borough President James Oddo’s office found that the need is pressing and the available programs are both costly and distant for local residents. The conclusion: We need a community charter school.

Plans are going forward for Bridge Prep for Creative Thinkers where multi-sensory instruction that appeals to all learners will be implemented.

In her remarks to a general counsel presentation at the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council, Timoney explains the process and plans to open the school with a second and third grade class for the 2018 to 2019 school year. A grade will be added each year until the school serves students in grades 1 through 8.

Watch the video for both the story and a question and answer period.

Dyslexic student endures hours-long daily trip to school.

Willowbrook Mile Ribbon Cutting

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Geraldo Rivera helped cut the ribbon to Willowbrook Walk, a mile-long path to honor people who suffered at Willowbrook State School, today, September 14.

The reporter who exposed the horror of Willowbrook was joined by William Fritz and Michael Kress of the College of Staten Island (CSI); Diane Buglioli, Co-Chair of the event and Deputy Executive Director of A Very Special Place; NYS Assemblyman Michael Cusick; and many others, including Bernard Carabello, a former resident of Willowbrook State School who now works a patient advocate for the NYS Office of People With Developmental Disabilities.  

“I came to this place as a local reporter for Channel 7, Eyewitness News,”  Rivera told

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Photo: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.

reporter Joseph Padalino. “I had some doctors who told me I had to come and see how bad conditions were here.  They got me a key so I could get in and film the conditions, which I did.”

“The problem wasn’t that people didn’t care.” Rivera continued. “The problem was that the whole notion that you could mass-produce care for the developmentally disabled the way you mass produce cars was very deeply flawed.  It was doomed to fail.  It was very archaic and it was primitive and thank God it’s now part of distant history.”

“I’d been at Willowbrook for 18 years!” Carabello told reporter Dolores Palermo. He said it was “bad, bad.  The worst place I ever lived. Geraldo came and asked for me at Willowbrook. And that’s how I got out.  He got me out. Now I work for OPWDD. I’m an advocate. I advocate for people who can’t talk for themselves.”

“I’m just so proud to be a part of this,” Cusick told reporter Gregory Perosi. “…because this will show the history of Willowbrook and what it has become.”

Mr. Padalino observed that if not for people like  Rivera, “I would have been in Willowbrook, but I wasn’t. Thank you very much, Mr. Rivera.”

The Willowbrook MIle is a self-guided tour of the former campus of the State School.  It spans the campus of the College of Staten Island and New York State properties that still house services for people with disabilities.  Stations on the walk include a commemorative Memorial Garden Plaque, Building 29 which housed more than 100 residents, The Willowbrook Archives and Special Collections at CSI, the Institute for Basic Research, and the Elizabeth Connelly Center.

For more information on the Willowbrook Mile and to download their brochure, visit there website at http://willowbrookmile.csi.cuny.edu/about-willowbrook-mile.

– This article was written by the Life-Wire News Service staff, with specific contributions by Anthony DiFato, Anthony Buscarello, Jonathan Chernok, Anthony Kefalinos, Joseph Jones, Dolores Palermo, Joseph Padalino, and Gregory Perosi with Kathryn Carse and Edward Gregory.

Murray Schneps, Willowbrook Parent, Speaks Out

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Murray B. Schneps relates the story of his daughter Lara, who resided at Willowbrook State School, at the recent Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council Community Breakfast. The author of “I See Your Face Before Me: A Father’s Promise” spoke at the event at The Vanderbilt on Staten Island, February 26, 2016, in support of group housing for people with developmental disabilities.

Photos: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.

Rally for Direct Care Workers

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Across New York State direct care service providers, self-advocates, and their families gathered to support a $15 minimum wage for direct care workers at rallies organized by the Coalition of Service Providers. Outside the New York City office of Governor Andrew Cuomo supporters rallied on Friday, March 11, 2016 to have their voices heard together.  The following photos by Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service captured the event.

Watch our rally coverage:

Keeping the Promise: SIDDC Breakfast

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The Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council’s Annual Community Breakfast: “Keeping the Promise: It Matters to Us” was held February 26, 2016 at The Vanderbilt in South Beach.  NYS Senator Diane Savino and NYS Assembly Representative Nicole Malliotakis heard the concerns of advocates for and families of people with disabilities.

Life-Wire News Service’s Meredith Arout photographed the event and filed the following video report.

Next, we will post the keynote presentation at the SIDDC Breakfast:   Murray Schneps, author of “I See Your Face Before Me,” a personal account of his experience of having a child enrolled in Willowbrook State School, discusses his concern that New York State may return to the institutional system.

Sen. Lanza Responds to SIDDC Rally

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The Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council (SIDDC) took their message to legislators across Staten Island on Friday, January 29. Here is their exchange with Senator Andrew Lanza outside his office in Eltingville. Organizing the event was Michael Wienberg, SIDDC Chair, with Barbara Devaney and Donna Long, advocacy co-chairs.
You can add your voice to their call for housing for people with developmental disabilities and increase salaries for direct care workers by sending a letter to
Gov. Andrew Cuomo
NYS Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
and
Mayor Bill De Blasio
City Hall
NY, NY 10007.

Covering the story for Life-Wire News Service:

Meredith Arout

Steven Filoramo

Joseph Jones

Dolores Palermo

with Megan Welch and Edward Gregory

Produced by Joseph Maturi

S.I. Developmental Disabilities Council Rally

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The Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council took their message on the road Friday, bringing its Legislative Rally to legislators across Staten Island.  Here is their first stop, where Senator Anthony Lanza had a spirited discussion with the Council regarding new housing for people with disabilities and increasing salaries for direct care professionals.

A video of the rally will follow.

Photos: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.