Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Workshop on housing for people with disabilities

Sinergia cordially invites you to:

 A workshop on housing options and services for people with disabilities

Learn how to get access to housing-related services, activities and programs including Supportive Housing, SRO’s, NYCHA, Section 8 and others. Get help ensuring compliance with local, state and federal housing laws, ordinances in various developments and new housing constructions.

Date: Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Time: 11:00 am –1:00 pm
Location: Morningside Heights Public Library‘s Community Room, 2900 Broadway @113th Street
Train: 1 or B train to 110th Street
Bus: M11-Amsterdam Ave. or M104-Broadway
Contacts: Housing Advocates Michael Cortes & Maria Pabón, (212) 678-4700; email: mcortes at

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Senate Bill Fights to Ban Use of "Mentally Retarded"

Rosa's Law Would Eliminate "Mental Retardation" and "Mentally Retarded" From the Federal Lexicon

The ongoing campaign to mainstream individuals with disabilities and reduce the stigma attached to outdated labels such as “mentally retarded”, “retarded”, and “retard” picked up some considerable support with the introduction of “Rosa’s Bill”.   U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) introduced to the Senate a bipartisan bill on November 17, 2009 that would eliminate the terms "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" from the federal law books. U.S. Senator Michael B. Enzi (R-WY), ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is the Republican sponsor of the bill.

The bill is called "Rosa's Law", after a constituent of Sen. Mikulski's, a child diagnosed with an intellectual disability. The bill calls for the terms "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" to be replaced with "intellectual disability" and "individual with an intellectual disability" in federal education, health and labor law. The bill does not expand or diminish services, rights or educational opportunities. It simply makes the federal law language consistent with that used by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and the President of the United States, through his Committee on Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities.  It was the family of 8 year-old Rosa Marcellino, including her 13 year-old brother and 12 and 10 year-old sisters, that provided the impetus for the law as they grew less and less tolerant of the language they heard even their friends use when speaking of Rosa.  The family started the movement locally by insisting that the words “mentally retarded” be removed from Rosa’s school documents.   The issue was then brought to the attention of a local Maryland politician who in turn brought it to the attention of Senator Mikulski.  Sinergia supports legislation such as this and looks forward to the day when all people are looked at as individuals first and foremost.

Photo: Del. Bob Costa, R-Deale, poses with Rosa Marcellino, 7 of Edgewater on the photo to the left, at a hearing for “Rosa’s Law” in the Maryland General Assembly in January 2009.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Workshop for Parents of Toddlers with Speech Delays

The NY City Council Autism Initiative at SINERGIA is holding a workshop entitled “Helping Mothers to Promote Their Child’s Communication Through Play,” on Tuesday Nov. 17, 2009 from 10am to 12noon.
This Parent-Child Center workshop seeks to inform parents of the possibility of transforming playtime into an opportunity to support children with language delays, at risk of developing autism, and/or children already diagnosed with pdd/autism, to develop their communication and social abilities.

Does your child take an interest in other children?

Does your child ever use his/her index finger to point, to indicate interest in something?

Does your child ever bring objects over to you (parent) to show you something?

Does your child ever imitate you (e.g. you make a face and your child imitates it?)

Does your child respond to his/her name when you call?

If you point at a toy across the room, does your child look at it?

If you answered "no" to several of these questions, you will benefit from the information provided in our workshop.

Date & Time:  Tuesday, November 17, 2009 from 10AM – 12Noon

Place:  Sinergia, 134 West 29 St., 4th Floor, between 6th and 7th Avenues

Transportation:  Subways # 1, N, Q, R, to 28th or 34th Streets

Contact: Call Gina Peña-Campodónico to confirm your attendance at 212-643-2840 x 305

Made possible with funds from The New York City Council.

Note: If you are interested, you may be eligible to participate in a in free Hunter College’s Communication and Play Lab Early Intervention study for parents with 16- to 30-month old children, using playtime to encourage a child's development. It will identify strengths and weaknesses in the the way a child communicates, and determine which techniques work best for the child.

The workshop was very successful as evidenced by the large turnout of parents who eagerly participated and had many questions and comments to share.  It was conducted by Michael Siller, Ph.D. an assistant professor of psychology at Hunter College (City University of New York). Dr. Siller studies the development of social and communication skills in young children. He is particularly interested in how parent-child play interactions contribute to the social, emotional, and communication development of young children with autism spectrum disorders. He directs the Communication and Play Lab at Hunter College. For pictures visit our Facebook page.