INCLUDEnyc works with over 350 community partners throughout New York City to deliver hundreds of trainings and events to young people with disabilities and their families each year. Chatham Square Library, the New York Public Library Branch on the Lower East Side, is one of those partners.
Felicita had limited English proficiency and trouble navigating the NYC public school system for her children, Jennifer and Nixon, now ages 17 and 24. Felicita started her work with us through the NYS PROMISE project. When she contacted INCLUDEnyc for the first time, Alfonso Guzman, Manager of Parent and Family Services and Family Educator Steffany Ruiz connected Felicita to a Community Employment Specialist and Community Case Manager.
Many times, students of color are overrepresented in some of the official 13 disability classifications and underrepresented in others. Nationally, for example, fewer African American students are classified under “ADHD” than white students. Likewise, they are underrepresented in the category of “Autism” and overrepresented in the “Emotional Disturbance” category.
We have many conversations—sometimes controversial ones—in the autism community. High Functioning vs. Low Functioning. Atypical vs. Neurotypical. Public School vs. Private School. Vaccinations and autism. We don’t often talk about the lack of minority representation in the media. It seems to be taboo.
As a parent to Jack and through my professional work, I live with the implications of student segregation everyday. As a result, I push for systemic policy and cultural changes for better outcomes for the more than 250,000 students with disabilities in New York City.