What does YAI stand for?

YAI was founded in 1957 as the Young Adult Institute. Over the years, many organizations across the U.S. and throughout the world have adopted models of YAI/’s community-based programs for people with developmental and learning disabilities and their families. The organization has expanded its impact through advocacy, research, professional trainings and conferences. Since YAI/NIPD serves people of all ages — from birth to senior citizens — the organization changed its name to YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities. The YAI acronym remains more than 50 years later.

What is a developmental disability?

A developmental disability is a severe, chronic disability that begins any time from birth through age 21 and is expected to last for a lifetime. Developmental disabilities may be cognitive, physical or a combination of both. These conditions include autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, intellectual disabilities (formerly known as mental retardation) and other neurological impairments.

People with developmental disabilities may not learn as quickly or communicate clearly. Yet with proper supports they can lead dignified and productive lives in the community.

Nearly four million Americans have developmental disabilities.

What is Autism?

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Today, one in 150 people are diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others.

ASD can usually be reliably diagnosed by age 3, although new research is pushing back the age of diagnosis to as early as 6 months. When a child fails to develop language abilities or shows a lack of desire to be around other people, professionals generally recommend the clinical examinations that can uncover autism.

If your child is diagnosed with autism, early intervention is critical to gain maximum benefit from existing therapies. Effective programs focus on developing communication, social and cognitive skills. (Source: Autism Speaks)

How many children in New York City have autism?

In New York City, the number of children with autism has increased by more than 70 percent since 2001. According to the Department of Education, as of June 2007, 5,863 students in the New York City school system had been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Some educators have estimated the number could be far higher. Spending for children with autism is folded into the city's $4 billion special education budget. (Source: Gotham Gazette, June 2008, “The Autism Gap,” by Gail Robinson)

How many people in New York State have a developmental disability?

135,000 people with developmental disabilities are receiving services in New York State as of February 2004.

OR according to Daily News 119,000 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. IAC says 90,000 people in the NY metropolitan area have a developmental disability.

How are services for people with developmental disabilities funded in New York City?

Two governmental offices in New York City, The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD), have chief responsibility for the planning, development, funding, and monitoring of services to people with developmental disabilities and their families. Other governmental agencies are involved as well; they include the New York State Education Department (SED) and its Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID), the New York City Human Resources Administration, the New York City Board of Education, and the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD). Additionally, the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC), whose members are appointed by the Governor, plans and administers Federal funds for a substantial number of innovative pilot projects.

The New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities has responsibility, under State Law, for the comprehensively planned care, treatment and rehabilitation of New York State's citizens with mental retardation or developmental disabilities. OMRDD certifies, regulates, operates and contracts for a variety of programs for persons with developmental disabilities. These programs include a full range of residential, day and family support services.

The NYCDOHMH, through its Division of Mental Hygiene, is responsible for the planning, development and funding of a range of day and support services to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in New York City. The services are provided primarily by voluntary agencies in contract with the department and include work readiness, transitional employment, specialty clinics, socialization/recreation programs for children and adults and information/referral programs. (Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene)

Confused by all the acronyms in this field? Here’s a link to help you sort it out.