Family Support

Child doing school work

Having a family member with a developmental disability can be overwhelming at times. YAI Network is here to help families learn how to balance stress, navigate the system, advocate for your loved one and access services.

Family Support Services at YAI

Many of these programs require OPWDD eligibility and availability/openings do vary. For more information on any of these programs, please contact YAI LINK at 212-273-6182

Program   Description
YAI Link logo

Knowledgeable Intake Specialists answer questions about and make referrals for all the YAI Network services; provide information about the DD, disability, and social service systems in the New York Metropolitan region; and make themselves available to do presentations to parents, professionals and school groups on the range of services available to people with developmental disabilities. Services are provided in English, Spanish and Mandarin.

Project Intervene
(Brooklyn & Manhattan)


>Behavior management, toilet training, travel, and other skills training are provided to individuals and their families in the home and in group training.

Parents with Special Needs
(Brooklyn, Manhattan & Queens)

Support and training for mothers and fathers who have a developmental disability and who need guidance to foster a more rewarding family life through effective child rearing and household management practices.

Project GROW
(Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island & Queens)  

Group training for families teaching specific behavior techniques to promote positive family interactions.  Peer support is also provided. English, Spanish and Cantonese groups offered.

Project Grown-Up
(Manhattan & Queens)

Basic and advanced parent training related to issues of relationships and sexuality with adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities.  The Parent Education Group prepares a parent for dealing with issues around their adolescent or young adult child’s physiological development. The Group Training Sessions assist parents with dealing with the interpersonal and autonomy issues of relationships and sexuality with their children.  English and Spanish groups offered. 

You and I: A Social Skills Training & Recreation Program

This program trains individuals with developmental disabilities to acquire the social competencies necessary to find emotionally satisfying relationships and to practice these skills in a safe, supportive environment.  The program also provides them with opportunities to expand their networks for fun and recreation.

Independent Living Program  
(Brooklyn, Manhattan, & Queens, Bronx)

Comprehensive training to prepare adults with a mild disability to live as independently as possible.  Monthly group meetings are provided for parents/caregivers to assist them in supporting their relative in transition to greater independence.

Family Education Workshops
  FREE educational workshops held throughout the city, created for families, but open to all. Wide variety of topics including future care planning, resources and supports, transition to adulthood, behavior management etc.

Support Groups for Caregivers of People on the Autism Spectrum


Groups offered 3-4 times per month.  Parents of children on the autism spectrum are provided with therapeutic support with an educational component.  Groups offered in English, Spanish and Chinese dialects.

Socialization Groups for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum
(Manhattan & Brooklyn)

Socialization Skills groups for children, preteens, and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. The training topics focus on social skills such as: Awareness of Others, Communication, Social Boundaries, Friendships and Assertion/Choice Making. Transportation reimbursement available.

Project ASSIST
(Community Habilitation through the HCBS Medicaid Waiver)

An individualized treatment plan is implemented by a Family Service Specialist in the home and the community.  Areas of focus include but are not limited to training in behavior, personal care, skills development, communication, and socialization.  Service Coordinators continue to monitor progress to ensure that individuals become more independent, productive members of their family and community. Community habilitation is also available as a non-Waiver service for individuals with behavior problems and/or an autism spectrum disorder in Queens.

Sexuality Training Program

In-home community habitation program that provides sexuality training to individuals ages 9+. Individual assessments and training plans provided.

Desensitization to Dental & Medical care
(Brooklyn, Queens)

Multi-disciplinary approach using a doctor or dentist, occupational therapist, and behaviorist to help individuals overcome fears related to dental or medical procedures. Participants will learn techniques to increase comfort level and cooperation during a dental or doctor visit at Premier HealthCare. Parent information sessions also offered.


Ballet/yoga program for children with autism and other developmental disabilities, co-led by a licensed occupational therapist and a certified yoga instructor. The program fosters creative movement in a supportive environment that caters to the individual needs of each child. Also available in other boroughs as a fee for service program.

Family Reimbursement
(Brooklyn, Manhattan & Queens)


Provides limited funds to families for services and goods that are not reimbursed through other existing programs or funding streams.

Emergency Respite Fund
(Brooklyn, Manhattan & Queens)

Funds are available to families to help provide temporary caregiving during extreme family emergencies and to pay for staffing, food, and other necessities in accordance with the unique needs of each family.

Free Psychological and Psychosocial Evaluations
(Brooklyn, Queens & Manhattan)

Free evaluations provided for individuals who do not have Medicaid but require psychologicals and/ or psychosocials to access programs for people with developmental disabilities.

Crisis Intervention
(Manhattan & Queens)


An interdisciplinary team consisting of an ABSS (behavioral specialist), social worker and intake specialist that provide information and referral, advocacy, short-term crisis counseling and/or in-home behavioral interventions to stabilize familial relationships, maintain the integrity of the family unit and promote functional behavior.

In-Home Respite
(Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, & Manhattan)


Trained staff are matched with families to provide scheduled care for their family member in the home.  Respite provides the family with a break from their daily responsibilities and gives the person new opportunities to develop greater independence. Also available are limited opportunities for respite for persons who present challenging behaviors. 

Manhattan Overnight Respite


24-hour supervision from Friday afternoon until Monday morning for people 4 years of age and older in a lovely Chelsea townhouse. Services are also available for certain week long stays, school vacations, and in emergency situations. Nutritious meals and recreational activities are provided at the facility and in the community.


Overnight respite for families in an emergency or for specific time-limited situations (7 continuous day maximum). Room, board, and supervision for the family member are provided by trained respite hosts in their homes. Extend-a-Family services are also available to individuals with physical disabilities.

Queens Overnight Respite
(Queens & Brooklyn)

Overnight respite for Brooklyn and Queens families for up to 2 weeks at a time in a wheelchair accessible facility in LeFrak City, Queens. This program is located in an area with access to numerous recreational opportunities, has on-site picnic grounds, basketball and tennis courts, and provides an intimate, friendly atmosphere.

Child & Adolescent Programs
(Bronx & Brooklyn)


A wide variety of Saturday programs that offer social and community activities for people age 6 and up. Limited transportation available.

School Recess Respite
(Bronx & Manhattan)

Recreation programs for school-age children during school breaks.  Limited transportation is offered.

Weekend Day & Evening Respite
(Brooklyn, Manhattan & Queens)

Recreation activities on Friday evenings; Saturday mornings, afternoons and evenings for people 16 years of age and older. Activities include arts and crafts, drama groups, trips, ballgames, and other community events. Limited transportation available (Wheelchair accessibility in Brooklyn).

Adult Socialization Programs
(Bronx & Manhattan)

Structured recreation, socialization and skills training for adults offered Tuesday through Friday evenings and all day Saturday, focusing on the enhancement of peer interaction and a greater appreciation of leisure time opportunities.     

Hankering for More, Leisure Connection, Freedom Club, Leisure Action, Brooklyn Leisure Tracks (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan & Queens)

Recreational programs for more capable adults with learning and developmental disabilities who live in and around New York City. Programs provide intellectually and culturally stimulating social and educational opportunities that encourage meeting new people, making friends, and developing life-long social skills.

Medicaid Service Coordination


Service Coordinators work in partnership with individuals with disabilities who live at home and help obtain medical, clinical, social, educational, financial, vocational, and residential services.  They also assist people plan for today as well as the future. Each person receives visits at either their home or in locations where they receive services.  This service is successful when people with disabilities, their families and the service coordinator work together. Medicaid is required to receive this service.

Queens After-School Program


This after school program offers a variety of educational and recreational activities to children and adolescents with developmental and learning disabilities.

After-Hours Programs
(Bronx & Westchester)

After-Hours Programs for adults are structured programs offering supervised recreational activities during the week, after an individual’s day program.

 Leisure Trax 


Offers adults with DD and LD vacation and travel opportunities, including weekend trips and extended vacations with domestic and international destinations.   

 MAC (Mainstreaming at Camp)

In partnership with the Frost Valley YMCA sleep away camp, YAI offers an award-winning inclusive camping experience to children and teens with DD or LD in the Catskills in New York.  Partial scholarships available for New York City residents.

Families' Supplemental Needs Trust

You know you need to plan for the financial future of your loved one, but there is a lot involved.  The process can feel highly technical and even overwhelming.  We at the YAI Network understand this.  Allow us to guide you through the process of setting up a community trust to ensure continued security and stability for your family member.

Read more about Supplemental Needs Trusts.