iHOPE (School)

The International Academy of Hope (iHOPE) is a highly specialized brain injury school in New York City. It meets a significant and unmet need in the NYC community, while also serving as a world-class model of best practices and high tech solutions in the delivery of educational brain injury services. 

iHOPE specializes in supporting students with pediatric acquired brain injury (PABI). PABI is caused either by trauma (such as motor vehicle crashes, sports-related concussions, blast injury, assaults/child abuse, gunshot wounds, and falls) or non-trauma (such as strokes, meningitis, brain tumors, anoxia, infection, seizures, inflammation, toxins, substance abuse, and metabolic disorders). PABI includes injuries sustained from birth through 25 years of age.

The school raises the bar for standards of care by promulgating best practices, supporting innovative treatments, and sharing knowledge through both on-site and remotely delivered training. 

Admission Process

The International Academy of Hope has a four-step Admissions Process:

1. Initial intake

  1. Contact by local school personnel or student’s parents/caregivers about potential placement
  2. Interview of parent/caregiver with a Member of iHOPE Admissions Team
  3. A tour of the school and facility could be included during this step or scheduled at this point

2. Assembly of student’s medical and educational records

  1. School district should provide documents, including but not limited to:
    1. Current Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with likely IDEA classifications of TBI, OHI, or Multiple Disabilities
    2. Current evaluations and progress reports (i.e., learning, psychological, social, psychiatric, medical, related services such as PT, OT, speech/language, vision therapies)
  2. Any additional medical or educational reports should be provided during this step (i.e. previous IEP, reports, etc.)

3. iHOPE Admissions Team reviews the records and evaluates student’s potential to benefit from program

4. After the review of the records, iHOPE Admissions Team may conduct in-person evaluation of the student

Certain tests may be conducted during the student evaluation process based on the determination of the iHOPE Admissions Team

Upon the completion of the four-step process, the iHOPE Admissions Team makes a formal recommendation about whether the potential student would be a good fit for the program. The iHOPE Admissions Team may request additional information if needed.

The iHOPE Admissions Team comprises the professional faculty and staff of iHOPE and may also include outside professionals if deemed appropriate.

iHOPE does not discriminate on the basis of disability, age, color, creed, race, gender, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin or religious affiliation. iHope has a zero tolerance policy for any discrimination. Any incident of discrimination should be reported immediately to the Associate Program Director and will be addressed immediately.


The iHOPE academic curriculum is designed to promote student growth and independence. The curriculum focuses on helping students find effective ways to communicate and function in the iHOPE community while making connections to enhance their everyday life experiences in their homes and larger community. The school specializes in working with and educating children who communicate without words and have multiple disabilities. Academic instruction is provided by using a multi-sensory approach and is integrated with therapeutic services to allow for children to have more “hands-on” experiences.

Students engage in learning activities, which integrate all content areas, and instruction is individualized to meet the specific needs of each student. Students use their strengths to engage in activities designed to increase their communication, social, and life skills. Art, music, and technology play an integral role in helping the students to express themselves.

Mission Statement

The mission of iHOPE is to transform the manner in which educational services are delivered to students with brain injuries in this country and abroad, and to be the worldwide leader in offering evidence-based services to these students.


Educational services are delivered within a warm, nurturing school environment by educators, researchers, and trainers with an unparalleled concentration of expertise in brain injury. The school operates on a year-round, full-day basis. iHOPE embraces and models the hallmarks of exceptional educational services.

Refer a Student to iHOPE

If you know a student you want to refer to iHOPE, please take a moment to complete and submit our referral form, a member of our intake team will then follow up with you.

Want more information?

Mayra Diaz, Associate Program Director

mdiaz [at] iHOPEnyc.org

Check out the highlights from the summer olympics at iHOPE this year

The Core Values of iHOPE

  • Leadership: We are committed to creating systemic change in the way students with brain injury and other brain-based disorders are educated.
  • Family-focused: We always place the interests of the person with a brain injury and their families at the center of our decisions.
  • Excellence: We aspire to the highest standard of excellence by implementing best practices and drawing on evidence-based research in the delivery of technically competent care.
  • Professional Development: We foster an environment of rigor and respect in order to attract and retain the very best licensed and credentialed practitioners with expertise in pediatric brain injury.
  • Dissemination: We support active dissemination of applied research, translating advances into effective hands-on instructional methodologies and approaches.
  • Compassion: We focus on meaningful outcomes for our students, attained within a context of kindness, optimism, and celebration of growth and skill mastery.


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