YAI International

Providing assistance to organizations and governments around the world in the support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD)

YAI’s mission is to empower people live life on their own terms by creating new opportunities for 

Living, Loving, Working, and Learning

We are committed to supporting this mission worldwide. 

YAI - Who we are

For over 60 years, YAI has been a leader in providing opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live, love, work, and learn in their communities.

YAI’s team of 3,500+ employees supports more than 20,000 people throughout the NY Metropolitan region each year. Our support takes many forms, including residential, day, employment, and community habilitation programs, as well as a school for children with I/DD and health care clinics.

Through YAI’s innovative services and person-centered approach, we empower the people we support to live full and rewarding lives by reaching their goals, large and small, every day.

The CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are major goals of the international community. With accredited consultative status to the United Nations ECOSOC, YAI supports the implementation of these goals with its expertise, creating an inclusive society accepting of neurodiversity as part of the variety of normal human experience.

SDG 17 encourages partnerships to reach shared objectives. As an experienced service provider for people with autism, I/DD, and mental health needs, YAI partners with other organizations to foster service development and implementation of SDGs worldwide.


YAI has a longstanding commitment to providing the following services, offering inclusive living throughout the New York metropolitan area. Through our International Consultancy, YAI offers its expertise to support community integration efforts worldwide.

Community integrated housing opportunities

  • Independent apartments
  • Small 24-hour supervised homes in the community

Family supports

  • Family respite services
  • In-home family supports
  • Diagnostic assessments 
  • Education for parents and caregivers
  • Crisis intervention
  • Travel training 

Health care clinics

  • Primary care, internal medicine, pediatrics, mental health services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, dentistry, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, and gynecology
  • Medical and dental desensitization

Inclusive urban development

  • 60 years of experience

Creating community integrated housing opportunities

The 2011 First World Disability Report urges deinstitutionalization. The report speaks about how transitioning to community living and supporting informal caregivers with respite care will improve community inclusion. Article 19 of the CRPD emphasizes living independently and being included in the community.

About 6.25 billion people, 15% of them people with disabilities, are projected to be living in urban centers by 2050. SDG 11, focused on inclusive urban development, aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, and sustainable.

YAI is a leader in offering community integrated residential services, providing a continuum of residential options ranging from independent apartments, to 24-hour supervised homes, as well as family respite services.

Family supports

YAI offers in-home and overnight respite support for families, diagnostic and assessment centers, and education for parents and caregivers. These offerings allow families to access services and better understand and support their loved ones with I/DD. 

Health Care Clinics

According to the 2011 First World Disability Report, people with disabilities are more than twice as likely to not find health care providers with adequate skills to meet their needs. They are also four times as likely to be treated badly, and three times more likely to be denied needed health care. Goal 3 of the SDGs urges to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all people at all ages. Article 25 of the CRPD focuses on health and Article 26 focuses on habilitation and rehabilitation.

YAI’s clinics offer primary care and specialty outpatient services to patients who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Specialties include: dentistry, pediatrics, psychiatry, podiatry, neurology, and ophthalmology. Through YAI's Center for Specialty Therapy, patients can receive additional services, including psychological testing; occupational, physical, and speech therapies; and sexual consent determinations, among others. Our doctors and nurses are not only outstanding medical professionals, they are also uniquely trained to care for patients with disabilities. We provide the top level service, attention, and care that every patient deserves.

Inclusive Urban Development

About 6.25 billion people, 15% of them people with disabilities, are predicted to be living in urban centers by 2050. Urbanization has the potential to be a great engineer for achieving sustainable and inclusive development for all. The current lack of environmental accessibility faced by people with disabilities, in particular across many cities worldwide, presents both a major challenge and strategic opportunity to promote an accessible and inclusive Urban Agenda. SDG 11, Inclusive Urban Development, aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, and sustainable.

Delivering services in the New York metropolitan area, YAI has expertise implementing services in an urban environment. In addition, travel and socialization trainings help to decrease barriers in the urban environment.


The 2011 First World Disability Report urges countries to enable access to all mainstream systems, invest in specific programs and services for people with disabilities, adopt a national disability strategy and action plan, and provide adequate funding.

SDG 10 focuses on reducing inequality, listening to voices of people with disabilities, including them in decision making, and promoting positive perceptions and greater social awareness toward people with disabilities.

Living self determined lives as valued community members 

YAI offers expertise on:

Self Advocacy:

  • Advocate with local, regional, and global government 
  • Educate staff members about needs and rights of people with I/DD
  • Guide agency activity
  • Publish a newsletter

Recreation Opportunities

  • Adult travel 
  • Camping
  • Travel training

Social Skills Training

  • Transition to independence program for youth 
  • Yoga and mindfulness
  • Friendship
  • Communication and social boundaries
  • Intimate relationships and sexuality 

Self Advocacy

YAI facilitates opportunities for self advocates to speak with government officials regarding policies and programs that support people with disabilities locally, regionally, and internationally. YAI‘s self advocates are integrated throughout the organization. Self advocates help train staff about the needs and rights of people with disabilities, and they participate on various committees and boards to guide agency activities; they also create a quarterly newsletter.

Recreation Opportunities

YAI offers adult travel opportunities, award-winning inclusive camping experiences for children and teens, and programs supporting adults to create and maintain their own social networks. 

Social Skills Training

Programs for adults to improve social skills are vital for friendship and work. YAI offers programs for adults to make friends and socialize through group activities. 

YAI also provides tools and techniques to support adults with I/DD to develop healthy and functional expressions of their sexuality.

Another key social skills outlet is the Transition to Independence program for youth on the autism spectrum. The program offers yoga and mindfulness, life skills, and kitchen skills. Social skills groups include friendships, communication, social boundaries, awareness of others, and assertion/choice making.


According to the 2011 First World Disability Report, average employment rates for people with disabilities is 44%, close to half of the percentage of people without disabilities (75%). Needing vocational training was only noted by 5%-23% of all disabled people, according to data from South African countries.

To meet this need, the CRPD Article 27 Work and Employment and SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth urge implementation of supports.

Pre-vocational and Employment Services:

  • Pre-vocational training 
  • Internships 
  • Volunteer opportunities 
  • Job coaching 
  • Day habilitation 

YAI has longstanding expertise in pre-vocational and employment services, preparing participants for competitive employment through pre-vocational training, internships, and volunteer opportunities in the community. Job coaches provide participants with on-site support to ensure success. Day habilitation services prepare people for the world of work and staff support people on the job once they have been trained. YAI developed employment services for people with I/DD in Puerto Rico, which now operates independently. Creating paid work opportunities for people with I/DD, while meeting business needs and adding opportunities for corporate social responsibility, is one of YAI’s strengths. 


Training field professionals:


Training Field Professionals

YAI staff and self advocates attend UN events and organize side events to UN conferences on disabilities and beyond to advocate for the rights and implementation of supports for people with I/DD worldwide.

YAI organized an annual International Conference for over 35 years. It included 125 sessions over four days and welcomed annually over 3,000 people from all over the US and over 40 countries. Since 2004, YAI hosts a free, annual Latino Conference, held entirely in Spanish, welcoming over 300 attendees. 

YAI also offers educational seminars upon request through its International Initiative and it Center for Professional Development. YAI presents at conferences worldwide. Examples include an international conference with the Onaizah Association for Development and Human Services in the UAE, and the VII International Conference for people with autism in Chile. 


Many children with disabilities do not attend school. In developing countries, the percentage of children with disabilities attending primary school ranges from 10% in India to 60% in Indonesia. The 2011 First World Disability Report urges countries to enable access to all mainstream systems, invest in specific programs and services for people with disabilities, adopt a national disability strategy and action plan, and provide adequate funding. SDG 4 on Inclusive Education and CRPD Article 24 focus on inclusive education.

To achieve mainstream education for all, it is crucial to understand each child’s learning abilities and styles. YAI successfully supports children with a variety of learning needs. YAI believes every child has the capacity to learn, grow, and contribute. Teachers and therapists provide students who have a broad range of needs and learning styles with encouragement, support, skills, and opportunities to develop academically and socially.