Raising Government Awareness for Special Needs
April 04, 2018

Raising Government Awareness for Special Needs by Reyanna BhairamBy Reyanna Bhairam, Associate

{2:12 minutes to read}  We at Gotham represent many non-profit organizations. Some of those organizations focus on the special needs populations, bringing something very unique to the communities we all live in. Currently there is a lack of support/funding for special needs programs — especially when individuals “age out” of state funded programs.

The major disability diagnoses include:

  • Autism;
  • Speech or language impairments;
  • Health impairments; and
  • Learning disabilities.

New York State not only lacks support/funding for people with special needs, but also “falls short” when it comes to education for students with disabilities.

State-funded programs for individuals with special needs are terminated when they “age out” at 21. There is a significant disparity in available services for these young adults, who lose the specialized help and structure they have had for most of their lives.

One non-profit organization we represent focuses on holistic health and wellness options for individuals with autism and special needs. They incorporate yoga, Reiki, massage therapy, and aromatherapy all in one setting. They also offer an “eat-Able” workshop where individuals with special needs can make nutritional meals to help aid their gut related issues (which is very common). This non-profit is inclusive and provides these services for free or at a low cost to individuals of all ages.

Given the scarcity of their existence, our job at Gotham is to not only raise awareness for these types of amazing, inclusive special needs programs, BUT to lobby for funding, and get officials elected who will help constituents who otherwise will have no resources to turn to for support.

The autism population has become an epidemic, for which we need to continue to rally support and funding. It is unfortunate that obtaining funding/support for these necessary programs is so difficult.