Youth with Disabilities

Lead a happy, healthy, & productive life

A young man in a wheelchair smiles on a sidewalk in NYC

Learning about your rights as a person with disabilities empowers you to advocate for yourself, which is often a challenge. Connecting with others who’ve encountered similar issues helps. These connections can help answer your questions, work on projects and, ultimately, build a stronger and more vocal community of people with disabilities that advocates for key issues around the city.

Connecting to the resources and community groups below will help.


High School

Students with disabilities
In NYC, all schools serve students with disabilities. If you’re a student who requires education services, you’ll have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Your IEP has information about your strengths and needs, and lays out a specific education program for you. IEP students participate in the same admissions processes as other students.

If you have an IEP, you may be able to request transportation to and from school. You’ll need documents from your doctor to qualify. To learn more about the service, contact the Office of Pupil Transportation.

School building accessibility
The Department of Education (DOE) is committed to ensuring that buildings and programs are accessible to students and their families. While many buildings are fully accessible, some older buildings are partially or non-accessible. The Building Accessibility page has updated information on school buildings. If you have questions, email the accessibility team at the DOE.

Inclusive classroom programs

The DOE’s District 75 program offers inclusive classrooms at more than 350 sites across the city. These programs provide dedicated educational and behavioral support if you’re a student with disabilities. All programs align with IEPs.

Find a District 75 program near you

College

Since colleges generally don’t have IEPs, students with disabilities should seek out their college or university’s disability office. If you’re a CUNY student with disabilities, lots of resources are available.

Services at CUNY
Each CUNY campus has an Office of Disability Services that helps students with disabilities find reasonable accommodation and support services. They also provide counseling and referrals, and can help you find note takers, readers, technology services, sign language interpreters, and alternative testing arrangements.

Learn more about CUNY Disability Services or call the main office at 616-664-8800.

Get academic and career readiness help at CUNY

CUNY Leads is available to all CUNY students with disabilities. Program staff offer:

  • academic counseling
  • resume preparation
  • interview preparation
  • internship assistance
  • job seeking assistance
  • advocacy skills

All services are free and confidential.

Learn more about CUNY Leads

Work

NYC: ATWORK 
The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities’ NYC: ATWORK creates career pathways for people with disabilities. Through this initiative, you can be connected to jobs across New York City, grow your professional network with employers across sectors, and access other career services. To learn more, visit the initiative’s website or call 311 and ask for “NYC:ATWORK.”

Adult Career & Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehab (Acces-VR)
Don’t be fooled by the name! Acces-VR helps youth 14 and older with disabilities find and keep jobs. It also promotes independent living and provides training, education, rehabilitation, and career development.

Acces-VR helps ensure that all youth with disabilities are prepared for work and life after school. To learn more about the full range of services available and to apply, visit the Youth Services website.

Work for the City of New York
If you have a certified physical or mental disability and are qualified to perform specific job requirements, you may qualify for the City’s 55-a employment program. For more information, call 212-386-0257.

Services for blind youth
VISIONS offers many programs to help blind young people gain employment experience and develop a career path based on interests and education.

Transition from high school

INCLUDEnyc’s Project Possibilities provides direct support for young adults with disabilities 16 and older. One-on-one assistance can help you transition from high school into job training programs, college, and high school equivalency exam prep programs.

For more information, call 212-677-4650, ext. 24.


Community

Becoming an active member of a community is a great way to gain support, establish a sense of belonging, and make new friends. Lots of community resources are available for young people with disabilities around the city.

Independent Living Centers (ILCs)
ILCs provide core services that promote personal growth and empowerment. You’ll find peer counseling, housing assistance, disability awareness training, and workshops on obtaining benefits and registering to vote at ILCs in all five boroughs.

Bronx Independent Living Services, Inc.
4419 Third Ave, 2C, Bronx, NY 10457
718-515-2800

Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled
27 Smith St, Suite 200, Brooklyn, NY 11201
718-998-3000

Center for Independence of the Disabled NY (Manhattan)
841 Broadway, Suite 301, New York, NY 10003
212-674-2300

Harlem Independent Living Center
289 Saint Nicholas Avenue, Suite 21 Lower Level, New York, NY 10027
212-222-7122

Center for Independence of the Disabled NY (Queens)
80-02 Kew Gardens Rd, Suite 400, Kew Gardens, NY 11415
646-442-1520

Staten Island Center for Independent Living
470 Castleton Ave, Staten Island, NY 10301
718-720-9016

Join an advocacy group

There are lots of advocacy groups in NYC. Some represent people with disabilities in general while others focus on specific issues. Advocacy groups for people with disabilities include:


Culture & Recreation

NYC is home to some of the world’s greatest culture, recreation, and entertainment opportunities. As one of the most accessible cities, it’s also open to everyone. Check out accessibility information for your favorite cultural and recreational hubs below.

Parks
For an annual fee of $25, NYC Parks offers accessible facilities, adaptive hubs, adaptive events, plus programs and events in accessible locations.
Learn more about accessibility at NYC parks

Libraries
The New York Public Library offers talking books, movies with descriptive text, screenreading software, personal reading machines, hearing loops, and books by mail.
Learn more about accessibility at NYC libraries

Museums
Lots of museums, including the Guggenheim, Intrepid Air & Space, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have accessible entrances and additional accessibility features.
Learn more about accessibility at NYC museums

Movie theaters
Many movie theaters are accessible and offer closed captioning and audio description as well.
Learn more about accessible movie theaters

Looking to join a sports league or want to be more active?

There are lots of options in NYC to match your interests.

Learn more about sports leagues and other athletic clubs