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New York Institute for Special Education - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

New York Institute for Special Education
999 Pelham Parkway
Bronx, NY 10469
(718) 519-7000 (Local)
(718) 231-9314 (Fax)

Brief Description

Founded in 1831 as The New York Institute for the Education of the Blind. In 1986 the name was changed to the New York Institute for Special Education (NYISE) to better reflect the expanded focus and commitment to children with a variety of disabilities.

NYISE is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonsectarian educational facility for children who are blind or visually disabled, emotionally and learning disabled and preschoolers who are developmentally delayed.

NYISE's mission is to provide excellent educational programs with appropriate related services to all students at the Institute in order that they may become successful contributing members of society.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 AM-5:00 PM
Clients served on average per year: 300
Number of staff: 300
Geographic area served: Five Boroughs and surrounding areas of New York
Publications: Facility brochure


Thomas Burgett, Ph.D., Assistant Executive Director,
Bernadette M. Kappen, Executive Director,

Services Offered

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • Evaluates all prospective students in all areas of development and performance to identify developmental delays that currently need to be addressed.
  • Education Services
    • The Schermerhorn Program of NYISE is a school that offers students ages 5 to 21 with a visual impairment or blindness an academic program that follows the New York State learning standards. The Schermerhorn elementary, middle and high school offer students a varied and challenging curriculum. Students have access to braillers, CCTVs, note takers and computers. Small class ratios assure more individualized instruction. The overall goal of the program is to provide high quality educational experiences that will assist students in being independent. From adapted physical education, through regents classes and state exams, to modern technology labs, students benefit from opportunities that help them face the challenges of the global world.

      In addition to the core academic classes, the students receive instruction in the compensatory skills that are needed by children who are blind and visually impaired including daily living skills, and social skills.

      Students participate in career and vocational classes and job experiences to develop skills necessary for competitive employment. Through a partnership with area colleges, students can earn college credit beginning in their junior year in high school.

      Support services such as occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, English as a Second Language, counseling and orientation and mobility are provided based on the student’s IEP.

      A variety of extra-curricular activities are offered to ensure that students are well rounded. The students participate in sports, student council, the student newspaper and the high school yearbook.

      The Schermerhorn Program also offers a five day (Monday – Friday) residential program that supports academic achievement, social and emotional growth and independence in activities of daily living.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Provides students with an opportunity to develop job behaviors and job skills through prevocational activities and in the career experience program.
  • Information and Referral
    • Referrals for admission can be made year round. There is no cost or tuition fees for families. The Schermerhorn Program is available to all New York State residents.
  • Preschool Programs
    • Offers a preschool program that provides a variety of educational programs for young children with developmental delays in one or more of the following: cognition, speech and language development, fine or gross motor skills, sensory integration, adaptive skills, and social-emotional development.
  • Summer/Day Camps and After-school Programs
    • Camp Wanaqua established in 1992, is the only day camp in the New York metropolitan area that services both blind and visually impaired children. The camp operates on the campus of The New York Institute for Special Education and is open Monday through Thursday for four weeks during July and August. Free bus transportation is available to campers who are registered with the NYS Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped. (CBVH)

      Camp Wanaqua serves children ages seven though thirteen. Approximately thirty campers attend the camp each summer. Children are referred to the camp by parents, CBVH counselors and by teachers of the visually impaired in New York City and lower Westchester. Applicants must be registered with the CBVH.

      Camp staff is experienced in working with children who are blind and visually impaired and they are certified in CPR, first aid and life guarding. Medical facilities are available on site.

      Campers come to the campus to engage in age appropriate, fun activities that encourage skill development in the expanded core curriculum. The campers participate in a wide range of educational, athletic and therapeutic activities that result in new skills, confidence, friendships and memories.

      For further information please contact: Nicole Pascucci, Director of Camp Wanaqua at 718-519-7000, extension 356, or at
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