Children with Special Needs

Director: Judy Grossman, DrPH, OTR

The Special Needs Project provides specialized family therapy services to families who have children with autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, sensory processing disorder and other developmental disabilities. The purpose is to promote family resilience as parents deal with the cumulative challenges they encounter raising a child with special needs. Some of the benefits of family therapy include:

  • Increased understanding of the child with special needs
  • More sensitive and effective parenting strategies
  • Increased marital satisfaction and co-parenting
  • Improved sibling relationships and attention to the needs of the typically developing child
  • Increased family support, coping, problem solving and communication skills
  • Appropriate family routines and activities
  • Opportunity to discuss family struggles and the emotional reactions to having a child with a disability
  • Increased confidence to navigate early intervention/special education and medical systems

Additional project activities include six-week Parent Discussion Groups and workshops for professionals working in early intervention and special education schools and agencies.

Learn more about the Resilient Families: Children with Special Needs Project in this Ackerman Podcast episode!

Project Director: Judy Grossman, DrPH, OTR212 879-4900, ext 121
Clinical Project Associates:
Judi Aronowitz, RN, LCSW
Sara Goldsmith, NCSP
Elissa Kirtzman, LCSW
Tracy Ross, LCSW

Family-Centered Treatment: A Clinical Model for working with Parents and Children with Special Needs

Description of Short Course

Parents who have children with developmental, learning and behavioral challenges experience cumulative stress and the need to make meaning and cope with the impact of their child’s disability on family life and family relationships. Using a relational-systemic lens, the Resilient Families:  Children with Special Needs project faculty will discuss family-centered interventions that can promote child,  parent and family resilience.  Teaching methods include videotape, live family therapy sessions and participant case consultation to illustrate the challenges, principles and practices working with families who have children with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, sensory processing disorder and other developmental disabilities.  Enrollment is limited to professionals with some clinical experience.

Judy Grossman, DrPH, OTR, is the Director of the Resilient Families: Children with Special Needs Project and Associate Director of the Center for the Developing Child and Family at the Ackerman Institute; previous academic appointments NYU, Columbia, SUNY-Downstate Medical Center, Yale School of Medicine; health and education consultant; published and presented nationally in the areas of prevention, family resilience, parenting, early intervention and special education, program development and evaluation.  Project Faculty: Judi Aronowitz, RN, LCSW; Sara Goldsmith, NCSP; Elissa Kirtzman, LCSW; and Tracy Ross, LCSW

Date:  6 sessions:  May 10, 17, 24, 31 and June 7, 14, 2017
Time: Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Tuition: $600
Contact Hours (CEU’s) for NYS: 14 
CE Credits for NASW: 12


For more information:
Brenda Nikelsberg , Administrator
212- 879-4900 x108,