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Queens Clinics Strengthen Therapeutic Care for People with Disabilities

October 5, 2017

In The Media

Leena works with Speech Therapist Jackie O’Loughlin for a thirty minute session each week at HeartShare’s Union Turnpike Day Habilitation.

HeartShare Wellness has opened satellite clinics throughout Brooklyn and Queens, which broaden access to and strengthen therapeutic care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

A recent study found that people with developmental disabilities typically have unmet health needs. Among children with developmental disabilities, 14 percent had difficulty accessing care compared to 2 percent of the general population. Among ages 65 and older, half of those with developmental disabilities reported one or more unmet health needs compared to 17 percent of those without disabilities. HeartShare Wellness, a health-oriented arm of the agency, was founded nearly two decades ago to close that gap.

HeartShare Wellness offers Article 16 clinic services at its primary location at 177 Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn. This year, Wellness expanded those services to satellite clinic locations throughout Brooklyn and Queens. Many of the satellite clinics are housed at day habilitation programs at HeartShare, where existing program participants can schedule their speech, physical and occupational therapy sessions. Services also include individual and group counseling, psychological and psychosocial evaluations, as well as sexuality assessments. Those services are also available to eligible members of the public.

At HeartShare’s Union Turnpike Day Habilitation Program, Leena works with Speech Therapist Jackie O’Loughlin for a thirty minute session each week. “Working in the day hab setting allows our clients to keep their speech, physical, occupational and other therapy appointments, while also incorporating functional words and phrases pertaining to their daily lives. Leena loves getting her nails done, and she knows the process, so I incorporated words like ‘nail polish,’ ‘cotton ball,’ and ‘remover,’” she explained.

With the help of a communication device, Speech Therapist Jackie O’Loughlin prompts Peter to make choices, learn question comprehension and follow directions.

Jackie also works with Peter using a communication device, which prompts Peter to make choices, learn question comprehension and follow directions. “Peter isn’t very conversational, but if you engage with him and ask him what he needs directly, he comes out of his shell,” Jackie explained. Ongoing sessions have helped Peter make choices in his daily life, like ordering at a restaurant when he goes out with the Union Turnpike Program.

“I’m proud to be a part of this agency. There’s not a single program participant who isn’t engaged (at Union Turnpike),” said Jackie. “No matter what their ability, there is a customized activity for them to do all day — cooking, dancing, art making, community service.”

Union Turnpike Day Habilitation Program is located at 159-05 Union Turnpike, Fresh Meadows. HeartShare’s Article 16 Clinical Services also are available in Queens at the Harry Hoffman Day Habilitation Program at 62-10 Northern Boulevard, Woodside, and at Heaven’s Hands Community Services Day Habilitation Program at 67-10 Myrtle Avenue, Glendale, NY 11385.

For all satellite clinic locations and to learn more, visit The new Wellness Clinic phone number is 718-797-2020 ext. 8080.