About the Henry Viscardi School

The Henry Viscardi School is an accredited model school that offers parents of children with severe physical disabilities and who often require life-sustaining medical treatment throughout the day, a traditional educational setting that provides rigorous academics and opportunities for personal growth and leadership development. Its specialized, accessible educational setting provides a fully-enriched academic program, a variety of therapies, assistive technology and medical supports to students who may otherwise need to receive instruction in their homes or a hospital.

Most students at the Henry Viscardi School use power wheelchairs and augmentative communication technology, and require constant medical supervision. Although the students’ primary disability is physical, they have a wide variety of multiple disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Spina Bifida, Traumatic Brain Injury, Osteogenesis Imperfecta and Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Founded in 1962 by Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr. and the first of its kind, the Henry Viscardi School was a place children with physical disabilities and rare illnesses could go to school, just like other children. Today, the Henry Viscardi School continues to be an alternative choice for parents and a resource to school districts that cannot accommodate the academic, health and assistive technology needs of children, Pre-K through grade 12, with severe disabilities.

A teaching community dedicated to empowering students, the Henry Viscardi School offers a combination of core academics and robust cultural enrichment that enables them to be active, independent, self-sufficient participants in society. It encourages kids to take chances, be bold, act like leaders and give back to their supporting community.

Recognizing the profound importance of after-school and enrichment opportunities for children with disabilities, its students have the opportunity to attend field trips, play adapted sports, write and produce school publications and participate in transition activities that provide a chance to meet children outside of their classes, grades and in their local communities. These clubs, activities, and experiences include:

  • Student Government
  • Viscardi Ambassadors 
  • Cougar Chroniclenewspaper and Milestone yearbook
  • Natural Helpers® - a national Peer Helping Program
  • Theater Arts
  • Friday Night Recreation
  • Adapted Sports, including Intramural Wheelchair Basketball
  • Independent Living Overnights
  • Internships

In addition, the Henry Viscardi School offers innovative programs to help students develop the skills necessary for success in adulthood. These include:

  • Project: R.A.M.P.  (Reaching All My Potential) for students who have completed the 12th grade and continue to work toward diploma goals and develop transitional skills.
  • Extended school year (ESY) summer program with intensive academic instruction.
  • Independent mobility training, independent living skills, and a family and consumer science lab.

Facts at a Glance

Through its elementary, middle and high school programs for children with severe physical disabilities, the Henry Viscardi School meets the needs of students through collaboration with school districts, families and the development of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).

Located in Albertson, New York, the campus:

  • Offers parents of children with severe physical disabilities an alternative, fully-enriched traditional school setting for consideration if their local school cannot meet their child’s educational, health and technological needs.
  • Enrolls approximately 175 students with severe physical disabilities in grades Pre-K through 12 (ages 3 to 21), many of whom are also medically fragile.
  • Serves children with disabilities who are referred from school districts in the New York metropolitan area, including those in Long Island, Westchester, and all five boroughs of New York City.
  • Is a state-accredited institution of learning that awards Regents and Local diplomas, equivalent to their peers who do not have a disability.
  • Instructs children in the same subjects as those provided at any other public school.
  • Provides instruction in small classes with one teacher and one teaching assistant.
  • Educates students who are classified for special education and provides services mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 
  • Features a fully-equipped and staffed medical suite to meet the health care needs of children who require essential, life sustaining medical attention throughout the day, a wheelchair clinic and a brace/orthotic clinic.
  • Customizes a laptop computer for each student with the assistive technology, devices and software  he or she needs to participate in classroom learning and testing as well as communicate with peers, teachers, and therapists.
  • Provides an environment where students may fully participate in the whole educational experience, including field trips in modified school buses, adapted sports and opportunities to develop leadership and socialization skills through after-school activities and enrichment programs. The school also features an accessible swimming pool, family and consumer lab, gym, performance stage and music/art/video technology wing.
  • Is staffed by highly trained educators, physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, school nurses, psychologists, and social workers.