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About us

Staten Island University Hospital has been proud to sponsor the Staten Island Early Childhood Direction Center (ECDC) since 1989. The Staten Island ECDC provides free information, referral, support and training for families and professionals regarding services for young children with suspected or diagnosed developmental delays or disabilities. Services are always provided in a confidential manner. 

The Staten Island ECDC is one of 14 ECDC technical assistance centers covering every county and borough in New York state and is funded by the New York State Education Department. Children referred to the ECDC should be 5 years of age or younger.

Click here to download our brochure.

Our professional staff provides information about and referrals for:

  • Diagnostic and evaluation services
  • Infant and toddler early intervention services
  • Transition from early intervention to preschool services 
  • Preschool special education services 
  • Transition to school-age special education services
  • Childcare, Head Start, pre-kindergarten and other early childhood settings
  • Family support services provided by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)
  • Medical, dental and other health services
  • Advocacy resources

Services provided by the ECDC include:

  • Linking children and families to available services, support and programs 
  • Referrals to agencies and professionals providing services to young children and their families
  • Referrals of infants and toddlers to the New York City Early Intervention Program (EI)
  • Assistance with referrals of children to the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE)
  • Preparing children for kindergarten
  • Follow-up telephone contact with families until their child reaches age 5
  • Workshops and resources for families and professionals
  • Technical assistance for early childhood programs
  • Quarterly newsletter provided to parents and professionals

Contact us

Our professional, compassionate staff members are available five days a week to help assist your family. We pride ourselves on returning all calls within one to two business days and initiating follow-ups to make sure your children receive appropriate services relative to their needs.

Our early childhood specialists are available Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm and can be reached at (718) 226-6670. Use of interpreter services is available. 

Early Childhood Direction Center 
Staten Island University Hospital
242 Mason Avenue, 1st Floor
Staten Island, NY 10305

(718) 226-6670
Fax: (718) 226-6385
[email protected]

ECDCs in other boroughs

Early Childhood Direction Center
New York Presbyterian Hospital
409 East 60th Street, #3-312
New York, NY 10022
(212) 746-6175
Learn more

Early Childhood Direction Center
Bronx Independent Living Services
4419 Third Avenue, Suite 2C
Bronx, NY 10457
(347) 271-8159
Learn more

Early Childhood Direction Center
Adapt Community Network (formerly UCP of NYC)
160 Lawrence Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
(718) 437-3794
Learn more

Early Childhood Direction Center
Queens Center for Progress
81-15 164th Street
Jamaica, NY 11432
(718) 215-1299
Learn more


What is an Early Childhood Direction Center?

An Early Childhood Direction Center, also known as an ECDC, is a place where parents can call for information and assistance related to programs and services for children diagnosed with—or suspected to have—special needs. Special needs may include difficulty talking, moving around, thinking, learning or behaving. The ECDC also provides information and assistance to agencies, professionals and other members of the community. 

Is there an ECDC in my area?

There are 14 ECDCs covering every county and borough in New York state. Contact the ECDC location closest to where you live. The ECDC in Staten Island can be reached by calling (718) 226-6670 or emailing [email protected].

Is the ECDC only for children who have special needs?

ECDCs focus on providing information and referral assistance to families of children with special needs who are between birth and 5 years of age. You can, however, talk to the staff confidentially about any concern you have about your family or other children.

Are services available for families who have foster children?

Yes. ECDCs assist foster families and guardians in securing needed services for foster children with special needs. If necessary, the ECDC will also work with the caseworker of the placement agency.

How do I know if my child has any special needs or a disability?

Call the ECDC to ask questions about child development. The staff has materials they can send to help you monitor your child's growth and development. They can also tell you about the resources in your community. Any information you provide to the ECDC staff about your child or family is strictly confidential.

Are ECDC services based on economic need?

No. All services are provided free of charge.

Who makes the decision about what services my child receives?

Only you, as the parent, will make the final decision about any services for your child. The ECDC staff will give you information about programs and services in your community and tell you what options are available to you. Once you have the information, you will be able to choose the program or service that best meets the needs of your family.

Will the same person be available every time I call the ECDC?

You can usually expect to talk to the same person at the ECDC. When you first call, be sure to ask for the name of the person who helps you. You should feel free to ask for that person whenever you call. Many families wish to speak with someone in a language other than English. Many of the ECDCs have bilingual staff available or, if they don’t, can refer you to a community agency that can answer questions in your preferred language.

What kind of follow-up services can I expect?

Each ECDC provides a variety of follow-up services until your child reaches school age. Some ECDCs call or send letters to parents every three to six months to see how things are going, but every ECDC contacts families at least once per year. Feel free to call an ECDC any time there is a change in your child's needs.

Do I have rights as a parent of a child with special needs?

Yes. If your child is under age three, your rights and responsibilities are guided by the Early Intervention System. If your child is age three to five years and has special learning needs, the preschool special education process through your local school district protects your rights.

How do I learn about my rights?

The ECDCs can assist you and provide you with information on your rights and responsibilities. There are guides available to you through the centers.

Can I talk to other parents?

There are parents you can talk to in every community. These parents may have experienced the same feelings, worries, and questions that you have. ECDC staff can link you up with parent support groups in your community. Some sibling support groups are also available. These groups usually meet on a regular basis and welcome the participation of new parents and families.

What is the advantage of calling an ECDC for assistance?

ECDCs have many years of experience in your community and have direct access to resources. Because of this, they can help you get your child the services that are needed. All the information you need can be provided by the ECDC you contact.

If you have additional questions or would like more information, please call (718) 226-6670 or email [email protected].

Training programs

The Staten Island Early Childhood Direction Center provides free training programs to families and professionals. Training programs are tailored to the specific needs of families or agencies and are offered on-site.

Trainings on special education services (birth to age 5)

  • The Transition from Early Intervention to Preschool Special Education Services: Supporting Families Through the Process
  • Understanding Preschool Special Education 
  • The Transition from Preschool to Kindergarten Special Education Services: Supporting Families Through the Process (available in English and Spanish) 

Trainings on early childhood development

  • How Play and Humor Influence Learning and Behavior—What is the relationship between “creative play” and the skills children need to develop self-regulation, self-discipline, social skills, emotional growth, creativity and literacy?
  • Positive Discipline and Behavior Guidance—How does positive discipline differ from punishment? Why is it more effective? What are age-appropriate developmental expectations for a child and how does this have an effect on behavior?
  • Classroom Management in the Real World—This workshop covers many areas and situations teachers encounter daily in their classrooms (for teachers and early childhood professionals).
  • Early Literacy: The Indirect Approach—What exactly is “literacy” and when does it begin? How do we help a child want to read and learn rather than just teach them how to decipher letters and words?
  • Activities to Enhance Learning and Behavior—Discover positive and creative new ways of interacting with children to improve learning potential and behavior.Learn new strategies to enhance a child’s self-control, self-regulation and quality of relationships. 
  • Helping Children Move Into Their Future—What are some of the ways we can encourage a child’s curiosity and a general love of learning informally through daily, enjoyable interactions? How can we enhance a child’s experiences and environment to provide more “teachable moments”?
  • It’s a Team Effort: The Parent/Teacher Partnership—When parents and teachers work as a team, the child is able to meet with success both academically and behaviorally. Learn how to become an effective communicator while taking part in role playing activities and strengthening your interpersonal skills.
  • The What, Why, and How of Social-Emotional Development in Young Children—What skills do we need to develop in ourselves and in our children so that we may help them grow in social-emotional strength and emotional literacy?
  • How to Talk So Kids Will Listen—Helping children deal with their feelings; engaging a child’s cooperation in a positive way; alternatives to using punishment to discipline a child; encouraging autonomy; the kinds of praise that help build a positive and realistic self-image.
  • Challenging Behaviors: Positive Solutions—Learn how to apply the basics of behavior modification and positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) easily and quickly.
  • Can You Hear Me?: Speech, Language & Communication Development—What is the connection between communication disorders and autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and/or challenging behaviors? How can we enhance speech and language skills to improve outcomes for children?

Workshops provided in Spanish

  • Turning 5: Getting Ready for Kindergarten Special Education—Includes making the transition from preschool special education to school-aged special education, kindergarten readiness and the evaluation process for kindergarten.
  • General Early Childhood—Overview: Developmental milestones; referral process for evaluations from early intervention and preschool special education; positive discipline and behavior guidance; activities to enhance learning; constructive communication techniques and more.

Helpful links and resources

The helpful links listed below are designed to be a summary of information and resources. The ECDC does not endorse these institutions and assumes no liability for using them.

New York City government agencies

Special Education Parent Centers

Special Education Parent Centers provide information, resources, and strategies to parents of children with disabilities.

Parent Information and Training Centers

Early childhood services information and referral

Legal information

Special education mediation

Additional resources in New York City

New York state government agencies

National resources and technical assistance centers

Federal government resources

Our staff

Laura Kennedy 
Email: [email protected]

Kathleen Nowak 
Community Outreach Education Coordinator
Email: [email protected]

Dolores Reig (English and Spanish)
Resource & Referral Coordinator 
(718) 226-6374
Email: [email protected]

Denise Dobrin
Family Services Coordinator
Email: [email protected]

Peggy Gaul
Outreach Education Support Specialist
Email: [email protected]

Laura Auriti
Outreach Education Support Specialist
Email: [email protected]

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