A Very Special Place, Inc. was established in 1974 as a not-for-profit corporation to provide services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A developmental disability is a condition that is generally attributed to intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, neurological impairment or autism. It may also include other conditions that cause similar impairments.
Those who utilize our supports and services must be residents of New York, are of all ages and reflect the socioeconomic, racial, ethnic and religious diversity found throughout the region. They range in physical and cognitive abilities from individuals who live and work independently with minimal guidance to those who may require continual care.
Today more than 1,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities utilize the array of programs and services offered at A Very Special Place, Inc. Most of the individuals who participate in our services reside on Staten Island, a borough of New York City.
About our Name
When the Willowbrook State School was being closed down as a result of the Willowbrook Consent Decree, many of the residents were being relocated to other settings throughout the state. It was a difficult time of transition for everyone there (residents and staff alike).
Since most of the residents were facing completely unknown life outside of their institutional setting, it was a period of enormous anxiety for them. To prepare them for their transition to a new life, staff would talk to them about how they were going to live in a place all their own when they moved away - a true home with their own rooms and privacy whenever they wanted it. It would be a special place for them to live.
One of the residents, after giving this possiblity a good deal of thought, pronounced that she wasn't simply going to a special place. "No," she said, "it's going to be a very special place because it's mine".
When the time came to choose a name for the new agency, it was clear that calling it A Very Special Place was a perfect fit. Our Agency has been established to provide "a very special place" in our community for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.