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July 28, 2021

This Disability Pride Month, New York State Office for New Americans Announces the Publication of Voyage to Help Families Learn About Children’s Growth and Identify Signs of Disabilities Early

The ONA Ramirez June Initiative Developed a Free, Multilingual Resource to Help New American Families 

Voyage Helps Families Identify Signs of Disabilities and Get Help Early   

Created in Partnership with NYActs and the Act Early Ambassadors to the CDC

In recognition of Disability Pride Month and the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the New York State Office for New Americans (ONA) today announced the publication and distribution of Voyage, a free multi-lingual resource book designed to help new American families celebrate their children’s growth and development, identify the signs of disabilities and get help and support for their children early if they need it. This book was developed by the ONA Ramirez June Initiative to support new American families with young children.

The 48-page resource book, which was created in collaboration with NYActs and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Act Early Ambassadors to New York, includes detailed information about the developmental milestones children reach as they grow from birth to 5 years old. The culturally responsive content gives professional and detailed information about what to expect in children’s physical, mental, and social development, and shares the recommended ages for children’s developmental and autism screenings in different languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Bengali, Haitian Creole, and Korean. The book will be distributed through ONA network grantees, multicultural agencies, and to new Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families.

Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The well-being of our children is the most important thing for us as society and having tools like this book will assist many families in meeting the needs of their children. COVID-19 increased the challenges new American families face, and the development of Voyage will help connect these families with resources available in New York State. The ONA Ramirez June Initiative did a terrific job in creating Voyage to provide parents with the tools to track their children’s growth, get help early when needed and celebrate their progress. Kudos to this innovative way to help new Americans and their families.”

Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Theodore A. Kastner said, “The Ramirez June Developmental Disabilities Navigator Initiative has been helping people with developmental disabilities who are new to this country and our state. They have been able to get the assistance they need over the past two years, and we are proud to continue our participation in this initiative, which is an extension of OPWDD’s goal of improving diversity, equity and inclusion in our system of supports. The launch of the free multi-lingual resource book Voyage will further assist new American families in early identification of developmental disabilities in their children, and will help them to access the services they need to help them thrive in their new communities.” 

NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council Acting Executive Director Vicky Hiffa said, “We know that connecting children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) with early intervention services in the early years of their lives ensures better health outcomes over their lifetime. This book is one tool to assist families in making that happen. The NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) is happy to support both the creation of this book and the ongoing work of the ONA Ramirez June initiative.”

CDC Act Early Ambassador to New York State Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician Dr. Romina Barrios said, “As a CDC LTSAE Ambassador for New York State, one of my roles is to promote the integration of the LTSAE resources with the focus to engage, educate and empower parents and other caregivers to learn and to monitor their child’s development.  It has been a truly rewarding experience to have been part of the development of Voyage. The ONA Ramirez June Initiative did an amazing job in creating the Voyage, a wonderful, culturally sensitive tool, that gives the parents the opportunity to track their child’s development, celebrate their child’s developmental progress, and also the knowledge to act early if there is a concern.” 

In its third year, the ONA Ramirez June Initiative is continuing its mission to support new Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families in New York State. In partnership with the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC), the ONA Ramirez June Initiative builds capacity through engaging new American communities, providing technical assistance for service providers, and collecting data about the strengths, challenges, and unmet needs of new Americans with I/DD and their families.

Attention to the diverse needs of a population that faces many unique challenges is growing as cross-system partners, including the State, and members of disability communities work together to find solutions which ensure equitable access to services, making New York even more welcoming for new Americans with I/DD and their families. The ONA Ramirez June Initiative will continue to grow, strengthen partnerships, and conduct multi-lingual outreach using resources like Voyage to meet the needs of the new American disability community. 

For more information on how to obtain a copy of Voyage in your desired language please contact the ONA hotline at 1-800-566-7636. Information and materials about the Ramirez June Initiative can be found here.

The NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council enhances the lives of New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) by piloting innovative ideas and culturally competent programs that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, and inclusion in all facets of community life. For more information, you can call 1-800-395-3372, visit 
https://ddpc.ny.gov or contact them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nysddpc/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/NYSDDPC or YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC434PMBzn2yiAlWyKG8TVig.

The New York State Office for New Americans, founded in 2012, is the nation’s first statutorily created immigrant services office. ONA assists all new Americans with accessing and navigating a variety of free services and support through its statewide network of community-based providers.

For any immigrant in need of assistance, or to connect with ONA’s programs, call the New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. All calls are confidential. Assistance is available in over 200 languages. For more information, visit https://dos.ny.gov/office-new-americans or follow ONA on Twitter at @NYSNewAmericans or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYSNewAmericans.





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