Elizabeth W. Pouch Center for Special People

Elizabeth W. Pouch Center for Special People
Clinical Outpatient Services including Evaluation, Treatment and Referral for Children and Adults Believed to Have Developmental/Intellectual Challenges
657 Castleton Avenue, SI, NY 10301
Tel: 718-448-9775
Jayne A. Cooper, LCSW, MPA, Director
Clifford A. Mevs, MD, Medical Director
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9 am–5 pm
Tuesday & Thursday: 9 am–8 pm

The Elizabeth W. Pouch Center for Special People of the Staten Island Mental Health Society has been caring for infants, children, adolescents, and adults with special needs, and their families, since 1974. Comprehensive diagnostic evaluations, treatment programs, educational services, advocacy, networking, individual, family and group therapies, and other support services are offered to persons of all ages in a warm, caring atmosphere, where the acute expertise of the professional staff works in synergy with their compassion and humanity.

Programs and services are available to persons who are challenged with developmental disabilities, neurological impairments, learning delays, cerebral palsy, autism, pervasive developmental disorder, intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and other conditions, such as those resulting from fetal alcohol syndrome, chromosomal abnormalities, viral infections during pregnancy, etc.

The Pouch Center’s professional team includes a developmental pediatrician, a board-certified psychiatrist, psychologists, speech/language pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, and professional social workers. The team approach ensures that clients optimize their potentials and use their strengths to overcome their weaknesses, with the goal of raising the quality of their lives. Moreover, each professional works in full partnership with the client’s parents/family. Upon reaching a diagnosis, and after consultation with and input from family, the team provides a plan for the highest quality treatment, referral for treatment, or special education.

Training in Parenting Skills (TIPS)
Family Training for Parents with Developmental Disabilities
657 Castleton Avenue
West Brighton 10301
Tel: 718-448-9775

Families in which one or both parents are challenged by developmental disabilities are served by the Pouch Center’s unique TIPS program. TIPS parents meet together each week, led by a Pouch Center staff member, to discuss topics related to caring for themselves and their children. Issues include understanding their children’s development, advancing their social skills, learning constructive discipline strategies, and gaining their children’s love and respect. Hands-on workshops, such as cooking classes, also improve their homemaking skills. During meetings, the younger children engage in therapeutic recreational activities, while the older children participate in group counseling.

The TIPS families share recreational and social experiences during the year, and especially enjoy celebrating the holidays together. They develop deep bonds of friendship and trust. The TIPS program has taken them out of the social isolation that many had experienced, and has made them an “extended family.”

Early Childhood Programs (Integrated Preschool Classrooms)
Services for Preschoolers with Special Needs
Osgood Avenue
Head Start Center
16 Osgood Avenue
Stapleton 10304
Tel: 718-420-6138

Preschoolers with diagnosed developmental challenges, 3- to-5-years old, join their mainstream peers in two Integrated Preschool Classrooms. Each integrated setting of 10 special-needs children and 10 typically functioning peers is overseen by a Pouch Center special education teacher, a Head Start teacher, and two assistant teachers.

The program comprises a nationally recognized curriculum enriched by classroom computers and cultural resources. Moreover, special education and related on-site services, such as speech, physical and occupational therapies, and counseling, are provided for the children who require them.

The Integrated Classroom is a social and learning environment where the children interact with one another, stressing their similarities rather than their differences. Mingling with their mainstream peers gives the special-needs children a distinct advantage in developing the skills they need to enter elementary school. The efficacy of this approach is demonstrated by the fact that more than two-thirds of the children in the SIMHS’s Integrated Preschool Classrooms have been admitted to regular kindergarten classes.

Integrated Preschool Classrooms are partially funded by the NYS Education Department and the NYC Department of Education as an Article 4410 school. Head Start services are funded by the NYC Administration for Children’s Services.

SUCCESS (Support, Counseling, Conversation, Education, Socializing Skills) GROUP
657 Castleton Avenue
West Brighton 10301
Tel: 718-448-9775

SUCCESS is a specialized Pouch Center therapy group that brings together adults with mild developmental challenges to share their concerns and experiences under the guidance of a professional clinician.


Certification and Funding
The clinical and outpatient services of the Elizabeth W. Pouch Center for Special People are fully certified as an Article 16 clinic by the NYS Office of People with Developmental Disabilities. The Pouch Center receives partial funding from the Bureau of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.