Specific Disabilities



AD/HD is a diagnosis applied to children and adults who consistently display certain characteristic behaviors over a period of time. The most common features include: distractibility (poor sustained attention to tasks) , impulsivity (impaired impulse control and delay of gratification) and hyperactivity (excessive activity and physical restlessness). 




National Attention Deficit Disorder Association  (www.add.org)


:Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) (www.chadd.org ) contains informative articles and the latest attention deficit hyperactivity disorder information.


Attitude Magazine (www.attitudemag.com) offers  information for children and adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.



While there are no local CHADD groups in our Diocese, CHADD does offer  e-communities  to encourage open, useful exchange of information for and by people affected by AD/HD. For more information, click here (http://www.chadd.org/Content/CHADD/Support/OnlineCommunitiesGuidelines/default.htm)


Support Groups


Adult AD/HD Local  Support Group meets at 4640 Main Street in  Synder For more information, call 716-829-2244 ext. 35

Support group for parents of children with AD/HD and adults with AD/HD meets on Tuesdays from 7 to 9pm in the Orchard Park Library, 4570 South Buffalo Road. For more information, contact Danille Tabone at 667-3411

Chautauqua County support group for AD/HD, Autism held at 1 Park Place, Suite 248 in Fredonia.  For more information, call (716) 679-1601.





ALZHEIMZER’S is a brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. It can occur as young as age 35. currently, Alzheimer’s is  the 7th leading cause of death in the country. 5.3 million Americans live with Alzheimer's disease



Alzheimer's Association(www.alz.org) is the leading voluntary health organization for Alzheimer's disease information and support, provides resources on diagnosis, treatment and research for people living with Alzheimer's, their family members, caregivers, medical professionals and researchers.

Helpline ( (1-800-272-3900) offers confidential care consultation provided by master's level clinicians, who can help with decision-making support, crisis assistance and education on issues families face every day.



The Alzheimer’s Association of Western New York  (www.alz.org/wny) offers information, a monthly e-newsletter, workshops   For more information, call 716-626-0600

Support Groups

The WNY Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association offers several support groups, including specialized groups for men, couples, daughters, wives and caregivers. Support groups are offered in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee and Niagara County. Link to a complete listing here (http://www.alz.org/wny/in_my_community_support.asp)



Download 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease (http://www.alz.org/national/documents/brochure_10warnsigns.pdf)

Download  10 ways to help a family




Autism occurs when a child has difficulties in social interaction and understanding, language skills and repetitive behavior or interests evident before the age of three.


Autism Society of America ( www.autism-society.org)  offers information and resources

International Collaborative Autism Network (ICAN) (www.autismnetwork.org) offers online instructional modules on autism spectrum disorders

National Professional Development Center on Autism offers internet modules to increase our understanding of the disability at http://autismpdc.fdg.unc.edu/

Asperger syndrome (www.aspergerssyndrome.org )a single resource for families, individuals, and medical professionals who deal with the challenges of Asperger Syndrome, Autism, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder / Not Otherwise Specified


Autistic Services (www.autisticservices.com) defines its purpose to help the autism community build bridges to the world around them.

Canisius College and Summit Educational resources (www.wnycenterforautism.org ) offers conferences, library, research and facts sheets.

Support groups

Asperger’s disorder support group meet the first Monday of each month at 150 Stahl  Road in Getzville, NY 14068 from 7 to 8:30pm. Contct Mary Pat Sperrazza at 629-3445.

High Functioning Autism/Asperger’s Support Group meets on the third Thursday of each month at Autistic Services at 444 Bryant Stratton Way in Williamsville. Contact Veronica@autisticservices.org


Niagara County family support group. Call (716 ) 825-1353/

Parents and caregivers of children with Autism support group meets monthly from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at Parent Network, 1000 Main Street, Buffalo, 14202. Next meetings: November 10, 2010 and December 8, 2010.

Southtowns parent support group meets on the third Wednesday of each

month at Chapel Park Villa Head Start at 7pm. E-mail Gail at duffinthelake@aol.com or call 947-0085.

Download Home Play Space for Autism

Download Autism at Mass

Download The Puzzle of Autism

Download Practical Suggestions


Eucharistic Prayer Service(link to description on ministry page)




Celiac Disease is an inherited autoimmune condition that affects 1 out of 133 people.  The disease causes the body to attack the lining of the small intestine as well as other organs. Damage is triggered by exposure to certain proteins, commonly called gluten that is found in grains. 


Canon law states that the host must be made of wheat and water and contain no foreign materials or impurities.  Catholic with celiac can use the approved low-gluten wafers.


The Catholic Celiac Society (www.catholicceliacs.org)  has a three-fold mission to educate Catholic celiacs about their options for Holy Communion as provided for by Canon Law and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; to inform Catholic clergy and lay ministers about the special needs of Catholic celiacs in their dioceses and parishes; and to reconcile those Catholic celiacs who have left the Church through lack of understanding, exclusion from the Eucharist, and isolation from their church community



Download Celiac Disease





Central Auditory Processing is a  perceptual or cognitive inefficiency or delay in perceiving, processing, organizing or responding to what is heard. It refers to the speed and effectiveness with which a child can process the spoken word. This disorder effects about 5% of all school age children.


National Coalition of Auditory Processing Disorders (www.ncapd.org) offers explanation, treatment and resources.


Download Helpful Tips


CEREBRAL PALSY is a group of conditions usually caused by brain injury at birth that result in limited or abnormal functioning in parts of the brain that control movement.  People with CP primarily have difficulties with muscular coordination.



United Cerebral Palsy (www.mychildwithoutlimits.org) provides information and resources on early intervention, treatment options , education planning  and  family support.



Aspire of Western New York (www.aspirewny.org) has a  mission to help children and adults with developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, and conditions with similar personal and family effects live their lives to the fullest in keeping with their informed choices.






National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry (www.NAFIM.org)  is a national group that supports inclusion of persons with developmental disabilities into the Catholic Church


Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (www.ddawny.org) is  a collaborative group of member voluntary agencies that provide services to people with developmental disabilities. While honoring individual agency missions, it is the intent of the Alliance to assist agencies to develop relationships, promote unified strategies and share risks for the mutual gain with and for the benefit of people with developmental disabilities.


Test what you know about Developmental Disabilities  with a trivia Quiz at http://bethesdalutherancommunities.org/youth/gamesActivities/trivia/





Down Syndrome occurs when an individual has three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. One in every 733 babies is born with Down syndrome.


National Down Syndrome Society (www.ndss.org)


Down Syndrome Parent Group of Western New York(www.dspgwny.org )


Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. People  with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words


International Dyslexia Association (IDA) (www.interdys.org) promotes effective teaching approaches and other interventions for people with dyslexia.



Support groups



Download Youth with dyslexia





Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy. A seizure happens when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain. One in 10 adults will have a seizure sometime during their life.

Epilepsy Foundation of America (www.epilepsyfoundation.org) provides

general information, research, and advocacy services for individuals with epilepsy






Assistive Hearing Devices An ALD(assistive learning device) is a device that picks up sound (voice, music, etc.) at or close to its source, amplifies the sound, and delivers it to the user’s ear. An ALD has advantages over conventional amplifications systems. Because the signal to be listened to is the only sound picked up by the system and transmitted directly into the user’s ear, the person’s perception of that sound is significantly improved because the user is not distracted by outside sound and can usually control the volume. ALDs can improve interpersonal communication in meetings and other forms of public assembly.The various types of Assistive Listening Devices are: Audio Loop systems, infrared systems and FM systems. The various types of Amplification Devices are: Telephone adapter, handset adapter, Portable amplifiers and permanent Amplifiers.

New York Relay Service: A hearing or speech impaired person with a TTY calls the New York Relay Service by dialing 1-800-662-1220 and asks the Communication Asssitant to connect them with the person with whom they wish to communicate. A NY Relay Service Communication Assistant receives and responds to the typed TDD message, phones the other person with whom the caller wishes to communicate, and relays the conversation back and forth. A person with a regular phone answers and picks up the line of communication with the calling party through the Communication Assistant at the NY Relay Service. The System also works in reverse when a caller with a regular telephone wishes to communicate with a hearing or speech-impaired person across New York State or across the Country. Dial 1-800-421-1220 (voice). People who experience a haring loss may communicate with spoken language or through sign language. People in the Deaf Community use the American Sign Language as their form of Communication.

ICDA (Visit www.icda-us.org (must have JAVA to access) or www.deafmissions.com). International Catholic Deaf Association is a movement of communion among people from various countries brought together by the Holy Spirit out of a common conviction that Deaf persons are called to the fullness of life in Christ’s body which is the Church.


The National Catholic Office for the Deaf - NCOD ( www.ncod.org)   spreads God’s message through the support of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Pastoral Ministry so that we may all be one in Christ.  Call TTY (301) 587-7992

ASL Pro ( www.aslpro.com)  is a completely free online American Sign Language educational resource website featuring over 11000 ASL Signs.

Download Communicating through Hearing Loss




A learning disability is a neurological disorder that affects the brain's ability to receive, process, store, and respond to information.   It can affect the ability to read, write, speak, or compute math and can impair one's ability to build social relationships


National Center for Learning Disabilities (www.ncld.org)

LD Online (www.ldonline.org) is a place to learn, find help, and exchange ideas:


Learning Disabilities Association of WNY (www.ldaofwny.org)

Support group

Adults with LD support group meets monthly at 2355 Elmwood Avenue ion Kenmore. For more information, call (716) 284-2452.

Parents of children with nonverbal LD meets at the Jewish Community Center at 2640 N. Forest Road in Getzville. For more information, e-mail kaefe1313@aol.com



As defined by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, mental illness is a group of disorders causing severe disturbances in thinking, feeling and relating which diminishes one’s ability to cope with normal demands.


Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that begins with forgetfulness that is severe enough to effect work, lifelong hobbies  or social life. Symptoms progress to confusion, trouble with organizing and expressing thoughts, misplacing things, getting lost in familiar places, and changes in personality and behavior.


Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org)


WNY Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org/wny) offers local


Bipolar disorder is characterized by manic depression, a strong genetic disease which moves from hyperactivity and euphoria to intensely irritable.


Major Clinical Depression symptoms include: persistent sad or empty feeling; feeling helpless, worthless, pessimistic or guilty; fatigue or loss of interst in common activities; disturbances in eating and sleeping; crying, anxiety and panic attacks; difficulty concentrating, remembering ot making decisions; thoughts, plans or attempts of suicide, persistent physical symptoms or pains that won’t respond to treatment.


Schizophrenia is a group of disorders marked by delusions, hallucinations and disorganized thinking.  Connections with what is going on within a person and what is happening in the outside world seem to be split apart.


For more information, go to www.schizophrenia.com


National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org) offers

support, education, advocacy, and research regarding mental illnesses

National Mental Health Association (www,nmha.org) -National advocacy, education, research, and service related to mental health.



Download Aging and Mental Health

Download Coping with the Holidays

Download Mental Disabilities What is what?

Download Mental Illness

Download Persons with Mental Illness

Download What would I do?


Baker Victory Services

Monsignor Carr Institute

Catholic Charitites Community Outreach Treatment Team

Catholic Charities Creative edge Studio

Catholic Charities Children’s Mental Health Clinics

Catholic Charities Salamanca Clubhouse

Catholic Therapists


Persons with mental illness or may find the traditional Sunday mass setting too crowded, long or confining. An alternative could be to attend a week day or evening mass.


A Eucharistic Service for recipients of mental health services and care givers is is held the Second Friday of each month at 7pm at St. Joseph University Chapel at 3275 Main Street in Buffalo. This twenty minute service is designed for those feel more comfortable in a less confining, less populated and shorter service. For more information, contact Sister Jeremy Midura at 833-0298








 Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (www.msfacts.org)


National Multiple Sclerosis Society (ww.nmss.org) -

Information, news, and educational programs related to MS.





Muscular Dystrophy Association (www.mdausa.org.mdahome.html)




My Child, My Gift: A Positive Response to Serious Prenatal Diagnosis

 (www.mychildmygift.com) is a book by Madeline Nugent, important for physicians and others in the medical profession—they can learn much from the powerful, true stories included in this book




Download Invisible Wounds of War



Spina bifida is a neural tube defect and  the most frequently occurring permanently disabling birth defect. It is the incomplete formation of the spine and spinal cord, which is thought to occur before the 28th day after conception. This defect affects approximately one out of every 1,000 newborns in the United States. Approximately, 40% of all Americans may have spina bifida and may not ever know they have the defect.



Spina Bifidia Association (www.sbawny.org) enhance the lives of individuals and families affected by spina bifida in the eight-county Western New York community by providing education, information, social support, recreation and advocacy services and linkages to other relevant service providers.


Support group

Parent and family support group meets monthly at the Northwoods Medical Center on Robinson Road in Amherst. For more information, call (716) 446-5595.




Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder which becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence between the ages of 2 and 15. Tourette syndrome is defined by multiple motor and vocal tics lasting for more than one year.


Tourette Syndrome Association (www.tsa-usa.org)


Tourette Syndrome Association Greater NY State Chapter (www.tsa-gnys.org) offers supports groups for adults with TS, parents of children with TS and children with TS.

Support group

 WNY group For more information call, 716-839-4430.






Traumatic Brain Injury is caused by an injury to the brain and central nervous system that considerably limits a person’s development, understanding, memory, attention span, fine muscle control, use of language or ability to adjust to new situations.



Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) (www.biausa.org) provides Information and resources on brain injury prevention, research, education and advocacy

LEARNet (www.projectlearnet.org) is a problem solving system and resource website for parents, teachers and clinicians designed to help identify useful procedures for helping students with brain injury. The website contains many tutorials, video tutorials, parent specific pages, kid specific pages and teacher specific pages which provide useful information on brain injury and strategies.


Support groups

Peer support groups for mild to moderate injury meet every Monday at 7pm at 856 Ridge Road.

Family and Caregiver support group meets the first Tuesday of the month from 6:30 to 8pm at 856 Ridge Road.

Neonatal brain injury support offered by Parents’ Link, For more information, call (716) 774-0027.

Southtowns family Support Group meets the first Wednesday of the month at 6:30 pm at the Sterling Medical Center, 20o Sterling Drive in Orchard Park.  For more information, call (716) 824-1761 after 4pm.

TBI clubhouse, a social gathering, meets the first and third Tuesday at 6pm at Aspire, 7 Community Drive in Cheektowaga.


Download Traumatic Brain Injury




Persons with visual impairments may require large print or Braille items. This service is provided free by The Xavier Society for the Blind, a National Catholic organization that serves visually impaired and print-disabled persons in the United States and Canada.  It provides free spiritual material in the form of Braille, large print, and audio tape.  For more information call 1-212-473-7800.


http://www.directionsforme.org/ is a great website with useful directions on how to use common medications, appliances, prepare food items, and many other directions. It must have taken an awful lot of time and work to get this all together.



Download Vision Loss



National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (www.nichcy.org) offers information sheets on specific disabilities .Go to disabilities, specific disabilities. Available in Spanish.