OPWDD emergency measures no longer in effect

Late Friday, July 2, OPWDD Commissioner Theodore R. Kastner issued the following letter stating guidance documents related to Visitation, Community Outings, Day Services and Staffing Management are no longer in effect. Revised guidance is linked below.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you know Governor Cuomo recently announced that the state of emergency that was in effect during the COVID-19 public health emergency has come to an end.  And while this does not mean that COVID-19 is no longer a threat, it does mean that many of the emergency measures issued by the state and its agencies, including OPWDD, are no longer in effect. It also means that many of the public health-related restrictions that were that were imposed to keep the people we support safe can finally be relaxed.

As of today, guidance documents related to Visitation, Community Outings, Day Services and Staffing Management are no longer in effect.

Below are two new guidance documents which are effective as of today:

Post State of Emergency COVID-19 Guidance for OPWDD Certified, Operated, and/or Funded Facilities and Programs

Revised Interim Guidance Regarding the Delivery of Services Through the Use of Telehealth Modalities by Facilities and Programs Certified or Operated by OPWDD During the COVID-19 Federal Public Health Emergency

We know that this has been an extremely difficult time for the people we support, and the family and staff who support them. Throughout the last year and a half, this agency has appreciated your patience, your advocacy, and your unwavering commitment. We look forward to partnering with you as we get back to the business of resuming many of the long-awaited activities that had to be put on hold during this crisis.


Theodore R. Kastner, M.D, M.S.

Study: Intensive Therapies help children with spastic CP

 In a landmark research study on eighty-two children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP) on one side of the body, researchers at Burke Neurological Institute, Teacher’s College-Columbia University, and Weill Cornell Medicine learned that two intensive training therapies improved hand and arm function, allowing children to learn new, long-term life skills regardless of how the injured brain had re-wired itself.

The study represents a significant breakthrough in the treatment of CP, the most common movement disability in childhood ( CP is caused by damage to the developing brain before, during or shortly after birth. It affects a person’s ability to control his or her muscles and often leads to impairments in mobility or movement. In children with unilateral spastic CP, one side of the body is most affected.

The study focused on children who received either HABIT (Hand-Arm Bimanual Intensive Training) or CIMT (constraint-induced movement therapy), two upper body therapy techniques that have been found to be effective in teaching new skills to children who have CP. The therapies were given by trained therapy teams during a ninety hour, three-week long “day camp” setting (six hours per day, five days per week). The study demonstrated that both intensive therapies can lead to long-term improvements in hand and arm function in children with CP, regardless of how each child’s brain was wired.

Thirteen-year-old Allie Fowler of Chester, PA, participated in the study when she was nine years old. She was born with CP that affects movement on the right side of her body. “Hand camp was so much fun, and my hand got a lot stronger,” Allie recalled. “Even when things got hard, I kept trying because I knew that this research would help other kids with CP around the world.”
Allie’s mom, Danielle Fowler, also recalled Allie’s progress. “It was amazing to see my daughter’s hand function improve so dramatically during the trial, especially after her progress had plateaued in a traditional occupational therapy program. She was able to master some tasks that she had previously struggled with, and she had a lot of fun while doing it.”
This clinical trial arose from nearly two decades of work on intensive therapies, led by Dr. Andrew Gordon at Teachers College-Columbia University where the treatments were conducted. “Early studies suggested that some children were less likely to benefit from intensive rehabilitation, depending on how their brains had reorganized. This new study proves that assumption wrong,” Dr. Gordon stated.
“The research showed us that the motor system exhibits an extraordinary capacity to adapt,” stated Kathleen Friel, Ph.D., the lab director overseeing the study at Burke Neurological Institute. “We were pleased to finally acquire hard data showing that intensive hand therapies improve a child’s ability to move, play, learn and progress, no matter which type of brain connectivity pattern they had.” Friel, who has CP herself, also noted that the children retained most of their new therapeutic skills six months after the trial.The clinical trial was funded by a grant from the NIH. The complete research was published in the May 2021 issue of Frontiers in Neurology, Volume 12, Article 660780. The full text can also be found on PubMed.

About Burke Neurological Institute (
The Burke Neurological Institute (White Plains, NY) is a non-profit research institute focused solely on the discovery of treatments that repair neurological disability caused by stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and retinal degeneration diseases. The Institute is an academic affiliate of Weill Cornell Medicine and collaborates with leading neuroscientists world-wide to transform groundbreaking research into treatments that help people walk, talk, see and remember again.
For More Information:

Contact: Christine E. Hughes, VP of Advancement, Burke Neurological Institute

Phone: (914) 368-3142 | Email: | Website:


Contact: Kathleen Friel, Ph.D, Lab Director, Burke Neurological Institute

Phone: (914) 368-3116 | Email:  | Website:


Contact:  Andrew M. Gordon, Ph.D., Professor of Movement Science and Neuroscience & Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Phone: (212) 678-3326 | Email: | Website:

Governor Cuomo announces end of Temporary Disaster Emergency

Governor Cuomo announced at his press briefing today that the Temporary Disaster Emergency established by Executive Order 202 and subsequent Executive Orders issued in response to the COVID-19 crisis will end effective tomorrow, June 24. This will end the suspensions and modifications of law, and all directives contained in the Executive Orders relating to the State’s Disaster Emergency.
The interim guidance issued by OPWDD and the COVID-19 reporting requirements are not dependent upon the continuation of the state of emergency, and remain in place for the time being. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance requiring masks for unvaccinated individuals, and for all individuals on public transportation and certain other settings also remains in place.
We recognize there will be many questions regarding shifting guidance for our field moving forward. We are seeking clarity on these changes, and will update you as soon as possible. In the meantime, we advise all Affiliates to adhere to the current OPWDD guidance and follow their existing COVID-19 protocols and procedures.

NYDA Workforce Summit draws hundreds

More than 650 people joined key stakeholders from government and provider agencies at NYDA’s Workforce Crisis Summit today.

We discussed the recruitment and retention challenges providers throughout the state are facing, as well as proposed solutions.

Click on the video thumbnail if you’d like to view the summit and feel free to share with your supporters.

CP Nassau kicks off Health and Wellness Campaign

Sharon Rothstein, Director of the Adult Day Services Program at CP Nassau greets Hap P. Waterdrop! As a committee member, Sharon is truly convinced of the benefits of water and took part in the survey on day one!

CP Nassau’s new Health and Wellness program, Wellness on the MOVE! is being implemented to help our staff and participants adopt and maintain healthy behaviors to improve overall health. This is especially important as we see light at the end of the COVID tunnel and everyone can benefit from some self-care!

A committee formed of staff volunteers has been doing lots of research and discovered the benefits of HYDRATION are so amazing that the group decided to put the starting focus there!  Being properly hydrated allows our circulation to carry nutrients effectively to our body’s cells. As a result, hydration has a myriad of terrific benefits. Hap P. Waterdrop is the campaign mascot who, along with a Star Wars Storm Trooper, greeted people around the CP Nassau headquarters and encouraged all to participate in a survey that was custom designed to assess the level of interest in improving health and wellness among staff. Everyone who completes the survey receives a unique “Wellness on the MOVE” water bottle and is entered in a raffle to win $500!  So far, there is a great level of enthusiasm for this exciting new effort that is just the start of getting all at CP Nassau to be their best self!

CP Annual Conference is back in person!

We’re offering workshops, educational sessions, and meetings on issues important to people with disabilities, their families and the people and organizations that provide supports and services. There will also be a chance to honor, recognize and thank staff, individuals, and organizations for their contributions to the field of developmental disabilities.

Join us in-person on October 25-27 for this year’s Annual Conference at the Saratoga Hilton Hotel in Saratoga Springs!

Click on the image below to view or download the conference brochure.

Of course, health and safety protocols will be in place at the venue (click here for more information) and some virtual sessions will also be offered that week.

In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact Angela Anderson at

Choose the registration package that’s right for you!














Want to relive the glory that was the 2020 Annual Conference?
Click on the banners below to view session details and watch video of that session.

HR Conference is back this September 14-15. Register now!

Early registration deadline is June 10
CP State is proud to announce the return of the 4th Annual Human Resources Professionals Conference for the Disability Provider Community on September 14-15, 2021 at our traditional location, the Embassy Suites!
This two-day conference will feature HR subject matter experts who will discuss trending topics ranging from cultural diversity to recruiting in the current employment market. Rich Landau, a principal with Jackson Lewis, will join us once again as the Opening Session Speaker. A dynamic presenter, Rich has a wealth of practical knowledge about current labor and employment law practice. These information-packed sessions will also provide informal time to catch up with peers.
Register now and take advantage of the Early Registration Fee option!
Early Registration deadline is June 10.
Final Registration deadline is September 6.

NY passes 16 million vaccinated


·       Test Results Reported: 165,597

·       Total Positive: 2,463

·       Statewide Positivity: 1.49% – Lowest since October 28th

·       Statewide seven-day average positivity: 1.71% – Lowest since November 4th

·       Patient Hospitalization: 2,458 (-115) – Lowest since November 21st

·       Number ICU: 610 (-15) – Lowest since November 24th

·       Number ICU with Intubation: 379 (-2) – Lowest since December 2nd

·       Deaths: 31

·       Total Deaths: 42,161

·       Regional Seven-Day Average Positivity Rates:

·       Capital Region: 1.49%

·       Central New York: 1.51%

·       Finger Lakes: 2.84%

·       Long Island: 1.67%

·       Mid-Hudson: 1.71%

·       Mohawk Valley: 1.44%

·       New York City: 1.61%

·       North Country: 2.09%

·       Southern Tier: 0.75%

·       Western New York: 3.12%

·       COVID-19 UPDATE: While regional disparities in the positivity rate remain, overall, the statewide positivity is low and trending downward. Additionally, the number of vaccinated New Yorkers continues to rise.

·       VACCINE: New York has administered over 16 million vaccine doses. Over 9 million New Yorkers have received at least one dose and over 7 million New Yorkers are fully vaccinated (45% of the eligible population). Governor Cuomo reiterated his concern that the number of vaccinations being administered is starting to slow. The State is focused on vaccinating young people and convincing hesitant individuals.

·       BROADWAY: The Governor announced that tickets for Broadway shows will go on sale at 100% capacity starting tomorrow, May 6th. Shows will open on September 14th.

·       In response to a question from a reporter, Budget Director Robert Mujica stated that dozens of shows are preparing to open in September. Tickets will go on sale for shows on a rolling basis. As September approaches, the State will monitor progress and make a determination on requiring attendees to be vaccinated. Governor Cuomo added that venues have the authority to restrict ticketing to only vaccinated individuals, which will act as an incentive to get vaccinated.

·       PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL: Beginning May 19th, vaccinated individuals are able to attend professional baseball games statewide (including minor-league games) in sections with 100% capacity provided mask wearing is adhered to. Children under 16 years old are able to accompany vaccinated adults to the games in these sections. Unvaccinated individuals will be seated in sections capped at 33% capacity, and six-foot distancing rules will apply with mask wearing. Governor Cuomo said the testing requirement for attendees will be eliminated.

·       The New York Mets and New York Yankees will partner with the NYS Department of Health to provide vaccinations to attendees and as an incentive, provide them with a free ticket. Individuals who take advantage of the vaccination program will receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, so no follow up appointment will be required.