ACLD's The Alan & Ellen Spiegel Children’s Center Opens to Serve Children with Special Needs

Long Island children with special needs recently joined ACLD executive for the grand opening and ribbon cutting of ACLD's new Alan and Ellen Spiegel Children's Center.

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Bay Shore, NY - June 25th, 2014 - Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities, Inc. (ACLD), a leading Long Island based not-for-profit agency providing services for children and adults with autism and developmental disabilities, hosted its grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of The Alan and Ellen Spiegel Children’s Center, at 67 Greenwood Road, Bay Shore, N.Y.  Highlights of the celebration included children from the Center singing and taking part in the ribbon-cutting event. Students from the pre-K program made handprints on a ribbon, symbolizing their joy and appreciation of the Center’s opening.

The Center will be the home of ACLD’s learning and recreation programs and services for children with autism and developmental disabilities, as well as for typical developing children and teens – across Long Island. In addition to pre-school, universal pre-K and after school programs, the Great South Bay YMCA will offer a Summer Recreation Program and Camp experience at the Center.

ACLD Executive Director Robert Goldsmith spoke about the opening of the Center, “The roots of The Alan and Ellen Spiegel Children’s Center date back to 1986 when the first ACLD pre-school classes started in Bay Shore.  Leadership in providing these important services expanded in 1990 when The Kramer Learning Center opened its doors.   The programs at the center thrived as demand for services continued to grow.  After receiving significant lead gift in 2010, the idea of expanding services and developing a Children’s Center in Bay Shore became a realistic goal.  With this generous and longtime support of Alan and Ellen Spiegel, the concept progressed, and today the Children’s Center offers a state-of-the-art learning and recreational environment to further serve children, teens, Bay Shore and other young people from across the Island.” 

“ACLD has been an integral part of the Bay Shore community for years, and the opening of The Alan and Ellen Spiegel Children’s Center is a further testament to the organization's dedication and commitment to our youth. This learning and recreational Center is an inspiration for all, and will enable ACLD to make a difference in people's lives for many years to come,” said New York State Senator Phil Boyle.

“It’s uplifting to see the vision of an organization become a reality, especially when we know it will improve the health and well-being of children who need and deserve professional and caring services in a quality learning environment.  I commend ACLD and all those who have been involved in the planning and construction of The Alan and Ellen Spiegel Children’s Center.  It stands as a fine example of what can be done to better serve children in an integrated environment, as well as their families living here on Long Island,” said New York State Assemblyman Joseph S. Saladino, Assembly District 9.

 “The Children’s Center will mean so much to families in our community.  This represents a tremendous milestone in ACLD’s history and is a tribute to the Spiegels, who have been extraordinary supporters of ACLD and its programs,” said ACLD’s Joseph Ortego, Esq., President of the ACLD Board of Trustees.

The increasing demand for programs and services dedicated to serving the developmentally disabled, particularly those with autism, led ACLD to purchase the 8.5-acre campus in the heart of Bay Shore back in 2007, with the intent to develop a Children’s Center for learning and recreation.  Now open to the public, a continuum of classes will be available and will concentrate on an individual’s potential, not on limitations. Programs include full day preschool, which will serve 115 pre-school children – 80 with developmental disabilities and 35 typically developing children, a universal pre-K/Head Start program and an after-school program to serve 50-60 school age children with developmental disabilities. 

The new campus also has the flexibility necessary to expand programs and provide even more specialized learning environments for children and teens.

ACLD partnered with Long Island Head Start, Great South Bay YMCA, the Deer Park School District and the Bay Shore School District to expand programs and services in Bay Shore and surrounding communities.

For more information about The Alan and Ellen Spiegel Children’s Center, contact Juliette Mckenna, Director of Development and Community Relations at (516) 822-0028, ext. 206 or For information about ACLD visit

About Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities, Inc.
Founded in 1957, the not-for-profit organization has served the needs of over 3,000 children, teens and adults with autism and developmental disabilities, and their families. ACLD’s mission is to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to pursue enviable lives, increase their independence and improve the quality of their lives in the community.  ACLD employs nearly 1,000 people and operates 74 different program sites across Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Service programs include early childhood services, day habilitation, residential alternatives, vocational training and job placement, recreation programs, family support services, Medicaid service coordination, and medical and behavioral health services.