In 1976, a group of parents of Autistic adolescents came together to organize Special Citizens as a nonprofit organization. The organization began as a vehicle to advocate for ongoing adult programs for their children who had aged out of Special Education services with very little options for long-term housing or day programming.
The group of parents began their journey in 1977. Upon approval of a three-year grant from the then OMRDD, Special Citizens opened its first group home in Westchester (Cortlandt Intermediate Care Facility) on December 7, 1981.
We are committed to the development and delivery of a comprehensive, integrated system of services, which has as its primary purpose the promotion and attainment of independence, inclusion, individuality and productivity for adults and children with Autism.
Special Citizens has a workforce of over 200 employees supporting over 300 people with Autism Spectrum Disorders throughout New York City, The Bronx and Westchester County.
Special Citizens provides the following services:
Residential (Individual Residential Alternatives and Intermediate Care Facilities)
Day Habilitation (Site and Community Based Day Options)
Medicaid Service Coordination
Therapeutic Surf Camp for Children with Autism
Born in 1970, John Hartman is a lifelong resident of Manhattan. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2007. In 2013 he began attending the Pure Vision Arts studio.
John is a multi-faceted artist. He enjoys drawing and painting landscapes, animals and abstract pieces, but his main passion is woodcarving. John was introduced to the craft at the age of eleven, in wood shop at The Rudolph Steiner School. He began by crafting a cherrywood flour scoop. Instantly drawn to the medium, he slowly started teaching himself how to make more complicated objects.
Collecting rare woods from around the world such as ebony, zebra wood, Philippine mahogany and bloodwood, John now spends hours in the studio and at home carving, whittling, sanding and polishing each piece. Inspired by visits to Fire Island, his subjects often reference sea creatures and birds. Starfish, geese, walruses, herons, pelicans and penguins are among his many subjects. On occasion he mounts his carvings on wall plaques, while other pieces stand alone. Intricate miniature renderings of seahorses or clam shells become earrings or necklaces. Household items such as letter openers, paper weights and shoe horns are also part of his collection, all a labor of love.
When he is not making art, John is a talented clarinet player and a passionate golfer. He also has a vast collection of favorite objects including rare marbles and coins.
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