Independent Living, Northern Regional Center for (NRCIL)

Address: 210 Court Street, Suite 210
Watertown,, NY 13601
Phone: (315) 785-8703 Fax: (315) 7858612 Website:

Northern Regional Center for Independent Living is a community-based disability rights and resource center. We were started in 1987 with a grant from the New York State Education Department, through the work of a grassroots group called Citizens United for the Removal of Barriers, (CURB), and the Disabled Persons Action Organization. We are now part of a network of 37 Independent Living Centers in New York State and over 450 Centers across the nation.

Our Mission
NRCIL is a disability rights and resource center that promotes community efforts to end discrimination, segregation, and prejudice against people with disabilities, by working with community partners to create an accessible, inclusive society. Through NRCIL, people discover choices to live more independently, with enhanced dignity.

Independent Living Program – Independent Living is controlling and directing your own life. It means knowing what choices are available, selecting what is right for the individual and taking responsibility for one's own actions. Independent living means being in charge of your life, creating a community where people with disabilities attain equality.

Information and Referral – Information on all resources, Referrals to community support services and agencies

Individual Advocacy- Assists individuals to access benefits, services, and programs, Assist in appeals processes, Develop Independent Living plans

Self-Help Groups – Current issues and concerns are discussed between peers, Provides a social network based on common experience, Share specific ways of coping from experience

Peer Counseling – Provided when an individual wants to talk to an advocate who is a peer, This advocate has personal experience with a specific disability

Education & Employment – Employment Center, Employment Counseling, Mock Interviews, Resume review, Employment Support Group, Job/Life Skills, Work History, Information and referral to local educational and vocational services, Job board is available at NRCIL

Benefits Assistance – Assists individuals with applications and hearings, Information on SSI & SSDI work incentives

Community Work Incentive Coordination – Information / Referral, Benefits Planning, Benefits Management, Problem Solving & Advocacy, Benefits Analysis

Mental Health Advocacy – Promote personal empowerment by assisting individuals in accessing information, Improving and developing skills and strengthening supports

Architectural Accessibility Consultation – NRCIL maintains materials on renovating or building accessible structures, Staff will visit a structure to determine accessibility and assist in design modifications on request

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Provide training and advocacy for individuals, businesses, and local government, Surveys on community accessibility,
Reasonable accommodations in the workplace

Housing Information – Assists individuals with disabilities in finding safe and affordable housing within our community

System Advocacy – Change legislation through action, Change community processes, Affect the outcomes of local, state, and national issues

NRCIL's Loan Closet – Adaptive equipment for short-term loan, Shower benches, Wheel chairs, Portable ramps, Walkers, Canes, & More

Parent Training Opportunities:
Special Education Parent Center (SEPC) – The mission of the SEPC is to provide parents of children with disabilities, and professionals who work with children with disabilities, information, trainings, resources, workshops, and strategies to promote advocacy and meaningful involvement with their children's education program. SEPC uses strength based and family specific training.

Technical Assistance Centers – NRCIL has recently been named by the New York State Education Department as one of 11 statewide Special Education Parent Technical Assistance Centers (TAC). These Centers will provide parents of children with disabilities with information, resources, and strategies to:

Promote their meaningful involvement in their children's education programs, including information regarding the special education process (referrals, individual evaluations and individualized education program development and transition planning)
Assist in understanding their children's disabilities
Promote early resolution of disputes between parents and school districts
Promote the use of resolution sessions and special education mediation
Assist in understanding procedural due process rights, including the right to impartial hearings and appeals and the State complaint process
Enhance parents' skills and levels of confidence to communicate effectively and work collaboratively with other schools and other stakeholders to advocate and actively participate in their children's education program

In order to promote the development of effective parental and family engagement statewide, the Parent Centers will:

Collaborate with public school districts on methods to facilitate positive parent involvement as a means of improving special education services and results for children with disabilities
Improve parent participation in the survey process to measure the percent of parents with a child receiving special education services who report that schools facilitated parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities
Assist NYSED to identify and promote effective practices for positive parental involvement in the special education process

Parent Training Program (PTIC) – The PTIC offers workshops and ongoing support to parents of children with disabilities. We help them become more effective advocates for their children, by providing them with the knowledge and skills to become more empowered. We also provide trainings and workshops to professionals and others who work with children with disabilities and their families. Direct Advocacy is also provided as needed.

Trainings Offered:
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) overview
Advocacy Training Program
Disability-Specific Workshops
Working with the School
Parents Rights
Policies, Procedures, and Referrals
Transition Planning
Many more….

Family Support Services – Family Support Services is an element of the community-based system of care for families of children with disabilities. Family Support Services at NRCIL consists of an array of formal and informal services with an emphasis on self-determination and family control. In this program, families work together to achieve a non-discriminating and embracing community for their children with disabilities.

Family Support emphasizes full parent participation in service planning and evaluation of services in the child's own home and community whenever possible. NRCIL advocates for flexibility and responsiveness from the formal service system. Family centered planning allows families to choose the services and goals which best meet their individual family needs. The components of this program combine to assist and empower families to reach these goals.

Included in supports are:
Parent & Youth Groups
Parents of children with disabilities meet other parents with similar issues
Youths with disabilities meet other youths facing similar issues
Discussion groups covering a variety of topics

Short-Term Planned Respite
Provides short breaks to assist in reducing or preventing stress for families of children with mental health disabilities
May be utilized to assist parents with activities that involve the entire family or to accompany a child to social and recreational activities

Family Advocacy
Advocates meet individually with parents
Assists parents in obtaining resources on child's disability and treatment options
Support parents through the special education process

Family Support Systems
Provides support for families whose children may be diagnosed with or suspected of having a disability

Family Support Program Model
Decisions are based on family preference, choice, and values
Families are the primary resource and decision makers
Families have accessibility to a flexible, affordable, individualized array of supports

Youth Advocacy, Leadership, and Empowerment
Assists youth with disabilities to set and achieve educational and vocational goals
Offers trainings on youth involvement in community services
Supports youths at school or agency meetings

Support Groups – NRCIL offers many ongoing support groups that you are welcome to join:
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Co-Occurring Disabilities-New!
Emotional / Behavioral
Employment Support & Preparation Network
Exceptional Parents, Exceptional Children
Love and Logic
Peers Together
Self Advocates
Systems Advocacy
Traumatic Brain Ingury Support Group (TBI)
Youth Advocacy Leadership & Empowerment


Please visit our website or Contact us for more information:

Staff Contacts


Was Your Child's CP Preventable?