Special Needs Community Perseveres During the Pandemic and More Stories On Staten Island

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.  — On this episode of the OnSI podcast… The special needs community is doing its best to persevere during an ongoing public health crisis that has presented many roadblocks for these families and the nonprofit programs they often rely on.

“One of the things about people with autism is that they like routines,” explained Joanne Gerenser, Ph.D., the Executive Director of Eden II, a North Shore organization that offers programs for children and adults on the autism spectrum. “Having their routines completely disrupted; no school, no school buses, no teachers… and then trying to figure out for many of them, how to get them engaged with these tablets, it was a challenge we had to overcome.”

Also this month, a long-standing borough business built on the closeness of its team dynamic, has bent over backwards to adhere to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, all while keeping spirits high.

“We’re just giving our athletes, girls and boys, the opportunity to have some normalcy, to get them out of the house, be active, and do what they love,” said Liz Bellini, the Owner of Staten Island Elite Cheerleaders on Victory Boulevard. “We are definitely doing things differently now than we’ve ever done before.”

Plus, this episode’s “Local Hero of the Month” is Denise Lipari, a local independent pharmacist based in Travis, who knows how important the pharmacist’s role, of supporting the health and wellness of the community, is during times of crisis.

OnSI is made possible with funding from Tom and Suzanne Crimmins, Owners of Tom Crimmins Realty, the Staten Island-based real estate firm that has made a name for itself for more than a decade as a local, independent, family-run business that knows the neighborhoods it serves.

Photo courtesy @jerseydronegirl