Aurora of Central New York - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

Aurora of Central New York
518 James Street, Suite 100
Syracuse, NY 13203
(315) 422-7263 (Local)
(315) 422-4792 (Fax)
(315) 422-9746 (TDD/TTY)

Brief Description

AURORA was established in 1991 through the merger of the Syracuse Association for the Blind (the Lighthouse, established in 1917) and Central New York Association for the Hearing Impaired, founded in 1976. It is the only Upstate New York-area non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting independence and opportunity for individuals who are experiencing a sensory loss. To that end, a full range of rehabilitative and support services are provided by professional and competent staff members who are specialists in their field.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 AM-4:30 PM.
Clients served on average per year: 1,400
Number of staff: 51
Staff description: Aurora's staff includes professionals in the field of blindness and deafness rehabilitation, (including cultural and linguistic perspectives), social work and employment services.
Geographic area served: Onondaga, Oswego, Cayuga, northern Cortland, and Jefferson Counties. Early Intervention Services are also provided in Tompkins County.
Publications: "Dawnings" newsletter published three times a year


Debra Chaiken, Executive Director

Services Offered

Services for Adults

  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Offers braille instruction.
  • Business/Personal Services
    • Assists older adults with visual impairments with shopping, reading, transportation and other activities through our Volunteer Program.
  • Community Outreach Programs
    • Identifies older individuals with severe vision loss, provides information and referral services, and other means of assistance, and assists them in applying for all appropriate programs and services.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • Provides evaluation and training for individuals who are legally blind on assistive computer technology including speech, braille and large print hardware/software input/output devices
  • Counseling
    • Assists individuals and their families in developing coping skills to live safely and independently in the community
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Provides training in skills of daily living.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • In conjunction with National Industries for the Blind and the Syracuse VA Medical Center, hires qualified employees with visual impairments to staff the telephone switchboard at the VA Medical Center on a 24 hour, 7 day per week basis. In addition to answering the switchboard and directing calls, Aurora's employees are responsible for coordinating all hospital emergencies and dispatch functions. Provides training in skill building and career exploration and preparation.
  • Information and Referral
    • Provides intake and referral services.
  • Low Vision Services
    • Provides low vision evaluation and follow-up. Prescribes and supplies low vision devices.
  • Services for Seniors
    • Provides instruction in adaptive daily living skills and safe and independent travel. Offers low vision services and some low vision devices for individuals who are legally blind. Also offers outreach services to individuals with visual impairments as the need is identified. Referrals are accepted from individuals, family members, friends, other social service agencies, public programs and area ophthalmologists.
  • Support Groups
    • Provides support groups in Onondaga and Cayuga Counties for adults with visual impairments.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Provides orientation and mobility training.
  • Volunteer Services
    • Recruits, trains, places and supervises volunteers to assist individuals with sensory impairments with reading, friendly visiting, transportation to medical appointments, shopping and other chores.
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