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2 WNY organizations helping people with disabilities are merging

The official transition will be completed early next year.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Two organizations that serve children and adults of all abilities in Western New York have announced they will be merging. 

Cantalician Center for Learning, Inc., and the Learning Disabilities Association of WNY are starting the process of merging, which will be completed early next year. 

“We are beyond excited to bring our two organizations together under one umbrella,” said Anne Spisiak, executive director of the Cantalician Center. “Our organizations have partnered together for many years and we share similar values and a long history of providing innovative community-based support. As a united network, our goal is to enhance the services we provide and reach even more people in need.”

“Like everything we do, this decision is being made, first and foremost, with the people we support in mind, and also with a mindful eye toward the future,” added Learning Disabilities Association Executive Director Marc Hennig. “We operate in a time when the prospect of federal and state funding cuts is always looming. By combining forces and concentrating our efforts, we will be better able to advance our shared commitment to strengthen the quality and range of supports we provide.”

The new organization will support about 750 individuals each year.

The Cantalician Center was founded in 1956 and served as a day school program for children with disabilities. The organization now offers services to people with developmental disabilities of all ages through its early childhood community services, school age, preschool and daycare services, as well as its day habilitation services, employment services, and contract sales through its division, Diversified Labor Solutions.

Learning Disabilities Association of WNY was started informally in 1965 when a grandmother formed a group with parents and children with learning disabilities to help her grandson. The group grew to 500 people in five years. The organization now provides support services for all eight counties of WNY.

Spisiak and Hennig will lead the new organization and plan to announce a new organization name and identity sometime in the next few weeks. The two organizations have already started working together in operational areas. 

“We are looking beyond the present,” Hennig continued. “How can we have the biggest impact on generations of Western New Yorkers who need our support? That’s our guiding principle and the same spirit that has helped our individual organizations continually grow and evolve throughout our respective histories.”

“Ultimately, it’s about people and service,” said Spisiak. “People depend on us and our commitment to them has never been stronger. At the same time, both organizations are incredibly fortunate to have passionate team members who are dedicated to serve. That is a strong foundation to build upon, for the next six decades and beyond.”

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