Aurora of Central New York

General Information

Aurora of Central New York
518 James Street, Suite 100
Syracuse, NY 13203
(315) 422 7263

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.


Debra Chaiken, Executive Director

Services Offered

  • 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

  • Information and Referral
    • Provides intake and referral services.

  • Low Vision Services
    • Provides low vision evaluation and follow-up. Prescribes and supplies low vision devices.

  • Professional Training
    • Provides training to professionals regarding issues related to vision loss.

  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • Provides training in skills of daily living.

  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Provides orientation and mobility training.

  • 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.

  • Support Groups
    • Provides support groups in Onondaga and Cayuga Counties for adults with visual impairments.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Offers braille instruction.