The mission of the parent corner is to remain engaged with parents, family members, legal guardians, advocates and friends as we support loved ones in partnership. We are driven by two basic principles: (1) integrity and (2) respect. We believe the supports must be designed around the person and with family members guiding and providing IRI with their understanding of what is best. We are committed to actively listen, to be flexible and to adhere to evidence-based practices.


Ana Koessler,

Chief Administrative Officer

718-805-6796 Ext. 3109

Sophia Lulgjuray, Director of Social Services and Community Engagement

718-805-6796 Ext 4107

Kenneth Jackson, Director of Residential Services

718-805-6796 Ext 1125

Alvin Horne, Assistant Director of Day and Employment Services


Cara Levy, Director of Speech and Community Services



1. Advocacy. We strongly believe that parents have played a central role in bringing changes to the way people with IDD are treated. We are also committed to hearing the voice and amplify the message that the people we support wish to transmit and to importantly translate these messages into actions that promote empowerment, independence and full citizenship.

2. Benefits Management. IRI has a team of entitlement specialists to ensure that every person we support is afforded all the benefits to which they are entitled. These benefits are critical to accessing the health care and support people with IDD need.

3. Placement. Over the years, we have been very creative in finding and creating homes that are conducive to aging in place, good living and reasonably comfortable. Similarly, our day services system is designed to provide opportunities for new experiences. It is built on the idea of being in the community, learning in the community, teaching the community are all part of dynamic living.

3. Conflict Management. This service is offered because we feel that families must have direct access to our executive staff; but more importantly to one executive whose job is to be the ombudsperson and with the authority to resolve any and all issues amongst families, people being supported and IRI.

4. legal Guardianship. Our team is well versed in the guardianship process and will provide guidance to those who seek to obtain legal guardianship. We, as an agency, do not take a position on whether or not legal guardianship is desirable.

5. Counseling. Our team include professionals with graduate degrees in social work and psychology whose expertise in family systems and counseling is an asset to anyone who may be facing emotional and or psychosocial difficulties

6. Intake. All intakes are handled by Sophia Lulgjuray, IRI’s Director of Social Services and Community Engagement. This allows for information sharing to be open and disciplined. We will be there with you during the entire process and beyond.

7. Transfers, Admissions, and Discharges. All transfers, admissions and discharges are executed by a senior member of the agency administration and in accordance with all applicable laws, regulations and guidance.

8. Circle of Support Meetings. These meetings are designed to focus on the solutions to presenting challenges, resolving past challenges and planning for the future. We believe the circle support meeting is the anchor to all planning and we want everyone to be fully engaged.

Advisory Group

IRI holds advisory group meetings four times a year. The calendar for fiscal year 20/21 is as follows:

September 9, 2020 at 12:00noon 112-36 Forest Hills

December 2, 2020 at 3:30pm

March 5, 2021 at 1:00pm

June 2, 2021 at 5:00pm

The advisory group is a forum where parents come to help IRI be better, be more responsive, and be more creative. All are invited. The advisory group is a feeder program to our board of directors.


Visitation Policy Update

Dear friends and family members,

We have been provided guidelines to allow visitations by parents and families. This is long overdue but it seems prudent to contain the virus and limit spread to reduce contact. We, at IRI, continue to believe that family engagement is important for healthy living and encourage it. However, we are concerned that we will be introducing more risk by virtue of this renewed contact regardless of the most restrictive precautions. The coronavirus is both highly contagious, often debilitating and for some populations deadly. We still do not have therapeutics and a vaccine that is safe and effective is still 11-18 months away according to the experts. As we partner to care for your loved ones, I am asking that you consider carefully these visits for your safety, that of your loved ones, the safety of other people who live in the house and the safety of the staff who have just done an extraordinary job following our best guidance informed by the experts from the CDC, DOH, OPWDD and the NIH.

Important Information

Visitation Policies

Letter to Families - October 8, 2020

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Proloquo 2

What is it? A fully customizable communication application that interfaces with smart phones and tablets. The app is programmed with picture/icon representations of words and common phrases that the user can string together to communicate a thought.

How does it help? This is an indispensable communication aid for non-verbal individuals

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Telehealth Services

How does it work? Individuals can have their vital signs taken right in their homes. The information is digitally recorded providing personalized biometrics that help detect medical conditions earlier based on trended data. This service also provides virtual intervention between nurses and individuals using a smart tablet.

How does it help? Medical staff is more knowledgeable about patients’ care in between visits. These services also greatly reduce hospitalizations therefore also reducing the number of disruptions for individuals in their homes.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Pulseox Monitor

How does it work? Remotely monitors oxygen levels of individuals with respiratory issues. Allows nurse to monitor the oxygen level remotely.

How does it help? Helps to remotely monitor blood oxygen levels and send an alert to the nurse if levels are imbalanced.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

GPS Watch

How does it work? Individuals can travel safely and unsupervised. Individuals simply wear the watch that communicates to an app used by IRI staff.

How does it help? This technology prevents individuals from getting lost. Staff can also see where individuals are without having to be there in person.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Home Sensor Technology

How does it work? A suite of interactive sensors is outfitted on kitchen appliances and above doors. If an individual, living in their own apartment, turns the stove on, then exits the kitchen, IRI will get an alert. If the individual leaves the house at an unusual time, we will also be alerted.

How does it help? This provides un-invasive oversight. Individuals can live independently with confidence. It also reduces the need for in-person staffing.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Medication Wheel

How does it work? This simple device alerts individuals when a medication dose is due, then opens to dispense medication. If the medication is not taken or the wheel is not closed properly, IRI will be alerted.

How does it help? For those individuals living in apartments or homes, they can now take medication without staff intervention.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Samsung Galaxy Tablets

How does it work? There are many existing applications, and new ones being developed every day that are targeted to assist disabled individuals in enhancing their abilities

How does it help? Allows us to use a variety of online applications that support the abilities of the users

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Amazon Echo

How does it work? Wirelessly controls lighting and other devices through voice commands.

How does it help? Helps individuals who are otherwise unable to manually operate devices to do so independently.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Pressure Pads in Beds

How does it work? Allows the staff to monitor bed time routines when people are in and out of bed with a remote monitor; a notification goes to remote staff person when a person has gone to bed and if they get up during the night for an extended period of time.

How does it help? Helps ensure safety by sending staff an alert when an individual is out of bed during the night.

Activities & Events

    2019 DSP Appreciation Week

    IRI's commitment to being a preferred employer begins by appreciating our team members for their dedication and tireless efforts in ensuring that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live the best lives that they are able with whatever supports are needed. These supports begin and end with our Direct Support Professionals without whom we could not achieve our mission and goals. We thank these team members who are the backbone of IRI and appreciate them for what they do every day. But this month we (the board of directors at IRI and the leadership team) took special care to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of our DSPs with a series of events throughout the week of September 8-14. Our DSPs were invited to participate in special breakfasts, relaxation massages, raffles and our grand DSP recognition event. We specially celebrated 16 people whose work anniversary with IRI ranged between 27 years and 15 years by having an incredible extravaganza where all our Direct Support Staff were truly the stars. We laughed, we ate, we danced and played games; and had a good time with each other. Again, thank you for all you do every day. We are proud to be your team members. Pictures are worth a thousand words, take a look.

Innovative Resources for Independence is formerly Independence Residences, Inc.

112-40 Francis Lewis Blvd., Queens Village, NY 11429
P: 718.805.6796 :: F: 718.805.6798 ::