Dr. Saul Lavisky, 54, vice-president and secretary of the Human Resources Research Organization in Alexandria who was active in organizations for the retarded and the handicapped, died Wednesday at Alexandria Hospital after a heart attack. He lived in Falls Church.

Dr. Lavisky, who was born in Columbia, S.C., earned a bachelor's degree in 1946 and a master's degree in 1961 at the University of South Carolina. He earned his doctorate at the University of Maryland in 1977. He served with the Army in Korea from 1946 until 1948 and retired from the Reserves in 1976 as a lieutenant colonel.

From 1952 until 1961, Dr. Lavisky was director of public information for the Columbia, S.C., public schools and the Opportunity School in South Carolina. He previously had been a reporter for the Columbia Record in Columbia, S.C., and the Rock Hill Evening Herald in Rock Hill, S.C.

He moved to Silver Spring in 1961 when he joined the National Education Association as assistant director of publications. He joined the Human Resources Research Organization in 1963 as research information coordinator. At the time of his death, he was director of corporate communications.

Dr. Lavisky was a member of the board of the Benedictine School for Exceptional Children in Ridgely, Md., and a member of the Virginia Association for Retarded Citizens and the National Association for Retarded Citizens. He was a volunteer at the Sheltered Occupational Center of Northern Virginia in Arlington. He was also a member of the Reserve Officers Association, the Civil Affairs Association and the National Press Club.

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy, and a daughter, Jill, both of Falls Church, and his mother, Emma Lavisky, and a sister, Belle Jewler, both of Columbia.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Benedictine School for Exceptional Children, Ridgely, Md.