DDI is on the verge of opening up an expansion to our current Children’s Residential Program by bringing 24 students with intellectual disabilities back to their families in New York.  Below are a few questions parents have asked us regarding enrollment of their child into our residential program.


How will you help my son adjust to the new environment?

We use the first 30 days as an assessment period where we get to know your son and your son gets to know us in his new environment.  Although we know it may be hard for you, we ask that your son not visit home during this period because we do not want to unnecessarily confuse him while he adjusts.  On the other hand, visits to the residence and phone calls are encouraged during the acclimation period and after.  We only ask that you call the residence prior to your arrival.  When your son moves in, it is inevitable that new routines will be developed in the new environment.  For example, a student may have had trouble sleeping at home, we may find that they will sleep through the night without a problem once they move in.  Conversely, the opposite can happen as well and we have no true way of knowing how a student will handle the change until they move in.  As a parent, you should be prepared for this.  After the 30 day assessment period, home visits can begin.



Student Painting

What kinds of activities will my daughter engage in outside the residence?

Your daughter will have the opportunity to engage in a number of activities in the community.  Community outings are tailored to the likes of the students going.  Our residences regularly take trips to a wide range of places like a Long Island Duck’s game, bowling, or to a movie.  Our agency and agencies like ours are governed by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).  OPWDD has minimum requirements for the amount of times a student should be going into the community.  In the CRP, we strive to go above and beyond the minimum requirements and have as much community integration as possible.  In any residence there are bound to circumstances that can affect the number of outings available such as behavioral and staffing concerns.  Safety is always of utmost concern and we will never knowingly put our students or staff in a situation that is likely to become unsafe.


My son engages in aggression towards others and I am concerned for the safety of those around him.  How will you ensure the safety of my son and his peers?

Staff members are always diligent about protecting students but not every situation is avoidable.  In the event that a student is injured, for any reason, we will notify the parents of that child.  All incidents are recorded and reviewed by a committee that looks for any trends or systematic concerns that may be present.


Will the goals my son is working in school be the same goals he has in the residence?

As a residential school placement we work hand in hand with the school to meet the specific needs of your son.  With this collaboration, there may be some goals that are the same across settings, but not all are feasible.  In the residence, we are in the perfect setting to help teach some of the independent living or self care goals, like completing laundry or showering that are not practical for the school setting.

Residence Kitchen


How does my daughter become eligible for residential placement?

A residential referral must come from the child’s CSE (committee on special education) meeting. From the approved CSE a referral packet is sent out by district. A referral to DDI/CRP includes approval from both the Children’s Residential Program and the Children’s Day Program. Once a packet is received the CRP Social Worker reviews and assesses if the child is appropriate for our program. Several different factors go into assessing if a child is appropriate ex; diagnosis, age etc.  Once a packet is deemed appropriate a screening team reviews the packet as well and if deemed appropriate a screening with the family and child is held.

As part of the requirements for completion of her doctoral degree in psychology at Hofstra University, Ms. Juliana LaRossa worked with DDI families while conducting her dissertation research. A summary of her results follows: Previous studies demonstrated that parents of children with ASDs report significantly higher levels of parenting stress compared to parents of children with other disabilities and parents of neurotypical children (Hall & Graff, 2011). Therefore, the current study aimed to learn what factors may worsen reported levels of parenting stress experienced by families of children with ASDs and what factors may lessen the levels of parenting stress experienced by these families. With further understanding of what these factors may be, interventions can be developed, standardized, validated and then implemented to lessen the levels of stress experienced by parents of children with ASDs. These interventions can also serve as a means to strengthen and bond the relationships of parents of children with ASDs and this may also indirectly lower levels of parenting stress.


The relationship between early intervention (EI), communication skills, conflict resolution skills, life satisfaction, marital satisfaction, family cohesion and parenting stress were examined in the current study. Different hypothesized and modified path analysis models were tested using a statistical program called AMOS in order to identify the model that best accounted for the relationship among these variables and parenting stress in couples who have children with ASDs. Repeatedly across the various models, the statistically significant relationship between communication skills and conflict resolution skills was supported. This consistent finding strongly suggests the strength between the variables of communication skills and conflict resolution skills. When couples report higher levels of communication skills, they are better able to resolve conflicts as they possessed communication skills that allowed for the effective communication and resolution of problems.


The relationship between high levels of family cohesion and lower levels of parenting stress was also found, if the couples also reported higher levels of communication skills, conflict resolution skills and marital satisfaction. When couples reported higher levels of connectedness and bond, they are more likely to also possess greater abilities to communicate and resolve conflicts with one another. With the ability to communicate effectively and resolve conflicts in an adaptive manner, couples feel more satisfied in their marriages, as there are no unaddressed topics or issues that cause tension within the couple. Couples who reported higher levels of marital satisfaction also reported lower levels of parenting stress as marital satisfaction protects against high levels of parenting stress as higher levels of marital satisfaction are associated with happiness and stability within relationships. When the marital satisfaction between the parents of children with ASDs suffers, this has been found to be related to distress and more negative parent-child interactions (Stoneman & Gavidia-Payne, 2006).


These findings demonstrate the areas that interventions need to be developed and implemented in families and couples of children with ASD's. These interventions should aim to improve the communication skills, conflict resolution skills and family cohesion of these couples which would in turn increase marital satisfaction which would lower levels of parenting stress.

Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI) is pleased to offer customized educational opportunities for service providers, families, and members of the community who are seeking knowledge in the principles and practices of applied behavior analysis. Our training in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) was developed by a team of experts in the fields of autism and applied behavior analysis, including professionals who have achieved the prestigious board certification in behavior analysis.  Applied Behavior Analysis is the leading evidenced-based approach for treating the learning and behavioral challenges associated with autism and related disabilities. ABA has been endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General and the New York State Department of Health, as it has hundreds of peer-reviewed empirical studies supporting its efficacy.


Experienced professionals will introduce participants to the principles and practices of Applied Behavior Analysis and its application to socially significant behaviors for the purpose of facilitating positive quality of life. DDI’s training in Applied Behavior Analysis offers an extensive curriculum that is both comprehensive and flexible.  Instruction may be held at virtually any site including but by no means limited to our many Long Island locations. Training can be tailored to meet educational and scheduling needs,at an affordable price.


Training in ABA is ideal for: school district teachers, Para-professionals, and administrators; afterschool program staff, respite workers, coaches; daycare employees; employment supervisors and families.


View Brochure here!

For more information


Dr. Michael Romas

Training Coordinator

99 Hollywood Drive

Smithtown NY, 11787

(631) 366-5875

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Little Plains CRP epansionDDI will soon be serving 24 additional residential school students in our Little Plains campus in Huntington.  Four big new beautiful classrooms are being added to our school in Huntington where the children’s residences are also being built.  The new wing will include separate boy’s and girl’s training lavatories, a training laundry room,  a new playground and a large office space for some of our additional staff, such as behavior specialists.    Pictures of the new residences and school wing under construction are attached.


We will be welcoming two groups of students to our DDI family.   Some of the 24 residential school students will be coming home to New York from facilities out of NY State.  Others are At Risk of a placement out of NY State due to their educational needs.  We’re excited about providing the opportunity for these students to receive outstanding services right here, closer to their families.  We are working to finalize our student census, so interested School Districts and families should contact us now if interested in this program.  Questions related to student intake can be directed to Nicole Coppack, at 631 366-2916 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The agency is also in the process of adding additional staffing for these new students.   Our program is growing by 4 teachers, 12 teaching assistants, 2 MA level Little Plains Schol ExpansionBehavior Specialists, 1 BA level Behavior Support Staff, as well as speech, OT, PT, phys Ed, technology, music, art, transition specialist and a PhD psychologist.    We are also actively recruiting community instructors, applied behavior specialists, assistant residential managers and other staff for the residences.    We are very busy filling these new positions, as well as gearing up for many additional staff training opportunities such as our teaching strategies,  applied behavior analysis, and positive behavioral interventions and supports.    If you are interested in joining our team please contact Angele at 631 366-2955 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


We are eager to share our expertise in providing a coordinated residential school with our newest students and are passionate about our mission to implement outstanding and innovative individualized programs to all we serve.

Autism Sibling


Are you a mother of a child or teen with an ASD?


Do you also have at least one other child or teen who does not have an ASD?


At the Stony Brook University Social Competence & Treatment Lab, we are conducting a research study on how various aspects of family life may affect kids and teens that have a brother or sister with an ASD.

We are currently seeking mothers to volunteer to complete an online survey.


This study might be right for you if…

✔ You are the biological mother of one child or teen aged 6-17 who has an ASD and at least one typically developing child or teen aged 6-17

✔ You and your children live in the same home

✔ Your children do not have any chronic medical illnesses


The potential benefits of the study are…

·      The results may help us learn about the unique experiences, needs, and successes of siblings of children with autism!

·      You will be entered into a raffle with a 1/10 chance of winning a $200 giftcard!

For more information, and to learn if you may quality for this study, please visit

And click on “Stony Brook ASD Sibling Survey Study”

You may also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.with any questions. Thank you!