DSP 2013


In September, communities across our country are pausing to honor a vital segment of our national workforce. The United States Senate has declared the week of September 8-14, 2013 as National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. On behalf of DDI’s Board of Directors and its Administrative and Management staff, I also use this special time of year to formally recognize the dedication and expertise of all of our DSPs and their support of the hundreds of adults and children who are in the care of DDI.


Skilled employees are our most valuable resource and every DSP is vital to the Mission of this organization. As a result of your dedication, skill and commitment, children and adults with developmental disabilities receive the services, support and encouragement they need to lead more meaningful and fulfilling lives. The efforts of our DSPs continue to give people with developmental disabilities in our community the ability to enjoy things that others take for granted like pursuing an education, working, recreating, and socializing.

Out of our respect for the work you perform, and for your dedication to our students, consumers and your profession, we congratulate you for the immeasurable difference you make each day in the lives of individuals in our care.


All of us at DDI, students, consumers, families and community members, say “thank you” for the wonderful work and dedication of our direct support professionals.



John Lessard

Executive Director      

Thursday, August 15, 2013

2:30pm – 8:30pm

99 Hollywood Drive, Smithtown (in the Gym)

New York Blood Center has partnered with the 2014 New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee on the Super Community Blood Drive,

an eight month partnership to motivate people to donate blood for patients in NY/NJ.  All presenting donors from 5/24/13 – 1/17/14 who donate in NYC,

Westchester or Rockland Counties or on Long Island or NJ will be entered into a sweepstakes for a pair of tickets to SUPER BOWL XLVIII.


Every person who presents to donate blood as part of the campaign will receive a red Super Community Blood Drive wristband and T-Shirt.


The more times that you donate, the more chance you have to be part of the Sweepstakes. 

Complete Sweepstakes rules at http://support.nybloodcenter.org/superdrives

Thank you for Saving Lives!

To schedule an appointment, please call Joyce Sullivan 631-366-2928 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Basic Eligibility requirements:

·         Bring ID with signature or photo.

·         Minimum weight 110 lbs.

·         Age 16 – 75 (16 year olds must have parental permission. Age 76 and over need doctor’s note)

·         Eat well (low fat) & drink fluids

·         No tattoos for past 12 months


For additional information on eligibility, please call 1(800) 688-0900.




St. Johns University Students Walk to Benefit Services provided by DDI for Children & Adults with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities


Smithtown, NY  -- April 22, 2013 -- Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI), the leading service provider for children and adults with Autism on Long Island, will be the recipient of a very special fundraising effort by two St. John's University seniors, an effort that will also serve to bring about more awareness of Autism and other developmental disabilities. Nathan Holmes and John Kenny will hit the pavement on May 28that the Brooklyn Bridge and will finish up their walking journey across Long Island on June 4that Montauk Point.  


"These students have decided to celebrate the milestone of their own graduation by taking on a journey to better the lives of others.  It's really wonderful to see the dedication and generosity that Nathan and John have shown.  We are truly honored that John and Nathan have chosen to support DDI, and to also bring about greater awareness of disability," stated John Lessard, Executive Director of DDI.


The 128-mile walk will take the students eight days to complete, averaging 17.5 miles per day.  Stops along the way will include multiple DDI sites as well as St. John's University. Along with fellow classmates from St. John's, students will be staying with DDI host families throughout their journey. Joining Nathan and John on the journey are Morgan Zajkowski, Marita Rausch, Liam Kenny, and Michael Sardone.


"This walk captures the spirit of my fellow classmates of giving back," stated John Kenny.  "We have gained an increased appreciation for the ways in which we can improve the lives of those around us. With that in mind, we decided we would like to do one final project to commemorate our time at St. John's and start our transition to serving the community post graduation."


Funds raised will go towards DDI's Little Plains School and Children's Residential Project. This ambitious project not only includes a new home and added classroom capacity at the school for 24 children with Autism, but includes sorely needed renovations to the school building, which is over 50 years old.  New handicap accessibility, an HVAC system upgrade, roof replacement, lighting upgrades and various other improvements to increase the energy-efficiency of the school building will be included in the work.


"We could not have found a better organization to support than DDI," commented Nathan Holmes.  "Through financial assistance we hope to support the valuable projects DDI implements and the services it offers to the many children and adults across Nassau and Suffolk Counties."


DDI is a not-for-profit agency headquartered in Smithtown, NY, with more than 40 locations throughout Suffolk and Nassau Counties.   DDI is the largest provider of services for individuals with Autism on Long Island.  It provides special educational, vocational, day and residential programs, as well as healthcare services for over 5,000 children and adults with autism or other developmental disabilities.  DDI also operates family-centered preschool programs for both children with disabilities as well as typically developing students.  DDI was founded in 1961 by a group of parents to address the special educational and therapeutic needs of their children with autism or other developmental disabilities.  DDI is a member agency of the United Way of Long Island.  For more information about DDI, visit www.ddiny.org.


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Pictured (L-R) are St. Johns University walkers John Kenny, Morgan Zajkowski, Marita Rausch, Nathan Holmes, Liam Kenny, and Michael Sardone.






Even if you already called them this morning, call them again and tell them that they must keep their promise of FULL RESTORATION!!!!

The message is the same - our system cannot bear a cut of any size.



Read more: URGENT ALERT - CUT is Getting LARGER-Call Legislators AGAIN ASAP!!!

Dear Parents,

The news coming out of Albany, directly from the Governor is both appalling and offensive.  The proposed 6% permanent cut in Medicaid funding to only Voluntary OPWDD providers will be assuredly crippling.  The annual impact of this revenue reduction to DDI will be approximately $3.2 million, and $2.4 million in our current budget year.

The background behind this proposed Medicaid cut relates to the current hearings in the House of Representatives in Washington DC regarding past years’ federal payments to New York State for its Developmental Centers operated by OPWDD, and the recent insistence by CMS (based upon being embarrassed by these hearings) to immediately recoup $1.1 Billion from the State of New York.  While the $1.1 Billion was “negotiated down” to $500 million, the Governor in a recent amendment to his original 2013-14 budget plan has determined that $120 million will be paid for by actual Medicaid cuts, with the balance of the $380 million will be paid by reducing additional spending under the State’s Medicaid Cap, thus, not cuts to actual current spending.  Here’s the egregious part…all other providers that rely on Medicaid funding will not see their current Medicaid reimbursement affected; not hospitals, nursing homes, OMH providers, OASAS providers, etc.  Only voluntary OPWDD providers will see their reimbursement reduced (thus, State Operated OPWDD services will not be affected either).

As if the above is not sufficient to warrant outcry from families and providers, all of the excess Medicaid funding that New York State received for its Developmental Centers over the past 30 years was spent by the State to support OMH, OASAS, and OCFS services, whose providers have been spared in this planned Medicaid cut by the Governor.

To date just four DDI families have signed on to the upcoming Advocacy Day, scheduled for March 1st.  We hope that there will now be a resounding response to this planned lobbying effort.  We hope that DDI’s family members can make the time to have their voices heard.

To register to attend our upcoming Family Advocacy Day, please call Dan Rowland (631) 366-2905 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..