DDI held its annual Rockin’ for Autism concert.  Nearly 500 Long Islanders packed Mulcahy’s Pub and Music Hall in Wantagh to raise over $30,000 for DDI.


“Despite the economic climate we all face today, it is heartwarming to witness the generosity of the numerous volunteers and the nearly 500 attendees who have lent themselves to help benefit the more than 1,500 adults and children who receive services daily through DDI’s many programs,” said Jim Cronin, Chairman of the event and a member of the DDI Foundation Board.  “A special thanks to our Event Music Director, Steve Alliano, and the talented musicians who donated their services and talents to make the day a true success.” 


For a $30.00 donation guests enjoyed the sounds of live music with an all-star lineup of legendary Long Island bands including 1 Step Ahead, The Cold Spring Harbor Band paying tribute to Billy Joel, Just Cause and Dr. G’s All Star Veteran Band.  Gift baskets, raffles, food and live music were enjoyed by all into the late evening.


“It is truly remarkable to see so many people come together to help those challenged with a disability,” stated John Lessard, Executive Director of DDI.  “Each year Jim Cronin dedicates so much of his time to putting together this wonderful event to help support the vital programs that DDI has to benefit Long Islanders with autism and other developmental disabilities.  Jim’s dedication to DDI is incredible and admirable.”


rockin 2013 photo

Storm UpdateAll DDI schools (including the Young Autism Program, Starting Early Program and Children’s Day Program), all Adult Day programs, all Opti Healthcare centers and Central Administration at Hollywood Drive will be open as usual on Tuesday, February 12, 2013.

DDI extends its thanks to Commissioner Courtney Burke for speaking with parents of children and adults with developmental disabilities this past January 10th. We would also like to thank the many parents who attended this event, and their heartfelt testimony about the lives of their children with disabilities and the need for expanded supports to serve their needs.

We would urge all parents to attend an upcoming Legislative Brunch, being hosted by L.I. CITIZENS TASK FORCE ON AGING OUT on February 8, 2013. As the Commissioner stated at our past event, legislators need to hear from our parents about the need for increased services as they deliberate the upcoming New York State Budget. It is important for our legislators to know that the waiting list for residential housing for our children and adults is growing every day, with little of no budgetary support to create new housing opportunities. Please attend this important event to make your voice heard.”

Read more: Legislators Brunch

“Family Night” with OPWDD’s Commissioner Courtney Burke

Thursday Evening, January 10, 2013 6:00-8:00 PM

Suffolk Community College – Michael J. Grant Campus

Brentwood, N.Y.

Health, Sports and Education Center


People's First Waiver


In response to deep concerns expressed by many DDI’s families we have arranged for OPWDD Commissioner Courtney Burke to come to our area, to listen and to respond. It is the feeling of many that the People First Waiver discussion, as well as recent or planned changes to service delivery by OPWDD will not adequately provide for the exceptional and very complex needs of their loved ones.

Families from other organizations serving people with developmental disabilities who have similar concerns will also be invited to participate in this special evening.

To reserve your seat, please call Ellen Holmes at (631) 366-2978. Seating is on a first-come first-served basis.

If you would like an opportunity to speak, or if you have questions about the event, please contact Mr. Dan Rowland at (631) 366-2905.

Since the purpose of this specially arranged event is intended to focus on the subject described above, it is important that speakers address only their concerns about OPWDD’S proposed services and the People First Waiver.

DDI Gala 2012
DDI hosted its Annual Stars Gala & Casino Night on Friday, November 16th at the Woodbury Country Club.  DDI not only raised funds for the children and adults it serves, but for its employees as well.  In light of recent events with Hurricane Sandy, DDI established a special relief fund to benefit any employee who lost their home or are facing extreme economic hardship due to storm.
"DDI is very grateful to our Foundation Board of Directors, corporations, parents, teachers, staff, friends and volunteers who helped make this event a special and memorable evening," stated John Lessard, DDI Executive Director.  I am especially grateful that a portion of the proceeds from this event will be designated to the DDI Employee Disaster Relief Fund, which has been established to help a number of our staff members who faced catastrophic losses due to Hurricane Sandy. Their homes were significantly damaged or destroyed, their cars were ruined, and their lives were turned upside down. Yet, despite the adversity, each and every one of our staff members collectively insured that all of the children and adults with disabilities entrusted to our care were kept safe and out of harm's way. We are very grateful for their dedication and hope to be able to offer any assistance that we can."
The annual Gala featured two special award presentations.  The 2012 "Stars Advocacy Award" was presented to Julian Fisher of Gallagher Benefit Services.  Over the past decade, Julian, along with his wife, June, has worked tirelessly to raise funds in support of the many programs and services DDI provides to children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.  DDI was also pleased to honor students who have been active participants in the school age vocational services in the Children's Day Program.  For three or more years, these students have participated in community based volunteer activities, which are meant to help the students prepare for future employment opportunities, increased socialization experiences, and the ability to lead productive and satisfying lives in adulthood.  DDI was proud to honor these students, as well as the Transition/Vocational Coordinator, Doris Frisenda, who has worked tirelessly for over 17 years to provide this opportunity for the students enrolled in DDI's Children's Day Program.