Melissa McCoy, Chief Advancement Officer for Abilities First describes this seven-county program that serves developmentally disabled children and adults in the Hudson Valley. Staring with pre-school, Abilities First supplies educational programs that replace the regular special-education classes in twenty different facilities (one facility, in Red Hook, is in the same building as the regular school). When children reach age 21, they are transferred from the educational system to the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. From that point, Abilities First provides a sheltered workshop, job shadowing programs, and supportive or supervised housing. The focus is on helping individuals do as much for themselves as possible.
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