It is the mission
of Disabled Persons Action Organization
to provide quality and effective individualized services to developmentally disabled children and adults in Jefferson and Lewis Counties.  The services are primarily geared toward helping families cope with the stress of caring for their disabled loved ones.

Welcome to the online home of Disabled Persons Action Organization!

For 40 years, DPAO has provided needed services to residents of Jefferson and Lewis Counties.  We encourage you to learn more about the programs and services of our organization.  We also hope that you return regularly to this site for up to date information on our cultural productions as well as our Summer Concert Series.

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What does DPAO do?  Watch Austin's story and listen to what DPAO has done for him!



Thank you to all of our Direct Support Professionals (DSP’s) for all that you do!  We recognize all of your hard work and the skills necessary for you to do your job.  DSP's have the most impact on those individuals we serve! 

In an effort to continue this recognition, we plan on spotlighting a Direct Support Professional of the Month ... every month!


Mary Jo Adams

Mary Jo Adams

Mary Jo was nominated by the mother of the individual she works with. She said Mary Jo is professional, punctual, and always happy. Mary Jo has formed a special bond with him and has made a huge difference in his life. She treats him with love, respect, understanding and has done amazing things including helping him learn how to talk. Mary Jo deserves to be recognized!

Core Competencies: Positive Relationships, Putting People First, Being a Professional


Miranda Law

Miranda Law Pic

Miranda was nominated by the parents of the individual she works with. “Miranda has been working with our daughter for over two years. They became fast friends and we immediately noticed our daughter being more adventurous, trying new things and getting out into the community, all because of Miranda’s encouraging nature. Miranda always puts our daughter’s needs first; changing plans and being flexible. We can always count on Miranda to show up on time with a smile.” –Emily

Miranda is being recognized for her dedication and love for her job!

Core Competencies: Positive Relationships, Putting People First, Getting into the Community


Harriett Simpson & Judy Webber

Harriett and Judy were voted by the individual they work with. He said that they have a fun time volunteering when they put shoeboxes together for the Operation Christmas Child. He also said that they are very nice and make him feel comfortable while he is working with them. They work on goals that provide more opportunities for him to be involved in the community.

 Core Competencies: Putting People First, Getting into the Community



Kourtni Budy 

Kourtni Budy

“Kourtni has been such a blessing to our family in so many ways. She’s a beaming bright light. She brings a much needed sense of light-hearted playfulness into our home. She is hard working, resilient, thorough, responsible and reliable. She accepts direction amazingly and is always eager to learn new things. Since hiring Kourtni, our family has been able to go on so many more outings than we could before, and actually enjoy them as a family. Having Kourtni’s help has greatly increased our son’s independence and overall enjoyment of life. He is able to take breaks from us when needed and we are able to do the same. I know he is safe and well cared for with her because she is truly like a second me. We are finally able to make positive life lasting memories that are less stressful and more balances and they all include her, as she has become a very important part of our family. “       -Mom

Core Competency: Positive Relationships, Putting People First, Safety, Getting into the Community


AUGUST 2019 DSP ...

Donna Draper

Donna Draper Pic

Donna is very professional. She is not only our Free Standing Respite House Supervisor but also a DSP. She covers shifts including overnights to keep the Respite House operating well. She knows and likes our individuals who we serve. Donna also goes above and beyond for the agency. She is busy as an agency investigator and is helping out with another program but it never impacts her commitment and care for our individuals which is where her heart truly lies!

Core Competency: Professionalism, Putting People First


JULY 2019 DSP ...

Tina Nortz

Tina Nortz

Tina was nominated by one of our individuals we provide services for! She expressed that Tina goes above and beyond for our individuals by always looking for different activities for everyone to participate in. A few activities mentioned were arts and crafts, nature walks, hayrides, and holiday parties! Tina was also nominated by an anonymous person who stated that Tina has stepped up to the plate and took on more responsibilities - she is accommodating individual needs and is working hard to get a program in tip-top shape!

Core Competency: Getting into the Community, Professionalism

JUNE 2019 DSP ...

Kamie Upton

Kamie Upton

Kamie and her Self-Direction participant work on staying active in the community by attending lectures at local colleges. She offers support and encouragement when her participant is asked to lead dialogue during these lectures. She is always positive and reassuring, which has allowed him the opportunity to be included in many discussions on some of his favorite subjects. This not only allows for inclusion with peers, but also gives him the opportunity to share his knowledge and builds his confidence.

Core Competency: Being Active and Productive in Society


MAY 2019 DSP ...

Megan Green

Megan Green Pic

Megan works on communication skills, community involvement, and life skills with her individual. Megan helps her individual form complete sentences and convey his needs and wants. She takes him into the community to a variety of places like the nature trail, shopping, and the zoo. They also work on stranger danger, hygiene, and personal space. Megan has a huge heart and works hard to ensure that she is helping her individual with his goals and that he pursues areas of interest to the fullest!


Core Competency: Health, Safety, Getting into the Community

APRIL 2019 DSP ...

Julie Sensenbach

Julie is a full time DSP who turns her timecards in weekly with no mistakes and they are always very neat! She is doing a great job with her individual and is making progress in many different areas. One area she works on is reminding her individual to take her medication and her individual has improved tremendously at remembering this task. Julie also helps her to calm down when she gets upset.

 Core Competency: Health

MARCH 2019 DSP ...

Kerry Palmer

Kerry is a very dedicated DSP who has expanded her work to helping other DSP’s find fun and free / low cost activities that their participants may be interested in. Kerry has started a Facebook group where all DSP’s in the area can post any activities that they find for fun and new experiences. This helps individuals budget their activity money effectively as well as provides opportunities to learn new things and try something they may not have thought of before. Kerry consistently goes above and beyond in all aspects of her job as a DSP and her enthusiasm for our individuals is truly admirable.

 Core Competency: Being Active and Productive in Society, Putting People First


Kelsey Fraser

Kelsey Fraser Pic

“I want to nominate Kelsey Fraser for DSP of the Month. She is working with an individual who she knew prior to working as his staff. Before she was able to actually work with him, she came into the office to get his goals and wanted to work on a plan for him. She knew that he needed to have a set schedule and set up a schedule that would accommodate him. They volunteer at different places and go for walks and do things he enjoys. She acknowledges his accomplishments and challenges him. This unique staff member puts a lot of time into her job and the progress he has made shows. I have been impressed with her since the beginning and she definitely goes above and beyond.”

~DPAO Employee

Core Competency: Putting People First, Getting into the Community, Maintaining Positive Relationships


JANUARY 2019 DSP ...

Kenya Tucker

Kenya is a team player! She shows flexibility with her schedule each week as a DPAO SEMP Job Coach and is willing to work wherever and whenever she is needed. She is always a pleasure to be around and always has a smile on her face. She maintains positive relationships, is passionate about her work, and is always looking for ways to support the individuals she provides services to. Kenya continues to think outside of the box and is very creative. She is very good with any situation thrown her way!

Core Competency: Demonstrating Professionalism, Putting People First, Maintaining Positive Relationships


Disabled Persons Action Organization


Corporate Offices:  617 Davidson Street • PO Box 222 Watertown, New York 13601 • (315) 782-3577 • (800) 533-2859 ● (315) 782-6673 (Fax)

William J. McClusky Day Habilitation Center:  633 Davidson Street ● Watertown, New York 13601 ● (315) 782-5285
Free Standing Respite Home:  652 Thompson Street ● Watertown, New York 13601 ● (315) 782-2485


Lewis County Office:  Village Square • Lyons Falls, New York 13368 • (315) 348-8380

Lewis County Free Standing Respite Home:  5205 Ebbly Road ● Lowville, New York 13367 ● (315) 376-8327