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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Let us start by saying we have missed everyone during this unprecedented time and hope that you have all fared well! We are very excited to announce that we are reopening our programs. The safety and well-being of our participants and staff are our highest priority during this time.

Our Agency has implemented preventative strategies to ensure that we provide an environment that optimizes everyone’s health and safety while maintaining a comfortable and caring setting. We have put into effect all of the regulatory guidance from Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We have developed a Safety Plan for each program that details our health and safety protocols. These are made available to you so that you have the necessary information to be able to make decisions about program participation.

DPAO/COVID-19 Safety Plan for Certified Day Program Reopening.pdf

DPAO/COVID-19 Safety Plan for 1 on 1 Community Hab Reopening.pdf

DPAO/COVID-19 Safety Plan for 1 on 1 Day Hab Reopening.pdf

DPAO/COVID-19 Safety Plan for 1 on 1 Respite Reopening.pdf

DPAO/COVID-19 Safety Plan for Short Term Respite Reopening.pdf

DPAO/COVID-19 Safety Plan for Free Standing Respite Reopening (Jefferson County).pdf

DPAO/COVID-19 Safety Plan for Free Standing Respite Reopening (Lewis County).pdf

DPAO/COVID-19 Safety Plan for Community Prevoc Reopening.pdf

DPAO/COVID-19 Safety Plan for SEMP Reopening.pdf

DPAO/DPAO Contingency Plan.pdf

DPAO/DPAO Emergency Protocol for Closing (2021).pdf

DPAO/DPAO Program Reopening Details.pdf

DPAO/NY Hero Act Prevention Plan.pdf
What does DPAO do?  Watch Austin's story and listen to what DPAO has done for him!


Direct Support Professional Superhero Pic

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 the individuals we serve!

Core Competencies are the foundation of person-centered supports for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. The competencies are broken down into seven goal areas covering all aspects of the individual’s life, while also including the professionalism of direct support ...

  • Putting People First
  • Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships
  • Demonstrating Professionalism
  • Supporting Good Health
  • Supporting Safety
  • Having a Home
  • Being Active and Productive in Society

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


Jason Cameron

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Jason has really helped his participant become more active in the community. They volunteer at Meals on Wheels, participate in different tournaments, go fishing, and attend church. Jason does a wonderful job at assisting him to remain active and social!

Core Competencies: Being Active and Productive in Society

OCTOBER 2021 DSP ...

Kim Kilcullen

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Kim is a great team player and always has a positive attitude! She often fills in as a Job Coach and in Prevoc. Every morning when she comes in, she has a smile on her face and greets everyone. She’s a very hard worker and is always offering to help people, even if she has enough of her own work to do!

Core Competencies: Putting People First, Demonstrating Professionalism


Kristina Miller 

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Kristina is creative, organized and hardworking and accepts new challenges. She works with participants to increase their independence such as arranging transportation to get to and from activities and introducing them to helpful topics that apply to them.

Core Competencies: Putting People First, Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships, Supporting Good Health

AUGUST 2021 DSP ...

Kelly Dingman

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Kelly was nominated as DSP of the month by the parent of the individual she works with.

“Since Kelly has been working with her individual, we have seen significant progress toward his goals.  She has gone above and beyond to help him in ways that a parent could not. We are so thankful that she is working with him and has helped him grow so much! Beyond the specific goals, she is a caring and thoughtful person! She communicates with us about his activities and has been open and honest about her interactions. Additionally, she has been flexible during the COVID pandemic and provided services while keeping him safe.”

Core Competencies: Putting People First, Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships, Supporting Good Health


JUNE 2021 DSP ...

James Fiaschetti

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I would like to nominate James Fiaschetti for DSP of the month. James works with multiple individuals but with one in particular he has made a huge difference in his life. I have seen a huge change in this person’s life and it is due to the assistance that James has given him. James goes above and beyond and really advocates for his individuals!

Core Competency: Putting People First

MAY 2021 DSP ...

Stephanie Nathan

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Stephanie has been a positive role model for the individual she works with. She is very reliable and assists her individual with budgeting his money more effectively which has helped him feel more confident. He has been successful at establishing a savings account and purchasing items that he has not previously been able to purchase. Stephanie also has great communication with her individual and his team when she feels that he needs more supports in different areas. Stephanie is an asset to this agency!

 Core Competencies: Putting People First, Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships

APRIL 2021 DSP ...

Tonya Kerr

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Our Agency had a RN in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit who wanted us to know how wonderful Tonya Kerr was with helping with the transitioning of taking her individual’s baby home from the NICU! This nurse along with other nurses expressed that they were confident that this individual would succeed and after meeting Tonya and seeing what an amazing support she is, they were overjoyed to see such a positive outcome! In today’s world, they wanted all of us at DPAO to know how grateful they are as experienced nurses to see such a truly happy event!


 Core Competency: Putting People First

MARCH 2021 DSP ...

Melissa Durham

Melissa Durham Pic

Melissa works on a variety of goals with her individual. She helps him with improving the quality of his relationships by providing him with opportunities to maintain his social skills. Melissa also assists her individual with studying for his NYS Driver’s permit. She also works hard to help him increase his independence by maintaining his home. You can tell just by talking to both Melissa and the individual she works with that they have a great relationship!

Core Competencies: Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships, Home Life



Courtney Currier

Courtney has been a great asset for her individual who has recently transitioned into a home of his own. Not only has she been a resource to him for getting his home set up, but she provides great support with daily tasks such as budgeting and paying his bills, shopping, searching for meal ideas, and keeping a clean home. She encourages him to do the things that he really enjoys such as fishing and hiking. It has been exciting to see how well he is doing as they work on his goals. Courtney is not only great with communication when she has a question, but she helps and encourages her participant to ask questions and speak up for himself. Courtney is an asset and we are lucky to have her!

Core Competencies: Putting People First, Home Life

JANUARY 2021 DSP ...

Courtney Gebo

Courtney Gebo Pic

There are many words and phrases that we use when describing the OPWDD Code of Ethics and Core Competencies but as strange as it is, the word kindness isn’t one of them. So allow me to break with norms and standards and nominate Courtney Gebo for DSP of the Month for January 2021 for being kind when it mattered. After all is there anything more ethical than being kind? Courtney gave a ride to a person in need who showed up at our office one cold day. She was not familiar with this person but just happened to overhear his story and volunteered to help him. After the chaotic and uncertain year of 2020 a small act of random kindness was nice to see.

Core Competency: Putting People First


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