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!


JUNE 2022 DSP ...

Sierra Bailey

Sierra Bailey Pic

Although Sierra has been working at DPAO for a short time, she has really stepped up to the plate to ensure the Short Term Respite program has continued to thrive without a current coordinator. She also has agreed to run all of the recreational activities for our individuals. She is well liked by our participants and has given them a sense of security while the program is going through many changes. She never shies away from working out of her comfort zone to ensure they are having fun. She is witty, creative and always willing to lend a helping hand when another program needs assistance. Way to go, Sierra!

Core Competency: Putting People First, Demonstrating Professionalism


MAY 2022 DSP ...

Alexandria Reczko

Alex Reczko Pic

Alex carries out daily goals with her individual to the fullest! She assists her with grocery shopping and maintaining her home. Alex also supports her in becoming healthier by encouraging her to keep a healthy diet and going to the gym. She is a reliable DSP and continues to show her support in all areas that are needed. Thank you Alex!

Core Competencies: Putting People First, Supporting Good Health, Having a Home


APRIL 2022 DSP ...

Blair Waldron

Blair Waldron Pic

Blair is being recognized for going the extra mile to put a smile on her individual’s faces! She is always willing to listen to how their day is going and is there for them and assists them in whatever it is that they are trying to accomplish. Blair also never hesitates to help out in the program that she works in. Thank you for being such a great DSP!


Core Competencies: Putting People First

MARCH 2022 DSP ...

Michele Macaluso

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Michele has been nominated by the person whom she is a DSP for ... “Michele has exceeded her job expectations by advocating for me even in situations where her job doesn't require her to do so. She is also a huge support for my anxiety and has managed to calm me down in every situation. Thanks to her, I have an apartment, a job, and a sense of purpose and ethics of my own. She is also extremely honest and refuses to do anything she deems unethical. It is for these reasons that I think she should be nominated.” Congrats Michele!


Core Competencies: Putting People First, Having a Home


JoAnn Kirk

JoAnn Kirk Pic

JoAnn carries out daily goals with her individual to the fullest. She is being recognized by providing and encouraging positive emotional support to her individual during the difficult time he has been going through. She continues to work on his goals such as healthy lifestyle skills, encouraging exercise, and helping to get his mind off difficult things. Thank you JoAnn for being there during a time that was needed the most! We appreciate you!

Core Competencies: Putting People First

JANUARY 2022 DSP ...

Dawn Donaghy

Dawn Donaghy Pic

Dawn helps her individual in so many ways! She is teaching him how to be more independent by going to the bank and learning how to fill out a check book. They work on looking up different recipes to learn how to cook them. Another skill Dawn works on with him is safety by assisting him on how not to answer any phone numbers that he does not know and not to give information out. Dawn, thank you for being such a great DSP!

Core Competencies: Putting People First, Supporting Safety, Being Active and Productive in Society


Jason Cameron

Jason Cameron Pic

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

Kim Kilcullen Pic

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

AUGUST 2021 DSP ...

Kelly Dingman

Kelly Dingman Pic

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


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