Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (#DDAM)

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (DDAM)! This month, we raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities and the barriers they may face when trying to get involved in their communities.  The goal of this campaign is to create more diverse, integrated communities and to celebrate people with developmental disabilities in your community and beyond.

The theme for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month 2023 is “Beyond the Conversation.” Going beyond the conversation means moving forward from talking and planning and into action to create change. To show your support and spread awareness, wear orange on Thursday, March 16th.

For resources to expand your knowledge this month, click the button below!


It is officially March, which means it is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (#DDAM)!

This month, we raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities and the barriers they may face when trying to get involved in their community. This campaign aims to create more diverse, integrated communities and to celebrate people with developmental disabilities in your community and beyond.

We are encouraging everyone to show their support for Developmental Disabilities Awareness this month by wearing orange on March 16th! There will also be festive orange lights placed around the grounds of the Main Campus. Please like, share, and visit our socials to learn about developmental disabilities. Stay tuned throughout the entire month of March, as this page will be updated frequently.


Springbrook’s Main Campus is celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in style! Orange is the symbolic color for #DDAM, and for the month of March, festive orange lights will be visible around Main Campus. In case you are unable to see the Main Campus for yourself, we hope you enjoy these images of the vibrant lights taken last night!

We are encouraging everyone to show their support for Developmental Disabilities Awareness this month by wearing orange on March 16th!


If you come to the Family Engagement Center (FEC) at Springbrook on Monday or Wednesday morning, you may be greeted by the smiling face of Bryan Hart. Bryan worked with Employment Services at Springbrook and employment specialist Rhiannon Ham to find a job he would find fulfillment in doing, and found two! Two days a week, Bryan does what he loves, cleaning and organizing, at the FEC. Bryan works at Creekside Industries in Oneonta two days a week, where he helps with the calendars and other various organizational tasks.

One of Bryan’s favorite parts about working at the FEC is spending the day with his friend, Joe. Joe also works at the FEC, and they have been cleaning together for seven months – they even went through orientation training together! Joe says of Bryan, “(he) brightens my day when he walks through the door.” Bryan is such a joy to be around, and one can tell that he loves his job, especially when he is folding laundry. We are so happy to see Bryan thriving at the FEC, and we are grateful for the wonderful work that Springbrook Employment Services does to help people like Bryan find a job they love!


If you have visited Kids Unlimited Preschool recently, you may have seen a new addition to the classrooms, an intern! Gail Wentworth is a professor of Early Childhood Studies at SUNY Cobleskill. Currently on sabbatical, Gail is attending a special education graduate class at SUNY Oneonta and pursuing curriculum development on educating children with disabilities. Gail sought to observe special education professionals at work to develop the skills necessary to achieve her goals. She found her way to Springbrook, where she interns in three different early childhood classrooms and observes how the children behave and speak, and how the teachers adapt to and modify curriculum based on specific needs and learning goals. Gail is a life-long learner who seeks to grow professionally and as a scholar. 

Completing this internship will increase her knowledge within early childhood studies and bring more resources to SUNY Cobleskill and the students she teaches. Gail hopes that sharing the findings from her internship and graduate studies will enhance the education of students at Cobleskill, no matter their chosen field. She recognizes that it is a growing need to be equipped with special education training and wants her students to have the most updated information to carry with them into the working world. Gail is designing a curriculum with the goal of “helping students develop more empathy, knowledge, and skills for working with diverse populations across many of the majors at SUNY Cobleskill.” We are so excited to have Gail with us at Springbrook and cannot wait to hear more about her studies!


The Sidney Plains region of community homes celebrated a huge accomplishment this year, marking one year of the expanded region with three new community homes. Staff and residents at Mountainside, Parkview, and Pine Creek community homes were interviewed in January to share their experiences and highlights from the last year. These interviews were used to create a story illustrating the many people that bring these community homes to life and make them feel like home! You can now read the full story and view a vibrant photo gallery from the tour of the region and the one-year celebration at the link here!

Want to share your passion for helping people? Become part of the Springbrook community homes family by applying with the link here! Wages now start between $17-$22 per hour, with an additional $1,500 sign-on bonus!


Today we are highlighting a recent visit to the physical therapy department at Springbrook’s Capstone Day Habilitation Program to learn more about MOVE. The MOVE program helps people with limited mobility move their bodies outside their wheelchairs. Several day hab participants use Rifton equipment to stand, move around, and exercise! Folks at day hab use the equipment daily, from 30 to 45 minutes at a time. Standing outside of their wheelchairs helps with blood flow and strengthens their joints. When the weather is nice, they even do laps outside!

The MOVE program is designed to work with an individual’s present abilities in order to help improve their mobility skills in actions like sitting, standing, walking, and transitioning. The goal of MOVE is to improve the health and independence of every participant! This is true for Ranel, who loves moving around in his stander. The stander that Ranel uses is designed with a desk on the front, so he can do activities like play instruments while he stands. He can also self-propel, so he can explore the halls of day hab and catch up with friends.

To learn more about MOVE, click here!


When you walk into the Cullman Center in Sidney, you are immediately welcomed by a warm and bright environment. The Cullman Center focuses on childcare and prioritizes diversity in everything they do, including its staff and curriculum. Director Amy Williams shared that diversity is vital in early childhood care because when kids are exposed to different ideas and people, they become more understanding and open-minded adults.

The Cullman Center is the perfect environment for Nick, who came to Springbrook employment services looking for a job where he could do something new and different every day and spend time with kids. Nick has been working at the Cullman Center for almost four years. He works three days a week, two of which he spends in the kitchen and one in the classroom. When Nick works in the kitchen, he focuses on cleaning dishes, preparing food, and setting up the lunch carts for the upcoming day. Nick’s favorite part of his job is spending time in the classrooms on Fridays. He helps the children with tabletop activities, which include games, activities, and learning new skills like counting! Nick is currently learning about The Pyramid Model, a federal program that teaches staff how to maintain a safe, kind, and calm environment through different strategies and practices. His goal is to spend more time in the classrooms and translate his love for baking into a new lesson for the kids. Thank you to Nick and Amy at the Cullman Center for welcoming us and teaching us about your exceptional programs!


Today is World Behavior Analysis Day! This day falls on March 20th in honor of BF Skinner’s birthday, who was the founder of the science of behavior analysis. On this day, we highlight and celebrate the work that behavior analysts do for the community we support.

Taylor DeCook and Sandra Shirkey are recent Springbrook Scholars graduates, who have earned their Master’s from the Sage program in Applied Behavior Analysis, (ABA). Taylor and Sandra are part of the growing behavior team at Springbrook. When asked what World Behavior Analysis Day means to her, Sandra shared, “Today we are celebrating the tools that are used to help individuals become more independent. We are celebrating methods of teaching that respect the wants and needs of a person who does not have the tools to verbalize what they want or need.”

Taylor is grateful for the opportunity to apply what she learned through her degree to help people at Springbrook and reflect on her experience with this quote: “It is important for people to understand behavior analysis because it is an effective treatment that is scientifically proven. With this degree, I am using the knowledge of behavioral science to help those we serve to live their best lives. Most importantly it will help foster an environment that promotes positive behavior change for everyone.”

We are so proud of Sandra and Taylor for their hard work and commitment to the people they support. Congratulations to both of you on your recent accomplishments as Springbrook Scholars graduates!


Pictured: Sandra Shirkey


Today is World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD)! The date of March 21 was chosen to commemorate the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome, which causes Down syndrome. World Down Syndrome Day is an important time to express support for the Down syndrome community by advocating for inclusion and acceptance. One way that you can show support today or this week is by wearing fun, colorful socks for the #LotsOfSocks campaign. If you want to learn more about World Down Syndrome Day, check out the video linked below!
World Down Syndrome Day website here.
Video here.


Jon Philby, the adaptive physical education teacher at The School at Springbrook and co-coordinator for the Special Olympics program, was recently featured on The Nate Lull Podcast. Nate Lull is the Radio Sports Director at WCDO Radio in Sidney and began his podcast in 2020. Nate’s podcast features athletes, coaches, media members, public figures, and entrepreneurs in upstate New York. In this hour-long episode, Nate and Jon discuss some of Jon’s favorite memories from working at Springbrook. Thank you, Nate and Jon, for highlighting sports programs at Springbrook! If you want to listen to Jon’s episode on The Nate Lull Podcast, click the link here


Kenny Goodrich’s favorite word is “motivation,” which shows in all facets of his life, including his job! Kenny has worked at McDonald’s since 2021, and his motivation to succeed is contagious. While we were interviewing him, he was working non-stop to complete the lunch food-prep checklist. Kenny works with Springbrook employment specialist Katherin Ritchey, who is always there when he needs her and is just a call away when he needs help finishing a task. They both enjoy being in the kitchen at McDonald’s and so does everyone Kenny works with! Store manager, John, shared that Kenny is “reliable, enthusiastic, and always keeps things lively.” Kenny’s co-worker, Wayne, said he enjoys working with him and wishes “there were more people like Kenny.” Kenny prides himself on being “the multitasker” and hopes to move to “table duty,” where he will make the sandwiches instead of prepping the ingredients. We cannot think of a better coworker than Kenny, who is always helping others, working hard, and making people laugh with his wonderful sense of humor!

See our Employment Specialist position below if you’re interested in assisting people, like Kenny, in securing and maintaining productive employment with the aim to work independently. Act soon to take advantage of a $1500 sign-on bonus!

Apply Here!


In addition to being Developmental Disability Awareness Month, March is also Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. Cerebral Palsy affects the developing brain and causes varying degrees and types of disabilities to a person’s motor functions. Most often, it affects motor movement and posture. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy are used to help a person stretch, gain strength, and improve their overall quality of life. That is why therapy programs like MOVE are so important to participants at Springbrook’s Capstone Day Habilitation Program. The MOVE program is designed to work with an individual’s present abilities to help improve their mobility skills in actions like sitting, standing, walking, and transitioning. The goal of MOVE is to improve the health and independence of every participant! See the links below for more about Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month and the MOVE program! 

MOVE Program

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month 


Meet Springbrook’s first social work intern, Shira Sarig! Shira is a senior in the Bachelor of Social Work program at SUNY Binghamton. She will be interning at Springbrook until August. During her time here, she will run a “Girls Circle” in one of the Norwich community homes. “Girls Circle” is a curriculum from One Circle Foundation that focuses on cultivating connections and increasing strengths through learning new skills and practices and interacting as a group. Shira hopes that implementing this group will help participants “realize they have the tools they need within themselves to achieve their goals.” Besides running “Girls Circle,” Shira will also use her time to build relationships and offer support within other Springbrook community homes, and Day Hab locations. Shira hopes to create a new path at Springbrook, contributing her social work background and creative ideas to help in whatever way is needed, from teaching about social and emotional skills to creating a safe space for women and girls to learn and grow. Thank you, Shira, for choosing Springbrook!


When Roselyn started working at Family Dollar almost two years ago, her goal was to get her license, purchase her own vehicle, and start driving. Two years later, that dream has come true! Roselyn purchased her own Subaru, which she now drives to work from Unadilla to Sidney three to four times a week. Roselyn works with employment specialist Katherin Ritchey and is grateful that Katherin is “always there when [Roselyn] needs her,” including having “perfect timing” when arriving to help Roselyn out around the store. In addition, Roselyn enjoys working with a supportive team of employees at Family Dollar and socializing with regulars at the store. Thank you, Springbrook Employment Services, for the work you do to help pair folks with a job they love! We are so happy to see Roselyn achieving her dreams!

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