Janine Fitzmaurice

Coordinator of Children with Special Needs Services

Ages birth through 5 years old

(845) 486-3518

jfitzmaurice@dutchessny.gov

Linda Monkman

Coordinator of Children’s and Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Services

Ages 5 years through adulthood

(845) 486-2766

lmonkman@dutchessny.gov

Toni-Marie Ciarfella

Deputy Commissioner for Special Needs

(845) 486-3434

tciarfella@dutchessny.gov

If this is an emergency and you need immediate assistance please contact 911

Crisis Counseling, Support, Information & Referrals

Dutchess County HELPLINE 

Toll free: (877) 485-9700

Stabilization Center

(845) 485-9700

NY State Central Register for Child Abuse 

(800-342-3720)

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About Us

ThinkDIFFERENTLY Brochure Cover Page
Download the “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” Brochure (PDF)

What is ThinkDIFFERENTLY?

Launched by Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in 2015, the “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative seeks to change the way individuals, businesses, organizations and communities relate to our neighbors with special needs.

“ThinkDIFFERENTLY” is a call to action, a genuine challenge to determine if we have it within ourselves to look past our differences and treat others the way we would hope to be treated. Too often, too many with special needs are overlooked and their unique abilities ignored. Instead, we seek to lift each other up and embrace all residents of all abilities.

How Individuals Can “ThinkDIFFERENTLY”

We can all focus on the abilities and strengths of each person rather than being concerned about their disabilities. Inclusion makes everybody feel good.

How Businesses Can “ThinkDIFFERENTLY”

Your office or store can be designed to accommodate every customer, without regard to their differences. Families and individuals who have sensory, hearing, mobility or visual issues are, at heart, just customers, and are welcomed in any establishment.

How Communities Can “ThinkDIFFERENTLY”

Being open to everyone benefits our communities in countless ways, many of which have no added cost – from partnering with local organizations to changing the way they think about residents with special needs. The opportunities to think creatively, engaging with people who have special needs and the community at large are exciting, all with the goal of providing a more supportive environment for people of all abilities.

If you’d like to sponsor one of Dutchess County’s “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” events, contact tciarfella@dutchessny.gov or (845) 486-3434.