Janine Fitzmaurice

Coordinator of Children with Special Needs Services

Ages birth through 5 years old

(845) 486-3518


Dana Hopkins

Coordinator of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Services

Ages 5 years through adulthood

(845) 486-2766


Deborah Disanza

Coordinator of Children’s Services and Children’s POA Coordinator

(845) 486-2768


Toni-Marie Ciarfella. Ph.D.

Deputy Commissioner for Special Needs

(845) 486-3434


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 


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Dutchess County Government can not guarantee that all events listed in the ‘Community Calendar’ and the”ThinkDIFFERENTLY” Events sponsored by Dutchess County Government calendars will be fully accessible.
Specific information regarding the ‘The Community’ calendar events can be obtained directly from that event’s organizer. Information on “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” events sponsored by Dutchess County Government’ can be obtained through our Contact Us form.

ThinkDIFFERENTLY Spring Event with John Flowers Family Old Fashion Easter Egg Hunt

See more details.


Happy and Healthy New Year !


The ThinkDIFFERENTLY Calendar for 2019 is being finalized! We will be posting events soon! Other wonderful events ahead is on February 8, 2019,  Tim Tebow’s “Nite to Shine” and  February is also the month that we will be kicking off the Special Olympics of New York Summer Games in Poughkeepsie volunteer recruitment!

See more details.

Santa at the Galleria Mall

An American Sign Language interpreter will be on site at Poughkeepsie Galleria’s Santa set to assist with interpreting and translating services.  This special service comes as a result of a partnership between Taconic Resources for Independence, Dutchess County Government’s ThinkDIFFERENTLY initiative and Poughkeepsie Galleria. 


Sunday, December 16th 11:00am – 1:00pm

Sunday, December 23rd 11:00am – 1:00pm


See more details.

Collaboration of Services and Care Across the Life Span for People with Special Needs

Please join us Friday, November 30th at the Henry Wallace Center located at the FDR Presidential Library and Home in Hyde Park. This conference will guide families and providers through a series of discussions with a focus on planning for the care of someone with special needs. Our goal is to explore the benefits of collaborating and improving negotiating skills for services.

RSVP by November 26th

For more information please see Flyer TD Conference 2018

See more details.

Autism Awareness Training for First Responders

Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro invites you to Autism Awareness Training for First Responders, which will teach law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and security guards how to best interact with an individual with autism during an emergency.


By attending this training, you will learn to:


-identify the characteristics and behavior of a person with ASD
-effectively communicate with a person with ASD
-respond to an emergency involving a person with ASD
-build relationships with the ASD community
-utilize special tactics, rescue techniques, and patient care options


Register for a session near you at http://www.dutchessny.gov/training


View or download “Autism Awareness Training for First Responders 2018”

See more details.

Think Differently Free Movie Day

Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro invites you to a sensory-friendly free movie day at Roosevelt Cinemas in Hyde Park. Doors open at 9:30 am and the movie will begin at 10 am! Cinema dollars for popcorn and treats will be provided.

Reservations must be made at dutchessny.gov/movie by Wednesday, November 7th.    ThinkDIFFERENTLY Movie Day – Nov 10 2018

See more details.

ThinkDIFFERENTLY Emerging Artist Showcase

The Town of Lagrange is hosting their Annual Fall Festival and ThinkDIFFERENTLY Emerging Artist Showcase  will be one of the many featured  activities during the day!

If you would like to submit your work please complete the Emerging Artist Showcase registration form and send it to Damara Tolassi

New Deadline of October 10, 2018.

 If you need further information, please contact Ms. Tolassi at (845) 486-3568.

See more details.

ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash & City of Poughkeepsie Queen City Mile!

The 3rd Annual ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash will be held on September 7, 2018 in coordination with the First Friday Poughkeepsie and the Queen City Mile Race!  The ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash is a half or one mile run/walk for people of all abilities in the heart of the City of Poughkeepsie.  The start time is 5:30 pm and location is 22 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY! Race day registration opens at 4:15 pm and online registration closes on September 4, 2018.  We are looking forward to seeing you there!

2018 Think Differently Dash Event Flyer and 2018 Think Differently Dash Registration Form

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Disability, Dream & Do! Baseball Weekend

Disability, Dream & Do! Baseball camp for children and young adults with special needs at Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls, NY on Saturday!  The event starts at 9:45 am to 1pm. See  the D3 Baseball Camp flyer for more information.  On Sunday, 8/19/18 all participants and their families/caregivers are invited to return to Dutchess Stadium for the Renegades’ game when the “Pulling Each Other Along” award will be presented.

See more details.

ThinkDIFFERENTLY Picnic – A Day at the Farm!

The 6th Annual “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” Picnic on July 10, 2018 – rain or shine – from 11 am to 2pm. Please come join us at Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Home’s “Great Lawn” to enjoy a ‘Day at the Farm’ themed event!

ThinkDIFFERENTLY 2018 Picnic

See more details.