President & CEO raises concerns about potential cuts to Medicaid

mindyOur President & CEO Mindy Cervoni discusses the negative impact potential cuts to Medicaid could have on the people we serve in a letter to the editor that was recently published in The Buffalo News. We are urging our state legislators to vote against these budget cuts and to vote for the rights of people with developmental disabilities.

You can read the full letter by clicking here.


Autism Awareness Month | New Research Found on Identification


As you may or may not know, April is recognized by the Autism Society as National Autism Awareness month. CSDD aims to always lead the way for individuals with developmental disabilities, whether it be through transitional services, supportive employment, or general advancement. In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, we’d like to share a little information on recent research found back in February that could mean a lot to any new parent of an infant.

Recent research shows it may be possible to assess an individual’s risk for developing autism before they display behavioral symptoms. The new study goes further, and suggests predicting whether or not a child will develop autism within the first year of their life could now be possible. The study claims to have identified which baby’s would eventually be diagnosed with ASD by the time they’re two-years-old, with more than a 90 percent rate of accuracy. 

New Possibilities

The results, published this past February, could change the landscape in context to early diagnosis and intervention of autism. While the medical community has long viewed autism as emerging in a slow, subtle and gradual context over the course of an individual’s first couple years of life, this study offers the first possibility that some higher-risk children could be identified during the first year of life.

In the study, 106 infants who were identified as “high risk” for autism premised on having an older sibling diagnosed with a developmental disorder as well as 42 other “low-risk” infants. Each went through MRI scans at the ages of six, twelve and 24-months. In those who went on to develop autism, brain surface area growth was considerably increased between the ages of six and twelve, and the overall size of the impacted children’s brains grew at a faster rate between the ages of twelve and 24-months.

In the high-risk pool, just the differences in the brain between ages six and twelve were able to predict if the child would develop autism with a rate of 80 percent accuracy. Other factors were considered, including additional brain measurements and sex to assess statistical analysis to so accurately predict which children would go on to develop autism.

Continuing to Move Forward

While most children aren’t categorized as being autistic until after they turn four-years-old, they can still be reliably diagnosed as early as 2. This new research could be integral in advancing treatment as research shows treatment and/or intervention is increasingly successful the earlier it’s initiated, and medical professionals are always looking to identify avenues for earlier, but reliable diagnosis. While biomarkers to identify at-risk children have yet to be identified, the study provides hope that they exist while possibly expediting the diagnosis time to cultivate earlier and more effective intervention.

Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled is proud of the community we serve. From assisting with vocational training for developmentally disabled in WNY, to providing a myriad of other services for the developmentally disabled, give us a call if you’re looking for assistance, or support in any kind to help you and/or your loves ones live the fulfilling lives you deserve. If you or someone you know is looking for supportive employment or jobs for someone with a developmental disability, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.



Celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Back in 1987, the month of March was designated “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month” by then President Ronald Reagan.  The push towards deinstitutionalization in the 70s and 80s provided the bedrock for incredible and needed social advancement.  Reagan’s proclamation asked Americans to offer  individuals with developmental disabilities “both encouragement and the opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.

A Changing Landscape

As the narrative continued to shift, and those individuals impacted began to live and transition into an increasing part of the general community, programs aimed at career coaching, planning and placement started to emerge as well.  The notion that individuals with developmental disabilities could transition into productive and valuable members of the workforce was new to many Americans and as such, work to deconstruct long-established preconceptions and stereotypes had to be approached head on.

Just a few years later, in 1990, the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, significant ground was made towards mitigating discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace.

With Reagan’s proclamation and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the realistic expectations of individuals with disabilities began to change and autonomy, perseverance and community involvement increasingly became an achievable goal.  Simultaneously, along with better health care, individuals with developmental disabilities started living longer and cultivated a wide spectrum of support needed to live fulfilling lives.   

In 2004, the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) further clarified the perseverance, importance and abilities of individuals with disabilities.  While promising early interventions, special education and services to help high schoolers transition into adulthood, IDEA continued to open doors.

Forging Forward

While there has been significant and positive change three decades after the establishment of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, many challenges remain and we at Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled remain committed to continue working and advocating for our community.  Our 40 different programs provide a full range of services to meet the personal, social, vocational training for developmentally disabled in WNY needs and to meet the goals of the people we serve.  

We celebrate achievements and diversity  during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and hope you take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate with us.  We emphasize our commitment to working with developmentally disabled and community efforts to ensure the availability of support services to advocate for individuals with disabilities to live, work and participate fully in society.

Continuing the Fight for a Fair Wage

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Below is a statement from the #bFair2DirectCare Coalition on the governor’s failure to include living wage funding for Direct Care Workers in the executive budget. You can continue your support of the Coalition by sharing your stories on social media and tagging #bFair2DirectCare.

“#bFair2DirectCare could not have been clearer in what’s needed in this year’s budget to help direct care workers achieve a living wage – the very kind of economic justice Governor Cuomo has championed for other working New Yorkers – $45 million.

“What Governor Cuomo proposed can be simply described as ‘bupkis.’ It’s an old Yiddish phrase gently translated as ‘nothing.’

“In a budget where he called $163 million for his college tuition program ‘a rounding error,’ it’s baffling that he could not offer a fraction of that to help non-profits take a fist step toward providing a living wage for people whose job it is to bathe, feed, dress, medicate and serve people with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, brain injury and other developmental disabilities.

“If $163 million is a rounding error, as the Governor stated last night, then what’s less than a third of that? Barely even a typo in a $150 billion-plus budget.

“Governor Cuomo fails to recognize that non-profits provide this service on the state’s behalf and for less than the state can provide the same services. Yet he endorses and perpetuates a state funding scheme that leaves non-profit providers no leeway in paying workers a salary that provides for their families, which is why many direct care workers must work second or third jobs or are tempted to leave the field for better paying jobs in fast food and big box stores. In addition, he even proposes to eliminate the statutory cost of living adjustment.

“Many direct care workers work full time and still qualify for food stamps. That’s justice?

“The time is now for Governor Cuomo to widen his ‘middle class’ focus to support these New Yorkers who support others.

“Yesterday, direct care workers and the good people they support stood outside the Governor’s Mansion in freezing temperatures while he briefed legislators on the budget. Governor Cuomo still has a chance to become their hero, instead of leaving them out in the cold.

“#bFair2DirectCare is more than a half a million strong and we are New York.”


Building Our Future

We are excited to share recent developments on our Jefferson Career Center! Recently, Community Services received a grant of almost $1 million from the State to help build our Jefferson Career Center. Please help us spread the word to help build valuable connections to ensure those we serve are given every opportunity to find meaningful employment. Thank you to everyone who has supported this project and those who will help in the future.

For more information, go to



300 Days to Better Pay Campaign

This past spring, the #bFair2Direct Care Coalition launched the “300 Days to Better Pay” Campaign, just 300 days prior to the next State Budget adoption. The Coalition has been working with policymakers in Albany and the state to secure funding in the budget to increase wages for Direct Support Professionals and other direct care staff.

Here at Community Services, we need your help to spread this message. DSPs deserve to make a living wage. We need to speak up so our voices are heard by our government officials. You can help by:

  • Liking the bFair2DirectCare Facebook page
  • Following the bFair2DirectCare Twitter account: @Fair2DirectCare
  • Calling, emailing or tagging your NYS Senator, Assembly Member and Gov. Cuomo on social media

Download (PDF, 342KB)

A Cabaret of Talents

Community Services recently held a talent show to highlight some of the incredible musical and theatrical skills of the people we serve. We were fortunate to have Sabretooth visit which created a stir of excitement.  Thanks to everyone who participated or volunteered to make this awesome event happen!