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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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others besides. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys. The spotlight shining on autism as a result has opened opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve families facing a lifetime of supports for their children. In June 2014, researchers estimated the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism is as great as $2.4 million. The Autism Society estimates that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism. (This figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, related therapeutic services and caregiver costs.)

For more information on Autism Awareness, visit!


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Disabled Person Action Organization’s Economic Impact Study

New Research Report Shows DPAO Concert Series An Engine For Economic Impact And Jobs

A recent survey report by the Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College on behalf of the Disabled Persons Action Organization (DPAO) concludes that the DPAO Summer Concert Series was responsible for a positive financial impact of over $10 Million Dollars in the region over the past five years!

The report specifically identified the following impacts the Concert Series had had on the greater Watertown region.

  • Over the past 5 years (2012-2016) an annual average of 9722 people attended a DPAO concert
  • The estimated economic impact for this five year period is $10,204,311
  • 16.2 jobs as an average are created annually by the DPAO Summer Concert Series-for every 1000 attendees 2.52 jobs are created in the community

In addition the report in part considers the results of customer intercept studies taken through-out the 2016 DPAO concert series.

  • Over 11% of the attendees traveled from outside the area and stayed overnight in the region
  • 95 % of those concert attendee’s surveyed viewed the DPAO Summer Concert Series as a valuable addition to the quality of life in the community
  • Data from the past five years indicates each attendee had a direct and indirect economic impact to the community of $212.76 per concert event

Another interesting fact is that almost 84% of concert attendee’s plan on going to future DPAO Concerts and will also recommend them to others.

This study is the most detailed statistical look at data at this particular group of people in our community and it offers value to other businesses besides DPAO as well as public officials and regional economic developers. The success of the Summer Concert Series over the past 40 years can be attributed to our concert goers and loyal sponsors.

The proceeds from the DPAO Summer Concert Series are used to fund the programs and services provided to over five hundred families that DPAO serves in multiple counties. It is very gratifying to know that these shows have had such a positive economic impact on our community and that the concert attendees realize these events enhance the quality of life in our area.

Since 1974, DPAO’s mission has been to provide quality and effective individualized services to developmentally disabled children and adults in Jefferson and Lewis Counties. The services are primarily geared to helping families cope with the stress of caring for their disabled loved ones.

For more information on DPAO’s programs and services please call (315) 782-3577.





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 Homes:  652 Thompson Street ● Watertown, New York 13601 ● (315) 782-2485 /
22952 Pamelia Avenue ● Watertown, New York 13601



Lewis County Offices:  Village Square • Lyons Falls, New York 13368 • (315) 348-8380

Lewis County Free Standing Respite Home:  5205 Ebbly Road ● Lowville, New York 13367 ● (315) 376-8327