Our Services

Exceptional Family Resources provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities who live in Onondaga County.   Our staff works to ensure that all people, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, lead full, active and productive lives in the community.

Employment Services assist individuals with obtaining and maintaining successful, fulfilling employment by teaching job development skills, providing support on the job site, and partnering with potential employers to help pave the way for a positive working experience.

Pathway to Employment (PTE) offers an individualized planning process that helps individuals identify a career or vocational direction and provides instruction/training in job readiness skills and development of a plan for achieving competitive, integrated employment at or above the New York State minimum wage.

Supported Employment (SEMP) services help individuals with developmental disabilities work in all types of community businesses and industries by providing job development and on-the-job training, assistance and support.

Employment Training Program (ETP) is a vocational training program that enables business to employ individuals with developmental disabilities and have their wages paid by OPWDD for up to 18 months..

Family Directed Supports provides direct financial assistance to support the needs of a family member living with a disability.
Family Education & Training provides training opportunities to caregivers of individuals who are eligible for this Medicaid Waiver service.

First Step at Exceptional Family Resources is designed to provide time-limited case management to individuals with developmental disabilities, residing in Onondaga County, living with their families. Service delivery may include assistance establishing OPWDD (Office of People with Developmental Disabilities) eligibility; linkage to services; access to respite; access to FDS (Family Directed Supports); financial reimbursement and information and referral.

For more information on the EFR “First Step” program, contact Sharon Salvo at ssalvo@contactefr.org or call (315) 478-1462 ext 382.

Exceptional Family Resources offers several opportunities for individuals with disabilities and volunteers from the community to participate in recreation activities together. These volunteer companionship opportunities match people together to engage in shared interests with the intent that long-lasting friendships may develop. “Friends Connection” serves youth and adults who live at home. Friends Connection utilizes long-term companions and also has a “student placement” component that utilizes Education Students from Syracuse University and Le Moyne College. Students learn about issues pertaining to disability through a 20 hour experience with a participant in Friend’s Connection.

For more information, contact Robyn Tetrault at rtetrault@contactefr.org or call (315) 478-1462 ext 385 or Blake Propst at bpropst@contactefr.org or call (315) 478-1462 ext 335.

Community Habilitation Services provide individualized assessment, training, and assistance in acquiring skills and increasing a person’s repertoire of interests. The goal is to enhance the individual’s independence, both at home and in the community, using a variety of individualized activities and supports based on each person’s unique situation, desires and goals.  Person-centered habilitation plans focus in assisting participants to:

• develop independent living skills (ex., general household chores, personal care and safety)
• increase communication skills
• learn how to use money
• socialize appropriately in neighborhood/community settings
• participate in social, health-related and recreational activities that are included in the person’s individualized service plan (ISP).

EFR recruits, screens and orients people from the community who have proven ability in ADL (activities of daily living) training and community integration for individuals with developmental disabilities to become community habilitation service providers.

For more information contact Glenda Criss at gcriss@contactefr.org or call (315) 478-1462 ext 341.

Medicaid Service Coordination combines the development, implementation and maintenance of individualized service plans with access to services and supports for persons with developmental disabilities.  EFR’s service coordinators provide information, linkage, and referral services to education; vocational training; supported work; transportation; adaptive equipment; residential placements; respite; transition and futures planning; entitlements and financial assistance; legal/advocacy services; social/recreation opportunities; environmental modifications; day and community habilitation; and medical/nursing services. 

For more information on Medicaid Service Coordination through EFR, contact Lauren Johnson Albaroni at lalbaroni@contactefr.org or call (315) 478-1462 ext 331.

Project Explore provides a half-day summer program of recreational activities for teens and young adults with developmental disabilities.  Project Explore participants are able to experience new activities in a safe, supportive environment that fosters friendship and belonging.  Participants must be eligible to receive HCBS waiver services.  EFR provides transportation from a designated home base to daily scheduled activities but families are responsible for their child’s drop off and pick up at the home base. Families are also responsible for activity fees associated with their child.

For more information, contact Blake Propst at bpropst@contactefr.orgor call (315) 478-1462 ext 335.

2018 PE Summer Registration

Parents Night Out provides recreation activities for youth ages 6-12 years old, one evening per month at various community locations.  

For more information, contact Coordinator Heather Kerr at hkerr@contactefr.org or call (315) 478-1462 ext 319.

Exceptional Family Resources’ Take a Break Respite Services provides care to individuals with developmental disabilities, so families may have a break from their caregiving responsibilities.  Families are individually matched with providers who are paid an hourly rate by Exceptional Family Resources to care for their child or family member.
Take a Break:  The original Take a Break Family Respite provides 10-25 hours/month of respite service to all children in the family.  Staff cannot provide transportation during this service and the respite is provided primarily in the home. These services are provided through a contract with the Onondaga Department of Mental Health. 
TAB 15: Take a Break Hourly Waiver Respite provides a similar service, with the exception that providers are only able to provide care to the individual with a developmental disability.  Under the waiver respite service, each person with a disability is eligible to receive services; allocations are finalized by the state for individuals who are new to the service.  Individuals receiving Hourly Waiver Respite must have waiver respite services included in their Individualized Service Plan.
Community Waiver Respite (CWR): This waiver respite service allows staff to provide transportation for the individuals they are supporting.  Like TAB 15, staff can only support individuals who have developmental disabilities and allocations are determined by the state.
For more information about our respite programs, please contact Irene Fiesinger at ifiesinger@contactefr.org or call (315) 478-1462 ext 334.

The Senior Caregivers Program serves families in which a caregivers, who is 55 or older, is caring for and sharing a home with someone with a developmental disability.

The Senior Caregivers Program provides individualized and caring assistance to help people:

• Establish eligibility for developmental disability services
• Apply for Medicaid
• Apply for SSI or Social Security Disability
• Acquire information on guardianship, special needs trusts, residential options and other future planning topics
• Begin future planning for their family member with a disability
• Begin to secure support services for the disabled family member
• Navigate the changing service system
• Secure support services for the caregiver, including senior services and financial supports when eligible

For more information or to make an appointment, either in our office or your home, contact Deb Gibson-Jaworski at dgibsonjaworski@contactefr.org or call at (315) 478-1462 ext 332.

Specialized Resources at Exceptional Family Resources is a free program designed to provide families with information and referrals to appropriate programs and services throughout the community in the areas of respite, recreation, service coordination, residential and vocational services. Limited one-to-one Special Education assistance is also provided. For more information, contact Resource Specialist, Karen Adams at kadams@contactefr.org or call (315) 478-1462 ext 337.

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Exceptional Family Resources resource manual is produced every two years and guides users to the many services that exist in Onondaga and surrounding counties.   We are always looking for local businesses who are interested in purchasing advertisement space in the manual.