FOUNDER OF SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOL NAMED STATEWIDE WOMAN OF DISTINCTION
Albany, N.Y. – 5/08/2013 – Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) has nominated Theresa Pirraglia of Katonah as his 2013 New York State Senate Woman of Distinction.
“I can’t think of a more deserving person for this honor. From helping other parents with special needs children navigate the education system, to fighting the closure of the Devereux Day Habilitation Program, Terry is truly doing God’s work,” said Senator Greg Ball. “What a fitting tribute to honor Terry into the 2013 New York State Women of Distinction alongside other women of distinction from throughout this great state.”
“I would like to sincerely thank Senator Greg Ball for selecting me as the 40th NYS Senatorial district’s Woman of Distinction. It is a great honor and I am truly humbled by it,” said Theresa Pirraglia. “It has been my privilege to work with persons with developmental disabilities and their families, who struggle every day to have a quality of life that all New Yorkers take for granted.”
Theresa Pirraglia is a leader in the developmental disability community in New York State. Mrs. Pirraglia possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of developmental disabilities, especially autism.
As the parent of 25 year old son with autism she has both developed and pioneered cutting edge programs for person with autism through New York State’s Special Education and OPWDD systems.
In 1996 along with her husband, Joe and seven other families she founded the Devereux Millwood Learning Center in Westchester County New York. The center was the first school for children with autism based on the principles of applied behavioral analysis in the lower Hudson Valley.
Mrs. Pirraglia has co-chaired twelve educational and medical conferences on autism with such partners as the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Westchester Institute for Human Development.
In 2009 to help meet the demographic tsunami of adults with autism in New York she designed and co- founded with the Devereux Foundation the first Enhanced Supported Employment and Day Habilitation Without Walls program. This program has enabled young adults with autism to obtain and maintain paid employment in their communities in the lower Hudson valley. In addition, this program provides ongoing voluntary opportunities for all its participants. This has enabled these young adults with autism to be full contributing members to their state and local communities.
Presently, Mrs. Pirraglia is a Board member of the Foundation for Educating Children with Autism, Mental Health News Education Inc. and a member Westchester County’s Autism Advisory committee. In addition she sits on the editorial board of “Autism Spectrum News.”
Theresa will also be honored at Senator Greg Ball’s 40th Senate District Women of Distinction Hall of Fame on Saturday, September 8, 2013 at the Putnam County Emergency Services Building starting at 2pm.
For more information, please contact Joe Bachmeier at (845) 200 9716.