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Celebrating 60 Years: Meet a DDI Family - The Gray's

Jordan and his parents reside in Queens Village, NY, and have lived there since Jordan was born 20 years ago. When Jordan was young and diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, Bill and Claudia realized the limitations of what their local New York City public schools offered. They were committed to finding Jordan the best opportunities, and they were focused on finding a place for him with a small learning environment.

Bill and Claudia had three different schools that may be a good fit for Jordan recommended to them, and DDI was on the top of the list. They visited all three schools and knew that DDI was an environment that would offer Jordan a great learning experience. They were impressed with what they initially saw and knew this would be the place where he would make progress. Claudia was initially impressed with the practical features the school offers, and James was initially impressed with the friendly staff.

Once the Gray family joined DDI, they were delighted that DDI didn’t just take Jordan in, they took the entire family in. Jordan now commutes to DDI in Smithtown every day on a DDI bus, and he loves being away from home!

Claudia wanted to share with all of the other parents out there, “I don’t know what your child will be like at DDI, but they will be changed. It might be a gradual change, but they are with a staff that is skilled and caring so your child will make improvements at some level. Don’t be limited by what other people say. Know that there are opportunities for your child to improve, and use that as a comfort. Know that your child, regardless of where he or she is today, with the right support from DDI staff and teachers, you will see improvements for your child.”

Turning 21 this year, Jordan is the first DDI student from the Children's Day Program who will be attending college. Claudia and James shared that thanks to DDI working with Jordan and focusing on his progress, he has been accepted to the College of Saint Rose in Albany.

Claudia and James shared, “We are giddy! We are very pleased and excited about what Jordan’s future will be and what opportunities this college program will bring.”

The College Experience at Saint Rose is a certification program that specializes in independent living. Jordan will have his own apartment and a roommate, just like every college student. This program will teach Jordan additional life skills. He will learn how to travel on public transportation, choose his own classes, get to class on time, shop for himself, prepare his own meals, attend classes and get good grades! They teach Jordan budgeting, how to interview, how to have a career, and other skills that will last him a lifetime.

Bill and Claudia are so appreciative that there are programs like DDI and The College of Saint Rose.

DDI is so proud of Jordan for his hard work! We are proud of their whole family for their dedication to Jordan’s education and the exciting adventure they have ahead.