Young man spraying flowers with water

Favorite DDI Memory Shared by Judy Bracy: 40 Years with DDI


What is your favorite DDI memory?

DDI is thrilled we are in our 60th Anniversary year! We are proud of our historic start in 1961 by a small group of parents determined to find a better way to address the special education and therapeutic needs of their children. They came together to form The Suffolk Center for Emotionally Disturbed Children. These original parents chipped in for the teachers’ payroll, they offered classes in their own basements, they held board meetings in their living rooms! It was an exciting time!

Over the years, the program evolved and enrollment grew. Six decades later, DDI has emerged as a leader in our field while remaining deeply connected to our roots.

We have embarked on a project to collect as many memories as we can from the past six decades, and we are excited to share them with you.

Please enjoy the memory sent in by:

Judy Bracy

In 1978, my young son, Sean, started attending what is now known as Developmental Disabilities Institute (formerly Suffolk Child Development Center).

Young boy with adult males smiling with index fingers up

In 1987, when he was 13 years old, I made the very difficult decision to send him to a residential facility.  At that time, the Children’s Residential Program (CRP) did not exist yet, so he went to live in upstate New York. My beautiful boy was now an hour and a half away from me.

It was in 1990 that our lives would change forever. I received a call that the CRP had opened in Smithtown, and placement was now available for Sean. Within a short amount of time, my son went from being an hour and a half away from home to a mere 15 minutes! A joyous occasion!

Collage of young man

Since that time, Sean has remained a part of the DDI family for over 40 remarkable years. The agency has provided him with education and care throughout his youth and now well into his adult years.

It is now 2021, and although he has been in an SCO group home for many years, he is still in a DDI Without Walls Adult Day Services Program. Sean is now 46 years old, and there simply are no words to say how blessed we have both been to have had DDI as a refuge all these years.