Everyone is One Step Away from a Disability

Everyone is One Step Away from a Disability

There are several classifications of disability, each with their unique issues and limitations. Some types of disabilities may include physical, intellectual, developmental, neurological, behavioral, visual and hearing impairments.

Not always are disabilities a result of birth defects or congenital disease, but can be caused by other factors such as injury, accidents or medical conditions, and not all disabilities are visible. Anyone can become disabled at any time and require services and adaptations to function within society.

Recognizing this possibility should generate public and corporate donors to better support agencies who provide programs and services in the midst of government funding reductions. Each agency may not be providers for all types of disabilities, but they are experts in the field for the types of resources offered.

Opengate’s area of expertise lies with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as some behavioral issues. Our mission has always been to offer programs and resources that enhance the quality of life for each of the individuals we serve. We support them in creating their personal plan and assist in the best possible outcome for each of them.

The fact is, most of us will move in and out of disability in our lifetimes, whether we do so through illness, an injury or merely the process of aging...Becoming Disabled, New York Times 

While those born with an impairment learn to acclimate in order to get along in a world built for those without a disability, how does one who becomes afflicted “learn” to be disabled? Most don’t know how.

Awareness and self education of the general public about the types of disabilities and the resources available is paramount to better understanding a situation that could affect one personally, and most likely is already affecting someone close. We must become acquainted with the transformations of aging, injury, and medical conditions which can suddenly, and without warning, be life altering.

Becoming disabled demands learning how to live effectively as a person with disabilities, not just living as a disabled person trying to become nondisabled. It also demands the awareness and cooperation of others who don’t experience these challenges.…..  Becoming Disabled, New York Times 

Living as a person with a disability is a process of learning what is right for the individual and striving towards best possible outcomes using all resources available.  With proper assistance and support, each individual can continue to live a full life and contribute to their community.

Although everyone believes they will live a long, healthy, and prosperous life, the fact is most of us will need support and care for ourselves or a loved one who may become disabled. Opengate staff is well trained to assist and/or educate about resources available for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.



To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.



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Team Opengate and The Miracle League of Westchester


Opengate Miracle League of Westchester player, Andy

The Opengate Miracle League team threw their first baseball of the season on April 22, and will play twice a week at Ridge Road Park in Hartsdale. Currently, there are 41 men and women enrolled in the Miracle League of Westchester from our Without Walls and ICF Day Hab programs.

We are proud of our players and at each game they not only have fun, but they learn team building skills and good sportsmanship from well qualified coaches. Their time with the Miracle League also improves their physical fitness as they learn the rules of the game.

Imagine a baseball league where people with wheelchairs, walkers and other special needs can bat, field and safely cross home plate just like their friends. Miracle League of Westchester

The Miracle League of Westchester, founded by J. Stephen Madey, allows children and adults with disabilities to play baseball as a member of a team which fosters friendships, team mates, and the joy of playing baseball, America’s favorite pastime.

“The Miracle Field at Ridge Road Park is specially designed, rubberized and cushioned for the safety of all players whether they be children or adults,” says Deborah Mayo, Director of Opengate’s Day Habilitiation Progam. “Each player is assigned a volunteer Buddy who assists them and insures they have a good time.”

To fulfill their mission to help all players develop social skills and increase self-esteem, the Miracle League of Westchester also promotes community support and sponsorship.

“Not only does Opengate have baseball players, but we also send along our own cheerleaders,” adds Mayo. “Several of our individuals accompany the team when they play to cheer them on. They also enjoy their time in nature by taking walks in the park.”

At the end of the season is a barbecue celebration where each player is recognized for their participation with a trophy.

Play ball!




To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.

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May: Mental Health Awareness Month


Mental Health Awareness Month



Since 1949 May has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month to reach the public with information about the many facets of mental health.

According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) “one in five adults experiences a mental health condition every year, including one in 20 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to the person directly experiencing the mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected.”

Living with a complicated condition, either physical or mental, presents challenges for individuals and their families. Many illnesses that are considered “physical” have outward symptoms, while mental illnesses can not always be easily detected and may be under diagnosed or misdiagnosed.  This was historically true for many individuals with disabilities and, as a result, their specific treatment needs were subsequently overlooked.

By recognizing changing attitudes towards the stigma attached to mental illness, positive changes have been made for those who are diagnosed. We now see a healthier outlook of understanding and more ways to assimilate those affected within society through treatment programs and modern approaches.

Opengate’s programs are designed to assist with the transition for adults with developmental disabilities.  In addition to an intellectual or developmental disability, many individuals served also experience a co-occurring significant behavioral health issue or have intensive behavioral support needs related to their disability.

Through specialized and seamless therapeutic and clinical services, the individuals are recognized with dignity and respect while making informed choices about their specific circumstances (particularly if there are existing behavioral health issues.)

“Opengate acknowledges that each person has the right to be treated with respect and fairness.”  says Brian Hulten, LCSW, Chief Executive Officer. “Family members and caregivers play a large role in the support of those with a mental health condition. Opengate and our direct service providers strive to offer the support, assistance and information necessary to help better understand the issues they face,” he adds.

In observing Mental Health Awareness Month there is a united effort throughout the US to call attention to all of the strategies available to help achieve balance and overall wellness.

Opengate has been designated as an emerging Compass agency by New York State. To learn how we excel, click on About Us.



To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.

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Employee of the Month, March 2017

Employee of the Month.png


Congratulations to Michael Simpkins who was voted Employee of the Month!

Throughout his time at Opengate, Inc., Michael Simpkins has been observed going above and beyond his job description.

Each holiday he can be seen putting up the seasonal decorations and quite often participating in arts and craft projects with the individuals.

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Michael Simpkins, Employee of the Month

Michael consistently shows genuine care and love for the individuals he works with and it’s obvious to all that he loves his job. He always comes to work with a smile and positive attitude.

He’s an excellent role model for his peers, never complains and always speaks positively.

The Employee of the Month is elected by a vote of their peers.

To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.

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Light it Up Blue for Autism Awareness



Officially April 2 is deemed World Autism Day and across the world it’s celebrated by lighting up blue on buildings, homes, and businesses to bring attention to autism.

April is also National Autism Awareness month set aside to educate communities and bring awareness to autism. Promoting and recognizing the complexities of autism, as well as fostering inclusion and acceptance, is a large part of the planned activities at organizations like Opengate who serve many individuals diagnosed with autism.

Liz Dama, who works with individuals in our Day Program, has declared “Blue Tuesdays” during the month of April where everyone wears blue in recognition of the national campaign, Light it Up Blue.



The accepted symbol for autism awareness is puzzle pieces of many colors representing the complexity of the condition. Each color reveals an enhancement of the nature of autism, as well as the possibilities for a life well lived through proper understanding and awareness.

“Interests and talents can turn into careers. Developing and nurturing these unique abilities can make life more fulfilling for a person with autism.” – Dr. Temple Grandin

Those with autism present vast levels of capability and each individual deserves to be met where they are, learning to best use their talents and skills. Opengate fosters an environment of consideration and care through programs and services designed to support the individual based on their ability.

liub_2017By wearing blue, or planning community awareness activities, it’s hoped that the message will reach far and wide during the month of April, and beyond, that individuals with autism have much to contribute to our world when they are accepted, understood, and encouraged.



To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.


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