Whitestone resident helping to lead local nonprofit dedicated to people with Down syndrome

Photo courtesy of ACDS

ACDS, dedicated to providing lifetime resources to individuals with Down syndrome, autism and other developmental disabilities, hired its first-ever associate executive director — a current Whitestone resident.

Michael DeGrottole, who lives in the Beechhurst section of the neighborhood, has spent more than 30  years in the field of developmental disabilities, specializing in the treatment of children and adults with autism.

DeGrottole holds a bachelor’s degree in American Literature from Queens College and a master of arts in music therapy from New York University.

Michael Smith, executive director of ACDS, which serves Long Island and Queens, created the associate executive director position in response to a comprehensive strategic plan that ACDS is undertaking to help thoughtfully drive its impressive growth.

As associate executive director of ACDS, DeGrottole’s responsibilities will include finding an additional site for “Opportunities” Day Habilitation Program Without Walls, which has grown significantly, and developing an adult residence that will allow older group home residents to age in place while addressing their complicated medical needs.

DeGrottole will also be responsible for driving an expansion of opportunities in the Westchester special needs pre-school to include after-school clinical services and recreational programs.

His experience in residential services includes 11 years at Life’s WORC, where he worked in human resources, and four years at the Floating Hospital, where he served as director of rehabilitation services for 92 clinics throughout New York state.

Most recently, DeGrottole spent 14 years as the vice president of programs at the Mercy Home for Children in Brooklyn, which provides homes and services in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

He was the lead music therapist and clinical director for the Heartsong Foundation; he also co-founded the Music Therapy Project, a placement program for some of the industry’s top creative arts therapists.

“We look forward to utilizing Michael DeGrottole’s skills and experience to help ACDS continue to set the standard for lifetime care for people with developmental disabilities and their families,” Smith said.

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