GREENWICH, Conn. — Like many parents, New Canaan father of three Dennis W. Perry became involved in his children's education by joining the school board. He did the same when his son, Ross, now 25, became a client of the Abilis organization in Greenwich.
Abilis, pronounced ABLE-ISS, provides services for 700 children and adults with developmental disabilities every year.
"Ross was born in Hong Kong, where we were living at the time," Perry began an interview.
"Born well, Ross’ disability occurred as a result of his contracting bacterial meningitis at 10 weeks, which led to our learning about the world of disabilities and the value of early intervention," Perry said.
"We were fortunate to be able to work in Hong Kong with an organization very much like Abilis that taught us what we needed to know help put Ross on the road to being the young man he is today."
Despite the high quality of support Ross had overseas, the family decided to move back to the United States in 2000, believing that access to programs in Connecticut would be in their son's long-term best interest, Perry said.
"Now a decade later, Ross has a very full community-centered life where he receives the supports he needs to successfully navigate his world," Perry said.
Perry explained that his his son moved to a supported residence in 2013 and attends a life skills day program through Abilis that helps young adults transition to adulthood.
In addition, he takes part in Abilis activities for people with special needs.
In 2014, Perry, whose background includes working as a CEO in private and nonprofit organizations and who had been retired two years, joined the Board of Directors at Abilis. He then assumed the role of President/ CEO of Abilis in 2015,
“This was a very unexpected turn of events, but an outcome I welcomed as it presented the opportunity to apply my business background as the organization works to build a sustainable platform for Abilis going forward," Perry said.
Among the programs at Abilis is Life Services, which provides transition support for young adults as they graduate from high school. There are social and recreational activities, job training and competitive employment and adult day and residential programs offered as well.
For children, the Therapeutic & Family Advisory Services provides birth-to-3 early intervention and customized therapies in areas speech, language and occupational support.
To learn more about the group, click here for the Abilis website .