Why This Website

Was Created

A message from Pat Gillule

Welcome! As a local special education teacher since 2003, I've seen students with intellectual disabilities struggle to find their place in the world once they leave high school. Their families and service providers work hard to give them opportunities, but sadly, there is not always a range of choices to meet all needs. Meanwhile, my students LOVE being productive members of the community, and they deserve the chance to contribute and make a positive difference.

Graduation from high school can be particularly difficult for students with intellectual disabilities and their families. This is especially true in rural communities. While their typically developing peers are moving forward in life to further their education or begin gainful employment, young adults with intellectual disabilities do not always have access to experiences that will continue their learning. Graduation, for them, can be bittersweet. It is marking an ending, but not a beginning. And it's not equitable at all. Life at age 21 should not be this way, and I know that my students (and many others) deserve so much more.

I learned that many people in our area share similar concerns, so a task force was formed to address them. This website is the result of our efforts, and it will serve to house adult disability resource information in one place. We hope that this will make the existing Tioga County services more accessible to everyone. We also plan to identify the service gaps that exist, reach out to our community, and actively search for ways to create what we still need.

By collaborating with one another with a focused approach, we can positively impact the trajectory of the future for adults in Tioga County who have special needs. We are a community with both heart and grit, and with a collective effort, we can truly make a better, more meaningful life for every person who lives here.

Let's create a space for everyone in our community.

Let's make Tioga County EXCEPTIONAL!