Frequently Asked Questions
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What is Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara?
What is a developmental disability?
What programs are offered by Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara?
Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara offers the following programs and services:
What is a Medicaid Waiver?
What if I do not live in Niagara County?
My child has been diagnosed with a developmental disability. What do I do now?
My child will be “aging out” of our public school or BOCES program – what now?
Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara’s S.T.E.P.S. Program (School Transition and Employment Program for Success) creates a link to these services by putting a parent’s mind at ease. If eligible, the special education student has options such as supportive services, recreational opportunities, clinical services and residential placement that are available through the agency. The S.T.E.P.S. Program has assisted many students in smoothly transitioning to the adult service system. The school to work transition experience students receive has given many individuals the needed training and work skills to be successful in a job after graduation with support from Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara. The experience also allows the student to “try out” different day and vocational programs if they are not going to immediately enter the workforce or college. Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara is happy to work with your family and your school district to create the best transition experience.
Who is eligible to receive services from Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara?
Individuals must have a developmental disability (defined as a condition occurring before the age of 22 that includes mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and neurological impairments) to receive the following services:
- Case Management
- Day Habilitation
- Medicaid Service Coordination/Early Intervention Medicaid Service Coordination
- Clinical Services
- Recreation (youth and adult)
- Supportive Services
- Vocational and Employment Services
Individuals over 18 years of age, who meet specific program requirements, are eligible for all services offered by the agency. Individuals under 18 years of age, who meet specific program requirements, are eligible for case management, service coordination, early intervention Medicaid Service Coordination and recreation.
If Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara is not able to address the needs of the individual, we will make a referral to another human service agency that can.
Who do I contact for more information about Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara’s programs and services?
2510 Niagara Falls Blvd.
LPO Box 360
Niagara Falls, NY 14304-0360
(716) 504-2617 / FAX (716) 215-0339
How do people get to the day and pre-vocational programs?
Transportation to our programs and services is available for eligible and enrolled individuals with developmental disabilities in Niagara County through two independent companies — We Care and Carrier Coach. We also encourage use of public transportation as well where available. For information about enrolling with Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara, please contact Central Intake at (716) 504-2617 ext. 230. For questions or concerns regarding transportation, please contact the Transportation Department at (716) 504-2625 ext. 103.
Why choose Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara?
Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara is dedicated to maximizing the quality of life for people of all ages with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and providing the resources for them to reach their greatest potential, achieve their goals, learn to live independent lives and become active participants in their communities.
Myths & Facts
FACT: Adjusting to a disability actually requires adapting to a lifestyle, not bravery or courage.
FACT: The association between wheelchair use and illness has probably evolved through hospitals using them to transport sick people. People use wheelchairs for a variety of reasons, not only because they are sick.
FACT: A wheelchair is a personal assistive device that enables people to get around just like a bicycle or car does. They are not bound or tied to a wheelchair..
FACT: This myth is based on fear of anyone who is different. People who are mentally retarded are not any more prone to violence or mental illness than anyone else.
FACT: Lip-reading is a skill and varies greatly among people who use it. It is also not entirely reliable.
FACT: These spaces should only be used by people with disabilities who need to park in an accessible, barrier-free area.
FACT: Years of isolating people with disabilities in separate schools and institutions has reinforced this misconception. Today, more and more people are taking advantage of new opportunities to join in the mainstream of society.
FACT: People may help whomever they choose, but most people with disabilities prefer to be independent and take care of their own needs.
FACT: Most children have a natural, uninhibited curiosity and ask questions that adults sometimes find embarrassing. But scolding them for asking questions may make them think there is something bad about having a disability. Most people with disabilities don’t mind answering a child’s questions.
FACT: Although most people who are blind develop their other senses more fully, they do not have a sixth sense.
FACT: People with disabilities go to school, work, shop, laugh, cry, get mad, have hobbies and dreams just like everyone else.
FACT: Everyone can contribute to change. You can help remove barriers by:
- Speaking up when negative words or names are used in connection with disabilities and/or the people who have disabilities.
- Accepting people with disabilities as individual human beings with the same needs/feelings as you.