• Abilities First, Inc. Abilities First, Inc.


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Mission Statement

To provide people with disabilities and their families support to attain independence, self-determination, integration and acceptance by others through education, exploration and experience.


Our journey started in 1962 with a handful of visionaries who believed that people with disabilities need not be placed in institutions (the widely accepted practice at the time), but rather cared for, educated and given a well-deserved chance to enjoy rewarding, fulfilling lives. Thus, Rehabilitation Programs, Inc. was born making its first home at The Little Red Schoolhouse, located in the heart of beautiful Poughkeepsie, New York. Though initially designed to meet the educational needs of a very small number of individuals, the enormous popularity of Rehabilitation Programs was evident and our outreach grew by leaps and bounds, eventually including people of all ages and levels of disability.

It was because of REHAB Programs (as we later became known) that families began to celebrate important milestones with their loved ones that were as poignant as the transformational moments when the word "disability" first made itself known to them. Countless stories of first steps, first words, first jobs, first apartments and first friends have continued to unfold ever since. Now, with almost fifty years of enhancing the lives of people with disabilities, we celebrate our long history and our promise for tomorrow as Abilities First.

Our professional family, made up of warm, conscientious and supportive experts in the field, make it their goal every day to focus on and cultivate the strengths of those we serve. In doing so, they provide a positive, healthy environment for rehabilitation, education, vocational and residential support that enables our program participants to find and embrace their full capacity in life.



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