About The Staten Island Development Disabilities Council


The Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council (SIDDC) was established in 1969 to assist in the planning, promotion, and development of supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families throughout their lifespan.

The SIDDC works in an effort to ensure the best possible quality of life for Staten Islanders with special needs through advocacy and providing individuals with relevant information. Members include self-advocates, their parents/family, friends, and service providers.

General Council monthly meetings are held both mornings and evenings, which sometimes include presentations by guest speakers keeping members informed about current issues. At these meetings, each of the SIDDC committees provide monthly reports, describing their work and advocacy efforts on the latest issues and trends impacting individuals with developmental disabilities. These committees are comprised of parents, self-advocates, advocates and professionals who have extensive knowledge in the field.

The SIDDC communicates the needs of families to public and elected officials using various media outlets, legislative information exchanges and through an annual Community Breakfast to ensure that the concerns and needs of the people represented are received and addressed. The SIDDC offers numerous events throughout the year to support our members including; a Family Resource and Transition Fair, Celebrating Achievements, Direct Support Professional (DSP) Awards Ceremony, Educational forums, Adult Transitioning forums and various events that are relevant to the mission of the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council.

SIDDC Executive Board Officers

Irene Cavanagh - Chair
Dr. Cavanagh has been with Eden II Programs since 2004 and is the Associate Executive Director for NYC OPWDD Services.  The OPWDD services that she oversees include the Day Habilitation Programs, Residential Programs, and Family Support Services Programs.  
She began her career at the Guild for Exceptional Children, Brooklyn, NY in 1983 within the residential program. She holds a master’s degree from Long Island University in Special Education and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Concordia University. Dr. Cavanagh has been an adjunct lecturer at Brooklyn College since 2005, and presents locally on topics related to the field of autism, special education, and organizational behavior.
Diane Peruggia - First Vice-Chair

Diane Peruggia’s career of advocacy, leadership, and charity started at a young age. As a teen she was appointed liturgical leader for her local parish, volunteered at nursing homes, taught CCD, and participated in many charity events within her community.

While pregnant with her second child, Michael, her two year old daughter, Alexa, was diagnosed with Autism. In August of 2000, Diane and a group of others came together to form The Grace Foundation to support and offer services for families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. Diane spearheaded the creation of the Grace Foundation’s social skills classes and Applied Behavior Analysis training for college students, who could aid parents with at-home services. She has chaired National Autism Conferences featuring various speakers and experts in the field, and has advocated in Albany and Washington D.C. to secure necessary funding for the disabled. Diane served as Vice Chairman for the Grace Foundation for 7 years and is currently the Chairman of their Strategic Planning Committee.


In 2010 Diane was appointed by former Borough President James P Molinaro to the NYC Department of Education’s Panel for Education Policy. During her four-year term, she participated and voted on policy issues and resolutions for the DOE. She was also assigned to the Contracts Committee and served as a trustee for the DOE retirement system.

Diane also holds leadership positions with the Staten Island Disability Council, the Family Support Services Advisory Council, the Seton Foundation for Learning, The James Cancer Fund, HealthCare Associates in Medicine, and Staten Island Community Board Three.

Diane, her husband, and their two children currently reside in Huguenot and are owners of Great Escapes Travel.

Jason Harr - Second Vice-Chair

Jason Harr is the Senior Director of Program Services at On Your Mark, Inc.  He has been with the agency since 2009, working his way up from the recreational program, to Assistant Residential Director, to Director of Residential Services prior to his current role.  He also sits on the agency’s Human Rights Committee as well as the Incident Review Committee.  Jason has been a member of the SIDDC since 2013, and was formerly the co-chair of the Residential Quality of Life Committee since 2014.  Jason graduated with a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Touro College in 2012.  Jason is a strong advocate for the field of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and is excited to begin a new chapter in his role with the SIDDC. In his personal time, he enjoys spending time with his family and 3 children.

Dina Klein - Treasurer
Dina Klein is currently the Director of the Fiscal Intermediary Department at A Very Special Place, Inc.  She began working for  AVSP over 20 years ago where she started as a Service Coordinator.  She soon became one of the supervisors as the Sr. Service Coordinator where she assisted in coordinating services for individuals.  Ms. Klein then moved onto the Resource and Transition Coordinator where she has assisted countless families with obtaining, retaining services and coordinating each individuals benefits.  In 2018 she became the Director of FI services at AVSP and continues in this position. She also is an important member of each Committee at AVSP from Human Rights to Special Review.
Ms. Klein has been a member of the SIDDC for 20 years and was recently the Co-Chair of the Self Directed Supports Committee.  She is honored to now be a part of the SIDDC Executive Board as the Treasurer.
 Ms. Klein is a stark advocate for individuals with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities and their families.  She has excelled at navigating the continuous and ever changing field of benefits that assists each individual and family in providing the supports they truly need.
Maryalice Fegeley - Recording Secretary

Maryalice Fegeley’s introduction into the world of disabilities came when her son, Jack, was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder when he was four.  It was a whole new world for her and her family and a very different journey than the one she had imagined for Jack and his twin sister, Brigid.  Maryalice learned early on how important advocacy and knowledge were when it came to navigating the ins-and-outs of special education and she became Jack’s fiercest advocate, staunchest supporter and biggest ally.

Maryalice has been a member for the Council for many years and was the co-chair of the Education Committee for over 10 years.