Thank You DSPs!Every September during DSP Appreciation Week we take time to honor our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). We also choose a DSP and Home Provider of the Year.

During this challenging time, it just doesn’t seem quite right, or possible, to single out someone from the hundreds of DSPs and Home Providers who have all worked so hard.

Every one of these essential heroes has gone above and beyond, safely doing their jobs with compassion and diligence amidst crisis and confusion. How to choose from among them?

Traditionally, our regional DSP and Home Provider of the Year Awards are based on nominations from families, individuals, providers, and staff. We did receive 15 nominations this year. This annual process is also how we submit our regional winners for statewide consideration by the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities.

To satisfy this longstanding tradition and to honor those who took the time to nominate, we felt it was important to select someone from the nominees to send to the Council for statewide honors.

However we would like to announce that, in fact, our Monadnock Region DSP and Home Provider of the Year is EVERYONE.

For submission to the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities, we have chosen these two outstanding caregivers from the Monadnock Region.

DSP Jennifer Sawyer of Jaffrey has been a DSP for more than a decade. She has shown again and again what it is to be an exemplary employee and caregiver. She is always on time and strives to go the extra mile for each individual she comes in contact with.

“Jennifer’s main attribute is her integrity,” says Dirk Doughty, Program Manager at Chesco, Inc. “Her ability to follow policy and balance the individual’s values is what makes her stand out.”

Throughout the COVID-19 situation, Jennifer created an online learning activity to work remotely with an individual to help keep them on task and continue furthering their education, planning a lesson each day before her shift began. She has also created a Craft Group that she plans and runs weekly. Jennifer’s talents and values impact and inspire not just the individuals she serves, but her fellow employees and the community as well.

Home Provider Diane Gregory of Antrim shows extraordinary commitment and dedication to the individual who has lived with her for more than six years and has become a part of the family. From volunteering, doing mowing jobs, weekly shopping trips, and going to church to community suppers, bowling, family celebrations and much more, this individual has a rich life, day in and day out, thanks to Diane’s efforts.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Diane continued this good work, organizing ZOOM church sessions, going fishing and providing other opportunities for the individual to get outside regularly and stay connected.

“Diane would be the last one to feel she is doing anything extraordinary,” says Chris McDermitt, Chesco Program Manager. “In fact, she would say it was part of what a home provider should be doing.”

MDS also received nominations for more than a dozen DSPs and Home Providers.

For DSP: Brandi Bills, Karen Collins, Meghan Jacob, Barry Paton, Natasha Vogel, Holly Wilson.

For Home Provider: Mary Boulay, Kim Carrier, David Garrapy, Scott and Judy Lazzaro, Doreen Madore, Nancy Thompson, Lisa Uskov.

Congratulations and our deepest thanks to ALL of the direct care staff at MDS and our provider agencies who have done amazing work in making sure that the individuals we serve are safe and still connected to the community.

DSP & Home Provider of the Year - EVERYONE!

Do you have a family member who receives services from MDS? Are you looking for something that they and the whole family can enjoy?

The annual Family Council picnic is set for Sunday, September 13 from 2-5 p.m. at the Inn at East Hill Farm. There'll be games, visits with the animals and swimming (so bring your swimsuit and towel). Picnic lunch will be served around 2:30 p.m., and will include cheeseburgers, hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, chips, sides, lemonade, iced tea, coffee, water, and homemade cookies and brownies.

This is a free event and open to the whole family BUT EVERYONE MUST REGISTER by September 4th.

Please RSVP to Lurleen at MDS
by September 4th
352-1304 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please take your and your family's temperature before you come and bring your own face coverings as they will be required when you are in locations where you are within 6 feet of others.

Download Family Council Picnic flyer.

Developmental Assessments for Infants and ToddlersFamilies in the Monadnock region are now able to access a reliable LENA Developmental SnapshotTM screening tool to help assess a child’s combined expressive and receptive language level. This developmental age snapshot is available through MDS’s Birth to Three program and is completed via mobile device or computer. The easy-to-use age assessment is free and entirely confidential, with no commitment or obligation. Our goal is to help parents identify developmental delays early — in infants and toddlers under the age of 3 — and improve outcomes for children in our region, especially those at risk.

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, interested family member, or professional, you can now access to this free easy-to-use tool through MDS to help gauge your child’s developmental level.

Contact your pediatrician or email Jason Peck – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – who can provide more information and set you up to fill out a confidential online Developmental SnapshotTM for your child.

What is a Developmental SnapshotTM?
It’s never too early to assess a child’s expressive language development. The LENA Developmental SnapshotTM is an easy-to-use, parent-administered online measurement of infants’ and toddlers’ age based their expressive skills. The snapshot’s tight focus on receptive and expressive language skills and its ease of implementation make it the ideal assessment to measure a child’s development. You provide us with your child’s age, a pseudonym, and we provide you access to the questionnaire. We then share results with you.

Parents instinctively track milestones in other areas, such as physical growth and skills, but are often less aware of subtle language development markers, especially those that precede a baby’s first word. The Development SnapshotTM provides a uniquely valuable source of data on receptive and expressive language, and can also heighten parents’ awareness of language behaviors so they can encourage them.

Lena Snapshot CloseupThis valid, reliable tool was developed by LENA (Language ENvironment Analysis) system. LENA is a national nonprofit whose mission to help communities accelerate language development in children birth to age three, in order to improve their cognitive, social, and emotional health and to close opportunity gaps. You can find out more about LENA at

With this quick evaluation of a child’s expressive age, a parent can decide whether an early intervention evaluation might be useful for their child. If an evaluation appears to be appropriate, Monadnock Developmental Services (MDS) is the gateway to that evaluation, which will determine eligibility. If a child is deemed eligible, the family can choose from two local Early Supports & Services (ESS) agencies – Rise for baby & family and MDS Birth to Three – to deliver those very important services.

MDS Birth to Three uses the LENA Developmental SnapshotTM tool in its early intervention services, and is making its use available to parents and professionals to help them identify early delays and improve outcomes for children in the Monadnock Region.

Contact Jason Peck – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – who can provide more information and set you up to fill out an online Developmental SnapshotTM for your child.


Questions about COVID-19?  CALL 2-1-1 
Phone: 1-866-444-4211   TTY: 603-634-3388

State of NH COVID-19

Centers for Disease Control COVID-19

Face Masks per NH Public Health/DHHS

City of Keene CV Response Site

Cheshire Medical Center CV Site

Monadnock Hospital CV Site

Dartmouth-Hitchcock CV Site

How to Use Zoom Safely

Relias: CV Free Resources & Training for Healthcare Professionals, Families and Individuals

Other Resources

Family Support Resources

Disability Benefits Resources

Employment Resources

Transportation Resources

Housing Resources

NH Family Voices Maneuvering Through the Maze Resource Guide (updated January 2019)
Statewide guide to resources for people with physical, developmental, mental health and chronic health conditions and their families.

Keene Rotary Family Resource Guide (Cheshire County)

The River Center’s FACT Book Online
Local community resource guide for those living in the eastern Monadnock Region.