Our teachers, aides and clinicians support more than 400 children and young adults from age 3 to 21 years old. These students come from ten counties and 50 school districts as far away as Hornell and Seneca Falls. Some families have even relocated from across the country, because there’s no other place quite like Mary Cariola. 

All of the children we serve typically have intellectual disabilites and other challenges, including: 

  • A degenerative condition 
  • Emotional problems 
  • Behavioral issues
  • Autism 
  • Cerebral palsy 
  • Epilepsy 


Mary Cariola’s Preschool Program is designed to meet the individual needs of children ages three to five years. Students’ abilities and developmental delays can vary significantly, so a range of class sizes and staff ratios are available in our full and half day classrooms. Referrals to the Preschool Program come from the student’s home school district. 

A major goal of our Preschool Program is to provide intense, often one on one, attention to our students during these formative years. In addition, we hope to maximize every opportunity for academic and social growth, and increase chances for success in a less restrictive environment.


Our School Age Program provides full-day educational programming for students 5 to 21 years of age. This educational programming is individualized and specialized to meet the complex needs of our students based on the significance of their disabilities. Through evidenced-based decision-making, interdisciplinary professional teams utilize innovative educational and therapeutic programming to insure the students make noted progress on their goals. 

In addition to services received as part of a student’s mandated Individualized Educational Program,(Speech, Occupational, Physical and Vision Therapies), students also receive Adapted Physical Education, Music Therapy, Social Work/Counseling support, Behavioral Programming and when at the appropriate age, Transition Programming, as part of their school day. 

Transition Program

Mary Cariola’s Transition Program teaches and reinforces a variety of social skills, life skills and to prepare our students when they graduate from Mary Cariola. One of the biggest challenges for our students and residents is to learn how to constructively manage their time when structured work programs or day programs are not in session.

 An individual plan is developed for each individual that will include tasks, activities, community outings, projects and work experience opportunities with a variety of partners. The program includes four components:

  • Food preparation (including planning, budgeting and shopping)
  • Leisure activities and hobbies
  • Physical fitness and recreation activities
  • Community service