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— 2016 Northeast Ohio Edition —


A RESOURCE GUIDE for Individuals with Special Needs and Their Families

Man (and Dog)

About Town David Rabinsky and His Guide Kody Make a Perfect Pair




Sensory-Friendly Activities for All YOUR NEEDS NEXT

Tips for Self-Care BROUGHT TO YOU BY







150 years of moving medicine forward.

1-866-UH4-CARE (1-866-844-2273) Š 2016 University Hospitals COM 00502

2 2016


TECHNOLOGY 14 Top apps for kids with special needs

2016 Edition

16 Find tools for life with assistive technology


29 Fast friends: inclusion helps bring everyone together


31 Functionality meets fashion in clothing for people with special needs

40 Local sensoryfriendly fun

22 7 facts to know about your teen with autism HEALTH 23 Tips to keep your loved one safe at home Directory with

PLANNING 44 Secure your loved one’s future now

Providers and Services

45 Special needs trust options for your family



4 Executive Director’s Note

48 Ohio Medicaid rule changes impact people with special needs

28 Teen group helps kids get social EDUCATION 8 All students, all abilities

6 Worth Noting ON THE COVER 2016

46 Tax-free savings through ABLE accounts

26 Encourage exercise for people with special needs

5 LiveSpecial is ‘just a click away’

David Rabinsky and Kody

Find the perfect fashion fit

FIT AND SOCIAL 18 Kicking up fun for children with and without disabilities


Photography by Marc Golub

24 Early detection of speech and language issues

pgs 50-65

42 Self-care tips for parents of children with special needs

10 The next steps after an autism diagnosis 20 Housing and employment for adults with autism

34 David Rabinsky and guide dog, Kody, make a perfect pair 37 Special needs spotlight: people to know

AUTISM 9 Team up to find the right autism program for your child


12 Find an arts program for your child with special needs 66 Nessa knows: ins and outs of IEP




f you have a family member with special needs — or if you yourself are that person — we want you to know this publication is just for you. No matter the diagnosis — autism spectrum, microcephaly, learning or physical disabilities, multiple challenges or any challenging condition — this guide provides resources in which to help cope, enhance and enrich lives. The cover story on David Rabinsky is impactful and heart-warming as he shares the evolution he experienced when losing his eyesight (pg. 34). You will learn about about the latest fashion trends that have a dual purpose of functionality (pg. 31). Read the stories of other individuals and all they are doing to live special throughout the issue. You will also be directed to, the website that is dedicated to providing a listing of resources for the needs of any and all individuals with special needs regardless of diagnosis or age; it’s the only site of its kind in Northeast Ohio. is an online directory of more than 1,000 community resources including, but not limited to, medical practitioners, therapists, camps, respite care, special needs products, apps and so much more. The website offers simple, one-click access to each resource. is the click that connects. The site is searchable by diagnosis, desired resource and location, with easily navigable maps and links. Families also can connect with others through the LiveSpecial Facebook page at From A Place 2B Me to Zane’s Foundation and everything in between, you’ll learn there’s a place for you or your loved one to feel safe, secure and successful, and that there is a process by which individuals with special needs can be cared for throughout their lives. This magazine is called Guide for good reason — it is created just for you to help you or your loved one Live Special!



e are so grateful to partner once again with NCJW-Cleveland to bring you this second edition of the LiveSpecial Resource Guide. We received tremendous feedback from the premiere issue, and your comments have helped shape this year’s edition. is an online and printed resource for all ages. Our hope is that LiveSpecial can help bridge the gap between the individuals and families seeking help and the providers who offer guidance, compassion and solutions. With the launch of our new magazine last fall — Northeast Ohio Boomer and Beyond — we have become more aware of the vast number of individuals who face daily challenges and are seeking information, education and other helpful resources. If your business, school, event, group or other organization can benefit from receiving this LiveSpecial Resource Guide, we are happy to set up a delivery for you. Just contact us at

4 2016





26055 Emery Road Warrensville Heights, OH 44128 PRESIDENT Linda Barnett

Just a Click Away

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Mindi Axner 216-378-2204 ext. 103 VP COMMUNICATIONS Leslie Royce Resnik LIVESPECIAL COORDINATOR Wendy Spitz 216-509-5015 LIVESPECIAL ADVISORS Elaine Eisner Cindy Glazer

PUBLISHER Brad Mitchell EDITOR Angela Gartner MANAGING EDITOR Denise Koeth ART DIRECTOR Laura Chadwick CONTRIBUTORS Lesile Royce Resnik, Denise Koeth, Elaine Eisner, Sharon Dundee, Laurie G. Steiner, Holly Hammersmith, Rebecca Ravas, Thomas Fraizer II, Cindy Glazer, Tricia Chaves, Judy Miller, Jim Koewler, Nessa Siegel LiveSpecial Resource Guide is published by Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine and Mitchell Media LLC PO Box 1088 Hudson OH 44236 330-822-4011​ Copyright 2016 by NCJW/Cleveland and Northeast Ohio Parent 2016


Website provides local resources for children and adults with special needs

amilies of children or adults with special needs in Northeast Ohio have a comprehensive website that identifies and defines resources to help them through their unique challenges. Founded in 2013, LiveSpecial. com is an online directory of more than 1,000 local resources of medical personnel, therapists, rehabilitative services, respite care, camps, special needs products and so much more. The Facebook page connected to the site offers articles, notices of local events, and other helpful resources. The website, which provides links to each resource with simply one click, is searchable by diagnosis, by category, and by location with easily-navigable maps and links. “The website provides countless Northeast Ohio families the opportunity to find services that they may never have known existed — all in one place,” says Dr. Steven Wexberg, a general pediatrician at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s Beachwood Family Health Center. “As a physician, it gives me a valuable resource to share with my patients and their families.” is the outcome of two years of exhaustive research by NCJW/Cleveland volunteers.

The initiative was driven by the Eisner/ Gohn family, parents who were at a loss to find resources for their daughter, Alana, diagnosed at eight months with severe disabilities. “One faces many, many challenges upon hearing that your infant will have lifelong special needs,” says Elaine, Alana’s mother. “Where to go and whom to look to for answers are among the most pressing questions.” Through time-consuming investigation, they navigated their way through the maze of organizations that might offer services appropriate to their situation. Determined that no other family should face this dearth of knowledge, they approached the Cleveland section of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW/Cleveland) for help to streamline a resource base and provide Northeast Ohio families the opportunity to find services. “This is exactly the kind of situation that NCJW responds to,” says Faye Bass, then-president of NCJW/ Cleveland. “We look at a community need and harness the strength of our volunteer resources to fill that need. Maintaining and updating LiveSpecial. com is achieved with the assistance of private donors, a staff marketer and through fundraising, such as the benefit held to launch the site in April 2013. More than 400 people contributed, enabling us to fund future needs.”






DHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a medical condition that affects how well people can sit still, focus and pay attention. If your child has ADHD, you know it can make them feel misunderstood and frustrated at

times. However, it doesn’t have to hold them back. While there’s no quick fix for ADHD, working with doctors and counselors can help you figure out how to help them reach their full potential — both in school and socially.

HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO TRY • Talk to their teachers about having them sit in the front of class to limit distractions. • Turn off email, instant messaging and phones when doing homework or other tasks that require focused attention. This will help protect them against being distracted.

• Talk with their teachers and work together to ensure they’re learning in a way that works for them. For example, some schools will allow extra time for students with ADHD to take tests. Some kids and teens may benefit from smaller class sizes and tutoring help. • Use tools that help them stay organized. For example, keep track of assignments in a homework notebook, including a list of books and readings they will need to bring home to do. Have them enter classes and other appointments in a daily planner or a smartphone calendar so they don’t forget.

• Get plenty of exercise. Studies are starting to show that exercise can help people who have ADHD. If they are hyper during school, talk to a teacher about taking activity breaks so they can stay focused and concentrate better when in class. Take activity breaks often while studying or doing homework. • Have them learn and practice relaxation and meditation techniques to relax and focus.

• Let friends know what’s going on. Sometimes they blurt things out and regret it later on or do silly, impulsive things. If this happens, they can let their friends know that sometimes they say things without thinking them through. Make sure to talk to them about apologies if they have hurt someone’s feelings and have them try to be extra careful in new situations. • Talk to them about taking pride in the things they do well. Having ADHD is just a different way of being, and people with ADHD have their own abilities and talents.

This information was provided by KidsHealth, one of the largest resources online for medically-reviewed health information written for parents, kids and teens.

6 2016



My friend with Autism: Enhanced Edition with Free CD of Coloring Pages

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter By Kim Edwards

By Beverly Bishop; illustrated by Craig Bishop

The heart wrenching story of father and doctor, David Henry, who gave up his twin daugther born with Downs syndrome in 1964 and decided to not tell his wife Norah of her existence. Nurse Caroline, who was charged with the task of keeping the secret and taking the baby away, decided to raise the infant on her own. It’s only until years later, when the discovery about the baby was made, that healing can occur for both her mother and twin brother.

This book written by a parent of a child with autism helps provide an understanding about the disorder. The positive tone by a peer narrator explains the variety of behaviors an autistic child may display. The book comes with a coloring page for each page of the book, along with notes, strategies and tips for adults.

Going Solo While Raising Children with Disabilities By Laura E. Marshak PH.D

If you’re raising a child with special needs on your own — whether by choice or circumstance — there are some tips, support and practical ideas in this guide to solo parenting.

Gluten-Free Family Favorites: The 75 Go-To Recipes You Need to Feed Kids and Adults All Day, Every Day By Kelli and Peter Bronski

Are some members of your family eating gluten-free? Here are some ways to enjoy some family favorites, along with creating new ones, that the whole family can enjoy — and cook — together.

Are you concerned about your child’s development?

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All Students,

All Abilities




the 70s and 80s, most special educan the 1950s and 1960s many chiltion classrooms were located out of dren with special needs were the mainstream and only allowed denied a public education. Most these students to participate in certain who did attend public activities. This still occurs in some schools were, shame“NCJW/Cleveland identifies schools today. fully, kept behind a need in the community “I joined because I believe in IDEIA requires that students be closed anddoors. helps fill it. work. NCJW/Cleveland’s placed in the least restrictive environTwo Supreme Advocacy. ment (LRE) to the greatest extent Court decisions in Education. LIVESPECIAL.COM Community appropriate. It states that the student 1972 determined that Service. Wendie Forman Ellen Leavitt Cindy Glazer Cindy Glazer should have access to the general children with disThat’s why we’re members of National Women.” curriculum and should be abilities have an equal right to Council ac- of Jewisheducation That’s why I volunteer with the National Council provided with supplementary aids and cess education as their non-disabled ofpeers. Jewish Women.” services necessary to achieve educaIn 1975, the Education for tional All Handicapped Act was Celebrate literacy atChildren the Annual Meeting, June 3 goals. The vague language can allow schools to interpret this in difenacted. Today, Membership startswe at know $45 this law ferent ways. as the Individuals with Disabilities 216.378.2204 for tickets As a parent, you are an imporEducation Improvement Act (IDEIA). 216-378-2204 tant participant of the Individualized This was the push that mandated all Education Plan (IEP) team that will school districts to educate students make the decision about where your with disabilities. child will be educated. You need to Changes were slow in coming. In

Be the Face


Helping understand how inclusion benefits the whole school community By Cindy Glazer, Special Educator understand inclusion in order to ensure that your child will be with typical peers in the regular education setting as much as possible. Try to work cooperatively with the school team, but do not accept responses such as “we don’t do that here.” Below are some facts to help you present your case: Inclusion benefits everyone in the classroom in several ways. Teaching in a range of learning modalities (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc.) gives all students the opportunity to learn through their strongest modality. Academic supports like pacing or grouping as well as the benefit of support staff (a reading specialist, intervention specialist or tutor) in the classroom creates a supportive environment for all learners. Behavioral supports necessary for students with emotional or behavioral disabilities also help to establish high expectations for the whole school. Inclusion benefits students with special needs by encouraging friendships due to increased social interaction. It provides positive peer role models for academic, social and behavior skills. It provides greater access to the regular curriculum. It increases the likelihood of inclusion out of the school setting. Inclusion benefits students without disabilities by increasing the acceptance of individual differences. It teaches respect for all people. Meaningful friendships form. Research supports that there are no negative effects from inclusion when done appropriately with the necessary supports and services. The process of becoming a truly inclusive school is long and challenging, but it benefits everyone. This kind of climate shows students and their families that they are valued for who they are. 2016



ollaboration is sometimes the missing piece to solving the complex puzzle of finding the right combination of services for your child with autism. Where a program may fit one child with autism spectrum disorder, a different program may be more well-suited for another. Your child’s Individualized Edu­ cation Plan (IEP) outlines school services provided to your child and determines which program is best tailored to your child. This decision is made by the IEP team, based on the individual child’s academic, social and behavioral needs. Meaningful parental participation in your child’s education is crucial to the development of a successful educational program. When parents become educational partners, the results for their child can be significant. By putting your child at the center of the conversation, the team remains focused on the true purpose of the plan — creat- 2016

Completing the Puzzle

Teaming together to find the right autism program for your child By Mary Wideman ing a customized program to meet the needs of the whole child. Your child’s team may include a variety of people, including family members, doctors, therapists and school personnel. Collaboration between the IEP team and your child’s extended team is paramount to ensuring student success. Through individualized learning plans and instruction, as well as attention to social, personal and daily living skills, our program offers students an opportunity to achieve in a non-

traditional educational setting. The decision for your child to attend the Outreach Specialized Educational Services (OSES) Autism Program is made by your local school district, in consultation with you. Through this partnership, OSES becomes the educational service provider for your child. The cost is the responsibility of your child’s local school district. For more information or to schedule a tour, call 440-882-3823 or visit




What? Take the next steps after an autism diagnosis

By Ilana Hoffer Skoff


hen my child was first diagnosed, we were stuck, not knowing what to do,” says Leslie Rotsky, parent of a child with autism. “The turning point for me was realizing that I had to first become educated myself.” Milestones Autism Resources — an organization that provides coaching and consultations for all ages, stages and abilities, a two-day autism conference and more — offers the following tips on what to do after an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis: • If you haven’t already, contact Help Me Grow if your child is under age 3 to receive developmental services. • Reach out to your school district’s director of pupil services or special education coordinator — they help families with school-aged children (ages 3 to 21) with special needs to determine what assistance a child needs to succeed in their learning environment. • Initiate a request to the principal at your child’s school for a formal Multi-Factored Evaluation (MFE) to determine any learning adjust-


ments that might be needed. care services. You can apply Review information from for assistance by contacting Disability Rights Ohio your county’s Department ( to of Job and Family Services. learn more about an MFE. • Learn all that you can about •A lternately, research the difIEPs or Section 504 plans ferent specialty schools in to determine what is appliOhio (preschool, primary cable for your child. Some or secondary) that offer a good online resources are specialized educational and perience for children on the autism spectrum. Conference and Other Tools • I f your child qualifies for Rotsky and other parents special services according in Northeast Ohio have a to the MFE, the next step is place to go to expand their drafting an Individualized education related to autism Education Program (IEP) or and increase their child’s Section 504 plan. This will chance for success. need to be in place before The Milestones Autism your child can receive speConference provides two cial services through school. days of evidence-based prac•C ontact your local county tical strategies for family board of developmental dismembers, educators, adminabilities for an assessment of istrators, clinicians, medical your child’s eligibility for professionals and individuals services and for possible aswith ASD. sistance with recreational “After I attended my therapies, supplies and other first Milestones Autism needs. Conference, things began to •R esearch opportunities for click for me,” Rotsky says. funding necessary therapies “I learned I was not alone. I or special schools through learned about resources in scholarships and waivers. my own community. And I • I f you are eligible, Medicaid learned about an organization also is a financial resource where I could turn for help.” to pay for possible medical Milestones (milestones. or other disability-related org) can help with the chal-

lenges of raising a child with autism and handling a new diagnosis, which is a common concern. The First Diagnosis Tool Kit is designed to answer any developmental concerns about your child, and links connect you to the appropriate source of help right away. The tool kit even includes a section for children ages 12 and older and receiving a new diagnosis. In addition to pointing out your next steps with your school, scholarships, and organizations to contact, this section also leads you to resources that cater specifically to teens and adults that are found on the Milestones website. also provides guiding questions for discussions with doctors and professionals with whom you may be interested in working. These questions are used to better prepare your team and your child to collaboratively work together and ensure long-term success. Contact Milestones at 216464-7600 or visit if you need more direction or if you are interested in coaching or consultation services. 2016

Help your child succeed. Educate yourself first. Contact Milestones today to get started. Our Core Programs: Discover 1,000’s of trusted resources at ONLINE RESOURCES

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M Finding an Arts Program for Your Child with Special Needs By Erin Jester


ASSESSMENT. Take time to assess your child. Ask your child questions about what he/she is interested in and observe what activities bring joy to his/her day. Understanding what motivates your child and what he/she is passionate about will guide you in the right direction. When contacting programs or organizations, be sure to tell them about your child’s interests, strengths and needs.



ENVIRONMENT OR SETTING. Ask the program or organization about their learning environments. Consider your child’s sensory needs in regard to space, environmental sounds, level of auditory and visual stimulation and ability to cope or adapt to new settings. Many organizations will have the ability to make adaptations to the environment that will improve your child’s ability to learn and develop new skills. Don’t be afraid to ask for a tour of the facilities, so you can determine if the setting would help your child to thrive. Consider options for individual or group programming. Individual instruction can boost a student’s confidence in performing a skill before displaying it within a group setting. Conversely, sometimes peer modeling is helpful in new skill acquisition.

usic and the arts are an important part of our daily lives. If your child loves to sing, dance, draw or play instruments, having them involved in an arts program can be beneficial to their development. The biggest concern parents face today is finding a program that is the right fit for their family and child. There are endless options for programming, but with these five tips you can find if the arts program you are searching for is right for your family and worth your investment.


CONSISTENCY. How often should your child attend the program, class or lesson? It is beneficial for students to have consistency when developing skills, so weekly classes or lessons are typically a standard for most arts programs. Bi-weekly lessons or sessions tend to spend a majority of the time re-teaching the desired skill/task and require the student to retain, recall and perform it. 2016


BUDGET. How does the tuition fit within your family’s budget? Artsbased programs that are facilitated by professional and credentialed therapists will be charged at a competitive rate within their field. However, those professionals have the experience and training to make adaptations to their teaching strategies. Your child can be immediately successful once the therapist gets to know your child’s most successful learning style (visual, auditory, hands on, modeling, etc.). Fading those adaptations and generalizing the skills into other environments become a process, which the therapist, family and child can work on together. It is important to find professionals who have the experience to facilitate these adaptations. Are there additional sources of funding available? While most insurance companies do not recognize music, dance or art therapy as services they will cover, there are other funding option for families to consider. Your county Board of Developmental Disabilities has a variety of programs based on financial need and/or circumstances, including: family resources departments, SELF Waiver, IO Waiver, etc. In addition to county funding, the Ohio Department of Education has scholarship programs that consider these arts programs, including Jon Peterson Scholarship or Ohio Autism Scholarship. Sometimes the agency or organization will have a non-profit sector that they recommend as a funding options, so ask about scholarship or financial aid options.


GOALS AND OUTCOMES. What is your goal for your child in the arts? Do you value the service as purely recreational in nature or do you want a therapeutic developmental approach? There isn’t a right or wrong answer, but only what is the best for your child. Many programs will have options for both recreational and/or therapeutic goals. Ask about the program’s evaluation process. How often does the program evaluate goals and communicate this progress with your family? Is it a written report or are highlights discussed verbally after the session/class/lesson? Consider options for potential collaboration with other professionals. A team approach to therapeutic goals has proven for higher outcomes and the ability to generalize skills to various environments.

Erin Jester, owner of Beyond Words: Music & Dance Center, is a Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) and Adapted Dance Instructor. Her expertise in music and dance includes working with children, newborn to age 22, who are typically developing and those on the autism spectrum. Beyond Words is located in North Royalton, with satellite studios in Fairlawn, Warrensville Heights, Medina and (coming this fall) Avon Lake. Visit or call 440-230-6100 for more information.


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4/19/16 9:40 PM



Top Apps

for Kids with Special Needs By Denise Koeth


ablet and smartphone apps play an important role in the work of professionals who interact with children with special needs. From positive reinforcement and visual scheduling to social skills and communication programs, today’s most useful apps also can be used at home by parents. Rachel Avner Torrance, behavior and curriculum intervention specialist at the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, recommends the following five apps to consider adding to your repertoire:


Book Creator

First Then Visual Schedule

Book Creator allows users to create their own ebook right on their iPad, using customizable fonts, images, music and voice recordings. It’s especially helpful for children with special needs when used to create a story that teaches a desired behavior — how to play with other children, for example — or explains a new setting: camp, the zoo, an airplane, etc. “It adds predictability so children know what to expect and do, because they’ve read a story about it,” Torrance says, adding the ability to completely individualize a story lets users insert pictures of the child, as well as the actual destination in question.

Designed for caregivers to provide positive behavior support, this app is great for individuals who benefit from a structured environment. Visual schedules serve to increase independence and lower anxiety during transitions through activities. The customizable app uses pictures to show the order of tasks that must be completed — like a toilet, toothbrush and pajamas to depict the steps to get ready for bed. “Visual scheduling is an evidence-based strategy that adds predictability with the ability to communicate to them what’s going to happen and in what order,” Torrance explains. “Kids with autism or visual learners will understand the instructions better because it’s in picture format.”

$4.99, for iPad

$9.99 for iPhone, $14.99 for iPad 2016



Balloons: Tap and Learn

Proloquo2Go is a communication app that essentially turns the user’s smartphone or tablet into a speech generated device. By pressing recognizable photos in the app, children who are considered nonverbal or who lack expressive language can effectively communicate their wants and needs, as the app then says the desired word or phrase out loud. “It increases functional communication,” Torrance says. “Apps like this have replaced those old, bulky speech generated devices and are a fraction of the cost.”

This positive reinforcement app allows parents to show children a picture of a reward or positive consequence, as well as the number of “tokens” — which represent real-life behaviors — needed in order to earn the item. “It’s a way of integrating positive reinforcement that lets kids see the progress toward the desired reward or activity,” Torrance says. “You’re giving them a star and recognizing all those little behaviors that lead up to the desired end, so it’s very motivating.”

This interactive and colorful game teaches colors, numbers and animals — but even more importantly, it is a “touch practice” app that serves as a great way to teach kids with special needs how to use a device. “It’s a prerequisite skill that will lead to the use of other apps,” like those mentioned above, according to Torrance, who notes that other “touch practice” apps include Bubble Pop or iLoveFireworks.

$249.99, for iPad and iPhone

$0.99, for iPad and iPhone

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Children engaging with the NAO Robot during class


echnology can be a frightening word for many people. We constantly hear about and experience updates and changes with so many types of technology. When we add the dimension of its being assistive technology, our fears often are augmented by concerns of funding and proper training. Because of these fears, assistive technology often is put on a back burner and approaches to life that minimize any technology are commonplace. Even using the wrong technologies becomes easier to defend if caregivers have a comfort level with those technologies. With the current advances in assistive technology, more devices are available to help with all aspects of life. These devices do everything from assisting in the control of one’s home and appliances to helping younger children with their education. They can range from helping those in wheelchairs interact with computers to wearable technologies meant to keep individuals calm. Many of these devices have been purposefully designed for those with differing abilities and are available at reasonable costs. These devices also are designed to be somewhat easy to use and do not



for Life

Finding the right fit when it comes to assistive technology By Dr. Raymond T. Heipp

require a great deal of training. The focus of any investigation into assistive technology needs to be on the person who will be using it. All too often, the focus is placed upon the cost or the common view of the device, instead of whether or not it makes sense for the person. We must keep that focus on the end-user. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all device; just because someone else in a similar situation has used a specific device does not mean that another person will find the same level of success. The first step is to look at the end-user and determine their daily tasks and how technology may assist them. As assistive technology continues to evolve, the best information is not always available to everyone. Even

some excellent therapists, teachers and websites have not had the experience of using and researching all of the devices available, so the search can become daunting. Hence, the next consideration is finding an expert who can help determine the best device. You want to find experts who are familiar with a wide variety of devices. Representatives from specific manufacturers are very knowledgeable about their own products and the products of their competition, but may not be able to fully assess the needs of the end-user. The ideal expert is a person or group who has experience working with many different types of manufacturers, as well as working with end-users of differing abilities. This is not always an easy task. Today’s assistive technology permits users to interact with digital information in addition to appliances and items around the house. Individuals from birth to end-of-life can use assistive technology to more fully interact with their own environment and live life to a greater degree. Remembering to focus on the end-user and that no technology is one-size-fits-all are critical to getting the best assistive technology for any individual. 2016 2016



S me Fun New project brings children with and without disabilities together through sports


articipating in physical and social activities is an important part of leading a healthy, balanced life. All too often, children and adults with disabilities have limited opportunities to participate in the physical and social activities that most people take for granted.

When provided in a school or neighborhood setting, unified sports can serve two important purposes: changing the way communities think and feel about people with disabilities and changing what people with disabilities think and feel about themselves. Because unified sports focus on ability rather than disability, they encourage positive, stress-free interactions that can dramatically change misperceptions and improve well-being.

“Inclusion is about all of our abilities and our willingness to share them,” says Laurie Freedman, United Disability Service (UDS) director of respite and community living services. The National Inclusion Project was co-founded in 2003 by entertainer Clay Aiken and serves to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them. By driving the movement for social inclusion

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in afterschool programs, summer camps and community-based activities, children of all abilities learn, play and laugh together. UDS recently has partnered with the project to create an inclusive environment for children with and without disabilities. The National Inclusion Project will be helping UDS set up a program this coming fall in a local middle school or high school where children with and without disabilities will be able to participate together in non-competitive sports and other activities like arts and crafts, hiking and yoga. The students participating in the program will play an active role

in choosing their activities. “All Star Training Club and the National Inclusion Project are two programs that UDS offers,” Freedman says. “Both programs provide inclusive environments where athletes and students can participate in activities along with friends and family members to help promote healthy living, self-esteem and long lasting friendships.” Programs like United Disability Service’s All-Star Training Club work to bridge the gap by offering inclusive sports programming in neighborhood recreational and school settings. UDS All-Star Training Club is just one program that offers intramural style competition in a variety of indoor and outdoor sports including basketball, golf, soccer, bocce ball, track, cross country, bowling, gymnastics and flag football. For more information on the National Inclusion Project and to help ensure no child sits on the sidelines, visit United Disability Service is a social service not-for-profit agency that has been meeting the social, vocational, community living, low vision, education, and transportation needs of people with disabilities since 1949. For more info, call 330762-9755 or visit

UDS enhances the quality of life for people with disabilities and celebrates their


United Disability Services helps individuals explore new opportunities, engage in their communities and excel in life. Learn more about UDS today! Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter @UDSAkron

330-762-9755 2016




Understanding the options for integrated living and community-based employment By Hannah Shapiro, Senior Coordinator for Public Policy at Autism Speaks


he passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 confirmed our nation’s commitment to ending discrimination against people with disabilities and ensuring equal access to employment, education, housing and other aspects of our society shared by all Americans. Since then, many states and service providers have joined in the transition away from segregated living facilities and employment options to integrated community living settings and community-based employment options. As the growing population of individuals with autism enters adulthood, there is an overwhelming need for housing options and residential support services, which must be made available. As of June 2013, more than 40,000 Ohioans with developmental disabilities were on waiting lists to receive adult services, such as Medicaid home and community based services (HCBS), according to Autism Speaks’ National Housing and Residential Supports Survey. Medicaid HCBS programs provide a variety of services and supports that individuals with autism need to live in the community, such as out-of-home residential support, day activities, supported employment, day habilitation and other services like respite and family support. These programs offer an alternative to institutional services for people with disabilities who need ongoing support to meet their functional needs. Currently, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities administers four different HCBS waiv-


in “isolation.” It is up to each state to identify the type of settings that may no longer be in compliance with the rules and develop HCBS transition plans, which outline how the state will change its HCBS programs. Ohio submitted its HCBS transition plan for approval from the federal Above: Employees of Lee and Marie’s Cakery in Miami Beach, Fla., proudly government in November pose with owner Andy Travaglia and 2015. Chef Yannis Janssens. Learn more In 2014, Autism Speaks at Left: Mitch became part of the Jay Nolan launched its Housing Supported Living Program (JNCS) in California at age 45. and Community Living For the first time in his life, Mitch came to experience what Initiative to address the it was like to have a home of his own. JNCS helped Mitch develop a support plan that would allow him to live in his overwhelming demand own home and be part of his community as independently for integrated housing and as possible with all of the necessary supports. Learn more at community supports for dividuals with autism aging out of the protections and services offered in public school. ers to help Ohioans live and work in Adults with autism can bring valucommunity settings of their choice. able skills to employers and the greater Individuals who want HCBS waiver community. They also can be successservices should contact their county ful entrepreneurs. With the right type board, which will determine eligibiland amount of support services, indiity and make referrals and linkages to viduals with autism can work alongside services. County board contact and their non-disabled peers. If states tailor other information about Ohio HCBS HCBS programs to be highly customcan be found at ized based on individual needs, then Starting in 2014, each they can effectively and safely support state began planning to reshape its all individuals with autism — including Medicaid HCBS programs based individuals with significant medical, on final federal regulations, which behavioral and other support needs. prohibit states from using HCBS For more information on integrated funding for settings that isolate indihousing options and services, see Autism viduals from the broader community Speaks’ Housing and Residential Supports and required HCBS to be delivered Tool Kit. This tool kit was made to assist in a person-centered manner. This is individuals and families identify and secure an important protection that could appropriate residential supports and serhelp individuals with autism live in vices. Visit settings that are more integrated with files/housing_tool_kit_web2.pdf the community. Autism Speaks will continue to monitor the However, in implementing this refederal review of Ohio’s HCBS transition quirement, each state Medicaid office plan. To stay informed about this, sign up has significant discretion in determinat ing whether a given setting results 2016

Autism Speaks in Ohio 速

Making a local impact in your community!


$5.9 M OVER


in family service and research grants in Ohio since 2006

online resources provided for Ohio residents impacted by autism

100 Day Kit For Newly Diagnosed Families of Young Children FAMILY SERVICES

JULY 2014


Autism Speaks tool kits offer guidance for Ohio families and health professionals


150,000 people have walked to raise funds and awareness for autism in Ohio since 2005


iPads were donated to Ohio children to aid in communication skills since program start in 2012

$31,972 $302,639 Autism Cares funds provided to Ohio families affected by unplanned hardships

donated to 35 community organizations in Ohio to assist people with autism

For more information or to get involved, please contact 216-524-2842 or 2016



7 Facts You Need to Know About Teens with Autism Help your teen transition successfully into adulthood By Thomas Frazier II, PhD, Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism Fortunately, many colleges are becoming better at providing ongoing support for students with autism.



Even though the symptoms may not be as impairing as they were when the child was younger, with age, the differences between a child with autism and his or her peers becomes more apparent and everyday social demands increase. So teens and young adults with autism experience more social disability.


Virtually any teen or young adult with autism is capable of working, given proper training and a job environment that’s a good


fit. A child who is low-to moderate-functioning will focus initially on more basic tasks, like matching and sorting. For higher-functioning kids, with the right supports, the sky’s the limit. It’s just a matter of finding something they’re interested in that matches their abilities. It’s important to remember that you can’t throw a child with autism into a job like you might with a typical kid. They need step-by-step instruction and coaching on the social aspects, such as knowing how to ask for a break, letting someone know they’ve completed a task or dealing with a difficult co-worker.


The No. 1 thing that schools can do to prepare kids for the workplace is to help them learn how to engage socially in an ap-

propriate way. Schools can also conduct vocational assessments to learn the child’s interests and abilities. They can then match those interests and abilities to different tasks that could become employable skills. Older students should get help with job placement. Schools should also teach independent living skills. Even if a student isn’t going to live independently as an adult, he or she needs to have skills to be as independent as possible.


Children with autism often need ongoing support for academic skills such as number recognition or reading and writing. Very high-functioning children should be oriented toward college, but they’ll need extra support both academically and socially.

People with autism need a lot more prompting and education about what’s appropriate socially. This includes topics like sexuality and romantic relationships. You have to coach them on what to say and how to act appropriately in romantic and sexual situations. For parents, this can be a touchy topic, but it’s very important.


Parents need to understand how to teach daily living skills. That means breaking tasks down if they’re complicated, chaining steps of a complex task together, and making sure that you’re appropriately reinforcing completion of the task. Parents also need to understand that teaching daily living skills to children with autism requires a lot of prompting, much more so than would be expected of kids who don’t have autism.

To learn more about our programs and services, visit Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism at Cleveland Clinic Children’s offers same-day appointments.

22 2016


We start orienting parents toward the transition to adulthood when the child is 6 at the Lerner School for Autism. We focus on teaching social skills and appropriate behavior that children will need as young adults. Parents are also trained to begin working with their children on these skills at a young age.



Keep your Loved One Safe at Home


ummit County Developmental Disabilities Board, or Summit DD, connects more than 4,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities to services and supports to live a meaningful life. One of the primary roles for county boards like Summit DD is to ensure the welfare of those they support. This is done through a number of methods, such as provider oversight and compliance, reviews of nursing services, continued coordination and monitoring of services, and investigation into all allegations of unusual incidents, including abuse and neglect. According to the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), many children and adults with disabilities are injured in the bathroom each year. Bathroom accidents can include scalding burns, falls and even drownings. Accidents can be prevented by following safety guidelines. BELOW ARE SOME TIPS TO HELP YOU KEEP YOUR LOVED ONE SAFE WHILE BATHING BATHTUB AND WALK-IN BATHTUB SAFETY: A few simple safety considerations can help make a bathtub or walk-in bathtub a safer place. Anti-slip surfaces help prevent falls when getting into or out of the bathtub. Safety bars can add additional support. The key to ensuring safety in or near the bathtub is proper supervision.

DROWNING PREVENTION: Drowning can happen in fewer SCALDING PREVENTION: It’s imthan five minutes and is the leading cause of death for chilportant to carefully monitor water dren age 4 and younger, according to the DODD. Help temperature when assisting a child prevent the risk of drowning by following safety or adult with bathing. Scalding SUPERVISION guidelines. Always get any items that you will can happen quickly. For those is essential to need, like towels, soap, or hygiene products, bein your care, adding an antipreventing an fore entering the bathroom. If the phone rings, accidental drowning. scalding valve can reduce Never leave it can wait. Do not leave children or at-risk adults the risk of scalding burns. Be children or at risk sure to check the water temunattended in the bathtub. For those with seiadults. zure disorders, always make sure that prescribed perature frequently throughmedications are given as directed. Do not rely on deout the bath or shower. vices, like rings or seats, to ensure safety. These devices aid in bathing, but cannot protect a child or an adult from harm.

Want more information and helpful tips? Visit

and children r 4,000 adults ve o ts c e nn o power them Summit DD c ports that em p su e th to s with disabilitie ccess. to their own su e ut rib nt o c to sources - filled with re rg .o D itD m m at will Check out Su ll as stories th e w s a , e us n everyone ca . view of ability change your 2016 DRAFT 16-Northeast Ohio Parent_Values-Nevaeh_half page 6x4_2016 REVISION.indd



4/19/16 12:14 PM


Early Detection is Key to Finding Speech and Language Issues


peech and language abilities are the basis for all learning. Early detection and intervention with speech and language issues have been shown to improve communication skills before reading and/or behavioral problems arise.

Common communication challenges of adult clients:

• Aphasia (language disorders acquired following stroke) • Apraxia or dysarthria (speech disorders acquired following stroke) • Deafness or hearing loss affecting speech production • Fluency disorder (stuttering) • Nonverbal communication needs (augmentative/alternative devices) • Voice disorders

COMMUNITY CENTER FOR THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING (CCDHH) Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center serves • 24-hour American Sign Language • Support services for persons who are D/deaf consumers using their preferred cominterpreting services Deaf of Hard of Hearing and their munication mode that includes American • American Sign Language families Sign Language (ASL). The majority of the Instruction • Advocacy and Americans with deaf community uses English as a second • The Learning Center for those Disabilities Act (ADA) consultation language. ASL is delivered in many different seeking to improve job and life skills • Information and referral programs forms. Depending on their given educational • Neuropsychological assessment for • Outreach and collaboration developprogram as children, the communication individuals, ages 6 -21, who are ment with other county agencies mode, as selected by their families, is set for deaf or hard of hearing or have nor• Educational presentations to publife. They strive to meet all communication mal hearing to evaluate cognitive lic school students through our methods presented by the Community. strengths and weaknesses SignStage program

24 2016

Comprehensive speechlanguage evaluations involve an in-depth analysis of:

Here are some common communication problems of pediatric clients:

• Speech production (including sound production, speech fluency/stuttering) • Language comprehension (listening and/or reading) • Language use (including verbal, written and social communication skills) • Voice quality There also are evaluations in certain specialty areas. For individuals who are unable to communicate verbally, there is an assessment in their abilities for various augmentative-alternative communication devices (also called speech-generating devices). The speech-language pathologists can complete a language-learning evaluation for older children who may have language-based learning disabilities.

• Apraxia of speech • Articulation or phonological disorder • Dysarthria (slurred speech) • Language delay or disorder • Language-learning disabilities (language-based reading and writing differences) • Nonverbal communication needs (augmentative/alternative devices) • Social skills impairments • Speech, language or reading difficulties associated with deafness or hearing loss • Voice or resonance disorders (including those common with cleft palate) 2016

HEARING AND DEAFNESS IN CHILDREN Children learn the language by listening to others around them. If what they hear is distorted or not heard at all, this can be reflected in their own speech and language output. Concerns about your child’s hearing and speech development may indicate the need for a hearing evaluation. Audiology services offered at Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center include hearing screenings, diagnostic hearing evaluations, auditory processing assessments, hearing aids, assistive listening devices and community education. The center also provides early intervention services to children with hearing loss who are enrolled in Help Me Grow. Please remember that it is normal for children to vary greatly in their development of skills, but if you have concerns about your child’s hearing or speech development, take action. Talk to your pediatrician or call us for an appointment.

For more information on Cleveland Hearing & Speech and its services such as Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH), visit or call 216-231-8787.



Get Moving


he American Physical Therapy Association initiated a branding campaign around the “Move Forward” motto several years ago. Pediatric physical therapists live this mantra, encouraging infants, children and young adults to move their bodies, explore their environment and be part of their communities. The CDC recommends that children get 60 minutes of physical activity per day, including aerobic, strengthening and bone building, with vigorous activity three times per week. Many activities cover more than one type of exercise, and doing them regularly helps children (and adults):

• Feel less stressed • Feel better about themselves • Feel more ready to learn in school • Keep a healthy weight • Build and keep healthy bones, muscles and joints • Sleep better at night


Children and adults with disabilities gain the same benefits from regular physical activity. Research studies have found that children with disabilities are significantly less active than their peers, and therefore more at risk for secondary complications like contractures, decreased bone strength, decreased strength for functional skills and dependence on others for care. For example, many children and young adults receive regular exercise programs during weekly physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) sessions at LeafBridge Therapy Services and other therapy centers, which provide clients with home programs so they can continue building on what they have learned in therapy.


Rebecca Ravas (right) with Payton

How do I fit it in? Incorporate exercise into your regular family routine.

Wednesday nights could be the weekly family dance party after dinner. An outdoor activity can be saved for the weekend. If you have a pet, include the child in play with the animal, such as tug of war, walking the dog and brushing the dog or cat. The important piece is to get your child moving on a regular basis in whatever way is possible for them. How can my child exercise if he or she needs help standing? The adapted

equipment a child owns can be used in the home and outdoors. Many children use their gait trainers to play in an adapted baseball league, and they also can be used on the ice or on a roller rink. There are stationary standers that provide strengthening and bone building if a child is actively doing

Your child’s pediatric physical and occupational therapists also can provide a more customized approach to exercise, looking at your child’s strength, activity level and sensory needs. There also are many online resources promoting physical activity for children with disabilities, but a couple great ones include: • National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability: • Kid Companions:

something while standing, as well as dynamic standers that a child can propel indoors or outdoors. Adapted tricycles come in all sizes and are used often at school. Cycling is a great activity for milder weather, and there are organizations that will fund adapted tricycles. (Check out buddybike. com/fundingoptions.html for some great options.) Trampolines, used safely, provide bone building, vigorous activity and a much needed sensory outlet. A trip to the playground is exercise for the child and parent. Many clients participate in adapted aquatics, therapeutic riding, adapted skiing,and adapted dance classes in the Cleveland area. Youth Challenge, The Dancing Wheels Company, and Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding are just a few great Cleveland-based organizations that tailor programs for children with disabilities. Some children may be able to participate in non-adapted activities like taekwondo, yoga, recreational soccer and baseball. Many instructors can customize their classes as well. You also can call your local YMCA and city recreation center for information about adaptive swimming lessons or open swimming for the whole family. Rebecca Ravas is a pediatric physical therapist and manager of LeafBridge Therapy Services. Becky has been in the field for 18 years and specializes in postoperative therapies included in UCP of Greater Cleveland’s intensive therapy model, Steps to Independence. LeafBridge is a Center of Excellence for Children at UCP of Greater Cleveland, which fosters the physical, mental and emotional development of children with disabilities from birth through age 22. Programs are based on a philosophy of early intervention and holistic, family-focused care and include physical, occupational and speech/ language therapies, along with multidisciplinary intensive therapy, family-based case management and family supports. For more information, visit or call 216791-8363 ext. 1250. 2016


Ways to encourage exercise for people with special needs By Rebecca Ravas

Discover the bridge to independence. A Center of Excellence for Children at UCP of Greater Cleveland Helping families cross the bridge to independence with individualized assessments and custom therapy programs.




imon is a typical 23-yearold with a very active life. He works Monday through Friday at the urban farming program Cleveland Crops, volunteers regularly and spends his weekends having fun with his friends. Simon never lets his developmental disability slow him down and enjoys expanding his active social calendar, but he needed some help finding the right social group to join. He found Journeys, a weekend social program at the Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland for young adults ages 18 and older with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum or other cognitive disorders. “It’s just a great way for young people to meet new friends, practice skills and experience new things together,” says Jacquie Houser, program coordinator. “There are a lot of options out there for people with disabilities, but there isn’t a lot for this particular age group. We really wanted to fill that niche.” Simon has been with Journeys since the program started

in January 2015. Some of his favorite activities include trying out new restaurants, bowling, and visiting museums such as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “We’ve been talking about visiting the John Glenn Research Center,” says Simon, adding he looks forward to spending time with his friends every weekend. Cindy, Simon’s mother, likes that the Simon group has independence. “They have choices about what activities they want to do,” she explains. “And it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. They’re just a regular group of friends going out together.” Simon’s father, Todd, also likes that Journeys members have the opportunity to build skills. “Simon gets to practice important things like paying for his meals while he’s out with friends,” he says. Building self-confidence and independence is an important component of the Journeys program. “It’s about improving quality of life,” Houser says. “The benefits are great and it’s always exciting to see the members grow.” To learn more about the benefits and cost of membership, call Jacquie Houser at 216-504-6483 or email at


Helps Kids Get Social


JOURNEYS A weekend social program for young adults ages 18 and older with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum or other cognitive disorders. To learn more about the benefits and cost of membership, call Jacquie Houser at 216.504.6483. Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland WE ARE JFSA. YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.

216.378.8660 | 28 2016



Right Where

She Belongs An update on Alana, who has made friends and gained skills thanks to her school’s inclusion By Angela Gartner

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endall felt a connection to her Parkside Elementary School pal Alana. The two kindergartners became friends doing typical activities such as sitting together at lunch, in class or on the bus. They also have spent time outside of the school walls, visiting each other at their homes to play games such as dress-up or getting together at favorite family hotspots like the Greater Cleveland Aquarium and the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky. The girls have even done Facetime. Kendall has sent videos to her friend for special occasions or if Alana is at home sick from school to help cheer her up. Kendall knows her friend Alana, who was diagnosed at birth with Microcephaly, a condition that causes abnormal brain development, is different. “She doesn’t question why Alana doesn’t talk, she just accepts her,” says Melanie Weinmann, Kendall’s mom. “She knows her limits. She cares about her. Kendall really wants to spend time with her and I will support that and do whatever I can to help. I can see her always being there for Alana. I can see Kendall being lifelong friends with Alana.” The friendship, which began in the classroom, is an example of schools such as Alana’s that are engaging in strategies to help students understand each other’s differences and embrace them. “As students progress through the educational system, the playing field


iders and 900+ Prov LAND CLEVE

often gets bigger and the differences among all students become more pronounced,” says Claire Roush, intensive instruction resource teacher at Parkside Elementary School, where she works with Alana. “Inclusion is important, especially beginning early on in a student’s educational career. Early exposure for all students is a great way to establish familiarity and relationships on a more level playing field. “Inclusion creates great learning opportunities for all students and also more authentic and natural opportunities to practice many of the skills that are being taught explicitly, which make the learning more purposeful for students with special needs,” she adds.

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Top: Alana and Lily Middle left: Alana, Kendall, Kylie and Lily. Right: Alana was featured on the cover of LiveSpecial in 2015. Bottom: The girls had fun playing dress-up.

Alana’s mother, Elaine Eisner, says inclusion in a traditional classroom during the typical school day was within her daughter’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). “I always encourage parents to try new things with their children,” Roush says. “Be prepared with the supports and strategies that work for your child, be persistent, but know your child’s limits and know that it may not go exactly as planned; but small steps toward a goal are successes to be celebrated in and of themselves.” This year, attending class with her peers, Alana has gained not only friends, but also growth in her social development. “At the start of the school year when Alana would enter my class-


Alana now has a circle of friends including classmates Kendall and Lily, along with Kylie, a second-grader and Kendall’s sister, but her reach has expanded to many students and teachers at the elementary school in Solon. “They want to do the activities that Alana can do,” Weinmann says. “It’s really great to see how accepting these young kids are of each other. The whole school knows Alana.” “As an inclusion teacher, I have seen amazing compassion and acceptance develop in 5- and 6-year-olds where otherwise judgment might grow out of uncertainty or misunderstanding,” Siegler adds. “Every year I am so impressed with the growth I see through the inclusion setting. Many times, my students are teaching me different ways to communicate or help me to understand what a classmate is trying to communicate. My students benefit from learning how to interact with friends that communicate in similar ways to themselves and with friends that communicate in different ways from themselves.”

Alana and her friends enjoyed a spring break trip at the Great Wolf Lodge this year.

room, she would oftentimes stand at the door and need encouragement from her teacher to walk in. Now she pulls the door open and bounds right in,” says Elisa Siegler, Alana’s kindergarten teacher. “Earlier in the school year, she would be encouraged to come in and then need assistance to find her chair. Now she is walking in and heading in the direction of her seat all on her own. It is apparent that she enjoys her time with her peers.

With her friends sitting around her, she is engaged in the same activity that her peers and that is powerful.” Roush adds, “I think the elementary school experience has allowed Alana to make new friends and that has impacted her life outside of school, opening doors for many social opportunities with her classmates. Additionally, I have seen a huge amount of growth in her assertiveness, communication and independence in the school setting that I believe is related to her opportunities to learn with her classmates.” Eisner, who once assumed that Alana wouldn’t be able to have many friends due to her challenges, is amazed at the neighborhood kids and their families who have embraced her daughter.





Growing up is hard enough When you need help with the unique socialemotional challenges your child encounters, you can turn to Hanna Perkins for: • Emotionally focused preschool, kindergarten & parent/toddler learning group • Parenting consultation and support • Child & adolescent therapeutic services

Giving children independence and parents peace of mind.

The Hanna Perkins Center for Child Development The social-emotional resource for families and children with special needs

14221 Broadway Avenue • Cleveland, OH 44125 216-365-2614 •


(216) 991-4472 • Shaker Heights, Ohio 2016



And Fashion clothing and accessories Collide New are designed for people with special needs

By Holly Hammersmith


hen it comes to special needs clothing and accessories, functionality usually comes first. But an ever-expanding line of clothing and accessories for individuals with special needs means fashion is coming in a close second.

ABL Denim


Independence Day Clothing

ABL Denim

ABL Denim

DURABLE DENIM Karen Bowersox is executive director of Downs Designs Dreams, a nonprofit offering a clothing line catered to meet the needs of people with disabilities and their families. This local woman is making a difference in the way of special needs fashion. Bowersox’s 4,500-square-foot warehouse, located in Mentor, has jeans that are custom-made and shipped worldwide. Because of their unique body shape, individuals with Down syndrome often require pants with shorter inseams and more room for the stomach than mainstream pants offer, Bowersox says. Downs Designs Dreams produces NBZ Jeans. The blue jeans come in standard sizes for both men and boys. Today, the line comes in 18 different styles and the dark blue is popular among men, she says. Each pair of NBZ Jeans features a stitched design on the back pockets. Jeans with whiskering also are available. “Jeans themselves are fashionable,” Bowersox says. “Most adaptive wear is not fashionable. I have a very fashionable line of jeans for people with Down

Downs Designs

syndrome. They are so hot and stylish. They are just like a designer jean.” Mid-summer, Bowersox plans to introduce a line of dress pants, suitable for dressing up, for work and more. The pants will be available in black and khaki. They are made with a cotton and polyester blend with a bit of spandex added for comfort and mobility. The pants are durable and made to last, Bowersox says. Downs Designs

32 2016

FASHIONABLE FRAMES Specs4Us, based in Burton, sells an eyeglass frame line with the unique needs of a person with Down syndrome in mind. Those with Down syndrome have unique facial features including a lower nasal bridge, meaning standard eyeglasses typically slide off or fit too low to be comfortable or functional, Dellapina says. The frames are sold wholesale and distributed to optical centers worldwide. Frames are made for infants to adults and cater to anyone with a lower bridge, says founder Maria Dellapina, adding the frames also are extremely durable. “Mostly, they are fun and trendy so they look like an accessory rather than a necessity,” she says. “They become the person and the personality. It’s all fashion forward.” Specs4Us offers 14 models ranging in different sizes. The Model Number 2 Frame is popular with young girls because of the flattering shape and the variety of colors in which it is available, Dellapina says. The Model Number 1 Frame is unisex, with lenses with a square shape. In July, Specs4Us plans to launch new shapes and colors at the National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention, which takes place this year in Orlando, Fla. A new child model and two new adult models will debut there, she says. “We are really refitting a lot of the adult parent population,” Dellapina says. “Or some children who didn’t want to wear them.” Frame trends are moving toward slightly larger lenses, she adds. HERE ARE SOME OTHER BRANDS TRENDING IN SPECIAL NEEDS FASHION: • The KDW Collection: The “Whitley” Animal Print Wrap Dress is a customer favorite among fashions for little people, it is perfect for a date night, and retails for $148. It features a v-neck and provides the illusion of length. Also popular is the “Faith” Tailored Fit Jean, retailing for $108. This jean features stretch denim with strategically-placed pockets and a trendy boot cut style. • SnapLaces: No-tie laces offer a little help in tying shoes and also are popular among competitive runners and help those with autism gain independence. Never deal with a shoelace becoming untied again. The laces can be tied with one hand and do not change tension during wear, offering a perfect fit. A four pack of the laces runs $14.99. The KDW Collection 2016

• Independence Day Clothing: The Long-Sleeve Ringer Pullover in black/ charcoal is the company’s most popular product, and touted as an instant classic. The pullover has an equally meted neckline, allowing reversibility, and is put on and taken off the wearer with ease. The garment

also is fully reversible and features double-sided color fabric. The shirt has no tags or buttons, making it comfortable for wearers with sensory disorders. The shirt retails for $58.

• ABL Denim: The “A-Jean Premium” for men and women accommodates ambulatory people and wheelchair users. The “Sensory Jean” is ideal for children with ADHD or sensory perception disorder. Men’s and women’s pants have side zippers, special pulls and a unique hook and bar behind the jean button at the waist. Pants provide ample stomach sizing and legs fit without bagginess. Jeans start as low as $32. • MagnaReady: These dress shirts allow comfort, fashion and form to meet. They are wrinkle-free, stain resistant and made of comfortable and cool 100 percent cotton. They feature magnetically infused closures so no real buttons are used. Collars can be “unbuttoned” for a casual look and make dressing painless and easy. Styles available for both men and women start at $62.95.




(and Dog)

About Town

34 2016

David Rabinsky and His Guide Dog Kody Make a Perfect Pair By Leslie Royce Resnik Photography By Marc Golub


avid Rabinsky, 50, father of three grown boys, became a proud dad to a 1.5-year-old black lab in 2010. The big, beautiful dog named Kody does more than walk with Rabinsky to work or his favorite coffee shop every day; Kody keeps the stately 6-foot-5-inch gentleman safe on the streets of downtown Cleveland — and enables him to remain independent.

Kody is a guide dog that has become Rabinsky’s safety valve, his playmate and his support system. He’s a pal who enables Rabinsky, who has been legally blind for the past six years, to continue the work he loves as director of social catering for Cleveland’s downtown Ritz-Carlton hotel, a position he’s held for 17 years, and to be able to move about on his own within the city. Rabinsky was 38 in 1997 when he received the diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that steals peripheral vision and can lead to total blindness — or can freeze for years. It was an unsettling experience. “I didn’t know what to expect, since the doctors told me the disease develops differently from person to person,”

he says. “As the disease progressed, I had to make major decisions about my future. I eventually realized I had to close my 16-year-old business, David’s Gourmet, Inc.” Within two months, Rabinsky had his current position at the hotel, thanks to a loyal client referral. “The transition from entrepreneur to employee was not a natural evolution,” he says, especially as his vision became more limited. Initially, he coped well, but gradually began touching the wall for guidance as his vision became more like seeing through a straw. Not knowing how long Rabinsky would be able to continue driving, in 1999, he moved to the Warehouse District to be within walking distance


of the hotel and even purchased the proverbial white cane with the red tip, which he hated, sure that it conjured up images of helplessness. At that point, his coach came to the rescue and the rest is history. “I was leery at first of being labeled,” Rabinsky says. “But, almost immediately, Kody became the hotel’s mascot, so to speak, wellreceived by the Ritz-Carlton family.

He became beloved by my family as well, and knows the route up the front steps to his bed at my parents’ house the minute he’s in range.” FIRST IMPRESSIONS Rabinsky still had a bit of vision when he and Kody were introduced and let’s just say that the situation of the first meeting boded well for a match made in heaven — even for a man who’d never owned a pet. Rabinsky and Kody met in Morristown, N.J., at an establishment with the service, staff and accommodations of an upscale resort. “I loved being at the Seeing Eye®,” says Rabinsky, who spent January 2010 in residence learning to work with Kody. “It was the Ritz-Carlton of Guide Dog schools, except the fee was a mere $150, which covered all expenses including the dog and the flight.” Rabinsky learned about the Seeing Eye from his adaptive technology instructor, who was provided by the


Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired — a governmental agency intent on keeping blind people working and independent, so much so that together with employers, it provides free services such as technology needed to enhance sight, talking programs to assist in communications and a coach to help handle these aids. “But when the closed circuit TV, which enlarged font size, could no

longer expand to fit my decreasing field of vision, my coach suggested that now was the time to get a guide dog — before my vision totally failed,” Rabinsky says. “From the very first day at Seeing Eye, I felt like I was home with partials and totals who understood what it was like to be non-sighted.” he says. “It was the first time I ever had that feeling of camaraderie since my diagnosis.” The Seeing Eye is a philanthropic organization whose mission is to enhance the independence, dignity and self-confidence of blind people through the use of seeing eye dogs. It is one of many schools and is the oldest in the country to breed, train and raise Labs, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers to guide blind people and teach those with special needs proper use, handling and care of the dogs. After months of training with students from 4-H clubs and professional trainers, the guides are ready to meet their future owners.

“You are trained to trust your dog and taught how to work with the animal, who learns your needs by repetition,” Rabinsky says. “Each trainer takes two students. We went through the school lobby, on the escalator, to the restaurant, outside on the street for hours in the January cold and in many of the other situations of daily living. I was trusting of my dog and jubilant when I gave commands and we actually got where we were supposed to go.” Kody is more than a companion, Rabinsky adds. He knows when he’s “on harness,” he’s working, but when the harness comes off, it’s playtime. Since Kody is trained to refrain from furniture, he doesn’t sleep on Rabinsky’s bed. But sometimes, Kody’s desire to cuddle is so strong, Rabinsky goes down to the dog’s level and they fall asleep on the floor together. A COMFORTABLE ROUTINE Kody and Rabinsky are familiar sights in downtown Cleveland, especially the Warehouse District. “Every weekend we walk to Starbucks,” Rabinsky says. “The first time we needed assistance in finding the door, but soon Kody learned exactly where to head when I say ‘Let’s go to Starbucks.’ From there, we go on a nice, leisurely walk.” Just as a parent feels about his children, Rabinsky experiences guilt when he has to leave Kody at home. For example, “a restaurant isn’t friendly to guide dogs, mostly because they’re in the way. Invariably, someone steps on his tail,” Rabinsky says while laughing. “As long as I’m with friends to guide me, Kody doesn’t come. “My life with Kody has led me on some interesting learning experiences,” he said in his 2013 TedX Talk. “I feel like I’m seeing a lot more. I see people for what they say. I see their smiles and their human kindness. I see that life is about establishing and maintaining relationships. And relationships with dogs are some of the most enriching experiences on the planet.” 2016

Get to Know People with Special Needs By Angela Gartner

Around Northeast Ohio, there are many people with special needs. Here are just a few adults and children who are showing off their talents or thriving in environments that help them make a difference in the community.


arah was born on Aug. 9, 1989. Her parents were surprised when they were told she had Down syndrome at birth, yet vowed they would help Sarah accomplish whatever she wished. She began early intervention services with the county board of Developmental Disabilities (DD) at just three weeks of age. Today, Sarah is the “sewcial director” in a lounge bearing her name. She creates pillowcases for kids in the hospital and quilts for those with Down syndrome arriving home to their forever families after adoption. Sarah and a group of volunteers make and donate the pillowcases in loving memory of her friend Kristen Kirton. Sarah’s mom Joyce has been sewing since she was a little girl and always had a room in her house dedicated to the craft. Sarah was never really interested until one night in the spring of 2009, when she was almost 19, Joyce found her in the sewing room arranging some fabric shapes. “She had been really sick that year and was easing back into her daily activities, so I thought perhaps she might enjoy creating something with fabric as it was a quiet activity,” Joyce recalls. 2016

The next day, as Joyce told Sarah about how to make a pillowcase and give it to someone in the hospital, Sarah immediately thought of her friend Kristen. Sarah had never met her in person, rather through blogging, yet she knew that Kristen was very sick and was waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Sarah got busy making her two cases out of Disney fabric. Both she and Kristen’s mom blogged about it and the story went viral, as they say. That launched her passion for making pillowcases. A few months later, the opportunity to open a quilt shop presented itself and the One Million Pillowcase became a part of Sarah’s mission. Soon, her efforts will have exceeded 5,000 pillowcases — all of which stay local, mostly going to patients at area children’s hospitals. Sarah’s business, Down Right Charming, was a natural progression of her pillowcase project. She started making quilts using precut charm packs (5inch squares) to send to families that were adopting a baby born with Down syndrome from orphanages. The quilts were admired by many, as photos would get shared on blogs and Facebook, so she decided to

turn it into something that was more like a business. Sarah always sews with bright colors and because each quilt is made using charm packs and the seams are stitched to create right angles, the name Down Right Charming seemed fitting. For the pillowcases, Sarah uses a pattern of construction called the roll method; it is very cleverly designed to quickly go together, yet the end result has no exposed seams. She loves making them and on a good day can finish five or six in one hour. “Sarah loves everything that she makes, but I think her greatest reward is seeing photos of her quilts with the babies,” Joyce says. Sarah has become quite well known in the quilting industry. She is followed by many of the top designers and fabric manufacturers, who love when she uses their fabric. She takes it all in stride and simply keeps doing what she does every day. The advocacy that comes along with that is self described, yet so inspiring to many, both in the quilting world and in the Down syndrome community. Sarah also has a blog, which first started the year she graduated high school in 2008. “A few people saw her pic-

Sarah Ely

tures from prom and asked us to share them,” says her mother. “At that time, a blog was the easiest way to make that happen. It was decided the blog would be best written by Sarah, as there were so few blogs written by teenagers with Down syndrome.” Because one of the business skills she learned at Mayfield School District’s Cuyahoga East Vocational Education Con­­sortium (CEVEC) was to introduce herself to others by approaching them with a handshake and stating, “My name is Sarah,” that is the name of her blog. The “My Name is Sarah” blog, which features posts based on her life experiences, receives on average 300 hits a day from across the world. It will soon reach the 1 million milestone. “Sarah really loves sharing photos. From the time she was a little girl, long before electronic media was around, we created storybooks and poster boards using photos to help her communicate with her teachers and classmates. For her, the words are filler for the story the photos tell.” Submitted by her mother, Joyce Ely. Visit the blog at or her shop at shop/downrightcharming



Max Culp

ax Culp is a happy fifth grader of Ohio Virtual Academy. Since being homeschooled, his parents have chosen to supplement his curriculum with music and art therapies at The Fine Arts Association in Willoughby. Max was born with Down syndrome and a mild hearing loss. He also was diagnosed with anxiety and OCD. “It is a challenge to know how to plan and manage those conditions on a daily basis,” says his mother, Susan Culp. Laura Franczak, MA, LPC, notes, “Since I started doing art therapy with Max, I have seen improvements in his attention span, ability to focus,


Carrie Linden

such as collecting donations, working at nonprofit groups, fundraisers and other public events. Heidi Solomon, coordinator of YouthAbility, says Carrie is a valuable member of the group. “Carrie is a mentor and a real role model,” she says. “She is very passionate about helping others. She leads by example

anxiety symptoms and confidence.” Danielle Musat, MT-BC, also has noticed improvements through music therapy. “Music helps Max express himself appropriately and use acceptable communication skills,” she says. “Music also helps Max with relaxation and stress management.” “Max loves his time at Fine Arts and takes pride in being part of this community and having a sense of belonging,” Susan says. “Knowing how much he continues to develop and grow is a precious gift for him.” Submitted by The Fine Arts Association in Willoughby,

and is a person in our group others look up to. She is really supportive and caring about everyone else. Carrie has so much enthusiasm and has a zest for life. She’s an awesome performer who gives 110 percent.” “It gives her a sense of selfconfidence
and makes her
feel comfortable in
public,” Carrie’s


mother, Sherrie Linden, adds. “She
likes to be part of the community and team. It feels like she is giving back.” Carrie also works with the Up Side of Downs, which provides support, education and advocacy for people with Down syndrome, their families and communities. She does clerical work such as helping with various projects, compiling donations lists, filing and other office duties. “It’s really important to her,” Sherrie says. “She sees that she is speaking for people with Downs Syndrome and she is being a voice.” Visit Horvitz YouthAbility program at horvitz-youthability
or Up Side of Downs at


t birth, Kamila was diagnosed with Spina Bifida. In May of 2015, Kamila and her parents moved to Cleveland from Puerto Rico in search of more opportunities that could help her. They were excited to learn about Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CCBDD) Early Intervention program, which provides support for parents and caregivers in their homes through a team approach of professionals. The team consists of an occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech-language pathologist and a developmental specialist, all of whom support parents to enhance the development of their child with special challenges, learning through everyday experiences. One of these team members

serves as the primary service provider. In Kamila’s case, an occupational therapist (OT) from CCBDD filled this role. Kamila greets her OT each visit with a big smile; she likes to learn things. The OT provides hands-on coaching methods to Kamila’s parents to use in their everyday routines. With the help of the OT and her parents, Kamila has developed many skills similar to other children her age, like feeding herself her favorite snacks, sitting to play with toys and showing you how old she is, as seen in her picture. Kamila and her family are excited about the progress she has made and look forward to her accomplishing even more before she turns age 2. Submitted by the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, 2016



arrie Linden, 38, has Down syndrome and has been a member of the Horvitz YouthAbility program from the Jewish Family Services of Cleveland, which provides opportunities for people with disabilities to volunteer and explore interests and talents. The program not only provides Carrie ways to travel and volunteer, but also gives her an opportunity to show off her talents. She performs in the play “Peace, Love and Youth Ability” along with a group of more than 70 members. As a community service, they have put on the show throughout Northeast Ohio and at Disney World. The members also do a lot of volunteer work within the communities they are visiting,


Khalida Hasan of Avon Lake

In 2006, my son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The journey has been a learning experience for our family and we continue to grow and develop each day. When my son was first diagnosed, I was always looking to “cure” him. I tried many different therapies, essential oils, diets, etc., and would be heartbroken when he would not show progress. Things improved only when I realized that autism is part of his identity and it is my task to help him navigate through life with this condition. Connecting with other parents who have children with special needs is so important. You can share experiences that only someone in your same situation would understand.

Jenny Cholley of Berea

Our daughter was consistently experiencing headaches, stomachaches and dizziness. We were told that there was nothing wrong, that she was just shy and would grow out of it — but nothing about anxiety is normal. She couldn’t function in school or group activities. It wasn’t until she was in second grade that I became aware of the many resources available to help, including school accommodation plans, therapy options and medications. Although things are not perfect, therapy is teaching her to take control of her anxiety. It’s my job to give her every resource to achieve her dreams. These stories were submitted through Connecting for Kids,


olunteering for Meals-on-Wheels and at a local senior center are two ways John likes to keep active in the community. He also participates regularly in the social activities offered at his church. John has worked at a variety of jobs, learning new skills and meeting new people. Being open to trying something new, and without complaint, is a special trait of John’s. In early 2014, he decided to try out a new career as a packager at Seedhouse Distribution in Cleveland as a part of Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ supported


employment program. In only two months’ time, John’s talents and hard-working nature landed him a job there, unpacking and repacking bulk food items that are sent to retail distributors. John’s co-workers shared that he comes to work every single day with a positive attitude and helps to keep them in a good mood to such a

degree that “John’s attitude should be bottled and sold.” John’s co-workers have not only been inspired by his positive work ethic, but they have rallied around John to support his weight loss and health goals. To date, and with the help of his employer and co-workers, John has lost over 100 pounds and now enjoys

walking in his neighborhood and working out. “I never met a man like John. I’ve learned so much from him,” shared his personal trainer. John is more than a remarkable employee, volunteer and role model for a healthier lifestyle. His mother and extended family share that John loves to cook for others, help take care of their home, and fill in at the family store when needed. “Everybody loves John,” shared his proud mom. Submitted by the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities,


argaretta, 11, has been attending a music therapy program since the age of 4. She has thrived in a musical setting to improve communication and social skills, as well as develop coping skills when learning new things. Margaretta is on the autism spectrum, but she also has perfect pitch and a traditional method of teaching music was frustrating for her. She is a “poster child” for why early intervention makes a difference. Music therapy has helped Margaretta be flexible when things aren’t going her way or a routine is interrupted. Her music therapy sessions turned into adapted music lessons throughout the years. She now studies voice, piano and ukulele and learns through nontraditional methods of teaching that honor her unique skills and challenge her musically. Margaretta also is involved in choir and musical theater programs, in addition to her individual lessons. She has sung the National Anthem at a variety of community events, Lake Erie Monsters games and Cleveland Gladiators games. Submitted by Beyond Words in North Royalton,

Margaretta Milgram 2016


y l d n e i r F SensoryBy Tricia Cha

he National Autistic Society released a video in early 2016 simulating what a child with autism experiences during a trip to a shopping center. It demonstrates the world through their eyes as stimuli amass at every turn, making an ordinary outing become a terrifying situation — while uninformed onlookers cast judgment from afar. Northeast Ohio has many sensory-friendly activities, including malls that have special events for people with special needs, creating a haven for the whole family while maximizing fun and minimizing triggers for meltdowns. Integrating with children of all abilities paves pathways toward a better understanding of neurodiversity. Stacy Gilchrist, whose 6-year-old son was diagnosed with autism, verbal apraxia, and sensory processing disorder, says that sensory-friendly activities in Northeast Ohio are so important, not just for families like hers, but for society as a whole. “These activities help to establish awareness and education and to get the TIPS TO

Help Plan Your Day When planning your sensory-friendly adventure, venue selection is just the first step. Following these four tips can help you in facilitating a fun-filled day.


community more involved with special needs children,” she says. As a single mom to a 7-year-old son with a diagnosis similar to Gilchrist’s son, Becki Adams tries to be an ambassador for people who may not understand her child’s special needs. “I want kids to feel comfortable interacting with people who are different,” she says. “If I overhear chatter from little ones, I try to encourage questions and get a dialogue going. I don’t want the parents to be embarrassed for not knowing what to say or thinking they hurt my feelings.” Outspoken as she may be, the demands of managing her son’s care, compounded with a lack of community acceptance, often leave her feeling isolated. Admittedly, she knows prioritizing and planning sensory-friendly fun would be incredibly helpful. The area’s growing list of activities can foster connection, blending therapeutic play with opportunities to include siblings and build camaraderie with other parents who are on common ground. Here are some ideas: 1. Create Predictability Share details about where you are going and what will happen when you arrive. Keep a schedule and allow your child to have input, when possible.


Kids playing in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s sensory-friendly area

All Kids Playground - Parma’s James Day Park (formerly Nike Park) is home to the All Kids Playground. The first phase of construction in the three-part project is complete and features play structures and activity areas that accommodate mobility devices, plus a family gathering pavilion. AMC Theatres - AMC Theatres in partnership with the Autism Society offers sensory-friendly showings of family films with lights on, sound lowered, and the ability to move around freely. Beck Center for the Arts - The center offers creative arts therapies for individuals with special needs, including mental, physical or developmental disabilities. Using art, dance/movement and music as therapeutic tools, individuals can address academic, motor, emotional and social skills as well as develop talents in the fine arts. Broadway Buddies Pepper Pike, Orange and Solon are just a few local communities that offer the Broadway Buddies Adaptive Musical Theatre Program, which pairs each participating special needs pre-teen and young adult (between the ages of 11 and 25) with a buddy (licensed professional, theater actor or trained volunteer) to help develop artistic and creative expression while fostering personal pride. Classes typically are held over an eight-week session that concludes with a performance for friends and family.

2. Take Sensory Breaks Avoid sensory overload by incorporating periodic “time outs” and reading your child’s cues for other times he may need to regroup.

3. Bring a Break Bag Fill a backpack with a collection of preestablished calming items for your child to use on sensory breaks. Some items suggested by the Child Mind Institute include: a widebrimmed hat, fidget

toys (Silly Putty or a worry stone), gum, high-quality sunglasses, noisecancelling earmuffs, MP3 player loaded with favorite songs, stuffed animals or toys, and a weighted blanket or lap-pad.

4. Be Ready to Re-Fuel Keep your child hydrated and have plenty of favorite healthy snacks on hand to stave off hunger on longer trips. 2016



hio a Northeast O to g n ti u o y il Plan a fam estination d ly d n ie fr y r senso ves

Cleveland Museum of Natural History - The Smead Discovery Center at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History has a plethora of hands-on activities and discovery boxes that kids can explore independently. There’s a quiet hallway adjacent to the Smead Discovery Center that’s perfect for quick breaks. Arrive right at opening to avoid the crowds and field trip traffic. Connecting for Kids The nonprofit group serves kids ages 13 and younger and provides a variety of different programs at the Westlake Porter Public Library. A child doesn’t have to have a formal diagnosis to attend. Some of the programs include music therapy, “teach me to play” events, along with parent discussions and more. Fine Arts Association - Goal-oriented programs available at the Fine Arts Association in Willoughby can help your child improve coordination and social skills through therapeutic self-expression. Choose among an array of music (individual, social group, and adapted lessons in drums, guitar, piano or voice) and art (individual and group) therapy classes to suit your child’s needs and interests. For an assessment, scholarship information and further details, contact Jeannie FlemingGifford, director of education, at 440-951-7500 x118. Playhouse Square - sensory-friendly-programming Sensory-friendly programming makes live theatre at Playhouse Square accessible for those with sensory challenges in a non-judgmental environment with a caring staff. The traditional experience is modified with lowered lights and sound, designated calming areas, and the freedom to move and talk.

A contemporary quilting boutique designed to tingle the heart and inspire your creative soul. We are committed to hiring creative talent of all abilities including those with Down syndrome. Tues - Sat 10 - 5:30

Thurs til 8

2171 S. Green Rd.

in the Cedar Green Shopping Plaza

University Heights Ohio 44121

(216) 860-4116

Owners: Joyce & Sarah Ely

Connect with us at

Preston’s H.O.P.E. Playground - Situated on the grounds of the Beachwood Mandel JCC, Preston’s H.O.P.E. Playground is the largest fully-accessible playground park in Northeast Ohio. The sprawling Imagination Village allows kids of all abilities to explore mammoth make-believe houses at ground level and through accessible elevated walkways. The site includes ADA-equipped restrooms and a picnic pavilion. Sensory Storytimes Library branches across Northeast Ohio, such as AkronSummit County Public Library and Cuyahoga County Public Library, feature Sensory Storytimes that incorporate sensory activities, visual aids and a schedule board, followed by socialization sessions for kids and parents. Check your library’s local listings. Sky Zone - In Highland Heights and Westlake, Sky Zone offers an exclusive open jump session from 4:30-6 p.m. on Monday nights for kids with special needs and their siblings. Parents are permitted on the pads to accompany their kids, free of charge. 2016


Staying at Your Best Self-care tips for parents of children with special needs Caring for a child with special needs can wear a parent down to the bone. I know; I parent several kiddos with special needs. As a mom, I’ve found it necessary to give myself “room to breathe” — space to center, replenish and pull myself together. After all, I can’t be of much use to or support for my kids when I am running on “empty.” By Judy M. Miller

Here are some of the practices I subscribe to and suggest you consider as a parent of a child with special needs. Remember, you have needs, too.


EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S SPECIAL NEEDS. Knowledge provides understanding. I found that the more I learned about my child’s special needs, the more confident I felt about how to help her cope, handle situations, and advocate for her. I was a more effective caregiver.

CONSIDER THERAPY FOR YOURSELF. You need to be as healthy as you can for your child. You can feel a whole range of emotions, anger, fear and uncertainty among them. Your emotions are normal and it can be helpful to work with a professional to understand them.

GET SUPPORT. Develop or join a network of parents who have children with special needs. Or ask your child’s occupational therapist or physician for ideas or contacts. Many parents of children with special needs share that they feel isolated. 2016

ASK FOR HELP. Tell your friends how you feel. You are the primary caregiver, and parenting a child with special needs is emotionally and physically taxing. Others probably don’t have any idea how you are feeling. Tell them how they can help you, like watching your child so that you have time to replenish yourself or offering a listening ear. 2016

GIVE YOURSELF PERSONAL TIME. Go for a walk, write in your journal or participate in some other activity you enjoy. Every day.

CRY. Stress hormones, found in tears, negatively affect every system and organ in the human body. Crying provides health by eliminating these harmful stress hormones. Haven’t you found that you feel relief after a good cry?

TAKE CARE OF YOU. Make sure you are eating food that is healthy, drinking plenty of water, exercising and getting plenty of sleep. Judy M. Miller is a mom to four fantastic kiddos, three of whom have special needs. She is a Certified Gottman Educator and author of the internationally known parent guide, “What To Expect From Your Adopted Tween,” and a workbook for adopted adults, “Writing to Heal Adoption Grief: Making Connections & Moving Forward.”




The first order of business is to work with an estate planning attorney to create a special needs trust. This is the vehicle for all assets designated to help your loved one. As insurance planners, we always start the conversation with, “If something were to By Elaine Eisner, JD happen to you today, where will the funds come from to support your loved one with special needs?” s parents of a 7-year-old daughSurprisingly, most people answer that quester with special needs, we worry tion with government benefits. Social Security about so many things. For example, and Medicaid generally will not cover the cost will our daughter have friends? Can of how you would like to see your loved one she ride the bus to school? This year, the answer to these questions became provided for — this is a common misconception. Understand these numbers and what, if a resounding YES. By far, the hardest thing to discuss or any, your loved one may receive. The most common question asked to us is think about is what will happen to our how much money is needed to fund the trust. daughter if we are not here. Who will care for her and how will they afford it? While the answer varies based on your individual situation, parents or the person funding Our family motto is “one day at a the trust generally underestimate the amount time,” which works great in the moof money necessary to maintain the lifestyle ment but often hinders planning for currently enjoyed by the family member with the future. special needs. While people are surprised As parents, our responsibility is to by the amount needed, they are equally surmake sure that the future is safe and prised by the cost effectiveness of using life financially secure for our loved one insurance as the funding vehicle. with special needs. Therefore, it’s imLife insurance comes in many shapes and portant to have other resources, such as a special needs trust. Often families sizes. When it comes to life insurance, the three most common contracts are: term, universal think having the trust is enough, but life and whole life insurance. Term insurance the reality is that it must be funded. is equivalent to renting for a stated number The most cost effective way to fund of years. For special needs planning, having a the trust is using life insurance.

Secure Your Loved One’s Future Now



permanent insurance policy is optimal. Both universal and whole life, funded properly, can be permanent insurance contracts. This policy can be structured on a single life basis, meaning if the mother is gone, the insurance on her life can fund the trust. It often is more cost effective to use a second-to-die policy, meaning the policy will pay out to the trust only if two caregivers are gone. It is important to work with your insurance professional to determine the appropriate amount of coverage and the best insurance contract based on your particular financial situation. If you have insurance in place, please review and update the beneficiary designations. This includes insurance through your employer. Incorrect beneficiary designations on any asset can quickly unravel the best laid plans. FIELD A TEAM

As parents, we have a team of teachers, caregivers and therapists for our loved ones — but do you have your team of financial advisors in place? This should consist of an estate planning attorney, an insurance professional and a wealth advisor. Meet regularly, and the hopes and dreams you envision for your loved one will be fulfilled. Elaine Eisner, JD, and Scott Gohn, CLTC, are principals with the Eisner Gohn Group, an insurance planning firm that focuses on individuals, business owners and families that have a loved one with special needs. 2016


Special Needs Trust Options

Explore which route is best for your family

an and Mike have two children, Chris, 19, and 17-year-old Heidi, who is on the autism spectrum. Jan and Mike, like all parents, want the best for their children and they recognize that Heidi is going to need additional assistance. Heidi’s parents also realize that this assistance will be necessary not only now, but as they age and even after their deaths. They attend transition fairs at Heidi’s high school and speak with their friends who also have children with disabilities, and it becomes evident that they need to ensure Heidi will be eligible for government benefits in order to grant her the most options no matter her station in life. Jan and Mike meet with a special needs estate planning attorney who provides them with three primary options: prepare estate plans that disinherit Heidi when they die, leave their estate directly to Heidi, or create a discretionary trust for Heidi’s benefit. They identify immediate problems

with the first two options. Their children may have different paths, but they don’t want to treat Heidi differently. Also, leaving all of the funds to Chris makes the assets vulnerable to his creditors and bad decisions. And what if Chris dies before Heidi? All of these possibilities can jeopardize the funds meant to be used for Heidi. A guardian will be necessary for Heidi if she is unable to manage the inheritance. Plus, Heidi will be ineligible for means-tested government benefits like Medicaid, Waiver, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), subsidized housing and food assistance if she directly inherits assets that cause her to be over resources. A discretionary trust, however, may hold assets in trust for a person with a disability without causing the beneficiary to lose eligibility for government benefits. Jan and Mike realize they need to pick a trustee to manage the trust and they don’t have too many options. There are options for Heidi, such

as Community Fund Management Foundation’s (CFMF) Master Trust, an Ohio nonprofit established more than 20 years ago to serve as trust advisor to special needs trusts. It frequently is a less expensive option to a traditional family trust and includes a corporate trustee. CFMF takes responsibility for identifying what type of distributions can be made without jeopardizing the beneficiary’s government benefit eligibility. Another option is a self-settled pooled Medicaid payback trust, which is an option if Heidi, or any person with a disability, has excess assets that she cannot independently maintain or that cause her to be ineligible for government benefit. CFMF works with individuals, families and their attorneys to identify if CFMF is an appropriate option for their needs, whether it be a third-party discretionary Master Trust or a self-settled pooled Medicaid payback trust. Visit or call 216-736-4540 to learn more about CFMF.

Community Fund Management Foundation Trust accounts for Ohioans with Disabilities

Trust accounts help individuals with disabilities enjoy a better quality of life throughout Ohio  Safeguard eligibility for government benefits  Benefits Ohio resident with a disability  Can be funded with inheritance, life insurance proceeds, personal injury

settlements, gifts, Social Security back payments, excess resources, and more

 Trust may be used to purchase medical equipment not covered by insurance,

cable/internet service, vacations, cell phone and electronic devices, furniture, advocacy, and other supplemental services

Plan today for a brighter tomorrow Questions? Please visit or call (216) 736-4540 2016





ongress passed the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act in 2014 to begin in 2015. The purpose of this law is to allow establishment of income tax-free savings programs to aid individuals with disabilities without impacting their ability to qualify for certain needs-based programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. The ABLE account is owned by the disabled individual, but the account may be set up and controlled for the benefit of the eligible individual by a parent, guardian or the individual’s power of attorney. The IRS requires that the individual, or the parent, guardian or power of attorney, certify under penalty of perjury that they have a signed physician’s diagnosis certifying the disability. There also will be a need for annual recertification. To be eligible to be covered by an


ABLE account before the individual attains age 26, the individual must either: • Have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that results in a marked or severe functional limitation that either can be expected to result in death or is expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. The phrase “marked or severe functional limitation” means the standard for children claiming benefits under SSI; OR • You are eligible to receive benefits based upon blindness or disability under Title II or XVI of the Social Security act – SSI or SSDI. Presently, only $14,000 per year can be contributed to the ABLE account per eligible individual. There is only one ABLE account allowed per person. This means you cannot have multiple donors of $14,000 to one or more accounts. The $14,000 amount is adjusted for inflation,

so in future years it will increase. Additionally, the total amount allowed in an ABLE account in Ohio is presently $414,000; it will track the upper limit for 529 plans in Ohio. The money in the account grows income tax-free. If the money is used for qualified disability expenses (described below), there are no income taxes due when the money is paid out. If the money is used for nonqualified expenses, then not only will it be subject to income tax, but there will be a 10 percent excise tax penalty. The ABLE account is not considered for any means tested eligibility for federal programs with an important exception — if the account exceeds $100,000, an individual is no longer eligible for SSI until his or her account balance drops below that amount, at which point SSI can be reinstituted. Expenses that relate to the blindness or disability of the 2016

individual and are for the benefit of that individual for maintaining or improving his or her health, independence or quality of life are allowable. Such expenses include housing (unlike a special needs trust), education, transportation, employment training and support, assisted technology, personal support services, health prevention and wellness, financial management, legal fees, expenses for oversight monitoring, and funeral and burial expenses. Visit for a list of the various allowable expenses. Upon the death of the individual, the state must receive the balance remaining in the account that doesn’t exceed the total medical assistance paid by the state after the


establishment of the account less any premiums paid from the account to a Medicaid buy-in program (Medicaid Pay-back) The Ohio Treasurer’s office is in the process of setting up the Ohio ABLE account called the Stable Account. It is anticipated that Ohio should have this program up and running very soon. For more information visit

Laurie G. Steiner is a member of the law firm of Solomon, Steiner & Peck, Ltd. She is a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation and the Ohio State Bar Association and an accredited attorney for the preparation, presentation and prosecution of claims for veteran’s benefits before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She practices in the areas of Elder Law, Medicaid, VA and Disability Planning, and Estate and Trust Planning and Administration.




• Special Needs • Disability, Medicaid and Veterans Benefits Planning • Estate Planning • Elder Law • Probate and Trust dministration • Corporate and Succession Planning

Solomon, Steiner & Peck, Ltd.

6105 Parkland Boulevard, Suite 140, Mayfield Heights, Ohio 44124 Telephone 216.765.0123,

Laurie G. Steiner

Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation

Jennifer E. Peck

OSBA Certified in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law

Call (216) 765-0123 For More Information 2016



Medicaid Income Limit Changes OHIO MEDICAID RULE CHANGES IMPACT FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS By Jim Koewler Ohio Medicaid will change its rules on how much income a Medicaid recipient can have and still participate in the Medicaid Aged, Blind and Disabled (ABD) program. The change will take effect in July 2016 for new applicants and will take effect with the annual renewals for existing Medicaid enrollees starting in January 2017 (dates are subject to federal approval). PEOPLE WHO DON’T NEED LONG TERM CARE

People who don’t need long term care have an income limit of $733 (gross) per month for the ABD program. The amount is set by federal law and is uniform throughout the states that use the Medicaid system that Ohio has newly adopted. The limit under the old rules was $634, but, because of the “spend down” system, this $634 was a soft ceiling. The “spend down” system allowed many people who had too much income to stay on Medicaid by reducing their countable income by the amount of any medical expenditures that month. “Spend down” is still available to reduce assets, but that usually is a one-time thing. Under the new rules, monthly “spend down” is not available; the $733 is a hard ceiling. Anyone over the $733 limit is not eligible for ABD Medicaid. The people who become newly ineligible for


Medicaid must turn to “the health care exchange” ( to get medical coverage. While that may be a bit unsettling and take some people out of their comfort zones, the result will be okay for a good number of these people.

Most people who will no longer receive Medicaid coverage should be able to get highly subsidized medical insurance policies, which, because they are commercial policies, should provide access to a greater number of medical providers. People for whom marketplace policies do not provide enough coverage may need to consider whether to try to get into a long term care program. PEOPLE WHO DO NEED LONG TERM CARE

People who need long term care have an income limit of $2,199 (gross) per month. However, this is not a hard ceiling. People who need long term care and have income above $2,199 can stay on Medicaid by using a Qualified

Income Trust, also known as a “Miller Trust.” Under the old rules, these people had an automatic spend down each month because of their monthly care costs. The Miller Trust is a way to divert income without having it count as income. Under the new rules, someone using a Miller Trust must put income from specific sources into the trust after the income arrives in the person’s personal account. The specific income sources may not be the same for all such people. Then, the contents of the trust must be disbursed from the trust in specific amounts in a specific order, perhaps better described as a prioritization, each month. The amounts that go through the Miller Trust aren’t counted as “income.” Ohio Medicaid is helping most covered people set up their Miller Trusts, but will not help with ongoing management of the trusts. The monthly movement of money into and out of the trust will be a huge burden, but is mandatory each month. People whose trustees don’t take all the correct steps risk losing Medicaid coverage. Jim Koewler is an attorney who focuses his practice on helping people who have special needs, people who need long term care, and veterans who need to appeal their VA benefit decisions. 2016 2016


THE MISSION is a free and comprehensive Northeast Ohio online, go-to resource for all things required to support individuals with special needs and their families. includes an easy-to-navigate community resource guide that provides the most current medical, social and rehabilitative services and access information needed to help support any age person with special needs. THE VISION strives to be the most comprehensive online gateway of current information for Northeast Ohio individuals with special needs, providing the most current medical, social and rehabilitative services and access information needed to help support any age person with special needs.

4 Paws for Ability

ABA Outreach Services

Accelerated Learning Clinic

A Better Way of Ohio

ABC (Asperger Boot Camp) - Part of Autism Society of Ohio

Access Jewish Cleveland

A Caring Embrace A Place 2b Me A Second Opinion LLC 216-337-7457 A Starting Point Inc., Michael L. Seng M.D. 440-934-8777 A.C.T. Now (Autism Consulting and Training) A.S.K. (Autistic Spectrum Kids) A+ Solutions A1 Home Care Service Inc. Aaris Therapy Group ABA Consulting Inc. 216-272-3963


ABC of Ohio ABI Orthotic Prosthetic Laboratories abi-orthotic-prosthetic-laboratories-ltd Abilikids - Cuyahoga Falls Abilities First Abilities First LLC ABILITY Magazine Ability Van Rentals Able Disability Magazine Able Newspaper Academic Associates Learning Center

Access to Independence Accessible Travel Solutions Accucare Home Medical Equipment AccuQuest - Mayfield Village, Medina, Mentor, Parma Heights, Stow Accurate Speech Inc. Achievement Centers for Children Achievement Products for Special Needs ACLD Learning Center ACT Today! Autism Care & Treatment Today! Active Minds 440-951-5600 2016

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit ActivStyle

Ali Squared

Arc Greater Cleveland


Ali, Diane Cutter, DO 440-878-2500, directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=2105

Arc of Medina County

Adapted Sports - Achievement Centers for Children

All Ears Hearing Center

Adaptive Living Shoppe at Menorah Park

Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship

Adaptive Mall

All-Star Training Club - A Program of UDS

Adaptive Sports for Kids (A.S.K.) athletics_community_center

Al-Madani, Yazan, BDS physiciandetail.aspx?id=124826

Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio

Alqsous, Sari Issa, BDS 216-957-1850, physiciandirectory/physiciandetail.aspx?id=131573

Adelman, Laura, DMD ADHD Strong Adoption Circle Adult Basic and Literacy Education Program (ABLE) Adult Day Program - Achievement Centers for Children

Aimee Gilman Akron Area YMCA-Rotary Camp for Children With Special Needs Akron Education Campus Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County Alexandar Andrich, OD, FCOVD The Vision Development Team/Sensory Focus 2016

Armanazi, M. Yasser, DDS Art Therapy Studio

Ashtabula County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter AMC Ridge Park Square 8 Movie Theater American Council of the Blind (ACB)

American Home Patient - Mansfield, Middleburg Hts., Twinsburg

AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland

Area Agency on Aging, 10B, Inc.

Alternative Paths Inc.

Aeratech Home Medical

Agins, Kerry M., Esq. 216-291-1300

Ardmore Foundation Inc.

ASGC Summer Social Skills Camp

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

Afterlight Fitness & Educational Consulting

Arc of Summit and Portage Counties

Alta Behavioral Healthcare

Advocacy for Advancement 330-562-0102

Affiliates in Behavioral Health LLC

Arc of Ohio Northeast Branch

Ashtabula Educational Service Center Asian Services in Action, ASIA Inc. ASPIES Greater Akron Assistive Technology of Ohio Attention Center, The

America’s Best Transportation

Auburn Career Center

AMS Vans Inc.

Audacity Magazine

Anders, Claudia, OTR/L 440-260-0351


Andrews & Pontius LLC

Austerman, Joseph, D.O., 216-636-5860

Anne Ford Scholarship

Autism Center at OCALI

Anne Grady Center

Autism Digest

Anne, Samantha 216-444-6691

Autism Family Foundation

Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple

Autism Personal Coach

Applewood Centers

Autism Services for Kids


Autism Society - Greater Cleveland Chapter

Bedosky, Joseph, Ph.D.

Bill Ellis Award/Scholarship

Autism Society - Tri-County Chapter 330-501-7553

Beech Brook

Birnkrant, David J., MD physiciandetail.aspx?id=052514

Autism Speaks Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, and treatments for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Please visit or call 216-524-2842. Autism Scholarship Ohio scholarships/autism-scholarship-program Avoy Home Health Care 216-731-7715 Axner Friedman & Jones, LLP Bair Foundation Baldwin Wallace Speech Clinic, CCC-SLP Barlow, Meghan, Ph.D. Barry, Christine, Ph.D. Bartimole Greene Co., LPA Bay Pediatrics Dentistry Bea, Scott, Psy.D., 216-636-5860 Beacon Health

Beck Center for the Arts Each participant in Beck Center’s Creative Arts Therapies program receives attention that is individualized with personally-designed goals tailored to meet his/her needs. Staffed by board certified arts therapists and professional adapted instructors, Beck Center’s program is the first of its kind in the state of Ohio. Call 216-521-2540 x34 or visit


Begley, James, MD, 216-778-4414 Behavioral and Educational Consulting Believe in Dreams Believers Academy Program Bellefaire JCB Counseling & Community Services Beltone Audiology & Hearing Care Centers - Akron, Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, Elyria, Garfield Hts., Lakewood, Medina, N. Olmsted, Parma Hts., Sandusky, Twinsburg Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging Benore, Ethan, Ph.D. 330-543-8050 Berk, Jay, Ph.D. Berko, Eric, Ph.D., 216-778-5731 Berman, Andrew Neal, DDS 330-467-1800 Beyond Camp - Julie Billiart School Beyond Our Boundaries

Beyond Words Music & Dance Center Beyond Words Music & Dance Center is an organization of music therapists and adapted dance instructors devoted to developing every individual’s potential through artistic expression. Our mission is to create accessible and innovative programming through the arts to enrich the lives of those we serve. We believe in a person-centered approach to teaching, utilizing each individual’s strengths and interests. Please visit beyondwordscenter. org or call 440-230-6100.

Bilge-Johnson, Sumru, MD sumru_bilge-johnson/

Blick Clinic Blondis, Thomas, MD, FAAP, FSCN Blossom Hills Inc. Boardman Medical Supply - Boardman, Canton, Girard, Twinsburg, Warren Bober, John, MD Boester, Charles, DDS 216-741-3854 Bolek, Elizabeth, MA, CCC/SLP Bonem, Howard, Ph.D. Borchert, Karla Gay, M.S., SLP 440-277-7337 Bothe, Denise, MD Brain Aerobics Brain Balance Center of Canton Bridge to Success Skills Training LLC Bridges 440-350-9922 Bridges Rehabilitation Services Bridgeway Inc. Brigham, Anne T., Esq. 440-357-1101 Brigitte at Your Service Brittany Residential Britton Smith Peters & Kalail Co., L.P.A. Broadmoor School 2016

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Broadway Buddies - Stagecrafters

Camp Sue Osborn

Center for Life Skills

Broer, Karen, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=2575

Camp Suntastic

Center for Mental Retardation/The Arc of Cuyahoga County

Buckeye Industries Buckeye Medical Supply 216-381-4830 Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP Building Behaviors Building Behaviors Autism Center Building Block Therapy Building Bridges Therapy Center: Little Bridges Preschool & The Bridge Kindergarten Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps 614-466-1700, cwmh/bcmh1.aspx, 1-800-755-4769 Busy Hands Bright Minds LLC Cafe O’Play Calliope Speech & Language Services LLC 800-787-3914 Camp !magine Camp A.B.C. for Preschoolers Camp Can Do Camp Cheerful Camp FIT - Friendship in Teams Camp Ho Mita Koda Camp I.D.E.A.S Camp Kodiak Camp Nuhop Camp Paradise Camp Snow Cubs 2016

Canfield Medical Supply

Center for Parent Information and Resources

Captioned Telephone (CapTel)

Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare 216-432-7200

Centers for Families and Children

Career Transition Center

CHADD - Children & Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Caregiver Caringi, Vincent, MD

Challenger Division of Little League Baseball

CASA for KIDS of Geauga County

CHAMPS Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation 216-448-6360, community-programs.aspx

Catholic Charities Community Services of Geauga County

Cherished Companions

Catholic Charities Community Services of Lake County Catholic Charities Community Services of Medina County Catholic Charities Community Services of Summit County Catholic Charities Disability Services of Cleveland Catholic Charities of Lorain County

Child & Family Counseling Center of Westlake Child Guidance & Family Solutions Children’s Developmental Center Choices A Community Social Center City of Mayfield Heights Department of Recreation - Adaptive Programs Clements, Diane, MS, CGC, 800-223-2273

Catholic Charities Services of Cuyahoga County

Cleveland Area Soapbox Derby Special Division

Cedar Audiology Associates Inc.

Cleveland Christian Home

Center 4 Brain Health @ Menorah Park

Cleveland Clinic

Center for Applied Drama & Autism Center for AAC & Autism Center for Cognition and Recovery Center for Comprehensive Care at Rainbow Babies Center for Instructional Supports and Accessible Materials (CISAM)

The Cleveland Clinic’s state-of-the-art autism facility is dedicated to treatment, education, and research for children, adolescents, young adults and families dealing with autism spectrum disorders. It is uniquely integrated within the healthcare system and housed in the Debra Ann November Wing at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation Campus. Cleveland Clinic Children’s Therapy Services South


Cleveland Eye Bank

Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center For over 95 years, Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center has been a provider of assistance to those who are deaf or hard of hearing, have difficulty speaking, have had a stroke or severe brain injury, or have other language or literacy delays and disorders. Their vision is a community where every individual communicates effectively.

Cleveland Mighty Barons Sled Hockey Cleveland Nanny Connection Cleveland Psychological Assessments Cleveland Sight Center Cleveland SignStage Theater

Comfort Keepers Community Action Against Addiction Community Assessment and Treatment Services Community Behavioral Health Center Community Clubhouse Community Counseling Center

Community Fund Management Foundation Community Fund Management Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt foundation that develops and makes available several types of trusts, educational programs, and related services that enable individuals who are disabled (as defined by Social Security Administration criteria) to use private funds to enhance their quality of life while attempting to safeguard their eligibility for government benefits.

Cleveland State University Speech/Language and Hearing Clinic

Community Partnership for Inclusion inclusive-child-care/

Cleveland State University Tutoring and Academic Success Center

Community Support Services Inc.

Cleveland Treatment Center Cleveland Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Programs Cleveland VAMC Blind Rehabilitation Center Club Z! Home Tutoring Coleman Behavioral Health/Trumbull Coleman Professional Services Inc. Coloma, Arlene J., DDS MS Comfort Ease Home Care


Compass Family and Community Services Inc. Comprehensive Behavioral Health Associates Comprehensive Behavioral Services for Autism Concorde Kids Connect to One Connecting for Kids Connections in Ohio Connections: Health, Wellness and Advocacy Constantinou, Georgette, Ph.D.

Constellation Schools Outreach Specialized Educational Services (OSES) Autism Program OSES is a program in Parma Heights that provides districts an alternative placement for students with profound autism in grades K-2 (future years will include K-12). Their vision is to see every child become as independent as possible by giving them the skills they need to maximize their full potential.

Consumer Support Services CornerStone Medical Services Connect Hearing - Fairview Park, Middleburg Hts., N. Ridgeville Cornucopia Inc. Cosby, Stephen, MD Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland Council for Exceptional Children - Ohio Council Gardens Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys County of Summit Developmental Disabilities Board Creating Connections Co. LLC Creative Education Institute Crossroads Crosswind Concepts CSD - Community Services CSS Empowering People with Disabilities CTS - Contract Transport Services Inc. 2016

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Cuddy, Cara, Ph.D. 216-448-6024, directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=4978 Cued Speech for Integrated Communication Inc. Culley, Carol J. your-legal-team/74 Cunningham, Wendy, Psy.D. 440-878-2500, directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=14271 Custom Home Elevator and Lifts

Cuts N Curls Cuts N Curls is a unique adult and children’s hair salon, retail store and birthday party place where they pride themselves on being sensitive to your family’s needs. The specially trained staff makes sure your experience is both safe and fun. Solon, 440-542-1750,

Davies Pharmacy Inc.

Disability Rights Center of Ohio

Deaf Access Program - Catholic Ministry


Deaf Choice

Division of Senior & Adult Services - Cuyahoga County

Deaf Community Resource Center Deaf Life Deaf off Drugs and Alcohol deaf-off-drugs-and-alcohol Deepwood Foundation Deggelman, Elissa, Ph.D. Delahunty, Carol, MD 330-543-8050 DeLuca, Kenneth A., & Associates

D’Netto, Marita, MD display.aspx?doctorid=4342 Doane, Lisa Stines, Ph.D. Down Syndrome Association of the Valley Down Syndrome Support Network of Stark County Downs Designs Dragonfly Academy

DeMassimo, MaryAnn, SLP 440-465-3381

Dreben, Elizabeth K., Ph.D. physiciandetail.aspx?id=091017

Denzler, Pamela Fox, OTR/L 440-892-9232

Drugless Doctor, The

DePolo, Michelle, Psy.D.

DSC - Deaf Service Center

Cuyahoga County Invest in Children

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Duby, John, MD, FAAP

Cuyahoga County Public Library Toy Lending Service

Deselich, Judith, MOT, OTR/L 440-235-3090

Duke, Marilou 440-734-1770

Development Centers Inc.

Dutka, Debra 440-247-5991

Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, 216-844-3230

Dyslexia Institutes of America

Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland

Dynamic Speech Therapy

DiBiasio, Anthony, Ph.D.

Early Intervention Consulting LLC

Different Like you

Easter Seals Northern Ohio

Different Needz

Eastman, Kristen, Psy.D. display.aspx?doctorid=3689

Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities Cuyahoga Community College Access/Disability Services

Cuyahoga East Vocational Education Consortium (CEVEC) Cuyahoga Tapestry System of Care Cuyahoga Valley Career Center CYO Recreational Respite Program Daily Behavioral Health Inc. Dale, Roman, MD display.aspx?doctorid=7338

Different Roads to Learning

Dancing Wheels Company and School

Dinner, Sherry, Ph.D.

David G. Umbaugh of Day Ketterer

Disabilities Resources Inc. 2016

EDGEucation Educational Alternatives


Educational Assistive Technology Educational Choice Scholarship scholarships/edchoice-scholarship-program

Eshleman, Kate, Psy.D. display.aspx?doctorid=13791 eSight

Educational Options LLC

E-Special Needs

Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County

Euclid Adult Basic and Literacy Education Program (ABLE)

Educational Service Center of Lorain County Einstein, Sandra, BS. Ed.

Eisner, Gohn Group Eisner, Gohn Group is a leading resource for Life Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance and Long Term Disability Insurance. Their team has subject matter experts in each of these disciplines so they can craft and deliver the most cost effective and efficient plans for their clients.

Ekelman, Barbara L., Ph.D. 216-464-9000 Eleanor Gerson School gerson-school Ellen F. Casper and Associates - Beachwood, Rocky River Elle’s Enchanted Forest Emily Program, The Embrace Dyslexia Employment Alliance Empowering Epilepsy Enabling Devices Toys for Special Children Enhanced Vision Epilepsy Association Epilepsy Foundation - Patient Assistance Programs Erenberg, Gerald, MD 216-444-2375


Evant Inc. Exactcare Pharmacy Exceptional Psychological Services Extended Housing Inc. Eyewear at the Hamptons Fairhaven - Trumbull County Board of DD Fairhaven Counseling Fairhill Center Falcone, Tatiana, MD display.aspx?doctorid=8196 Falconi, Genevive, MD 330-225-8886, staff_directory/staff_display?doctorid=4294 Family Advocacy Program - Jewish Family Service Association Family and Community Resource Center Family Center at OCALI Family Center on Technology and Disability Family Child Learning Center Family Connections Family Pride of Northeast Ohio Inc. Feldman, Lara, D.O. 216-587-8051, directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=14275

Ferretti, Gerald, DDS, MS, MPH Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center Filipek, Kathleen Ready, M.A., CCC-SLP 216-221-5470 Findling, Robert, MD Fine Arts Association, The FIT (Friendship in Teams) Flaghouse Flying Blind LLC Foley, Conrad, MD 216-839-3000, staff_directory/staff_display?doctorid=3620 Foundation for Children with Microcephaly Fragile X Alliance of Ohio Frankel, Merle, DDS 440-995-3000 Frazier II, Thomas, Ph.D. display.aspx?doctorid=7668 Freedom Scientific Freudenberger, Sharon, DDS Friedman, Norman M., M.D. 330-344-6262, details/235?lastname=friedman Friends Forever Inc. Friendship Circle Frogtown Low Vision Support FrontLine Service Funutation Tekademy Computer Technology Camp G.T.B. Medical Service Inc. Gaitway High School 2016

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Galvin Therapy Center, The

Gramlich, James C. 440-668-0420

Hanson House

Game On

Grant, Sandra, OD

Hastings Professional Medical Equipment

Gantner, Anita B., Ph.D. 216-778-8804 , metrohealth.orgphysiciandirectory/ physiciandetail.aspx?id=093849

Greater Cleveland Asperger Support

Hatchbacks Footwear Inc.

Green Road Early Childhood Developmental Center

Hattie Larlham

Greenfield, Marjorie, MD 216-844-3941, results?s=&k=greenfield

Hazen, Jacalyn, MD 216-839-3600, staff_directory/staff_display?doctorid=5748

Greenleaf Family Center

Hazen, Rebecca, Ph.D., 216-844-3230

Greentree Counseling Center Inc.

Health Aid of Ohio

Guardian Angels Support Group

Health Care Solutions 216-901-9250

Geauga Rehabilitation Engineering

Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc.

Geier, Peter, MD 216-464-1277

Guided Tour, The

Healthy Start/Healthy Families Health Care Program childrenfamiliesandwomen.aspx

Georgantas, Lea M., AuD 216-444-6691, directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=9294

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Gathering Place, The Gaw, Catherine, Psy.D. 216-636-5860, staff_directory/staff_display?doctorid=3031 Geauga County Board of Developmental Disabilities/The Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Center Geauga County Board of Mental Health & Recovery Services

Heart of Rock & Roll Hechko, Jennifer Bryk, DDS 330-562-2700

Gerak, Laura, Ph.D. 330-425-1885

Haider, Anzar, MD 216-444-5437, staff_display.aspx?doctorid=7278

Gerami, Nicole, MA CCC-SLP

Hall III, Howard, Ph.D., Psy.D.

GiGi’s Playhouse


Help Me Grow of Cuyahoga County

Gillcist-Spence, Marcia, M.A., CCC-SLP 216-932-4432

Hammer Travel

Gillespie, Laura, MD, 216-765-2535

Hanger Clinic - Akron, Alliance, Canton, Maple Hts., Mayfield Hts., Tallmadge, Willoughby, Westlake

Help Me Grow provides family support, developmental screenings, and ageappropriate activities to prepare children for preschool. It also provides specialized services for families who have concerns about their child’s development. Please visit or call 216-698-7500 to enroll.

Giuliano, Kimberly, MD 216-444-4367, directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=7605 Gleisser, Pamela, LISW-S Go Baby Go - Cleveland State gobabygo-csu Goldfarb, Johanna, MD 216-444-5437, directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=130 Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland Gordon, Stephanie 216-226-8803 2016

Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics

Hanna Perkins Center for Child Development Hanna Perkins has worked with Northeast Ohio families for 65 years to support healthy emotional development in children. Our school (toddler/ preschool/kindergarten), parenting support and therapeutic clinic are built on a nurturing, respectful approach that’s well-suited to the unique social-emotional challenges you and your child may face. Hanna Perkins is a socialemotional provider for Cuyahoga County’s Invest in Children Special Needs Child Care Program.

Help Foundation Inc.

Help Me Grow Lorain County help%20me%20grow/loraincounty.aspx Helping Hearts Herran, Maria Isabel, MD 216-778-2222, physiciandetail.aspx?id=149922 Hickman & Lowder, LPA


Highbrook Lodge

Independence Day Clothing

Hirsch, Marilyn, M.A., CCC-SLP 440-349-0811


Holan, Jane, MD

In-N-Out of the City Summer Camp 216-220-4408

Hollo-Gryshuk, Lisa, MA, ATR, LPC/CR 216-337-1874

Insight Learning & Wellness Center

Holly’s Hearing Aid Center

Interpreters of the Deaf LLC

Homes for Kids Inc.

Invacare Corp.

Homewatch Caregivers aspx

IZ Adaptive

Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland Jewish Family Service Association, a private, non-profit organization, serves to strengthen families and individuals in both the Jewish and general communities in Northeast Ohio. Guided by traditional Jewish values of communal responsibility and social justice, JFSA is committed to enhancing every individual’s ability to thrive in our community. Visit

Jacob’s Ladder Special Needs Fitness

JFSA Care at Home

Jacobs, Ellen, L.I.S.W.-S., D.C.S.W.

Job Corp.

Hopkins, Katy, Esq.

Jacobs, Irwin B., MD 216-778-3958, physiciandetail.aspx?id=021451

Joel’s Place for Children - Grief Support Group

Hospice & Palliative Care of Greater Wayne County

Jacobs, Karen, D.O. 216-636-5860, directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=7866

John Murray Center

Hsich, Gary, MD 216-636-5860, directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=5990

JAF’s Therapy In Motion 330-722-2415

Hope Educational Consulting LLC Hopewell Farm

Hughes, Jamie R., M.A., CCC/SLP 216-262-8163 Hughes, Mary 440-605-9271 Hunter, Mary Colleen Cameron, SLP 216-469-0446 Huntington Learning Center Hydrocephalus Support Group - Cleveland ns_support_group.aspx i Can Connect Ibrahim, Sally, MD 216-636-5860, directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=9216 i-CanBike 216-410-3007 If I Need Help


JBI International

JEllen’s House of Fabric JEllen’s house of fabric is a contemporary quilt shop designed to tingle the heart and inspire your creative soul. It has a mission of employing creative talent of all abilities including those with Down syndrome. Featured is Sarah Ellen Ely, the designer of Down Right Charming, a collection of custom quilts and creations. For more info: or call 216-860-4116

Jensen, Vanessa, Psy.D. 216-636-5860, directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=643 Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Bellefaire JCB Jewish Education Center of Cleveland - B’Tzelem Jewish Family Services of Akron

Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program scholarships/special-needs-scholarship Josephson, Lori 330-730-2875 Julie Billiart School K M E Home Medical Equipment Kabb Law Firm Kalata-Cetin, Ann Marie, DO display.aspx?doctorid=1901 Katholi, Benjamin, MD display.aspx?doctorid=14514 Katz, Stuart B., DDS Keldric Companion Adult Day Center Kennedy, Eileen, Ph.D. 216-986-4000, staff_directory/staff_display?doctorid=3617 Key Ministry Foundation 2016

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit KIDnections Group, The KidsLink Neurobehavioral Center Kikano, George Klaas, Patricia, Ph.D. display.aspx?doctorid=5479

Laing, Kathleen, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=3283 Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities Lake County Educational Service Center (LCESC) Lake Erie Swimming

Kleins Pharmacy and Medical Equipment Co.

Lake Shore Day Camp

Knapp Center for Childhood Development

Lake-Geauga Recovery Centers

Knesseth Israel Temple

Lakeshore Speech Therapy LLC

Knight, Ella Pestana, MD staff_display?doctorid=17816

Lakewood Community Recreation & Education/ ABLE

KODA Camp Ohio

Lamparyk, Katherine, Psy.D. 216-444-4464, directory/staff_display.aspx?doctorid=16252

The Koewler Law Firm

Language Learning Associates - Fairlawn, Hudson, Medina

Special Needs Law: I help people with special needs or disabilities who can’t support themselves through work. Elder law: I help people who need long term care (like nursing home, assisted living, or in-home care.) Veterans: I help veterans who need to appeal their disability (aka compensation) claims. Koinonia Homes Korland, Dr. Melissa Kotler, Todd, Esq. Koushik, Nikhil, Ph.D. Kralovic, Shanna, DO Krishna, Jyoti, MD Krnac, Vicki Kubu, Cynthia, Ph.D. display.aspx?doctorid=4293 Kwait, Carol, MA 2016

L’Arche Cleveland

Leimkuehler Inc. Leotek Toy Resource Center Liberty Day Centers Library2You Leslie, Carol, OT/L, CHT, CWC Lieberman, Karen 440-263-3719 Life Access Life Style Mobility and Medical Supply 440-975-1931 LifeAct Lincare Lincoln Heritage Linden Behavioral Pediatrics

Lavin, Arthur, MD

Lorain County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Lawrence School

Lorraine Surgical Supply

LD OnLine

Lose the Training Wheels

LEAP Center for Independent Living

Lovenger, Mark, Ph.D. 216-464-1277

Learning Disabilities Associates 216-233-2661

Loving Hands Group

LearningRx - Bath

Lutheran Special Education Ministries (LSEM)

Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy

M. C. Mobility System Inc.

Lee, Amy, Ph.D. staff_display?doctorid=789

Magnolia Community Clubhouse

Leff, Nita, LSW, M.Ed.

Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Legal Aid of Cleveland

Malachi House

Legal Aid Society

Mandel Jewish Community Center of Cleveland


Mane Stride

Mercy Rehabilitation Center

Motorcars Mobility

Manos, Michael, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=3003

MetroHealth - Comprehensive Care Program programs-and-services

Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation

Marcotty, Andreas, MD 216-831-0120

Michelle Star Yoga & Healing Arts

Martin, Beth Anne, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=1998

Michigan State University (MSU) Community Music School (CMS) php?detroit_special

Martin, Norma 440-933-0657 Masonic Learning Center - Cleveland Matthew’s Lending Library Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio Mayer - Johnson Your Special Education Super Source Mayfield Adapted Recreation MC Mobility Systems Inc. McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., L.P.A.

Middleburg Early Education Center

Milestones Autism Resources Milestones provides teen/adult services to help their families develop and implement appropriate transition plans for everything from career or vocational training to housing and support services. Milestones also provides coaching and consultation services to help parents prioritize their family’s needs, advocate for their child, identify services and know that they are not alone.

Millard, Lisa M., M.Ed

McDonald Hopkins

Miller’s Health Care Products for Independence Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Youngstown

McDonnel, John, DDS 216-521-2424

Mind/Body Occupational Therapy LLC

McIntyre, Alice, MD aspx?doctorid=8473

Minda S. Rudnick & Associates 216-464-7654

Meadows, Leslie, MA, MT-BC, NMT 330-421-3644 Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities Medina Creative Housing Medina Metropolitan Housing Authority Meehan, Melissa A., SLP 216-521-4408 Mennes, Mary Hall, MD Menorah Park Home Health Services Mental Health Advocacy Coalition


Minority Behavioral Health Group 330-374-1199 Mira Flex Miracle-Ear of Cleveland, Elyria, Mentor, Middleburg Hts., N. Olmsted, Richmond Hts., Strongsville MLF Speech Therapy Monarch Center for Autism Monarch Lifeworks 216-321-6744 Monarch’s Teaching Technologies Montefiore

Murtis Taylor Human Services System Muscular Dystrophy Association Music Settlement, The Music Therapy Enrichment Center, Inc. (MTEC) Musical Fingers MyChild at Cerebral Palsy Organization National Alliance on Mental Illness - Geauga National Alliance on Mental Illness - Greater Cleveland National Autism Association - Helping Hand Program National Autism Association of Southeast Ohio National Braille Association National Children’s Cancer Society (NCSC) - The Beyond the Cure Scholarship Program National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities National Multiple Sclerosis Society - Ohio Buckeye Chapter National Stuttering Association - Cleveland Chapter Natowicz, Marvin, MD, Ph.D. display.aspx?doctorid=4098 Nature’s Bin NE Ohio Parent Mentors Neera Agarwal-Antal, MD, Director neera_agarwal-antal Neides, Daniel, M.D. staff_display?doctorid=2148 2016

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Neighborhood Solutions Inc. Neighboring Mental Health Services neighboring-mental-health-services New Avenues to Independence Inc. Newman, Craig, Ph.D. display.aspx?doctorid=1582 Nord Center, The

North Coast Accessible Homes North Coast Accessible Homes allows family members with a disability to live more easily and independently in their own home with customized accessibility modifications. Our decades of experience includes bathrooms, kitchens, hallways and doors, ramps and lifts, safety and security features. Call Mike Stafford at 216-365-2614 and visit

North Coast Community Homes North Coast Education Center North Coast Orthotics and Prosthetics 440-233-4314 North Coast Tutoring Services North Shore Residential Services Inc. Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare 330-467-2420 Northeast Ohio Food Allergy Network Northern Ohio Branch of International Dyslexia Assoc. Notre Dame College Disability Services academic-support-center

Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) resources-for-autistic-children/ ohio-center-for-autism-and-low-incidence-(ocali) Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities Ohio Department of Education (ODE’s) Office for Exceptional Children (OEC) - Autism Scholarship Program procedures-and-guidance/individualizededucation-program-iep/individualized-educationprogram/asp-guidelines-1.pdf.aspx Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) - Disability Financial Assistance (DFA) program

Parliament Tutors Parma ABLE Parmadale Institute parmadaleinstitute/index.html Parmelee & Parmelee LLC Partners in Justice Partners To Empowerment Wellness Center

Ohio Guidestone

Partners with Paws

Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled ohio-library-for-the-blind-physically-disabled

Pastoral Counseling Service

Ohio Medicaid Waiver Disability Services & Waivers

Pathway to Independence Inc. 330-686-7100 Paull, Karen Burk, Ph.D.

Ohio School for the Deaf

Peak Potential Therapy

Ohio Works First (OWF)

Pediatric Neuropsychology Center

Olsen Hearing

People First

Orchen, Jeffrey J., DDS 216-663-1967

PEP Early Childhood Plus

Organization for Autism Research

Performance Therapy Group 440-708-0317

Our Father’s House

Person Centered Therapies Inc.

Our Lady of the Wayside

Personal Leasing Transportation Pete & Carrie Rozelle Award

Out of the Box Behavioral Solutions LLC

O’Halloran, Lisa, OT 440-777-2339

OYO Camp

Ohio Association of the Deaf

Painesville ABLE 2016

Park Synagogue - Community Unity Program

Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council

Novak, William J., MD

Ohio Bureau of Rehabilitation Services

Parent Mentors-Mid Ohio Educational Service Center

Petkovic, Lynne Z., M. Ed. 440-247-3426 Phase VI Driving School 216-407-4235 Pilot Dogs Inc.


Pink Newborn Services

Radis, Frank G., DDS 330-562-2700

PLAN of NE Ohio (Jewish Family Service Assn.)

Rainbow Camp

Plummer, Joyce A., Esq. 419-798-4030

Raizman, Emma, MD

Polaris Career Center Pony Tales Farm Portage Path Behavioral Health Positive Education Program - PEP Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Ohio Precise Speech Language and Learning Inc. 440-937-9772 Preston’s H.O.P.E. Playground Prochoroff, Andre, MD physiciandetail.aspx?id=121624

PSI Affiliates, Inc. For more than three decades PSI has been committed to meeting the health & educational needs of children in Ohio’s schools. Their psychological, health, speech and educational services now serve tens of thousands of children each year. PSI’s Prevention/Intervention programs were selected as a Winner of Ohio’s BEST Practices Award. Psycare Inc. Psych & Psych Services Psycho-Diagnostic Clinic 330-643-2333 Psychological & Behavioral Consultants Pure Health Inc. QUANTUM LEAP - Linking Employment, Abilities & Potential Radhakrishnan, Kadakkal, MD display.aspx?doctorid=7332


Rogers, Douglas, MD aspx?doctorid=1001 Roizen, Nancy, MD Romaniuk, Michael, Ph.D.

Rau, Kimberly M., MA CCC-SLP 440-227-9176

Ronald McDonald House

Ravenwood Mental Health Center

Rose-Mary Center

Re Bath

Rosen, Carol, MD

REACH Counseling Services - Main Office

Royalton Music Center

Rec2Connect Recovery International Recovery Resources

RTA - Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Ruscel Montessori Children’s House 740-393-1200 RX Home Health Care Inc.

Red Treehouse

Rychwalski, Paul, MD aspx?doctorid=9453

Re-Education Services Inc.

S.M.I.L.E. Sumer Camp

Reimann, Holly, MA CCC-SLP

S.P.L.A.S.H for children with disabilities 330-655-2377

Relay Ohio

S.T.A.R.S. Autism Program

REM Ohio Inc.

S.U.P.E.R. Learning Center

RePlay for Kids

Saker, Firas, MD

ResCare HomeCare

Saltzman, Judith C., Esq.

Reserve Psychological Consultants Inc. 330-929-1326 Rich Center for Autism Richardson, Georgann 440-413-2800 Right at Home

Sara Menefee Santoli Attorney SAW - Solutions At Work School Psychologist Files School Specialty Catalog

Rising Star Learning Center 440-454-2898

Schreiber, Allison, MS. CGC about-us

Rizkala, Elie, MD, FAA physiciandetail.aspx?id=031708

Senders Pediatrics

RMS of Ohio Inc.

Senders, Pamela, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=4985 2016

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Senokozlieff, Heidi, DO 330-721-5700 Sensory Goods Services for Independent Living Shabab, Wadie, MD display.aspx?doctorid=13651 Shaker Heights School District Parent Mentor Share-A-Vision Shealy, Amy, MS, CGC subspecialties/pediatric-genetics Shelter Care Shine Ohio AKA Hydrocephalus Support Group 440-888-2454 Shine with Frannie Shul, The Signature Health Signing with a Bass Simon, Barry, D.O. display.aspx?doctorid=4012

Solomon, Steiner & Peck Law firm specializing in special needs trusts, elder law, estate planning, disability, medicaid and veterans benefits planning, probate and trust administration, and corporate and succession planning. 216-765-0123, Solon Blue Ribbon Programs Solon Parent Mentor Program Solon Recreation Blue Ribbon Program Solutions Behavioral Consulting Solutions Behavioral Healthcare Inc. 330-888-9596 Southwest General Pediatric Rehabilitation pediatric-rehabilitation Sowell, Jerilyn Hagan, CNS display.aspx?doctorid=5539 Spec Edu Konnections LLC 330-332-2860 Special Books Project, The Special Child

Sky Zone Highland Hts.

Special Kids Inc.

Sky Zone Westlake

Special Navigator for Families with Special Needs

SkyLight Special Needs Planning special-needs-planning

Special Olympics Michigan

Smarty Pants Tutoring

Special Olympics Michigan Project UNIFY

Smith, Kip, Ph.D. physiciandetail.aspx?id=021832

Special Olympics Ohio

SOAR! 440-327-6454

Special Olympics Young Athletes vvdodzpsdvd

Sobisch, Laurie, M.S. 216-991-7463

Special Stars of The North Coast 440-770-6227

Social Security - SSI Program

Specs4Us 2016

Spectrum Psychological Associates Inc. Spectrum Resource Center & School Speech Matters LLC Speer, Leslie, Ph.D. display.aspx?doctorid=14634 Spitznagel, Katherine A., M.A., CCC-SLP 440-439-1600 Sports ‘n Spokes St. Jude School St. Rita School for the Deaf Star Therapy and Sales Corp. Starfish Academy STARFISH Advocacy Association Stark & Knoll Co., L.P.A. Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities Stark County Transportation Starting Point State Support Team 2 - Northern Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center - Elyria State Support Team 3 - Cuyahoga Special Ed Resource/Service Center State Support Team 4 - Lake and Geauga Counties State Support Team 5 - Northeast Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center - Niles State Support Team 8 - Medina, Portage and Summit Counties Steel Academy, The


Step By Step

Summit Psychological Associates Inc.

Turning Point Counseling Services Inc.

Step by Step Academy Inc.

Sylvan Learning Center

Tutoring Center, The

Stepping Stones Mental Health Educational Consulting STEPS Center for Excellence in Autism Stonewood Residential Inc. 216-464-6300

Strongsville Family Counseling Strongsville Family Counseling has been Helping Families Flourish for the last decade. We have a diverse staff offering counseling to every member of the family. SFC is here to help you overcome your past and embrace your future. Visit us at or call 440-238-0008. Most insurance accepted.

Suburban School Transportation Summer Friends & Fun Social Skills Camps Esprit Speech & Language 440-227-8664 Summer Programs at Lawrence Lower School summer-at-lawrence Summers, Sandra, Ph.D. staff_display?doctorid=4592 Summit Academy Summit Consumer Peer Support

Summit DD Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) connects over 4,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities to the services and supports that empower them to contribute to their own success. Help make their community a community built by the abilities of every citizen by learning more at


TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) Tangen, Rachel, Ph.D. tangen-rachel-13519-11 Tarry House Inc. Taylor, H. Gerry, Ph.D. taylor-hudson-1359 Taylor, Katherine E. 330-338-4526

Tuxhorn, Ingrid, MD Twinsburg Parks and Recreation Department Two Foundation U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland

Teach Toileting Temple Am Shalom

United Cerebral Palsy LeafBridge

Temple-Tifereth Israel

LeafBridge is a Center of Excellence for Children at UCP of Greater Cleveland. Services include physical, occupational and speech/ language therapy; intensive, multidisciplinary therapy; and family-based case management and supports. Services are provided for children with a wide variety of disabilities, with an expertise in complex disabilities. For more information contact 216-791-8363 ext. 1250 or visit

Ten Lakes Center’s Generations Program Tesar, George, MD display.aspx?doctorid=1097 Therapeutic Horsemanship Program Achievement Centers for Children therapeutic-riding.html Think Computer Foundation Thomas, Mary Ann, Attorney at law Tomoff, Karen M., LPCC, LICDC 440-544-6988 Total Education Solutions summerenrichmentprograms/tabid/1944/ language/en-us/default.aspx Tourette Syndrome Association of Ohio

United Disability Services UDS helps people with disabilities explore new opportunities, engage in the community and excel in all areas of life. Whether someone is looking for interesting work, more involvement in the community or creative programming, we’ll work with you to help you meet your personal goals. Visit for more information.

Townsend Learning Centers

United Health Care Children’s Foundation

Tree of Knowledge Learning Centers Inc.

United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation

Trumbull Career and Technical Center

United Way First Call for Help

Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board

University Heights Dental - Dina Fixler Universal Low Vision Aids 2016

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit

University Hospitals The UH team at the Rainbow Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry provides a full scope of psychiatric evaluation and treatment services, either directly or through referral to affiliated staff and programs. They offer a skilled, compassionate evaluation of each situation and provide psychological testing. Their goal is always to help a child live a fuller life.

University Hospitals Center For Comprehensive Care comprehensive-care University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Child Development; Rainbow Autism Diagnostic (RAD) Center pediatric-developmental-behavioral-fellowship Unschool Camp, The Up Side of Downs, The Ursuline ArtSpace Valley Counseling Services Valley Riding Therapeutic Riding Program Van Keuls, Nancy, MD staff_display?doctorid=2143 ViaQuest Behavioral Health Vicki McCrone - Stella Productions Victory Gallop Viguera, Adele, MD display.aspx?doctorid=8194 Village Network, The Vision Development Team, The Vista Hearing Centers - Ashtabula, Geauga, Mansfield, Mentor, Parma Hts., Sandusky 2016

Vitkus, John, Ph.D. display.aspx?doctorid=2937

William F. Hamilton, Psychological & Behavioral Consultants 216-548-8295

Vocational Guidance Services

William Patrick Day Early Childhood Center william-patrick-day-early-childhood-center-wc1869

Vocational Services Unlimted W.A.G.S. 4 Kids Walinsky, Jennifer, Ph.D. Walled Lake Consolidated Schools Transition Program post-secondary-transition-program/ Wearable Health Help - My MD Band Weaver Industries Weekend Respite Camp for Children and Adults with Disabilities weekend-respite-camp.html

Willing Hands Inc. 216-481-8807 Wimbiscus, Molly, MD display.aspx?doctorid=16301 Windfall Industries Windsor-Laurelwood Center for Behavioral Medicine Windt im Wald Farm Winfield, Anna, MD, MPH anna-winfield-165945 Wiznitzer, Max, MD

Welcome House

Wrights Law

Western Reserve Counseling

Wyant Woods Care Center 330-836-7953

Western Reserve Speech and Language Partners

Yoga Reach Young Athletes of Cleveland

Westminster Technologies Information

Young Rembrandts Greater Cleveland - West

Westminster Technologies, Inc. offers a diverse array of assistive technology products. Each product we represent has been carefully researched and tested by us to confirm its effectiveness and to be part of an overall solution we can customize for you. We believe everyone has a voice that can be shared. For more information contact 216-325-6960 or visit

Youth Challenge

Wexberg, Steven S., MD staff_display?doctorid=4837 Whole Kid, The Wilhite, Dr. Myrita

Zane’s Foundation Zane’s Foundation, Inc. provides services for children and adults with special needs. We do this through educational community outreach programs, advocacy services and the Family Support Fund initiative. Through this initiative, we provide funding assistance for camps, therapies, respite, and assistive/ adaptive equipment to help with daily challenges and improve quality of life. Zurcher, Vickie, MD 216-636-1768



New to the IEP Process?

These requirements serve as the basis for parents’ input at all IEP, evaluation, discipline and educational decision meetings. Parents must be members of every group that makes educational decisions for their child. Proper understanding of the test materials, interpretation of test results and your child’s level of functioning must be understood to appropriately participate in meetings and have meaningful participation.

Know the law that protects your child By Nessa Siegel


o you want to know how to advocate for your child with special needs? Knowing the law and their rights to an education will help you prepare for communicating with school officials, along with laying out plans that best fit the needs of your child. Nessa Siegel, J.D., a Nessa Siegel multi-award winning expert in disability and special education law, provides some commonly asked questions and answers to help families learn the laws that protect students. WHAT ARE THE LAWS THAT PROTECT STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES AND GUARANTEE THEIR RIGHTS TO AN EDUCATION? There are two primary statutes that protect students with disabilities. One is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), a federal funding statute that provides dollars to school districts that provide an education to students with disabilities. All public schools are required to educate all students living within their district. The second federal statute, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, prevents discrimination in school districts against students with disabilities. WHAT CONSTITUTES FAPE, A FREE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC EDUCATION, UNDER IDEA? IDEA provides children with disabilities FAPE, which should be reasonably calculated to provide an educational benefit to the child. The individual education plan (IEP) is the document by which FAPE is delivered. The Supreme Court ruled that FAPE does not provide the best education to students but rather one


that is “reasonable.” The courts have been arguing about what is “reasonable” since the law was enacted. WHO DRAFTS THE IEP? The law requires the following members, at a minimum, be present for an IEP team to be properly constituted: • Parent(s) of the child • S chool administrator who can authorize special education services for the school district • Special education teacher •R egular classroom teacher, if child participates in regular education •T he student, if age 18 or older •A n educator or psychologist capable of interpreting test results WHAT IS MEANINGFUL PARTICIPATION UNDER IDEA? Under IDEA, a district must give parents the right to examine their student’s educational records and to have an independent educational evaluation of their child at the school’s expense. Also, the district must provide prior written notice if it proposes to initiate or change the identification or educational placement of the child, or to evaluate the child. The notice must explain the district’s rationale, options considered, the evaluation proposed or tests, records or reports used as the foundation of its evaluative decisions. Said notice must be written and easily understood.

WHAT IS THE IEP DOCUMENT? Here are the components of the IEP: • Measurable goals to be met based on the individual child’s need • Related services to be received by the child and the manner in which they will be provided • Benchmarks or objectives of goals to establish a path of learning • Statement and explanation if special education services are being provided • Supplementary aids and services In order to fully understand how to properly draft IEPs, I suggest parents read “From Emotions to Advocacy” by Pam and Pete Wright, and their explanation of “S-M-A-R-T IEPs” in chapter 12. WHEN DURING THE IEP MEETING SHOULD THE TEAM DETERMINE THE CHILD’S EDUCATIONAL PLACEMENT? School districts must make the educational placement decision for a child after goals, objectives, related services, supplementary aids and services have been determined by the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team. The evaluation reports and review of the child’s educational functioning level must be the basis of the decisions. Placement cannot be accurately made before the IEP team has reached a consensus on the individual components of the IEP of the district. 2016

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