LiveSpecial 2017

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— 2017 Northeast Ohio Edition —


A Resource Guide for Individuals with Special Needs and Their Families

A Ride for All

Nominate your


Area Transport options

Details p. 35

A Champion

1,000 Plus Northeast Ohio Providers and Resources

Brought to you by



Living Like

Football player Gary Barnidge and these special athletes redefine success ®


Departments Worth Noting 06 Transportation options and books, gadgets and apps to please all.

2017 Edition features



For kids who need intensive health care at home, family members should learn about the needed medical support and equipment.

On the cover

Education 08 The first steps to take if your child is struggling in school.

Football Star Gary Barnidge meets kids with special needs who are an inspiration in sports activities and beyond at Bedford High School Football Stadium.

10 Choosing a school for your child with special learning needs.

Photos by Kim Stahnke

14 IEP help and ensuring your child gets the right support.


Therapies 09 5 features of a fantastic transdisciplinary team.

sports bring more

12 The importance of a child’s early mobility through assistive technology.

These athletes are doing more than competing, they are being taught life skills and having fun — and the parents are learning things, too.


Get Creative

Artistic therapies can lead to enhanced confidence. There are many options available in Northeast Ohio.



These local parents and their children with disabilities have done more than adapt — they’re raising awareness and making an impact in the community and abroad.

16 Helping children and adults develop or regain effective listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

pgs. 49-65 Directory with


Providers and Services

See Form p.35

20 Playground in Avon hopes to create space that is accessible to all kids. 22 Grandparents can play an important role in the life of a grandchild with autism. Transitions 24 Shared Living lets people with disabilities become part of a family.

66 One mom shares her sons’ pathway to transition.

Travel 2017

Family Matters 18 Respite care offers help for all members of the family.

26 Help teens prepare for college or the workforce.


Whether it’s a road trip or a flight away, take steps to make your next trip as easy as possible.


48 Understanding homeopathic therapy and how it works.


Planning 28 Help deciphering eligibility rules for government benefits. 37 Legal dos and don’ts for parents of children with disabilities.


Executive Director’s note


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 theme of this issue is Living Like a Champion. It offers advice and support on resources such as adaptive technology and choosing the right school to help your person with special needs become the best that he or she can be. The cover story on the value of sports activities is insightful and inspiring as families reveal the joy that sports such as skiing, track and basketball bring to their children and their families (pg. 30). You will learn about the importance of mobility devices at an early age to help children with special needs explore their environments, a critical component of early learning. Read the stories of other methodologies to enable people with special needs and their families to live like the champions they are able to become – articles such as seeking the right respite care (pg. 18), options available for artistic therapy to enhance selfconfidence (p. 38) and steps to make family travel a first rate vacation (pg. 46). Then nominate your CHAMPION to receive special recognition and rewards at NCJW/ Cleveland’s CELEBRATION OF CHAMPIONS on November 5, a Award Celebration (pg. 35-36). The CELEBRATION OF CHAMPIONS is an outgrowth of the development of the website, the inspiration for this annual magazine. You’ll learn about this website, dedicated to providing a listing of resources for the needs of any and all individuals with special needs regardless of diagnosis or age, on pg. 5. Enjoy this issue and help your person with special needs live like a CHAMPION.

publisher’s note


e are thrilled to partner with the National Council of Jewish Women/ Cleveland for the third consecutive year to bring the website to life within the pages of this unique publication. More than 30,000 copies will blanket Northeast Ohio to help families who care for individuals with special needs over the next year. Our goal is that this publication can help families become better informed, connected, and more hopeful as they strive to navigate the journey successfully. The theme of this year’s publication — Living Like a Champion — is etched all over the faces of our cover photo athletes. Many thanks to Pro-Bowler Gary Barnidge for sharing his heart with kids persevering through challenges to experience the joy of participation. We especially like to recognize the athletes on the cover of this magazine, Alana Gohn, Sharita Taylor and Max Culp, who each have unique experiences to inspire readers. This issue of LiveSpecial magazine provides ways to celebrate those individuals and families living with special needs. In this issue, find out how you can nominate someone who is “Living Like a Champion with a Disability” for the Celebration of Champions Awards in November (see pg. 35 for details). The cadre of outstanding contributing authors to this edition is very impressive and their passion is obvious in the stories they tell. My thanks also goes out to Lead Editor Angela Garter and Art Director Laura Chadwick for their untold hours writing, editing, designing and perfecting this year’s edition. Their commitment to excellence is apparent from cover to cover. We hope you’ll share this excellent publication with others. If you know families, groups, organizations or others who can benefit from this publication, please feel free to drop us a note at or call 330-822-4011.

4 2017



A projec t of ®


26055 Emery Road Warrensville Heights, OH 44128 CO-PResidents Myrna Arlen Bloch Susie Gordon 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 Scott Gohn Laura Kuntz Nessa Siegel

Publisher Brad Mitchell Editor Angela Gartner Managing Editor Denise Koeth Art Director Laura Chadwick Contributors Ashley Weingart, Kalena Airf, Cindy Glazer, Katie McGregor, Nessa G. Siegel, Jennifer Krumins, Dave Kearon, Lisa Armstrong and Tricia L. Chaves LiveSpecial Resource Guide is published by Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine and Mitchell Media LLC PO Box 1088 Hudson, OH 44236 330-822-4011​ Copyright 2017 by NCJW/Cleveland and Northeast Ohio Parent 2017


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, is an online directory of more than 1,000 local resources of medical personnel, therapists, rehabilitation services, respite care, camps, special needs products and so much more. is searchable by diagnosis, by category, and by location with easily-navigable maps and links. The Facebook page connected to the site offers articles, notices of local events, and other helpful resources. Jennifer Towell, a lawyer and parent of a child with Down syndrome, had this to say upon discovering the website: “Thank you for this fabulous resource in Live Special! I created a Special Education PTA Committee at the Revere School District this year. One of the things we hear over and over from caretakers, families and parents is where to find resources. We have added your website to our school district homepage and would also like to provide a copy of your publication to all of our families in our district that may have a child on an IEP or with a disability.” 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.” 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 Myrna Arlen Bloch, co-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 is achieved with the assistance of volunteers, a staff marketer and fundraising, such as the CELEBRATION OF CHAMPIONS, the November 5 gala to recognize people with special needs who have mastered the methods through which they are living successful, inspirational lives,” CoPresident Susie Gordon states. Alana is now 8 years old and is learning to ski, an outgrowth of resources discovered in her parent’s journey. We’ve seen the site grow from 800 to over 1,000 resources, augmented by this publication, which has increased connections and helped many families on the road to championship living.


worth noting

Laketran Dial-a-Ride bus

Getting Around

Ensuring people with disabilities have transportation options around Northeast Ohio By Angela Gartner


ublic transportation provides opportunities for people with disabilities Other services to get to work, doctor appointments, shopping and entertainment. offering paratransit It’s not a luxury, but a right for everyone. In 1990, an amendment • Metro RTA ( was made to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that prohibits • Medina County Public Transit discrimination and ensures equal opportunity and access for persons ( Many services have training trips. with disabilities on public service transit systems such as bus or rail, These help people with disabilities and along with private transportation. In the region, people with disabilities their families go through a test run of the can access services through some of the following entities.

You can choose the Paratransit service, which is provided to persons who, because of their disabilities, are unable to independently travel on the public transit system. Those who use this service can schedule to be picked up and taken to and from a destination. It’s suggested if using these services to be aware of opening and closing times when scheduling, and especially for doctor visits, to allow extra time and have all the information for location, where to pick up and if someone is traveling with you. People with disabilities can use the fixed route disability program, which has guidelines that must be met, including verification by a healthcare professional and having a physical or mental impairment that is on the criteria list. Personal care attendants ride free on Paratransit, but pay the regular fare for fixed-route service. Visit


Laketran Dial-a-Ride in Lake County

If persons are unable to use the local bus routes, Laketran’s Dial-a-Ride service provides an opportunity for pick up. This is a shared ride and needs advanced reservations. It does have service to medical facilities, including many in Cuyahoga County: Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland VA Medical Center, University Hospitals, Cleveland Sight Center, Case Western Reserve University Dental School, along with travels to the University Circle area. People with disabilities can receive special service accommodations under the ADA on Laketran’s ADA Dial-a-Ride service. It services 3/4 of a mile outside the normal bus routes and can be eligible for next day paratransit service. People with disabilities and seniors, could be eligible for reduced fares. Children ages 2 and younger and personal care attendants for eligible trips ride for free. Visit

Stark Area Regional Transit Authority

Stark Area RTA also provides riders with services countywide in small buses and equipment necessary to transport individuals with disabilities. The transit system also provides MedLine, which is a safe, reliable nonmedical transportation service that qualified department of developmental disabilities Medicaid waiver recipients can ride without having to pay a fare. Visit 2017


Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) in Cuyahoga County

services, provide safety aspects, and get familiar with schedules and procedures. If looking for a private car or bus service, visit for some local transportation options.

Gadgets, Apps and Books Cove App Cove is a new way to journal that de-emphasizes verbal expression and allows users to capture their moods and emotions through the creation of instrumental music. Though Cove was developed as a positive psychology/mental health app for adolescents and teens, its pure and simple interface makes it appropriate for kids as young as 8. Download at the App Store. — Recommended by

CookStop is a device that will shut off a stove if left unattended for a specific period of time, thus avoiding accidents in the kitchen, including a burning pot and burning food. Price: $400 2017

Isaac and his Amazing Asperger Superpowers By Melanie Walsh Isaac sees and hears the world differently than other kids. But what others may think of as a problem, he thinks of as his superpower. (For preschool to second grade) — Recommended by the Mentor Public Library

Connecting for Kids Parking Lot Safety Kits Connecting for Kids has introduced a Parking Lot Safety Awareness Program that features free Parking Lot Safety Kits. The kits feature a magnet that families can put on their car where the child exits. These magnets give children a visual place to put their hand to wait until an adult can safely lead them to the next destination. For more information on these kits and magnets, visit

Sid Blair, assistive technology specialist with the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (, recommends these gadgets: e-pill Medsmart Plus Monitored Pill Dispenser is an automatic medication dispenser with a lock, refill notification via text message, high pill capacity, long alarm duration, AC or battery operation, and no monthly fees. Price: $595

Blackout Buddy is an emergency flashlight with three functions in one unit. It also acts as a blackout alert, lighting up automatically during a power outage, and serves as a flashlight or automatic nightlight. A light sensor in the device triggers a single LED light to come on when the room is dark. There also is a model that is triggered when it lands in water. Price: $17 productdisplay/blackout-buddy-0



School Struggles


Things to do first NCJW/ClevelaN to help your child To Fa THE NCJW WOMA succeed by Cindy GlazerFaCe


ost teachers will be happy to make accommodations to ensure your child’s “NCJW/Clevela success as you work together to find ways that he or she can succeed. Your a need in the co “I joined because child’s education is a process and you must be an active participant. and NCJW/Cleveland helps fill it. Know that the teacher may not be aware of a small problem until it becomes Advocacy. a big one. If you notice a change in your child’s behavior, school performance or LIVESPECIA Community attitude, contact the teacher immediately. Small problems are easier to deal with. WendieCindy Glazer Forman Ellen Leavitt Cindy Glazer

If you don’t know the right way to advocate for your child, here are some tips on how to communicate with the teacher and the school. Communicating with your child’s school is essential. Find the preferred

way to let the teacher know when you see a problem. Does he/she read daily email? Does your child carry a daily assignment book where a note could be written? Do they prefer a phone call? Your best chance for a prompt response is to find the answer to this question.

Next Steps to Evaluation

So what do you do if you feel your child still is not progressing? What if you suspect that your child has a learning or other disability? How do you get them formally evaluated? Here are some helpful links to get you started with the next steps in the process: • See “How do I get my School-Aged Child Evaluated for Services?” on the Disability Rights Ohio website — faq-special-education-evaluated-for-services • “A Guide to Parent Rights in Special Education” can be found on the Ohio Department of Education website — special-education The latter is the Ohio Operating Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities. This guide has been prepared by the Ohio Department of Education’s Office for Exceptional Children (ODE/OEC). It outlines steps for determining if your child has a disability and whether that disability qualifies your child for special education and related services. This is sometimes referred to as your “procedural safeguards notice,” which explains your right to a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) for a child with a qualifying disability under special education law. It tells you how special education services are provided and also lists resources you may contact for assistance.


In your communication, be as specific as possible.

Describe the problem. Tell what they are struggling with. Is the assignment taking them a very long time to complete? Do they understand it? What are they telling you that is frustrating or troubling for them in school?

Request a meeting with the teacher to discuss problems and tell him/ her briefly why you want to meet. Do not allow yourself

to be put off until report cards or formal conference time.

Prepare for the teacher meeting. Write out questions

before you leave home and write down what you want to tell the teacher. Take notes during the conference and ask for an explanation if you don’t understand something. Ask for details about your child’s work and progress. Ask for work samples and ask about specific ways to help your child at home.

That’s why we’re members of National Council

Be polite That’sbut whyinsistent. I volunteer with the Na

Be the Face

Plan for follow-up commuofaJewish Women.” nication in a few weeks to see Celebrate literacy at the Annual Mee if your new plan is working. It Membership starts at $45 can be a phone call or a face216.378.2204 to-face meeting. for tickets 216-378-2204 You share a common goal — your child’s success. It is always in

your child’s best interest to approach the teacher with a cooperative spirit. Assume that you both want to help your child. Only approach the school administrator after first giving the teacher a chance to work out the problem with you and your child. Most important is to keep careful records.

Keep a log of your conversations and date them. Keep work samples that demonstrate your concerns. This data can be the basis for an evaluation and serve as a good starting point. School districts are required to collect specific data on all students. This data should be shared with you. It is used to identify learning and behavior problems early so that educators can intervene with specific instructions to improve student success. “Response to Intervention,” or RTI, is available to all students. This process is designed to offer support and to become more intensive as needed. Though this can be a part of the evaluation, it cannot be used to delay the initiation of the formal process. 2017



Features of a Fantastic Transdisciplinary Team By Peak Potential Therapy

Are you seeking a fantastic therapy team to work with your child? There are several factors to look for when choosing a transdisciplinary team:

1 2

Therapists are committed to ongoing training and learning. A fantastic therapy team will understand that there is no end to learning new skills. Therapists should be committed to staying upto-date in their specific areas of expertise. They should share and blend their skill sets and knowledge with colleagues in other disciplines.

Family members are integrated and engaged in your child’s therapy.

Family members should be integrated into a child’s therapy. Families should be active members of the team. Teams should look for ways to collaborate with parents and engage a child’s entire family in therapy when possible.


The focus is on achieving an integrated outcome for your child.

A strong transdisciplinary team will be committed to using a variety of methods to create the best possible outcome for your child. When there is a collaborative approach to your child’s treatment plan, all aspects of therapy can be integrated to best contribute to a functional lifestyle and support your child’s growth.



Every treatment plan is unique and customized to meet the needs of your child.

Achieving this relies on assessments and collaboration among family members, therapists, and other professionals. When everyone works together — including the family, who can best speak to their child’s unique needs and skills — a stronger plan will be created.

Transdisciplinary team in multiple environments allows generalization to occur naturally.

Families should be provided with therapy services in a variety of environments — at home, at the therapy center or in the community — and with multiple team members. This helps generalization to your child’s regular environment occur naturally. When all of these factors are in place, your child will learn more efficiently and effectively, be able to carry new skills into other settings, and receive consistent guidance and support from his or her therapy team.

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No wait list DON’T DELAY –- CALL TODAY! 330-405-8776 2017



Talk Isn’t Cheap — It’s Priceless Conversations with other parents will prove to be invaluable … probably more than any other source. Ask about their experience at the school. Why did they choose this school for their child over other available options? What advice would they offer new students and their parents?

Choosing a School for your Child with Special Learning Needs By the Special Education Professionals at Julie Billiart School

Communication Methods We all know that communication is critical, especially concerning your child. It’s vital that you remain informed of their progress and setbacks. How often are parent-teacher conferences conducted? What vehicles for communication are utilized by the teachers and staff? Is parental input welcomed and encouraged?



hoosing a school for a child with unique learning needs can be overwhelming. Often the hardest part is knowing where to start. While every family will make decisions based on their child’s individual needs and circumstances, these common considerations can help guide you through the process.

Principally Speaking Meet the school’s principal(s) and the teacher(s) with whom your child will be interacting. Be sure to ask about their training, qualifications and any certifications that relate to their experience educating children with unique learning needs. Attend a school open house or schedule a visit where you can observe classroom activities. Be sure to ask the following: Does the school offer methods of instruction tailored to the specific learning needs of your child? What therapies are available on-site to assist your child in meeting developmental, social and academic needs? How are the therapies integrated throughout the school day? How will your child’s progress be monitored to ensure the goals of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) are being met? What professional certifications and/or compliance standards does the school adhere to that would qualify them to meet your child’s needs? 2017

Family Supports & Resources Because your child isn’t in the classroom 24/7, ask what type of supports are available throughout the school to help you and your family sustain what is being achieved in the classroom. Are there professionals on staff who can help your child transition into their new school or even help you identify community resources that can enhance your child’s growth and development? How does the faculty involve and engage parents (and siblings) in academic and social functions at the school? 2017

Other Considerations Tuition and scholarship opportunities — The state of Ohio offers two scholarships ( Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship and the Autism Scholarship) for children with special learning needs. Ask if the school you are considering is a service provider of either of the scholarships. Keep in mind that all providers don’t offer the same programs and services. Inquire if other financial aid options also are available. Transportation — Does the school provide its own transportation? If not, you will want to check with your school district of residence to see if it provides transportation. Remember, nothing is set in stone, particularly your child’s development. As their parent and advocate, remain flexible and keep an open mind about options for your child. What may have worked wonderfully for your child one year may not the next. Your most important job is to ensure they are learning and thriving in their environment, wherever that may be. When you start seeing everyone as your child’s team for success with you at the helm as captain, then you know you are on the right path to helping your child achieve academic and social success.

Go with your Gut Begin by having a thorough understanding of your child’s needs and strengths, and know what accommodations your child would need in order to succeed. Look for schools that will integrate these accommodations throughout the day. It may sound simple, but a large part of finding the right school starts with your gut feeling. What is your initial reaction when you walk into the school? This first impression doesn’t always tell the school’s whole story, however, that feeling may be a good sign to dig deeper.



The Importance of Early Mobility


by Katie McGregor

(Top) Assistive Technology can level the playing field for children with disabilities to have similar mobility experiences. (Bottom) Brennan has fun being mobile in her powered ride-on-car.


walk with assistance. Also, power Typically developing children wheelchairs for children with start to crawl between ages nine visual and cognitive delays should and 12 months and walk at 12 not be ruled out. Power mobility to 15 months. Crawling, rollthat provides independence can ing, scooting and walking are only enhance development. all essential in the development The sooner mobility is of our senses, spatial awareness, started, the greater the chance and visual and cognitive skills. Katie McGregor for independence. It is differChildren with physical and ent to be an active mover vs. a passive vision-related limitations may not crawl mover (being pushed around). The same or walk at the same rate as their typically developing peers. However, having developmental experiences do not occur with the latter option, therefore devela disability does not mean they should miss out on having the same experiences. opmental growth in vision, cognition, spatial awareness and social interactions Assistive technology (adaptations to may not occur. equipment to improve accessibility) can Early mobility also is crucial to enhanclevel the playing field for children with ing children’s physical fitness throughout disabilities to have similar mobility extheir lives. Children with disabilities need periences and, therefore, gains in social, physical activity just as much as their typicognitive, visual and spatial awareness. cally developing peers. Regular physical Dr. Cole Galloway at the University activity prevents a range of illnesses and of Delaware developed GoBabyGo, a reduces the effects of age and the incidence program that facilitates early mobilof chronic illness and disease. Have your ity by adapting powered ride-on cars child start mobility early to prevent learned with switches or other means of access. helplessness or lack of an internal drive. Galloway has conducted extensive reEarly independent mobility (specifisearch regarding the impact of mobility cally using assistive technology or power on developmental growth in infants as mobility) is necessary and will not imyoung as seven months of age. His research proves that early mobility can pro- pede other developmental milestones, such as walking, or make your child vide significant developmental benefits. “lazy.” Work with your child’s physi“With supervision or an augmented cal and occupational therapists to find an mobility experience, that child can gain access method and the most appropria significant developmental benefit from ate mobility device (manual or power having an opportunity to move themwheelchair) for your child. Then provide selves through space that they might otherwise not have,” Galloway says. “An ways for them to begin to discover their world and get moving! infant who does not have the ability to As they grow and become more indescoot on the floor, roll or crawl, but can pendent, participating in walks, recreation make a mobility device move, can gain and adaptive sports like Tae Kwon Do, important experiences.” baseball and soccer will be the next step. When considering mobility for your The possibilities are endless. child, know that your child may have Katie McGregor is an MOT, OTR/L various mobility devices for different Occupational Therapist at the LeafBridge environments. A power wheelchair for Therapy Services, a Center of Excellence at specific environments should not be UCP of Greater Cleveland. ruled out, even if your child is able to 2017


t is believed by many, particularly parents and even some medical professionals, that providing power mobility will hinder a child’s motivation to walk or develop the skills to learn to walk. I have heard many things from parents such as, “I want my child to walk,” or, “Won’t a power chair make my child lazy?”This is far from the truth and current research supports the importance of early independent mobility.



arents often find their child’s IEP meeting exceptionally anxiety provoking. Will they get what their child needs? What if they don’t believe the district is meeting the goals and objectives of the IEP? Should their child be in special education classes in reading and math? What is “meaningful participation?”

Preparation is the key to parents knowingly participating in the IEP process. Parents should receive all evaluations and draft IEPs before the IEP meeting. Not having this information Nessa Siegel before meetings puts parents at a disadvantage regarding facts and information that will be discussed about their child’s educational needs. Identify, before the meeting, the problems as you see them. Be sure all persons who are responsible for goals and objectives will be present. Use the internet to understand applicable law and the significance of the test scores. Be specific about information you contend is important and why it is important. Keep records of all communication including telephone calls, daily logs or communication books. Put all requests in writing and copy personnel you think pertinent. You are entitled to seek only those services required under the law. You are not entitled to services just because you “want” them. The school’s experts are its staff. If you disagree with the school’s view, bring your own experts. All services being sought must be necessary to provide your child with a free appropriate education. Who are your experts? Private speech therapists, private psychologists, private tutors, pediatricians, private neurologists, professional evaluators who have evaluated the child, private OTs and PTs, and anyone else providing your child with private services.


Working the System By, Nessa G. Siegel, Esq.

The individuals should prepare reports for school personnel before the IEP meeting. If your expert cannot attend the meeting in person, loop them in by telephone. Their expertise and explanation of test results are critical. The more knowledge your experts provide to support their positions, the more likely the district will accept their results and recommendations as credible.

Remember, no one gets 100 percent of their requests. Give and take is important in negotiations. Show respect for the school’s views and hopefully the staff will have respect for your views. Compromise is essential. Don’t retreat if your facts, evidence and experts support your child’s need for specific services. You are always entitled to another IEP meeting. See for resources.

Helpful Hints • Never go to an IEP meeting alone • When you think you’re prepared, prepare some more • The presence of your spouse is important • Document, document, document • Review the section of IDEA and articles that explain “meaningful participation” • Remember, no question is trivial • Never sign an IEP at the first meeting • You are entitled to as many IEP meetings as necessary. There is no timeline for length of an IEP meeting or limit on number of IEP meetings • Keep your own data; quiz your child at the beginning, and at the end of all extended vacations and weekends • Keep all test results, reports, data on goals and objectives and underlying basis of data, to reinforce accountability • The IEP should outline all related services and special education services in detail, including number and length of sessions per week • Remember you are not entitled to the best services, but only reasonable services. Ask for the best but call it reasonable • Never say “I want,” rather, say, “the facts support…” • Take a break if you think you are losing control or becoming too emotional; this is normal procedure • Practice speaking calmly and firmly • The basis of any school decision regarding a child’s IEP must be provided to you in writing 2017



Health Care at Home Dr. Mary L. Gavin

K Keeping Notes You may want to prepare notes on your child’s status and require each nursing shift to do the same. That way, early signs of trouble can be recognized and medical help summoned quickly. Consider keeping a patient journal near your child’s bed so that nurses and family members can communicate about various issues.

Planning Ahead Family caregivers should be prepared for and well-informed about the care a child requires. Caregivers will need to know how each machine works, how to troubleshoot, and how to perform preventive maintenance and any backup procedures. Here are some factors to consider as you prepare for home health care:

• Your child’s room may need certain equipment, sufficient electrical outlets, and a backup power supply from a battery or generator. (Some insurance companies may provide reimbursement.) • It can be helpful if a bathroom or source of water is near the child’s room. • Keep a list of emergency numbers by the phone. Consider keeping a phone in the child’s bedroom so that someone can call for help without leaving the bedside. • Inform your local ambulance company of your child’s medical condition before any situation comes up where you need one. • Let your utility companies know that you have a child requiring medical equipment at home so that you are a priority in case of an outage. • Make a plan for all types of emergencies, even natural disasters, that would include getting your child and any life-sustaining equipment out of harm’s way.

At many hospitals, a staff social worker can help coordinate this team. The social worker also might be able to help arrange home nursing and respiratory services, medical follow-up and emotional support. The process of getting comfortable with your child’s home health care begins at the hospital. Learn from the medical staff by closely observing how they take care of your child and how they operate the necessary equipment. Be sure to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. Ask if you can start practicing in the hospital so you are comfortable by the time you go home. Consider talking with families whose children require similar medical equipment or levels of care.

Training Your Family

Family members should learn how to use and maintain all medical equipment. They also should: • understand the child’s medical condition • k now how to detect problems • k now what to do in emergencies • learn CPR • k now when to call the health care provider The specific skills needed will depend on your child’s condition. The nurses and doctors can help you understand what you may need to know, and might even have training dolls to help you practice different procedures.

Home Health Care Assistance The hospital social worker can help families arrange for nurses or aides to come into the home to assist with care, if necessary. They also can help determine any special qualifications home-care workers might need to have. In general, home caregivers should understand how to: • spot the slightest change in the child’s behavior or appearance and communicate those changes to other caregivers • administer medicines • monitor medication schedules • assist with exercise and other therapies • understand the child’s medical condition • recognize problems, and know how to handle emergencies and when to call for help


1995-2017. The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth®. Reprinted with permission.

• You may need to make changes to your home to make it accessible for a walker or wheelchair.

ids can need intensive health care at home after they have been in the hospital for many different reasons. Medical equipment and devices can: • function as a monitor • provide nutrition • provide oxygen • help with breathing • be needed for giving certain medicines In each case, it’s vital that parents, siblings and other family members learn about the medical devices and equipment on which the kids they love depend. During the transition from the hospital to home health care, families will lean on a support network, including a team of medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, therapists, home health aides and equipment suppliers. 2017



Connect to the


Cleveland Hearing & Speech is a provider of hearing, speech-language, and deaf services, education and advocacy for over 96 years. Their vision is a community where everyone communicates effectively.

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

Common communication problems of our pediatric clients • 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 •V oice or resonance disorders (including those common with cleft palate)

Hearing & Deafness 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. They also provide 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 Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center for appointment.


Speech-Language and Learning Speech and language abilities are the basis for all learning. At Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center, the speech-language pathologists provide comprehensive services to help children and adults develop or regain effective listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Early detection and intervention with speech and language issues has been shown to improve communication skills before reading and/or behavioral problems arise.

Speech-language evaluations Comprehensive speech-language evaluations involve an in-depth analysis of: • 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 They also provide evaluations in certain specialty areas. For individuals who are unable to communicate verbally, we can assess their abilities for various augmentativealternative communication devices (also called speechgenerating devices). The speech-language pathologists can complete a language-learning evaluation for older children who may have language-based learning disabilities. 2017

Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) They serve deaf consumers using their preferred communication mode that includes American Sign Language (ASL). The majority of our deaf community uses English as a second language. ASL is delivered in many different forms. Depending on their given educational program as children, the communication mode, as selected by their families, is set for life. They strive to meet all communication methods presented by the community. • 24-hour American Sign Language interpreting services • American Sign Language Instruction •T he Learning Center for those seeking to improve job and life skills

• Neuropsychological assessment for individuals, ages 6 -21, who are deaf or hard of hearing or have normal hearing to evaluate cognitive strengths and weaknesses • Support services for persons who are deaf of hard of hearing and their families • Advocacy and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) consultation • Information and referral programs • Outreach and collaboration development with other county agencies • Educational presentations to public school students through our SignStage program

Family Matters “I had visited several care facilities in the past, but hadn’t found the kind of loving, nurturing environment we wanted for Holly,” Goodlive shares. “As soon as I walked into Blossom Hill and met the people there, I knew it was the right place for her.” Blossom Hill Program Director Ron DeVerse, a Qualified Developmental Disabilities Professional (QDDP), says, “Families who devote themselves to caring for a loved one sometimes need time to engage freely in the activities they enjoy, as well as to experience some ‘alone time’ and take advantage of opportunities related to their own growth and enrichment. Blossom Hill’s respite program gives caregivers the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate.” Adds QDDP Anjill Calazzuma, “Caregivers often seek respite care when they face out-of-town career demands, need time off for their own medical procedures, or are planning family vacations.” As Goodlive discovered, as much as a family might want to take their loved one on the trip, vacations can be challenging for developmentally disabled individuals, who may be overwhelmed by the change in routine or over-stimulated by the unfamiliar environment.

Respite Care Peace of Mind for the Whole Family


hen it became clear that her daughter wasn’t enjoying family vacations or being away from home, Kim Goodlive looked for a solution. As Holly’s primary caregiver, she had always been hesitant to leave her daughter in the care of anyone outside the family. Then she discovered Blossom Hill’s respite program.

Addressing Unique Needs and Requirements Before a respite stay begins, DeVerse, Calazzuma, Director of Nursing Cher Parker and Executive Director Lynne Urbanski spend time with the caregiver or family members to discuss their loved one’s needs. Urbanski explains, “Any anxiety families might feel

coming into this situation falls away once they see for themselves how committed we are to focusing on the individual’s needs, including their routine. We make sure we completely understand all of the details of the person’s established schedule and needs, so that we can create an Individual Service Plan (ISP) and share it with every

direct support professional (DSP), nurse and other specialist who will play a role in the individual’s stay.” Considerations include the individual’s likes and dislikes, medical or adaptive equipment needs, allergies and other medical conditions, dietary requirements and other specialized needs. “My only regret is that we didn’t know about Blossom Hill sooner. Holly loves it there,” says Goodlive. “The staff nurtures her, the structure comforts her, and the activities provide just the right amount of stimulation. She’s always happy when we drop her off there. We are tremendously grateful for the peace of mind these wonderful people give our entire family.” Blossom Hill is a nonprofit organization that operates three intermediate care facilities for adults with profound mental and physical disabilities — one in Westlake and two in North Royalton. In addition to serving its residents and members of the community needing transportation, nursing support and other services, Blossom Hill provides temporary (up to 90 days) round-the-clock care through its respite program. Please call Executive Director Lynne Urbanski at 216-5595702 or visitw to schedule an individual tour of one of its homes.


efore takeoff, your flight attendant explains the importance of putting your own oxygen mask on first in an emergency so that you can, in turn, effectively help a loved one in need of assistance. Respite care is like that: It gives you as a caregiver the opportunity to take care of yourself so that you can continue to meet the needs of your loved one as fully as possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that staying physically, mentally and emotionally healthy is vital to being a strong caregiver. To achieve this, the CDC suggests that you: • Maintain your personal hobbies, interests and friendships


• Take breaks — short (an evening walk, for example) and long (a romantic getaway) • Set reasonable (not superhuman!) expectations for yourself as a caregiver • Delegate some caregiving tasks to reliable friends or relatives Respite care offers you the muchneeded time to do these things. When you choose the right care provider, you can rest easy knowing your loved one is being well taken care of while you get the break you need. Here’s how to find your ideal match: Identify your needs. What type of respite services do you need? How often?

Keep track of your daily activities and list the areas and times when you need help. Assess your loved one’s needs. Does he or she require assistance with walking, eating or medications? How much social interaction, exercise and mental stimulation does he or she prefer? Research care facilities. Online research and recommendations from doctors, nurses, friends and family can help. Respite care providers should offer you the opportunity to tour their facilities and meet with their staff members. Share your list of needs and concerns with them, and then choose a provider based on their capabilities and commitment to loving care. 2017


Why Respite Care?


Blossom Hill operates three family-style group homes, providing a loving environment and personalized 24-hour care for adults with profound intellectual and physical disabilities.

Contact Lynne Urbanski 216-559-5702 •

Family Matters

The World Needs

More Play T

he Avon French Creek Foundation and the City of Avon are working collaboratively to create a new, state-of-the-art destination playground that will inspire kids to get out and play. The goal is to create a multi-acre space that is accessible to all kids regardless of ability. Accessibility is only half of the challenge. Several local families met with Avon’s Mayor Bryan Jensen, requesting a playground be built that would serve the needs of their children who experience sensory and physical challenges. These families wanted a place where their children could be included in activities with all the other youngsters. “I want my daughter to be right in the thick of the game, not just on the outside looking in,” said one parent. “She really wants to be part of the group, just


like everybody else.” The first step was receiving a grant from the Lorain County General Health District for $42,500 that funded the first piece of equipment: the Playworld NEOS 360. With the NEOS, it is hard to tell the difference between play and exercise. It combines the explosive movement of sports with the speed and excitement of electronic gaming. Players become part of a race within a circle of towers while developing agility, coordination, strength and stamina. This results in one of the most exciting cardio workouts you’ll ever experience. Designed with inclusion in mind, any child can play. The NEOS will be opened in September 2017 (search for NEOS on YouTube to see it in action). In addition to the active play area, the new playground will have a Nature

Play and Quiet Area tucked away in the woods. Children can relax in Hammock Hollow, climb into the Bird Nest Lookout, and play in the sand with loose parts they gather near the trees. A Sensory Garden will be planted, allowing kids to touch and smell the plants. Finally, a Quiet and Rest Area will be available just to decompress from the noise and excitement for a time before rejoining the fun. This exciting project will be unique to Northeast Ohio, serving Lorain County and Western Cuyahoga County. Donations to the French Creek Foundation for this endeavor are gratefully accepted. The foundation’s goal is to raise $1.6 million. Want to be a part of making this dream a reality? Check the French Creek Foundation GoFundMe account or contact Tina Oprea, fundraising chair, at AvonPlaygroundFCF@ 2017

PHOTOs COURTESY OF city of avon

Avon playground hopes to create space that is accessible to all kids

Family Matters

Grandparent Building Blocks Helping grandma and grandpa enhance their relationship with a grandchild with autism


By Jennifer Krumins

he journey of raising a child with autism can be challenging, exhausting and lonely, but grandparents have the power to make life more manageable for their children and grandchildren — even from a distance. “At the heart of it, every grandparent of a child with autism wants to help, but it’s such unfamiliar and

uncharted territory,” says Jennifer Krumins, founder of Autism Aspirations and author of “Autism and the Grandparent Connection.” “Autism has the potential to bring families together, and grandparents have the potential to enhance the whole family’s ability to cope while building a beautiful relationship with a grandchild,” adds Krumins,

who is a speaker at the upcoming 15th Annual Milestones Autism Conference, and has firsthand experience as the mother of a son, now 21, who was diagnosed with autism. Jennifer Krumins is a mother of three, author, and a full-time teacher in Ontario, Canada, with 22 years of experience in special education and the regular classroom.

Here are a few ways Krumins offers grandparents to make a difference for a grandchild with autism. Adhere to limits and schedules. Raising a child with special needs often demands strict adherence to structure and routines, which are essential for the proper functioning of both the child and family. Follow dietary restrictions, bedtimes, communication guidelines and other rituals enforced by the parents, no matter how tedious they may seem.

Encourage independence. Help foster your grandchild’s self-esteem by providing opportunities for them to do things for themselves, with your guidance. Being overly nurturing can sabotage a child’s chance to learn independently.

Respect boundaries. Support your children in their efforts to come to terms with and negotiate their challenges and offer an attentive ear. Do not offer unsolicited opinions, research or advice.

Provide respite opportunities. Offer to watch your exceptional grandchild for a few hours in order to afford your children a chance to unwind and reconnect with each other and/or their other children.

Offer financial assistance. The education savings plan that you may have begun for your grandchild may need to be used earlier than expected. You may wish to defray some of the exorbitant costs related to the child’s care, including therapies, programs, resources and respite care.

Krumins will discuss “The Grandparent Connection” at the 15th Annual Milestones Autism Conference, slated for June 15-16 at the I-X Center in Cleveland. The conference also features a “Straight from the Source” panel highlighting local grandparents who will share personal stories about how they have worked toward success for their grandchildren. For information, visit

22 2017


Making Connections

through Shared Living By Lisa Armstrong


ptions for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to become active participants in the community continue to grow — and choices for where individuals want to live are no exception. Shared Living is becoming an increasingly popular option for people with disabilities who wish to live in a home in the community where they can share life experiences by becoming part of a family.

How do I find a home? Shared Living service providers, like United Disability Services (UDS) in


Akron, take the time to get to know the person looking for a placement. This careful attention to individual circumstances and personal preferences helps to ensure that the best possible match is made for the most successful outcome for both the individual and the home provider. A series of short visits is then scheduled to determine if the person is compatible with the home and family. Once a successful match has been made, service providers can even help to make moving arrangements for a smooth transition into the new living situation. How can I open my home to someone with a disability? Although there is no special experience necessary, there are a series of steps to take before someone’s home can be considered for Shared Living. The process begins with a completed application, available through a service

provider, and an interview. The next steps include a background check, required of all individuals living in the home who are age 18 and older, as well as a home inspection, proof of home and auto insurance, and a valid driver’s license. Additional training in CPR, first aid and a medication certification course all are provided at no charge. The Shared Living service provider will remain with you every step of the way, providing the reassurance and support needed to ensure a good experience for everyone. Whom do I contact? Anyone with an intellectual or developmental disability who is interested in Shared Living should contact the local county board of developmental disabilities, which will make the referral to a service provider in that area. For more information about opening your home to someone with a disability in Summit or Medina counties, contact UDS at 330762-9755 or go to 2017


For someone with a disability, Shared Living is similar to renting a room, but with far greater benefits. Shared Living arrangements help people to learn new skills, provide a source of reliable transportation to activities in the community and medical appointments, and create an environment in which to become part of a stable, family home life. This is ideal for anyone looking to maintain a sense of independence while still having someone to rely on in the home for assistance, if needed. It also offers an opportunity for a caring individual, couple or family looking to fulfill a desire to help others while enriching their own lives by opening their home and hearts to someone with a disability. The home provider also is able to earn supplemental income as an independent contractor while using resources they already pay for, like housing and transportation.

Shared Living

Opening Homes, Connecting Lives

We connect people who have disabilities with young families, retirees, empty-nesters and anyone willing to welcome them into their family, giving them an opportunity to thrive and grow. Living with a disability and looking for a safe, family-like environment in which to live? • We’ll get to know you and make sure Shared Living is right for you • We’ll help you choose someone who would be a good match with you • We arrange short visits for you to make sure you like the home and family • We’ll help you make moving arrangements Like us on Facebook @UnitedDisabilityServices

Do you have a passion for helping others? UDS is looking for caring people to open their homes to someone with a disability in Summit and Medina Counties. Here are some benefits: • Work from home • Supplement your income • Use your current resources • Make a difference in someone’s life • Receive continual support and free training

Getting started is easy! Contact United Disability Services for more information today.

330-762-9755 ♦

Follow us on Twitter @UDSAkron


Helping Teens

Go to College or Enter the Workforce


by Dave Kearon, Director of Adult Services at Autism Speaks

s teens approach their 18th birthday, the majority hope to carve a path toward independence, aspiring to higher education or appealing and challenging careers that match their interests and abilities. They all hope to find happiness and fulfillment, and young people with autism are no different.

Ashton supplies inventory through Project Search.

Going to college Beyond high school, teens with autism and their families should work with transition coordinators to explore the range of local postsecondary education options. Each year, new autismspecific support programs are developed at four-year colleges and universities across the country as more students on the spectrum enroll. The majority of young adults with autism who do attend college choose two-year community colleges. In fact, more than 70 percent of two-year public institutions enroll students with autism. These schools can offer more affordable preparation for transfer to a university. For others, the attraction is in the occupationally-focused degrees that require only two years of study, and trainings for certification that can lead to careers. Apprenticeship programs are available in a range of fields that require manual, mechanical or technical skills. Students can earn while they learn, and many students with autism learn best by doing (rather than

sitting in a classroom lecture). Some apprenticeships can count as credit toward an associate’s degree, and students are supported and trained by mentors while they work, which can help smooth the transition into the workforce. Other options include vocational, technical and trade schools, cooperative education programs — which combine career and technical education with hands-on training with academic skills — life skills programs, and volunteer opportunities in the community. In 2013, Autism Speaks also launched the Brian & Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship Fund, which awarded $704,000 to 27 different institutions in the form of scholarships for students with autism. Learn more about these options in the Autism Speaks Postsecondary Educational Opportunities Guide. Families also can search the Autism Speaks online Resource Guide for postsecondary programs in the area. For a list of additional resources related to postsecondary education, visit the Autism Speaks Resource Library for tools, websites and more.

According to research from Drexel University and elsewhere, young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are less likely than individuals with other disabilities to be employed or pursue postsecondary education after high school. In fact, they have the highest risk of disengagement from any support services or employment when they exit the school system. Increasing numbers of adults with ASD are contributing to the success of a wide variety of industries and at all ranks in businesses around the world. However, for most job-seekers with autism, pathways from high school to


employment are not readily available. The effectiveness of the transition from high school into adulthood can have a lifelong impact. Unfortunately, there is a significant gap between the ideal transition planning process — or even the legally required minimum — and what actually takes place in many of our schools. Research from Virginia Commonwealth University identified factors of successful transition planning to include individualization, work-based learning in the community during high school (including paid work), family support, and interagency collaboration (for example, with a state vocational rehabilitation agency). Recent

trends also emphasize the importance of transition goals related to community integration in all aspects of adult life, including employment, residential and day habilitation services. In particular, placement in a communitybased internship or work experience during the high school years must be a top priority for all students with autism, at whatever level they are capable of handling. The impact of such experience can be dramatic; the rate of employment during adulthood is more than twice as high for those who worked for pay during high school versus those who did not. 2017

PHOTO COURTESY OF autism speaks

Into the Workforce


Defining Benefits

What’s Available for Ohio Residents with Disabilities By Amanda M. Buzo, Esq., Executive Director of CFMF



t can be overwhelming to decipher the eligibility rules for government benefits. Let’s start with a few important definitions.

Most government benefits have a resource and an income test. Resources are cash and any other personal or real property that an individual owns or can access, but not all resources are counted. The home you live in, one car, your personal effects such as clothing, properly drafted trusts, life insurance with a face value of $1,500 or less, and a burial space are examples of exempt resources. Countable resources are anything that is not excluded, such as cash, bank accounts, some retirement accounts, vacation homes, certificates of deposit, and savings bonds. 2017

Income, on the other hand, is any item an individual receives in cash or in-kind that can be used to meet his or her need for food or shelter. Income can include both earned or unearned. If a person receives any type of income and doesn’t spend it or transfer it to a trust, the income becomes a resource the next month. In-kind support and maintenance occurs when a third-party or a trust pays for a person’s food or shelter. If that happens, the value of the food or shelter is treated as countable unearned income and can cause a person’s benefits to be reduced or terminated. Supplemental Security Income, or “SSI,” is a monthly cash benefit for lowincome individuals with disabilities. There is no age requirement, although the parents’ income and resources deem to a minor child and could thus cause a child to be financially ineligible until he or she reaches adulthood. To be eligible, a person must not have countable resources of more than $2,000 and must be low-income in addition to being a person with a disability. Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI” or “SSD”) provides a monthly cash benefit to people who paid into FICA but who are now a person with a disability and cannot engage in substantial gainful activity. Certain family members, such as a spouse or a child with a disability, also may be eligible for benefits from the worker’s earnings record. A person who receives SSDI, whether it be from their own 2017

work record or from a family member, will also receive Medicare, which is a federal health insurance program. People age 65 and older also are eligible for Medicare, but a SSDI recipient can be any age. Medicaid is health insurance for low-income individuals and for people with disabilities. Aged, Blind, and Disabled (“ABD”) Medicaid has a resource test of $2,000 or less and an income test of $735 or less per month. Effective 2016, if a person receives SSI, he is automatically eligible for ABD Medicaid; however, if a person receives Medicaid because she is low-income, she would need to also apply for SSI if she believes she is also disabled. Waiver, such as the Individual Option or Home Care Waivers, provides vital home and community based services and is a type of Medicaid program, but it does require a separate application. Like ABD Medicaid, it has a resource limit of $2,000 but the monthly income test is $2,205 or less. Medicaid Buy-In for Workers with Disabilities

(“MBIWD”) is for people who are employed but who have income of $2,475 or less per month, and have resources of $11,645 or less. MBIWD is available to both full-time and part-time workers. Community Fund Management Foundation is a nonprofit that administers special needs trusts for Ohio residents with disabilities and understands how benefits can be affected by trust distributions. Visit or call 216-736-4540 to learn more about CFMF.


cover story

Sports Bring More than Just Wins


ante, 10, a fifth-grader at Tremont Montessori School, loves all kinds of sports, including track and field, bowling, swimming and baseball. The special education student and his other classmates practice at school and then go on field trips to Special Olympics competitions. “It’s fun,” Hill says. “It’s a good experience and we try different activities.” Melanie Parker, teacher at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Tremont Montessori School, says it’s an extension of their physical education time and the kids have lifelong benefits from these sports. The skills learned from these competitions and training are transferred and can be taken through their lives and into other leisure activities, she adds. “He is able to go with friends and family and know how to behave, keep score, etc.,” she says about Sante, who recently won second place in a bowling competition. Sante and his classmates have an opportunity to learn how to compete, find successes in these activities, and just have fun.

Getting Involved

Joanne Casey was looking for some community fun for her now 16-year-old son, Jon. “It was word of month,” she says regarding learning about the Special Olympics program from Lake Metroparks, which offers basketball, track and field, volleyball, bocce ball, golf, bowling and Nordic skiing.


By Angela Gartner Photography by Kim Stahnke

Max Culp “At a certain level, sports (in general) gets very competitive, so it was better, I feel, to put him in a program where his abilities are recognized and geared around him.” Special Olympics Ohio provides regional and local training and year-round local sporting events for kids and adults. Most athletes have weekly practices and can participate in multiple sports. According to Special Olympics Ohio, it has approximately 200 local member organizations and over 23,000 athletes who are in training and competition. “You can participate as much or as little,” Casey says. “They learn how to take turns and to share; it reinforces all those things.”

The importance of competing doesn’t get lost on these kids and adults, but it’s about more than winning or losing. For many families, it’s about their kids learning life skills — and seeing them excel at an activity on their terms. Bridget Piotrowski’s 10-year-old son, Liam, is in his first year of Special Olympics programs at Lake Metroparks, but he has done other adapted sports activities. “He loves to do sports,” Piotrowski says. “It’s hard for him to develop and participate in regular leagues.” Also, with a younger brother doing a variety of sports, she says this puts Liam on the same footing as he can do things his younger brother can do. “It has helped him feel successful where he can do better and feel like he is participating,” Piotrowski says. “I think the biggest thing is getting to practice and being included in more regular activities.” Liam’s main sports are basketball and football, but he also enjoys track and field, especially the shot put. “He really likes track and field; when he gets older, he may be more comfortable participating in the regular teams at school,” she says. Susan Culp feels her son Max, 10, is beginning to gain confidence and be comfortable in social settings. They are new to the Special Olympics program and have been practicing weekly in track and field. “I think he is comfortable seeing the same people,” Culp says. “I see him happy and excited to go. I like to see what Max would like to do with this. 2017

These skaters Are Role Models on the Ice and Beyond


haye and Sharita Taylor, 26-year-old twin sisters of Cleveland, participate in Special Olympics Ohio. Since age 8, both have been competing in regional and state competitions as figure skaters and have become role models inside and outside the arena. The twins got involved in ice skating after their mother learned about the Special Olympics Learn-to-Skate Program at Winterhurst Skating Rink in Lakewood when they were age 4. “I like the feeling of gliding across the ice,” Sharita says about skating. “It’s a really peaceful feeling. My favorite move to perform is a scratch spin.” Sharita was invited to atShaye (left) and tend the 2017 U.S. Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, where she won the bronze medal in Ice Dancing and sixth place in Level 5 figure skating. “At first I was shocked, and then I felt excited and honored to be chosen,” Sharita says. “I was the only athlete from Ohio on the team. It was awesome having my family in Austria with me. I could hear my sister cheering for me every time I got on the ice and I could see my family waving the American flag and a huge banner with my name on it.” “We support each other immensely, on and off the ice,” says Shaye, who competed in the 2017 Special Olympics State Winter Games, where she won the gold medal in Level 5 figure skating and emceed the Opening Ceremonies. “We encourage one another and we cheer each other on

I want to see him take some more ownership, (to have) his anxiety reduced and to feel part of the community.” This also is Max’s first experience with competition, though he has done a variety of other programs, such as The Fine Arts Association in Willoughby. “I think this is really important for him to be accepted and he is recognized for his physical capabilities,” Culp says. “He first went to track practice very hesitant, but he watched and felt safe with the staff. I see him feeling confident.” 2017

because we love each other that much and when we compete against one another, we don’t let it hinder our relationship.” Their mother says through Special Olympics, their other talents — such as singing and public speaking — have been nurtured and developed. They have sung the National Anthem at a Lake County Captains baseball game in Eastlake and at Cleveland Indians games. They also have given speeches about their experiences in Special Olympics and have emceed Special Olympics Ohio State games Opening Ceremonies. Both compete in other sports like track and field and golf, and both are on a bowling league. “I like to have fun,” Shaye says. “I always try to do my Sharita Taylor best and it’s great when I win a medal but if I don’t win, I’m happy to cheer on the other athletes. Participating in Special Olympics has given me the opportunity to make new friends and it helps me to be prepared for anything.” Sharita offers advice for other athletes as well, adding, “I would say that you can do it. It takes hard work, but you can achieve a lot and make tons of friends.” “We are very proud of both of the girls for all their athletic accomplishments,” Diane Taylor adds. “Shaye and Sharita, as well as a lot of people with disabilities, have many talents that frequently go unnoticed because the focus is on the disability. These opportunities not only help the athletes develop their talents, but also show the world that people with disabilities have a lot to offer their communities.”

Connect with others

As with most programs holding weekly practices and different scheduled events, the parents are able to connect with each other. “It’s a nice way to make friends and let the kids have as typical of a life as they can,” Casey says. “The parents get a chance to sit and interact with friends, too. It’s a community and a win-win for everyone.” “It’s exciting for me to cheer on another teammate,” Culp adds. “Also, just to see him do it and be accepted, it’s been a terrific experience.”

The families also help one another and lend a hand where needed, often on the field or court. “Don’t be afraid of it, as most of these programs allow the parents to participate,” Casey says. “It’s less stressful for the parents,” Piotrowski says, adding that advice she would tell those looking to get into these types of programs is to start your kids young. “I have seen there is a lot more support than I ever thought there was.”


Scott Gohn, Alana, 8, and her ski instructor Colleen during a weekend ski trip.


Skiing Gives Family An Edge in Togetherness

ight-year-old Alana Gohn travels with her parents Scott and Elaine to HoliMont Ski Area in Ellicottville, N.Y., most weekends during the winter to participate in The Phoenix Adaptive Program. It provides people with special needs an opportunity to learn skiing or snowboarding. Elaine Eisner says Alana began in the program after some local families encouraged them to join. “This was the first full season,” she says. “We couldn’t be more excited about it. She loves it. It has helped with her endurance, leg strength, core and confidence. She has a social circle with a group of kids to play with (at the ski area).” Scott Gohn said at first, he was apprehensive about her going into the program as it seemed Alana wasn’t too fond of winter activities, however, he says she proved him wrong. “It’s not only about skiing and learning, it’s also about the environment that we are in,” he says. “She is spending time with other kids that have disabilities and their siblings. They come over and play with Alana. I think she looks forward to that just as much as the skiing part.” Alana has introduced skiing to her friends Kendall and Kylie, who attend her elementary school.


“One of the cool things about skiing is that anyone can do it,” Elaine Eisner says. “So there are no boundaries for someone to be involved.” The program has allowed the couple, who are avid skiers, to share their love of the sport with their daughter — and get on the slopes themselves. Elaine Eisner notes that the program’s instructors are working with Alana without her parents’ help. This allows for the couple to spend some time together on the slopes while Alana receives her lessons — even though they often try to catch a glimpse of what Alana is learning. “The thing that we look forward to — now that Alana is on this journey and every year we see some form of graduation to the next milestone — is the day that eventually we will be able to ski together as a family,” Scott Gohn says. “This is something that we can travel together to do.” “We are fortunate we can go to New York, but there are local adapted programs,”Elaine Eisner says. “This is great for families looking for an activity together.” Through the program, the family has also met a group of friends who provide support. “It allows us to connect with other families that are in the same boat,” Scott Gohn says. “We get to go skiing with them and spend time learning what’s important to their families.”

In addition to skiing, Alana has taken swimming lessons since she was about age 1 at the Solon Recreation Center. She not only gets physical benefits, but it also allows her to participate in swimming functions with friends and family. Elaine Eisner says they began lessons because it was recommended by their doctor. The water therapy has helped Alana with muscle strength, gives her confidence to maneuver and to relax. In fact, Elaine says she watched Alana stand up for the first time in a pool. “The buoyancy of the water gives her an opportunity to try things she would never do on land,” she says. 2017

Making a Difference in the Community

G Gary Barnidge

ary Barnidge, a tight-end in the National Football League — and also a former Cleveland Browns player who was named to the 2016 Pro Bowl — uses his professional player status to help children in the community and worldwide. He, along with friends Breno Giacomini and Ahmed Awadallah, created American Football Without Barriers Foundation, a nonprofit group that provides sports camps to children in need around the U.S. and internationally. Barnidge says it’s a life altering experience and it is rewarding to help others. “It’s about seeing them smile and their reactions,” he says about the experiences, such as traveling to Brazil, Finland and Boston. “We have a way to affect people’s lives, why would we not use our platform?” Currently, the group is working on finding another place to go next year. He not only has helped kids across the U.S., but also in Cleveland. While a Cleveland Browns player, he partnered with Ohio Guidestone in Berea, which services families and children in need, and brought 10 kids to each Browns home game. There was a twist, according to Barnidge: he worked with Samaritan’s Feet, a non-profit organization that gives shoes to disadvantaged children worldwide, to provide a child with an opportunity to receive his gameused cleats and a new pair of shoes. He also has worked with the Special Olympics as a referee in basketball. “I just enjoy helping kids and supporting them,” he says. “I want to see all kids succeed. We didn’t get leadership from other professional players growing up. We want everyone to have that opportunity.” For more information about Football Without Barriers, visit

The photos were taken at the Bedford High School, Bearcat Stadium. The school district hosts Northeast Ohio Special Olympics events. Visit Special Olympics Ohio at Learn about the Lake Metroparks adapted programming at 2017






Nominate your champion

34 2017

Nominate your champion today by submitting this application and the reason why this person is a champion. “How My Nominee is Living Like a Champion with a Disability” OR “How My Nominee Makes a Difference for Champions Living with a Disability” Please nominate individuals in one of these categories: • AGE 3 – 10 * • Age 11 – 17 * • Age 18 – 25 * • Age 26 & over * • Caregiver | Educator | Advocate *Parent or caregiver may assist in the completion of the nomination.

Application Deadline All applications must be received by 5:00 PM EST, August 21, 2017. Celebration of Champions Awards Champions will be recognized at the awards dinner on

November 5, 2017

Executive Caterers at Landerhaven 6111 Landerhaven Dr. Cleveland, OH 44124 Gold Medal Champions and a friend will be our guest at the awards dinner. Each Gold Medalist Champion will receive a personalized award and $500 towards an approved program, service, or adaptive device. Silver and Bronze Champions will also be recognized. Each Champion or their representative must be in attendance at the gala event to be honored.

** All entries become the property of NCJW/Cleveland and will not be returned. Submitting an entry grants permission for your entry to be publicized by NCJW/Cleveland whether it is judged to be a winning submission or not. Award recipients’ names and photographs may be used in publicity efforts. 2017


Nom i nati on For m Nominee Name _________________________________________________ A ddress




S tate/Zip





D ate of Birth


Age __________





S chool/Employer _________________________________________________

Y our name (if different from nominee) __________________________________ A ddress


C ity


S tate/Zip




E-mail _________________________________

Your relationship to the nominee ____________________________________ Please attach on a separate sheet the reason why your nominee is a champion. Agreements Parent/ Guardian Permission: I give my permission for my child/ward to participate. Signature _______________________________________

Relationship ____________________ Date _________

I grant NCJW/Cleveland permission to use my picture/picture of my son/daughter for their public relations purposes. Signature _______________________________________



Submit your Nomination Form U.S. Mail The Awards Celebration of Champions C/O NCJW/Cleveland 26055 Emery Road Warrensville Hts., OH 44128

Fax The Awards Celebration of Champions (216) 378-2205 eMail

For more information contact Cindy Glazer:

36 2017

money directly to the child with a disability. If a Special Needs Trust is created for the benefit of the child, grandparents and other family members should be told about it so that they can direct any bequest they may like to leave to that child through that trust.


Your Child’s Legal Dos and Don’ts

Do prepare a care plan/

By Laurie G. Steiner, Esq., CELA

Do understand the

governmental benefits available. Many children will become eligible for Social Security benefits and Medicaid immediately as a result of a birth injury or disability present from birth. Some may not become eligible until the age of majority, age 18. Every situation is different. The rules for eligibility and maintenance of benefits are critically important. Some benefits are so difficult to qualify for that if lost, they cannot be regained. A parent or caregiver must pay particular attention to applying for the proper benefits 2017

and maintaining them. Seek appropriate assistance from an attorney knowledgeable in such governmental benefits to ensure compliance.

Don’t simply put your

other children in charge. Some families disinherit children with disabilities, relying on their siblings to care for them. This approach is fraught with potential problems. Siblings can be sued, get divorced, disagree on their responsibilities, or run off with the funds. It also can cause tax problems for siblings. The child with disabilities and the healthy child also may resent the forced relationship.

Do set up a Special Needs

Trust. Any funds left for a child with disabilities, whether from an estate or the proceeds of a life insurance policy, should be held in trust for his or her benefit, not left with the siblings. Leaving money outright for anyone with a disability jeopardizes public benefits. Be sure to contact an attorney who is knowledgeable in planning for children with disabilities when establishing a Special Needs Trust.

Don’t forget to coordinate planning with the rest of the family. Even a carefully developed plan can be sabotaged by a well-meaning relative who leaves

Letter of Intent. All parents caring for children with disabilities are advised to write down what any successor caregiver would need to know about the child and what the parents’ wishes are for his or her care. This is important whether the child is in a group home, lives with a parent, or is on his or her own. The parent knows best, but needs to pass on important information about medical issues, medication, diet, a “day in the life,” housing, outside activities, faith, personal values, finances, expenses, and more. A copy of the memo or letter can be kept in the attorney’s files with the parents’ estate plan.



Creative by Ashley Weingart



he benefits of artistic therapy are wide reaching for people living with special needs. As a result, artistic therapies can lead to enhanced selfconfidence and self-worth. We are fortunate to have many arts programs in and around Cleveland for children and adults with special needs to learn about and have fun with music, theater and visual arts. Here’s a look at just a few of them.


STAGECRAFTERS & BROADWAY BUDDIES A dramatic arts program of Orange Community Education and Recreation, Stagecrafters Theatre seeks to help each student realize a positive self-image while being exposed to theatre. Stagecrafters has been serving Northeast Ohio for more than 35 years and offers numerous theater arts programs for all ages. Its newest collaboration is called Broadway Buddies, an adaptive musical theater program that provides an opportunity for typical teens to work alongside their peers with special needs. Buddies sing, act, dance, make art projects and swim every day. The Broadway Buddies staff includes three theatre professionals and seven special education paraprofessionals, including autism and sign language specialists. Each camper also is assigned a typical peer volunteer who helps them with their parts and aids them during other camp activities. The performers range in age from 12 to 28 and have one week to rehearse for the Grand Finale, which wraps up the week with an enthusiastic performance for friends and family. Visit for more information.

BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS Through the use of Creative Arts Therapies, Beck Center for the Arts helps individuals with special needs, including mental, physical or developmental disabilities, and encourages them to maximize their potential. Using art, dance, movement and music as therapeutic tools, individuals address academic, motor, emotional, and social skills as they develop talents in the fine arts. Each participant receives individualized attention with personally designed goals tailored to meet their needs. People of all ages can benefit, as can those diagnosed with various developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, and those with physical or neurological disabilities caused by stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy or chronic pain. The center also serves people with mental health needs such as anxiety, depression, memory loss and adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Since 2002, the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CCBDD) and Beck Center for the Arts have collaborated to present Razzle Dazzle, an annual stage production featuring the talents of CCBDD consumers and volunteers. Each year, more than 500 individuals gather to enjoy the stage production, take part in various musical performances and to see amazing artwork created by those involved in Beck Center’s Creative Arts Therapies program. Art Makers is a multimedia visual arts experience for adults with special needs. Individuals create their own unique pieces of art while participating in drawing, clay, sculpture, printmaking, painting, and collage-making activities. Select pieces may be chosen to display or be used in various art exhibits at Beck Center. Music Makers is an instrumental and vocal ensemble experience for adults with special needs. Individuals choose preferred music to play, develop needed social skills to work together, collaborate on reading and writing music, and learn how to perform for an audience. A performance for family and friends is arranged at the end of class. Beck Center for the Arts is located in Lakewood. Visit for more information.


THE MUSIC SETTLEMENT The Music Settlement, located in University Circle, believes that music builds better brains and that early introduction to music helps children develop vocabulary, language, math and motor skills. For more than 50 years, the Settlement’s Center for Music Therapy has positively impacted the lives of children and adults facing a wide range of life’s challenges. The Music Settlement’s music therapy programs support learning and the transfer of skills; improve a client’s quality of life; and offer hope to those enduring challenging diagnoses, illness or pain. Its music therapy programs are designed for clients young and old, who may or may not have special needs or medical issues. Clients are placed in private or group music therapy sessions that utilize music-based interventions in a clinical setting to help accomplish specific, individualized goals. Options include: Classes like Arts N Play offer opportunities for children with special needs to bridge with peers who are typically developing. Held twice weekly, this class offers group play experiences designed to provide developmen-

tally appropriate opportunities to strengthen behavioral, social and communication skills. Home Based Music Therapy is designed particularly for those who face challenges in accessing services within the community. Services provide opportunities to assist in pain management, anxiety reduction through musicmaking, music-assisted relaxation, enhancing memory and improving communication. Individual and Group Music Therapy Sessions at both the University Heights and Solon locations offer tailored programs for young children that can include singing, movement, songwriting, dramatization, improvisation, listening and instrument playing. For elementary schoolaged children, custom-designed sessions may help with task orientation, auditory and visual sequencing and symbol recognition. For any age, music combined with a variety of structured interventions may increase response level, control and independence. Adapted instruction is offered on piano, guitar, drums and other instruments. For more information about the Center for Music Therapy, visit


What You Need: • paper or canvas • acrylic paint or watercolor paints • paintbrushes • water • containers • mixing trays • paper towels • newspapers • old shirts or painting smocks • music (various styles) • scrap newsprint • pencils or crayons

What to Do:



2 3


Talk about emotion. What does the word emotion mean? What kinds of emotions do we experience on a day-today basis? Talk about color. How do certain colors make us feel? Why?

Talk about lines. What kind of lines are there? Straight, jagged, squiggly, zigzag, etc. How do various lines show different emotions?

Warm up by having them draw lines (using pencil or crayon) based upon certain feelings (draw happy lines, angry lines, etc.). You also can encourage them to draw lines based on music they are hearing (jazz, classical, pop, etc.).


Once everyone is “warmed up,” begin working with the paint. Make sure they have a paintbrush, water and access to at least the three primary colors (red, yellow and blue).


Give a quick demonstration of how paints are used properly (always clean brushes before dipping into a new fresh color, treat the brushes well by not squishing them down on the paper, etc.). Also, review color mixing (yellow + blue = green; red + yellow = orange; red + blue = violet).


They can then decide on an emotion or feeling they will express using various paint colors, lines, textures and shapes.


Allow your artist to take as long as they need to create the final work, encouraging them to stand back from time to time to have a really good look at what they are doing. Is it moving in the direction they want it to? Are the desired feelings starting to emerge?


When the paintings are complete, hang them up and see how others interpret the works.

* Craft from KinderArt. Find other craft and art therapy ideas at

40 2017

PHOTO COURTESY OF ashley weingart

EMOTION PAINTING People with special needs can explore their emotions and gain an understanding of how much of a role emotion plays in art making as they create paintings based on feelings.

FINE ARTS ASSOCIATION Located in Willoughby, the Fine Arts Association offers art therapy programs for individuals with special needs. Here, the therapeutic use of art making is used to promote physical, social and emotional healing and wellbeing. The leadership here believes that everyone can make art and that in art therapy, any person can be successful, regardless of their ability. Sessions may include drawing, painting or creative sculpture. Art therapy may help improve fine motor skills, participation, attention span, social skills, turn taking, quality of life, creative expression and self-awareness. The Fine Arts Association also offers music therapy and instruction in dance and theatre. Visit to learn more. 2017



Inspiring Others Jake and Jordyn


hen Mindy Lee was sent home from the hospital with her firstborn 14 years ago, she was told she had “a healthy baby boy.” Six months had passed and at each well visit, her pediatrician rebuffed her concerns about reflux, fussiness during feeding and crying while being changed, insisting it was typical baby behavior. She persisted and visited a neurologist who diagnosed her son with Rhizomelic Chondrodysplasia Punctata, RCDP. There are fewer than 65 cases worldwide. A few years later, daughter Jordyn also was born with the rare form of dwarfism, which affects brain function, growth, mobility and speech. “My children are beating the odds because once they made it to age 5, they were considered long-term survivors,” says Lee, now a member of the parent advisory council at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. At 14 and 11, Jake and Jordyn have become a source of inspiration for many families of children born with RCDP, and their mother has been a champion for researching effective treatments or working to find a cure.


Jake and Jordyn are unable to talk, walk independently, they are tube fed and have shortening of the arms. Between visits to dozens of doctors at Rainbow, they receive occupational, physical, speech and music therapies at home through North Royalton Schools. Lee became president of the Ohio chapter of RHIZOKIDS International and is part of a collective effort to build resources and a support network for other families of Rhizo kids. “They kind of learned from my kids because we were basically told that once you had an RCDP baby they will die, and if they make it to age 2 you were really lucky,” Lee says. “We have a natural history study we are really proud of that now they can see what’s typical and what’s not typical, and though a lot of the kids are the same, they are different in many ways. For a while, we had nobody. Today, Jake and Jordyn give these families hope.” The Rockin’ and Rolling for RhizoKids — Night at The Races fundraiser will be held on Saturday, September 23, 6-11 p.m. at St. Adalbert - Keller Center 66 Adalbert Street, Berea, Visit 2017

These individuals with special needs and their families are making strides that are inspiring others and using their influence to educate those around them. Learn about these four spotlighted families in Northeast Ohio. By Tricia L. Chaves

Aiden, Jennifer, Brian and Logan


Logan Doyle

hen chef Brian Doyle’s 20-year-old son Logan was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, internet research led him to theories that there may be an association between his diet and symptoms, particularly that abstaining from gluten and casein was helpful to some people with his condition. After modifying Logan’s diet, Doyle noticed his son’s outbursts, anger and acting out became less frequent. By age 4, he was eating a totally glutenfree diet. When a medical condition debilitated Doyle’s wife Jennifer for three months, the entire family decided it was time to go gluten-free in 2011 and began preparing meals with antiinflammatory ingredients. 2017

The couple’s Warrensville Heights restaurant, Cafe Avalaun, was inspired by their mothers, but shaped by their son. It became Northeast Ohio’s first 100 percent gluten-free eatery. Doyle, now a certified health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, offers classes to empower clients who crave a holistic approach to their eating. He developed the Fresh Meals program that includes a half dozen grain- and dairy-free entrees each week to help patrons take the labor out of meal prep and the guesswork out of adhering to dietary restrictions. Doyle says a lot of parents of children with special needs struggle at mealtimes because

getting their kids to eat different things can be a challenge. “If you have recently received an autism diagnosis, be persistent about trying to get your child to eat a variety of foods,” he says. “My son Logan eats anything nowadays because we insisted so much early on.” Don’t get discouraged at the dinner table if your child is resistant to your new menu choices; incremental changes and “hidden nutrition” like pureed produce and supplements are a great start.



John Selick and his son Michael

early a decade after learning his 11-year-old son Michael was on the autism spectrum, chef John Selick says acceptance and advocacy were essential ingredients. “We discovered his autism early, around 18 months,” the chef explained. “I kept seeing TV commercials about autism describing kids with no eye contact ... no talking was the biggest issue — he had some language and it just sort of went away. His mom was really concerned, so she brought some people out from the county to examine him and do testing when he was nearing 2 years old.” The early intervention specialists told the Selicks that Michael wasn’t playing with toys appropriately for his age. “He just has the wrong toys,” Selick recalls thinking. “That night I left work and went to Babies “R” Us and bought him all these toys certain he’d be able to stack the blocks. He didn’t. I picked him up and every time I’d look at him in the face he’d look away. It was heartbreaking.” Selick began attending support groups for families with children recently diagnosed on the autism spectrum; they convened to exchange stories and create a network for one another. “I really got involved on a local level. I wanted to make sure I was aware of every resource available to Michael without missing anything,” he said. The influence of Michael’s diagnosis extended beyond Selick’s personal life. While temporarily abstaining from casein and gluten as a


family, he found himself examining ingredients more closely at work with Sodexo Healthcare Services. “It really changed me as a chef in terms of looking at ingredients, thinking about cross-contamination and identifying hidden additives on a label.” He reached out to local organizations to volunteer his time and became a recurring chef participant in the Autism Society of Greater Cleveland’s annual Chili Cook Off and Autism Speaks’ biennial event, the Cleveland Chef Gala hosted by Michael Symon. “I want it to be the best culinary event of the year because it means so much to me,” Selick says of the latter event. “Though he may not know exactly what it means, Michael is aware that when autism is mentioned, it has something to do with him. I want my son to look at me on TV supporting Autism Speaks and to be proud of me, to feel special and know that this is for him.” The feeling of pride is mutual between father and son. “I wouldn’t change a thing about him,” Selick says. “Because of his quirkiness, he’s the funniest kid in the world to me and he knows he’s funny. I’m so fortunate with Michael that he does

so many things. I just tell him, ‘Do your best and you’ll be okay,’ and try not to treat him any different than my other two kids. He has expectations and rules he has to follow, too.” Being patient while parenting to his son’s potential instead of his prognosis helped Michael thrive. “He does have some problems with school and some ADHD going on. He’s in the regular education setting with an IEP ... he has friends and is a very high-functioning kid. He went through times of school where he would not read and I did everything I could. Now he reads everything. It was just like talking; we were concerned, we had speech therapy, now all of a sudden he won’t stop talking. He does things at his own pace, and once he does something he’s a champ.” A positive attitude and meeting other parents and their kids with autism made all the difference for Selick. “I accepted him and avoided imagining a doomsday scenario, rather, recall thinking: ‘Well, he’s never going to be the President of the United States but he will be something special,’ and he is,” he affirms, encouraging other parents to follow suit, “Make the best of the situation without being upset by the hand you were dealt. I’m thankful for what I have and don’t think about what it could or should be.” 2017


Makenzie Yovanovich

akenzie Yovanovich was born with big brown eyes and a sweet disposition, but there was something about her tiny stature that had her parents worried. “She was sort of floppy, even for a newborn,” said Jennifer, Makenzie’s mom. “We could tell something wasn’t right, so doctors started testing her right away to figure out how we could help her.” Test after test and specialist after specialist still didn’t yield a confirmed diagnosis. As Makenzie got bigger, problems persisted. “She didn’t make any of her milestones — holding up her head, rolling over, sitting up — but she did take to walking, which we couldn’t believe,” Jennifer says. Finally, three years later, the Yovanoviches got an accurate diagnosis. Makenzie had a rare form of congenital muscular dystrophy called Bethlem myopathy. The disorder, by its nature, causes weakness and muscle wasting, primarily in the skeletal or voluntary muscles such as arms and legs. Makenzie immediately started occupational and physical therapy at Akron Children’s Hospital. In 2013, part of her therapy went from ordinary to extraordinary thanks to the hospital’s expressive therapy program and Dance Unlimited. “Makenzie would beg me to let her take a dance class,” said Jennifer. “I thought it was impossible because of her disability, but it broke my heart to tell her that. Dance Unlimited was a great discovery for Makenzie.” Once a week, Makenzie attends 2017

dance class at the hospital, which is actually part of her physical therapy. All of the children in Dance Unlimited have special needs and are assisted by volunteers and therapists. “The social interactions Makenzie has due to the program have helped her tremendously,” Jennifer says. “Every one of the kids in the class has different abilities and that’s what makes it so great … When Makenzie gets out there (on stage) she shines.” Even with therapy, muscular dystrophy causes Makenzie’s muscles to weaken, fatigue easily and experience pain. In November 2014, Makenzie lost her ability to walk. “Dance Unlimited didn’t drop Makenzie from the routines because of her wheelchair. Rather the instructor, Kelly Lightfoot, went to a seminar

to learn new techniques to incorporate her wheelchair in the routines. How awesome is that?” said Jennifer. “Kelly’s training will not only help Makenzie, but also other kids in wheelchairs down the road. We’re just so thankful.” Makenzie is a happy girl and makes the most of the muscles and strength she does have. “She’s busy — she does therapy at school and at home, she rides horses, dances and is very social,” Jennifer said. “She’s always smiling and doesn’t let it (MD) slow her down.” Submitted by Akron Children’s Hospital. Visit for more information, or view its blog at



Hit the Road

Pack up your family and take a vacation with these tips By Kalena Arif


rchestrating a family vacation can be overwhelming for anyone, and it can be especially challenging if that entails caring for an individual with special needs. Whether it’s a day trip or a weeklong outing, following a thorough plan could mean the difference between seamless travel or a trip that feels like it’s coming apart at the seams.

46 2017

plane to going to the bathroom. Since everyone is required to be screened before boarding flights, remember to speak with a TSA officer if you are traveling with medication or special equipment, including wheelchairs. TSA recently launched a helpline for individuals with special needs called TSA Cares. Anyone with questions or concerns about procedures may call 1-855-787-2227 or visit special-procedures. Most, if not all, airlines offer convenient, priority seating to passengers with disabilities. After boarding, inform the flight attendants about your child to ensure proper assistance.

CHECK-INS & DELAYS PREPARATION Creating an extensive checklist in advance could be the one thing that keeps you from forgetting something of importance before heading out. The more time you give yourself to compile, the better; two to three weeks before leaving is ideal. Plan what you need to bring such as incontinence products and related medical supplies. Try to take only what you think you will use to avoid becoming overwhelmed by luggage. In addition to having a packing list, write down all of the medications needed to be taken and, if possible, obtain a copy of medical records for use in the case of an emergency. Double check to make sure that you have enough medications to cover the length of the trip. It’s also a good idea to locate a doctor who can provide temporary care at the travel location, if needed.

ROAD TRIP Here are a few tips on how to do more than just survive on your next road trip. First, consider sitting in the backseat with your child while your spouse drives so you can give needed attention and snacks. For snacks, be sure to have the food and beverages packed properly so that they hold up during the trip. (Don’t forget to add food to the checklist from earlier.) An insulated thermal bag or cooler is a great investment for moments like this. Aside from food, activities will 2017

make the trip a bit more comfortable. Bringing along books to read, coloring books, stickers and toys can offer hours of fun. Regardless of the mode of travel, preparing yourself and your family is key. Individuals with special needs thrive on routine and for this reason, using as many tools as possible to get ready for your adventure is recommended. This may include sharing stories or videos about road trips, train rides or air travel ahead of time.

FLYING HIGH If you’re using a travel agency to book your family’s flight, inform your agent that you’ll need accommodations for a person with special needs. Letting the airline know as much about your situation as you’re willing to share helps them to serve you better. Contact the airline that you’ll be booking your flight through to learn about service requests and all assistance offered. Having a letter from your doctor describing your child’s physical or emotional condition is a great tool when asking for special accommodations such as an upgrade or change of seats. Milestones Autism Resources provides travel tips, including a mock runthrough of the airplane travel. At home, set up chairs to simulate the aisles of an airplane and ask questions that a flight attendant might ask. Have your loved one practice appropriate responses for travel situations such as going through security and moving around the airplane, from boarding or exiting the

To skip long lines and other avoidable delays, most airlines offer early check-in within 24 hours of the departure time. Passengers can print boarding passes at home or show their passes via a smartphone. Always have plan B in place in case something unforeseen impacts travel. Take into consideration that delays happen and can even cause a complete cancellation of events.

ACTIVITIES Debbie Alberico, of Abilities First, shares some tips on having fun while on vacation. “Children love to play games,” she says. “Develop games that involve movements that mimic the requirements of your child’s special needs program. If your child is playing a game, they are much more motivated to participate in therapeutic-like activities. Involve siblings and friends — after all, you play games with others. “Create a list of six fun games,” Alberico explains. “Hang the list on the wall and number them. Have the child roll the dice; the number rolled determines the game. Roll the dice again to determine the frequency. Reward your child’s good effort by allowing them to play their favorite game — the reward doesn’t have to be physical therapy-related.” Remember that this is supposed to be a fun, memorable experience for your family, so breathe deeply and know that you’ve got this. Several fun game ideas and other tips can be found at


ties are important. Lab studies may be done, but will not lead the physician to stray from the symptoms of the patient. Indeed, labs and other diagnostic tests are seldom needed, though they can be used to monitor disease improvement or progression. The homeopath tries to find out when a problem occurred and is searching for the cause — whether it is emotional, hereditary or due to an injury, for instance.


Natural Remedies

Homeopathic medicine offers alternative methods for everyone


r. Jane Li-Conrad, of the Remedy Jane practice in Mentor, is certified in osteopathic family medicine and integrative medicine; she provides insight on how homeopathy works and how it might benefit some common conditions impacting people of all ages and abilities.

What is Homeopathic Medicine? The word homeopathy comes from the Greek root “homeo,” which means similar, and “pathos,” which means disease. Homeopathic medicine follows a sound philosophy and healing principles. Rather than suppressing disease symptoms with drugs or even herbs, homeopathic medicine attempts to mimic the inherent healing processes that we label as disease. Healing reactions — or symptoms — have purpose and so we ought to mimic these incomplete natural healing reactions. Homeopathy uses small doses of natural plant, mineral or animal substances, each of which have been tested voluntarily (mostly


by physicians) to understand their complete effects — mental, emotional and physical — on the human organism. The medicines are referred to as remedies. So the remedy is chosen to mimic the very unique and strong reactions of the sick individual with one shown to cause similar effects in healthy provers. The Visit The homeopathic visit will always address the whole person. During the visit, the patient will explain the main problem or problems, but in much greater detail than a typical medical appointment. A visit typically takes 2-3 hours for a chronic condition and many symptoms, and emotions that relate to the whole person also will be discussed. The details of the individual’s sensations and unique sensitivi-

Individualization is Needed to Match a Unique Remedy A homeopathic physician wants to figure out what causes a flare up of symptoms, what exposures cause his or her emotions and physical symptoms to get better or worse, or are peculiar and strong for the patient. A homeopathic physician studies these signs, which are evidence of the health and presence of the vital force. These are the active physiological reactions of the unique person; these reactions demonstrate the unique pattern of illness within. As the body and mind react, the person expresses various symptoms such as head pain, diarrhea, nasal discharge, anger, jealousy, weeping, etc. These signs show us the unique nature of each person and hence the abnormal reactions of the person that need to be matched with a remedy. We use remedies that are more readily suited for a certain type of person based on experience of human provers and clinical outcomes. The temperature, the degree of sweat, the genetic susceptibilities and personality, for instance, are considered in choosing a remedy. When the best matching remedy is

found, the entire physiology improves and can be monitored by improved mental and emotional outlook, physical symptoms and improved energy and sleep. Safety of Homeopathic Medicine If used improperly, remedies can produce uncomfortable healing reactions and proving effects, especially in very sensitive individuals. Homeopathic medicine is always adjusted to the sensitivity of the individual to limit and prevent uncomfortable healing reactions. If the patient does not report to the homeopath their reactions after taking a remedy, they may suffer unnecessarily. Why is it Important to Know about Homeopathic Medicine? Empower yourself with the knowledge to help your family and yourself achieve health and make sound health choices. Many times, you can use remedies with a little knowledge for acute problems such as for sprains, bruises, headaches and more. Remedies often are found over the counter. What are Some Remedies? The homeopath must look at the sensitivities of the individual and not necessarily the name of the disease. We are individuals with unique shades and causes for our imbalances. Everyone is different and homeopathic medicine chooses a remedy based on the unique reactions of the individual. For more information, call 440334-6200 or visit 2017

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit

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.

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A Second Opinion LLC 216-337-7457 A Starting Point Inc., Michael L. Seng, MD 440-934-8777 A.C.T. Now (Autism Consulting and Training)

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Adapted Fitness and Yoga Plus LLC Adapted Sports - Achievement Centers for Children Adaptive Living Shoppe at Menorah Park Adaptive Mall Adaptive Sports for Kids (A.S.K.) athletics_community_center Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio Adelman, Laura, DMD ADHD Strong

Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County Alexandar Andrich, OD, FCOVD, The Vision Development Team/Sensory Focus Ai Squared All Ears Hearing Center All-Star Training Club - A Program of UDS Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship Alqsous, Sari Issa, BDS physiciandetail.aspx?id=131573

Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple Applewood Centers Arc of Greater Cleveland Arc of Medina County Arc of Ohio Northeast Branch Arc of Summit and Portage Counties Ardmore Foundation Inc. Area Agency on Aging, 10B, Inc.

Alta Behavioral Healthcare

ARK Therapeutic

Alternative Paths Inc.

Armanazi, M. Yasser, DDS

Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter

Art Therapy Studio

AMC Ridge Park Square 8 Movie Theater

ASGC Summer Social Skills Camp

Advocacy for Advancement 330-562-0102

America’s Best Transportation

Advocate Ability

American Council of the Blind (ACB)

Ashtabula County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Aeratech Home Medical

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

Affiliates in Behavioral Health LLC

American Home Patient - Mansfield, Middleburg Hts., Twinsburg

Adoption Circle Adult Basic and Literacy Education Program (ABLE) Cuyahoga Community College Adult Day Program Achievement Centers for Children

Afterlight Fitness & Educational Consulting

Ashtabula Educational Service Center Asian Services in Action, ASIA Inc. ASPIES Greater Akron

AMS Vans Inc.

Assistive Technology of Ohio

Amy Muellner @Salon Loft Mayfield Hts. 440-773-7021

Auburn Career Center

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

Audacity Magazine

Andrews & Pontius LLC


Anne Ford Scholarship

Austerman, Joseph, DO

Anne Grady Center

Autism Center at OCALI

Akron Education Campus

Anne, Samantha, MD 216-444-6691

Autism Digest

Albert Einstein Academy


Autism Family Foundation

Agarwal-Antal, Neera, MD, Director Agins, Kerry M., Esq. AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland Aimee Gilman, Esq. Akron Area YMCA - Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs

50 2017

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Autism on the Seas Autism Personal Coach Autism Scholarship Ohio scholarships/autism-scholarship-program Autism Society Autism Society - Greater Cleveland Chapter Autism Society Central Ohio Autism Society of Greater Akron Autism Source Resource Database Autism Speaks Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Autism Speaks enhances lives today and is accelerating a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow. Please call 888-288-4762 or visit for information and resources. Autism Toolbox Avenue at Aurora Avoy Home Health Care 216-731-7715 Axner & Jones LLP Bair Foundation Baldwin Wallace Speech Clinic, CCC-SLP Barlow, Meghan, Ph.D. Barry, Christine, Ph.D. Bay Pediatrics Dentistry Bay Presbyterian Church Bea, Scott, Psy.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=2070 2017

Beacon Health

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

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

Blick Clinic

Bedosky, Joseph, Ph.D. Beech Brook Begley, James, MD physiciandetail.aspx?id=049304 Believe in Dreams Believers Academy Program Bellefaire JCB Counseling & Community Services Beltone Audiologoy & 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. physiciandetail.aspx?id=18190

Blondis, Thomas, MD, FAAP, FSCN Blossom Hill Blossom Hill operates three family-style group homes, providing a loving environment and personalized 24-hour care for adults with profound intellectual and physical disabilities. Blossom Hill also provides short-term respite care and supported-living care options for families across Northeast Ohio. Call 440-892-2042 or visit 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. Bookshare Borchert, Karla Gay, MS, SLP 440-277-7337 Bothe, Denise, MD Brain Aerobics Brain Balance Center of Canton

Berman, Andrew Neal, DDS 330-467-1800

Bridge to Success Skills Training LLC

Beyond Camp - Julie Billiart School

Bridges 440-350-9922

Beyond Our Boundaries

Bridges Rehabilitation Services

Beyond Words Music & Dance Center

Bridgeway Inc.

Big Dog Bounce

Brigham, Anne T., Esq. 440-357-4480

Bilge-Johnson, Sumru, MD

Brigitte at Your Service

Bill Ellis Award/Scholorship

Brittany Residential


Broadmoor School Broadway Buddies - Stagecrafters Broer, Karen, Ph.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=2575 Brown, James Mitchell Buckeye Industries Buckeye Medical Supply Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs LLP Buddy Up Tennis - Akron, Lorain Building Behaviors Autism Center Building Blocks Therapy Building Bridges Therapy Center: Little Bridges Preschool & The Bridge Kindergarten

Camp Can Do camp-can-do/12736 Camp Challenge Camp Cheerful

Cedar Audiology Associates Inc. Center 4 Brain Health @ Menorah Park Center for Applied Drama & Autism Center for AAC & Autism

Camp FIT - Friendship in Teams

Center for Comprehensive Care at Rainbow Babies

Camp Ho Mita Koda

Center for Instructional Supports and Accessible Materials (CISAM)

Camp I.D.E.A.S Camp Kodiak Camp Nuhop Camp Paradise Camp Snow Cubs Camp Sue Osborn

Center for Life Skills Center for Online Education students-with-disabilities Center for Parent Information and Resources Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare Centers for Families and Children CET Cleveland

Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps

Camp Suntastic

Busy Hands Bright Minds LLC

Can You Hear It

CHADD - Children & Adults with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder

Butcher Elder Law

Candles and Canvases

Chagrin Valley Speech Therapy Services LLC

Canfield Medical Supply

Challenger Division of Little League Baseball

Captioned Telephone (CapTel)

CHAMPS Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation specialties-services/therapy-rehab/ community-programs.aspx

Career Transition Center

Cherished Companions


Child & Family Counseling Center of Westlake

Caringi, Vincent, MD

Child Guidance & Family Solutions

CASA for KIDS of Geauga County

Children Cleveland Browns Adapted Football League

Buzney, Sandra J, LISW, JD Planning for individuals with disabilities and their families. The firm in Shaker Heights focuses in the areas of elder law, estate planning, probate administration, as well as Medicaid planning and applications. The team consists of attorney Sandra J. Buzney, and paralegals Pamela G. Richards and Jeffrey Braverman. They provide legal services with a “Social Worker’s Touch” 216-283-0905,

Cafe O’Play Calliope Speech & Language Services LLC 800-787-3914 Camp !magine Camp A.B.C. for Preschoolers


Catholic Charities Community Services of Geauga County, Lake County, Medina County, Summit County, Cleveland, Lorain County, Cuyahoga County

Children’s Developmental Center Choices A Community Social Center 2017

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit

City of Avon Inclusive Playground Project French Creek Foundation is heading up a collaborative effort to create a new, destination playground that will inspire kids to get out and play regardless of ability. It will help serve the needs of children in Lorain County and Western Cuyahoga County who experience physical and sensory challenges. Donations to the French Creek Foundation for this endeavor are gratefully accepted. The foundation’s goal is to raise $1.6 million. Check the French Creek Foundation GoFundMe account or contact Tina Oprea, fundraising chair, at City of Mayfield Heights Department of Recreation - Adaptive Programs Cleveland Area Soapbox Derby Special Division Cleveland Christian Home Cleveland Clinic Children’s Therapy Services South Cleveland Clinic Foundation Center for Autism Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center For over 96 years, Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center has been the premier 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. Its vision is a community where every individual communicates effectively. 216-231-8787, Cleveland Mighty Barons Sled Hockey Cleveland Nanny Connection Cleveland Psychological Assessments Cleveland Sight Center Cleveland SignStage Theater Cleveland State University Speech/Language and Hearing Clinic Cleveland State University Tutoring and Academic Success Center Cleveland Treatment Center Cleveland Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Programs 2017

Cleveland VAMC Blind Rehabilitation Center

Comprehensive Behavioral Services for Autism

Club Z! Home Tutoring

Concorde Therapy Group

Coleman Behavioral Health/Trumbull

Connect to One

Coleman Professional Services Inc.

Connecting for Kids

College Autism Spectrum

Connections in Ohio

College Living Experience (CLE)

Connections: Health Wellness Advocacy

College Nannies and Tutors

Constantinou, Georgette, Ph.D.

College Now Greater Cleveland Coloma, Arlene J., DDS MS - Brecksville, Strongsville Comfort Ease Home Care 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. 216-736-4540,

Community Partnership for Inclusion inclusive-child-care

Constellation School Consumer Support Services Corner Stone Medical Services 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 Company LLC Creative Education Institute Crossroads Crosswind Concepts

Community Support Services Inc.

CSD - Community Services

Compass Family and Community Services Inc.

CSS Empowering People with Disabilities

Comprehensive Behavioral Health Associates

CTS - Contract Transport Services Inc.


Cuddy, Cara, Ph.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=4978

Dale, Roman, MD staff_display.aspx?doctorid=7338

Cued Speech for Integrated Communication Inc.

Dancing Wheels Company and School

Culley, Carol J.

David G. Umbaugh of Day Ketterer

Cunningham, Wendy, Psy.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=14271 Custom Home Elevator and Lifts

Cuts N Curls Cuts N Curls in a unique adult and children’s hair salon, retail store and birthday party venue that prides itself on being sensitive to your family’s needs. The specially trained staff makes sure your experience is both safe and fun. Solon, 440-5421750, Cutter, Diane, Ali, DO staff_display.aspx?doctorid=2105 Cuyahoga Community College - Eastern Campus Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities Cuyahoga County College Access/ Disability Services Cuyahoga County Invest in Children Cuyahoga County Public Library Toy Lending Service Cuyahoga East Vocational Education Consortium (CEVEC) Cuyahoga Tapestry System of Care Cuyahoga Valley Career Center CYO Recreational Respite Program D’Netto, Marita, MD aspx?doctorid=4342 Daily Behavioral Health Inc.


Davies Pharmacy Inc. DBA Jazzercise - Adapted Classes 440-773-5742 Deaf Access Program - Catholic Ministry 216-370-7318 Deaf Choice 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., and Associates N. Ridgeville, Rocky River, Westlake DeMassimo, MaryAnn, SLP 440-465-3381 Denzler, Pamela Fox, OTR/L 440-892-9232 DePolo, Michelle, Psy.D. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Deselich, Judith, MOT, OTR/L 440-235-3090 Development Centers Inc.

Different Needz Different Roads to Learning Dinner, Sherry, Ph.D. Disabilities Resources Inc. Disability Rights Center of Ohio Disaboom Division of Senior & Adult Services Cuyahoga County Doane, Lisa Stines, Ph.D. Dollywood Theme Park & Resort Down Syndrome Association of the Valley Down Syndrome Support Network of Stark County Downs Designs Dragonfly Academy Dreben, Elizabeth K., Ph.D. physiciandetail.aspx?id=091017 Drugless Doctors DSC - Deaf Service Center Duby, John, MD, FAAP Duke, Marilou 440-734-1770 Dutka, Debra 440-247-5991 Dyslexia Institutes of America or Dynamic Speech Therapy

Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics behavioral-pediatrics-and-psychology

E-Special Needs

Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland

Early Intervention Consulting LLC

DiBiasio, Anthony, Ph.D.

Easter Seals Disability Services 2017

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Easter Seals Northern Ohio

Enhanced Vision

Family Connections

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

Epilepsy Association

Family Pride of Northeast Ohio Inc.

Epilepsy Foundation - Patient Assistance Programs

Farm Therapy - Catalyst Farm

Eshleman, Kate, Psy.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=13791

Feldman Royle Law Firm, Autism Scholarship

EDGEucation Educational Alternatives Educational Assistive Technology Educational Choice Scholarship scholarships/edchoice-scholarship-program Educational Options LLC 216-272-8080

eSight Estate & Life Care Planning Firm of Bradley L. Greene

Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County

Euclid Adult Basic and Literacy Education Program (ABLE) 216-797-2942

Educational Service Center of Lorain County

Evant Inc.

Educational Tutoring & Consulting LLC 216-759-0473

Ever Sight Vision Ohio

Einstein, Sandra, B.S., Ed.

Exactcare Pharmacy

Eisner, Gohn Group Eisner, Gohn Group is a leading resource for life insurance, long term care Insurance and long term disability insurance. Its team has subject matter experts in each of these disciplines so it can craft and deliver the most cost effective and efficient plans for clients. Ekelman, Barbara L., Ph.D. 216-464-9000 Elle Brake Photography Elle’s Enchanted Forest Ellen F. Casper and Associates Beachwood, Rocky River Embrace Dyslexia Emily Program Employment Alliance Empower Sports Empowering Epilepsy Enabling Devices Toys for Special Children 2017

Exceptional Psychological Services Extended Housing Inc. Eyewear at the Hamptons Fairhaven - Trumbull County Board of DD Fairhaven Counseling Fairhill Center Falcone, Tatiana, MD staff_display.aspx?doctorid=8196 Falconi, Genevive, MD 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

Feldman, Lara, DO staff_display.aspx?doctorid=14275 Ferretti, Gerald, DDS, MS, MPH Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center Filipek, M.A., Kathleen Ready, CCC-SLP 216-221-5470 Findling, Robert, MD Fine Arts Association FIT (Friendship In Teams) Fit Mind Cleveland Flaghouse Fluttering Families Flying Blind LLC Foley, Conrad, MD 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. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=7668 Freedom Scientific French Creek Foundation, City of Avon Playground Freudenberger, Sharon, DDS


Friedman Neil, MB, ChB display?doctorid=2859 Friedman, Norman M., MD details/235?lastname=friedman Friends Forever Inc. Friendship Circle

Gerami, Nicole, MA, CCC-SLP

Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc.

Gerson School

Guided Tour

GiGi’s Playhouse Gillcist-Spence, Marcia, MA, CCC-SLP 216-932-4432

Guidestone Guiding Eyes for the Blind Hagan, Jerilyn CNS staff_display.aspx?doctorid=5539

Frogtown Low Vision Support

Giuliano, Kimberly, MD aspx?doctorid=7605

FrontLine Service

Gleisser, Pamela, LISW-S

Haider, Anzar, MD staff_display.aspx?doctorid=7278

Fun and Function Empowering Differences

Go Baby Go - Cleveland State

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

Funutation Tekademy Computer Technology Camp

Gohn Eisner Group


Goldberg, Donald

Hamilton, William F., Psychological & Behavioral Consultants 216-548-2895

G.T.B. Medical Service Inc. Gaitway High School gaitway-high-school Galvin Therapy Center Early Start Autism Program early-start-autism-program Game On Gantner, Andreas, Ph.D. physiciandetail.aspx?id=093849 Gathering Place Gaw, Catherine, Psy.D. display?doctorid=3031 Geauga County Board of Developmental Disabilities/The Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Center Geauga County Board of Mental Health & Recovery Services Geauga Rehabilitation Engineering Ashtabula, Mentor Geier, Peter, MD 216-464-1277 Gerak, Laura, Ph.D.


Golden Key Center for Exceptional Children Good Rx Good Shepherd Home Care Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland Got Autism LLC Gramlich, James C. 440-668-0420 Grand River Academy Grant, Drusilla, OD Greater Cleveland Aspergers Support Green Road Early Childhood Developmental Center Greenfield, Marjorie MD results?s=&k=greenfield Greenleaf Family Center Greentree Counseling Center Inc. Guardian Angels Support Group

Hammer Travel Hanger Clinic - Akron, Canton, Mayfield Heights., Boardman, Warren, Tallmadge, Parma, Westlake Hanna Perkins Center for Child Development Non-profit Hanna Perkins supports healthy emotional development in children through a range of services for children, parents, professionals and early childhood educators. The school serves toddlers through kindergarten, and includes a dedicated classroom for children with autism spectrum disorders. Other services include a mental health clinic and parent support — all based on a nurturing, respectful approach that is well-suited to the unique social-emotional challenges you and your child may face. Hanna Perkins is a social-emotional provider for Cuyahoga County’s Invest in Children Special Needs Child Care Program. 216-991-4472, Hanson House Hastings Professional Medical Equipment Hatchbacks Footwear Inc. Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities Hazen, Jacalyn, MD display?doctorid=5748 2017

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Hazen, Rebecca, Ph.D.

Homes for Kids Inc.

Integrations Treatment Center

Health Aid of Ohio

Homewatch Caregivers

Interpreters of the Deaf LLC

Health Care Solutions 216-901-9250

Hope Educational Consulting LLC

Invacare Corporation

Healthy Start/Healthy Families Health Care Program childrenfamiliesandwomen.aspx

Hopewell Farm Hospice & Palliative Care of Greater Wayne County

Hearing Center - Fairview Park, Middleburg Hts., N. Ridgeville

Hsich, Gary, MD staff_display.aspx?doctorid=5990

Heart of Rock & Roll

Huddle Connection

Hechko, Jennifer Bryk, DDS 330-562-2700 Help Foundation Inc. Help Me Grow Help Me Grow Lorain County children-family-council/help-me-grow Help Me Grow of Cuyahoga County Helping Hearts Herran, Maria Isabel, MD physiciandetail.aspx?id=149922 Hershey Park Hickman & Lowder, LPA - Sheffield Village, Cleveland Highbrook Lodge Hirsch, Marilyn, MA, CCC-SLP 440-349-0811 Holan, Jane, MD Holiday Valley Ski Area lounsbury-adaptive HoliMont Ski Area Hollo-Gryshuk, Lisa, MA, ATR, LPC/CR 216-337-1874 Holly’s Hearing Aid Center 2017

Hughes, Jamie R., MA, CCC/SLP 216-262-8163 Hughes, Mary 440-605-9271 Hunter, Mary Colleen Cameron, SLP 216-469-0446 Huntington Learning Center

IZ Adaptive Jacob’s Ladder Special Needs Fitness Jacobs, Ellen, L.I.S.W.-S., D.C.S.W. Jacobs, Karen, DO staff_display.aspx?doctorid=7866 JAF’s Therapy In Motion 330-722-2415 Jaworski Physical Therapy Inc. JBI International Jensen, Vanessa, Psy.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=643

Hydrocephalus Support Group - Cleveland ns_support_group.aspx



Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Bellefaire JCB

i-CanBike 216-410-3007 Ibrahim, Sally, MD staff_display.aspx?doctorid=9216 If I Need Help In-N-Out of the City Summer Camp 216-220-4408 Independence Day Clothing Inmotion Insight Learning and Wellness For 30+ years, Insight has provided holistic wellness services for all ages. Michelle Martin, ED.S., specializes in autism/ADHD/LD. She provides evaluations, individual/group/family counseling, Taekwondo Fusion, parenting classes, mindfulness/ meditation, and a camp (ages 6-12) in August. Also offered at Insight is yoga, reiki, naturopathy/homeopathy, craniosacral/myofascial release, and integrated physical therapy for special needs. Call 216-765-4470 or visit

Jewish Education Center of Cleveland B’Tzelem, ETGAR, SEGULA Jewish Family Services of Akron

Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland — PLAN Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland, a private, non-profit organization, serves to strengthen families and individuals in both the Jewish and general communities in Northeast Ohio. Journeys is a unique social program for young adults ages 18 and older with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum or other cognitive disorders. Call Jacquire Hauser at 216-504-6483 to learn more about the program, or visit

Job Corp Joel’s Place for Children - Grief Support Group


John Murray Center

KidsLink Neurobehavioral Center

Lake-Geauga Recovery Centers

Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program scholarships/special-needs-scholarship

Kikano, George

LakeShore Day Camp

Klaas, Patricia, Ph.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=5479

Lakeshore Speech Therapy LLC

Kleins Pharmacy and Medical Equipment Co.

Laketran Laketran is the regional public transportation system for Lake County offering a family of services including Local Routes, door-to-door Dial-a-Ride, and commuter Park-n-Ride service to Cleveland. Specializing in service for seniors and people with disabilities, Laketran offers Travel Training to help new customers learn how to ride and schedule trips. Laketran’s 122-bus fleet is 100 percent accessible.

Josephson, Lori 330-730-2875 Julie Billiart Schools Julie Billiart Schools, located in Lyndhurst and Akron, nurture and educate students with special learning and social needs. Rooted in the educational principles of the Sisters of Notre Dame, diverse faith traditions also are welcomed. They strive to build self-confidence, inspire Christian values, and empower students with skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm for learning. Julie Billiart School, Lyndhurst is part of the Julie Billiart Schools network, which also includes Julie Billiart School of St. Sebastian Parish in Akron. K M E Home Medical Equipment Kabb Law Firm Kalata-Cetin, Ann Marie, DO staff_display.aspx?doctorid=1901 Kamat, Deborah L. 216-509-2927 Katholi, Benjamin, MD Katy Hopkins, Esq.

Knapp Center for Childhood Development Knesseth Israel Temple Knight, Ella Pestana, MD staff_display?doctorid=17816 KODA Camp Ohio Koinonia Homes Korland, Melissa Kotler, Todd, Esq. Koushik, Nikhil, Ph.D. profile/nikhil-koushik-140681.pdf Kralovic, Shanna, DO Krishna, Jyoti, MD Krnac, Vicki

Katz, Stuart B., DDS

Kubu, Cynthia, Ph.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=4293

Keldric Companion Adult Day Center

Kwait, Carol, MA

Kemper House

L’Arche Cleveland

Kennedy, Eileen, Ph.D. staff/3617-eileen-kennedy

Laing, Kathleen, Ph.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=3283

Key Ministry Foundation

Lake & Geauga County Autism Support Group

Khoury, Lea M., AuD staff_display.aspx?doctorid=9294 Kick Buddies 440-333-1660 KIDnections Group


Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities Lake County Educational Service Center (LCESC) Lake Erie Swimming Lake Metroparks Adapted Programs activities/adapted-programming

Lakewood ABLE Lakewood Community Recreation & Education Lamparyk, Katherine, Psy.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=16252 Landmark College Language Learning Associates - Fairlawn, Hudson, Medina Lavin, Arthur, MD Lawrence School - Lower School, Upper School LEAP Center for Independent Living Learning Disabilities Associates 216-233-2661 LearningRx - Bath Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy Lee, Amy, Ph.D. Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Legal Aid Society - Ashtabula County, Lake and Geauga Counties, Lorain County Leimkuehler Inc. - Cleveland, Lyndhurst, N. Royalton Leotek Toy Resource Center 2017

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Leslie Leventhal Occupational Therapy 440-749-1576

Make Believe

Leslie, Carol, OT/L, CHT, CWC

Malachi House

Li-Conrad, Jane, Dr. Remedy Jane

Mandel Jewish Community Center of Cleveland

Liberty Day Centers

Mane Stride

Library2You library2you.aspx

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

Lieberman, Karen 440-263-3719

Marcotty, Andreas, MD 216-831-0120

Life Style Mobility and Medical Supply 877-350-2755, 440-975-1931

Marion Huber Learning Through Listening Awards Scholarship

LifeAct Lifeworks-Monarch contact-us-2 Lincare Lincoln Heritage Linden Behavioral Pediatrics Lock, Joseph, MD Lorain County Board of Developmental Disabilities Lorraine Surgical Supply Lose the Training Wheels Lovenger, Mark, Ph.D. Loving Hands Group Lutheran Special Education Ministries (LSEM) M. C. Mobility System Inc. Magnolia Clubhouse Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities 2017

Martin, Beth Anne, Ph.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=1998 Martin, Michelle, Ed.S Michelle Martin, ED.S., is the Founder and Director of Insight Learning & Wellness Center. A licensed school psychologist of 30 years, she specializes in the evaluation and treatment of learning, developmental, emotional, gifted and attention disorders. She is also a Therapeutic Martial Arts Instructor. Call 216-765-4470 or visit Martin, Norma 440-933-0657 Masonic Learning Center - Cleveland

McDonnel, John, DDS 216-521-2424 McFadden Bushnell McFadden Bushnell, a small law firm lead by two sisters who understand the value of family, focuses on special needs, elder law and estate planning services. Let the firm’s family help you and your family plan for your future, whatever your circumstances happen to be. McIntyre, Alice, MD staff_display.aspx?doctorid=8473 Meadows, Leslie, MA, MT-BC, NMT 330-421-3644 Medbill Advantage Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities The mission of the Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities is to promote and empower individuals with developmental disabilities to live, learn, work and socialize as citizens in their community. Medina Creative Housing Medina Metropolitan Housing Authority MedWish

Matthew’s Lending Library

Meehan, Melissa A., SLP 216-521-4408

Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio

Mennes, Mary Hall, MD hall-mennes-mary-15513

Mayer - Johnson Your Special Education Super Source Mayfield Adapted Recreation MC Mobility Systems Inc. McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., LPA McCrone, Vicki - Stella Productions McDonald Hopkins

Menorah Park Home Health Services Mental Health Advocacy Coalition Mercy Rehabilitation Center pediatric.aspx Mercy Rehabilitation Services Outpatient Therapy pediatric.aspx MetroHealth - Comprehensive Care Program programs-and-services


Michael Carter Financial Group

Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation

Michael Yasick ADHD Scholarship

Murtis Taylor Human Services System

Michelle Star Yoga & Healing Arts

Muscular Dystrophy Association

Michigan State University (MSU) Community Music School (CMS)

Music & Memory

Middleburg Early Education Center Milestones Autism Resources Milestones provides teen/adult services to help its 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 216-408-6227 Miller’s Health Care Products for Independence Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Youngstown Mind/Body Occupational Therapy LLC Minda S. Rudnick & Associates 216-464-7654 Minority Behavioral Health Group 330-374-1199 Mira Flex

Music Settlement Music Therapy Enrichment Center Over 15 years of the highest quality traditional, adapted, and pre-music lessons, individual and group music therapy, and early childhood music classes. MTEC makes music accessible to all ages and abilities. Open Monday through Saturday. Contact for your FREE evaluation at 440-250-0091 or Musical Fingers

Natowicz, Marvin, MD, Ph.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=4098 Nature’s Bin NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship - AAPD NE Ohio Parent Mentors Neides, Daniel, MD staff_display?doctorid=2148 Neighborhood Solutions Inc. Neighboring Mental Health Services neighboring-mental-health-services New Avenues to Independence Inc. New Hope Specialized Services

Musical Theater Project - Kids Love Musicals!

Newman, Craig, Ph.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=1582

MyChild at Cerebral Palsy Organization

Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper LLC

Naduvil Valappil, Ahsan Moosa, MD staff_display?doctorid=18141

Nord Center

NAMI Geauga Nami Greater Cleveland National Autism Association Helping Hand Program

North Coast Community Homes North Coast Education Center North Coast Orthotics and Prosthetics 440-233-4314 North Coast Tutoring Services

Miracle-Ear of Cleveland, Elyria, Mentor, Middleburg Hts., N. Olmsted, Richmond Hts., Strongsville

National Autism Association of Southeast Ohio

North Shore Residential Services Inc.

MLF Speech Therapy

National Braille Association

Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare 330-467-7131

Model Spinal Cord Injury Care

National Children’s Cancer Society (NCSC) Beyond the Cure Scholarship Program

Northcoast Corn Creations

Monarch Center for Autism Montefiore Morgan’s Wonderland/Inspiration Island Motorcars Mobility


National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities National Multiple Sclerosis Society Ohio Buckeye Chapter National Stuttering Association - Akron Chapter, Cleveland Chapter

Northeast Ohio Food Allergy Network Northern Ohio Branch of International Dyslexia Assoc. Notre Dame College Disability Services academic-support-center 2017

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Novak, William J., MD

Options for College Success

Partners with Paws

O’Flynn, Paddy

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

Pastoral Counseling Service

O’Halloran, Lisa, OT 440-777-2339

Organization for Autism Research

Oakleaf Services - UCP of Greater Cleveland

Ortner, Joshua A., CTFA 440-935-0445

OASIS Program at Mercyhurst North East 1 academic-programs/oasis-program

Our Father’s House 216-514-4849

Ohio Association of the Deaf Ohio Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) special-education/students-with-disabilities/ 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 — Autism Scholarship Program scholarships/autism-scholarship-program Ohio Department of Education — Special Education Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) - Disability Financial Assistance (DFA) program Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council

Our Lady of the Wayside Out of the Box Academy Out of the Box Behavioral Solutions LLC OYO Camp P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship P.E.A.C.E Painesville ABLE Parent Compass - Navigating the DD Field Parent Mentors - Mid Ohio Educational Service Center Parikh, Sumit, MD staff_display?doctorid=5900

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

Peak Potential Therapy Speech and ABA therapy in a transdiciplinary model in any setting in the greater Cleveland/Akron areas. No wait list. Call today to help your child reach their peak potential! 330-405-8776, Pediatric Neuropsychology Center People First PEP Early Childhood Plus Performance Therapy Group 330-721-4597; 330-703-0475 Person Centered Therapies Inc. Personal Leasing Transportation Pete & Carrie Rozelle Award

Park Synagogue - Community Unity Program

Petkovic, Lynette, M.Ed. 440-247-3426

Parliament Tutors

Phase VI Driving School 216-407-4235

Parma ABLE

Pilot Dogs Inc.

Parma Community School

Pink Newborn Services

Ohio Medicaid Waiver Disability Services & Waivers

Parmadale Institute index.html

PLAN of NE Ohio (Jewish Family Service Assn.)

Ohio School for the Deaf

Parmelee & Parmelee LLC

Ohio State University - Nisonger Center

Partners for Community Connections

Playhouse Square Sensory Friendly sensory-friendly-programming Plummer, Joyce A., Esq. 419-798-4030

Ohio Works First (OWF)

Partners in Justice

Polaris Career Center

Olsen Hearing - Bedford, Parma

Partners to Empowerment Wellness Center

Pony Tales Farm

OHIO Family to Family Ohio Guidestone Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled 2017


Portage Path Behavioral Health

Re-Education Services Inc.

Rosen, Carol, MD

Positive Education Program - PEP

REACH Counseling Services - Main Office

Rothner, A. David, MD

Power Study Club 216-780-6377

Reaching New Heights

Royalton Music Center

Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Ohio

Rec2connect - Gemini Center

RTA - Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Precise Speech Language and Learning Inc. 440-937-9772

Recovery International

Ruscel Montessori Children’s House 740-393-1200

Preston’s H.O.P.E. Playground

Recovery Resources

RX Home Health Care Inc.

Prochoroff, Andre, MD physiciandetail.aspx?id=121624

Red Treehouse

S.M.I.L.E. Summer 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. - Valley View

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

RePlay for Kids

Sabrina Cohen Foundation Adaptive Beach

ResCare HomeCare

Saker, Firas, MD

Reserve Psychological Consultants Inc. 330-929-1326

Saltzman, Judith C., Esq.

Rich Center for Autism

Sara Menefee Santoli Attorney

Richardson, Georgann 440-413-2800

SAW Solutions At Work

Right at Home

Schaerfl, Caroline, Ph.D., M.Ed., LSW 216-554-0555

Rise Scholarship

School Psychologist Files

Rising Star Learning Center 440-454-2898

School Specialty Catalog

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

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

SchoolTutoring Academy

Rainbow Camp

RMS of Ohio Inc.

Raizman, Emma, MD

Roizen, Nancy, MD

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

Romaniuk, Michael, Ph.D.

Ravenwood Mental Health Center

Ronald McDonald House

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

Re Bath

Rose-Mary Center

Senior Safe of Ohio

PSI Affiliates Inc. Psycare Inc. Psych & Psych Services Psycho-Diagnostic Clinic 330-643-2333 Psychological & Behavioral Consultants Psychololgy Today Pure Health Inc. QBS, Inc. - Quality Behavioral Solutions to Complex Behavior Problems Quantum Leap - Linking Employment, Abilities & Potential (LEAP) Radhakrishnan, Kadakkal, MD staff_display.aspx?doctorid=7332


Schreiber, Allison, MS. CGC Scotese-Wojtila, Lynette Senders Pediatrics 2017

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Senokozlieff, Heidi, DO 330-721-5700

Smarty Pants Tutoring

7Special Olympics Ohio

Sensory Goods

Smith Peters & Kalail Co., LPA

Services for Independent Living

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

Special Olympics Young Athletes vvdodzpsdvd

Shabab, Wadie, MD staff_display.aspx?doctorid=13651 Shaker Heights School District Parent Mentor Share-A-Vision Shared Adventures Shealy, Amy, MS, CGC subspecialties/pediatric-genetics Shelter Care Shine Ohio AKA Hydrocephalus Support Group 440-888-2454 Shine with Frannie Shrub Oak International School Shul, The Siggy’s Village A new and upcoming vocational rehabilitation site that will provide meaningful activities for individuals with disabilities. The activities will include grocery store management, gardening, bee hive cultivation and more. Subscribe to our website to stay informed on our progress and see how you can become involved! 216-370-3250, Signature Health Inc. Signing with a Bass Silver Lining Group Simon, Barry, DO Sky Zone - Boston Hts., Canton, Highland Hts., Westlake SkyLight Special Needs Planning special-needs-planning Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Scholarships - Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Awards 2017

Special Stars of the North Coast 440-770-6227

Smith, Marissa, MS 216-636-1768

Smugglers’ Notch Resort


SOAR! 440-327-6454

Spectrum Psychological Associates Inc.

Sobisch, Laurie, MS 216-991-7463

Spectrum Resource Center & School

Social Security - SSI Program 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

Speech Matters LLC Speech Spot Speech Therapy - Courtney McMullen 773-960-4923 Speer, Leslie, Ph.D. staff_display.aspx?doctorid=14634 Spitznagel, Katherine A., MA, CCC-SLP 440-439-1600 Splore - Adaptive Adventures in Utah Sports ‘n Spokes Spring Break Camp St. Jude School St. Malachi Center St. Rita School for the Deaf Stand Up for Downs

Spec Edu Konnections LLC 330-332-2860

Star Therapy and Sales Corp.

Special Books Project

Starfish Academy

Special Child

STARFISH Advocacy Association

Special Kids Inc.

Stark & Knoll Co., LPA

Special Navigator for Families with Special Needs

Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Special Olympics Michigan Project UNIFY

Stark County Transportation


Starting Point

Summit Psychological Associates Inc.

State Support Team 2 - Northern Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center - Elyria

SuperMoms Association

State Support Team 3 - Cuyahoga Special Education Resource/Service Center State Support Team 4 State Support Team 5 - Northeast Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center - Niles State Support Team 8 Steel Academy Stefanac, Kristina, MD Step By Step Stepping Stones Mental Health Educational Consulting Steps Academy Inc. STEPS Center for Excellence in Autism Stonewood Residential Inc. 216-267-9777 Suburban School Transportation Summer Friends & Fun Social Skills Camps Esprit Speech & Language 440-227-8664 Summer Programs at Lawrence Lower School Summit Academy Summit Consumer Peer Support Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board The Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) is the community resource that connects people with developmental disabilities to the services and supports they count on to live their lives to the fullest. The levy-funded agency connects more than 4,700 children and adults to supports that empower them to achieve success and contribute to their community.


Sylvan Learning Center TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) Tangen, Rachel, Ph.D. tangen-rachel-13519-11 Tarry House Inc. Taylor, H. Gerry, Ph.D. taylor-hudson-1359

Total Education Solutions Total Education Solutions provides innovative, quality educational services to individuals with exceptional needs. Throughout California, Michigan, and Ohio, it partners with charter schools, non-public schools, school districts, regional centers, and county offices of education; own and operate clinics; and provide therapy services online. Visit or call 877-TES-IDEA. Tourette Syndrome Association of Ohio Townsend Learning Centers Tree of Knowledge Learning Centers Inc. TRIAD Deaf Services Inc.

Taylor, Katherine E. 330-338-4526

Triad Residential Solutions

Teach Toileting

Trinity Special Olympics Ice Skating Training Program 216-529-4400

Temple Am Shalom Temple-Tifereth Israel Ten Lakes Center’s Generations Program Tesar, George, MD staff_display.aspx?doctorid=1097 The Up Side of Downs Therapeutic Horsemanship Program Achievement Centers for Children therapeutic-riding.html Thew Centers Early Learning Centers Think Computer Foundation Thomas, Mary Ann - Attorney at law Thomashilfen North America Timocco Tomoff, Karen M., LPCC, LICDC 440-544-6988

Trumbull Career and Technical Center Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board Tupos Therapy Turning Point Counseling Services Inc. Tutoring Center Tuxhorn, Ingrid, MD Twinsburg Parks and Recreation Department Two Foundation U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland UCP of Greater Cleveland LeafBridge, A Center of Excellence at UCP of Greater Cleveland, offers services that foster the physical, mental and emotional development of children with disabilities through individualized, multidisciplined pediatric therapy, including physical, occupational and speech-language therapy, as well as specialized intensive therapy. Extended school year therapy and summer camp also are available. 216-791-8363, 2017

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit

United Disability Services United Disability Services is a social service, not-forprofit agency that has been meeting the social, vocational, community living, low vision, education, and transportation needs of people with disabilities since 1949. UDS enhances the quality of life for people with disabilities and their caregivers by providing the highest quality, client-focused programs and services. For more information, call 330-762-9755 or visit United Health Care Children’s Foundation United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation United Way First Call for Help University Heights Dental - Dina Fixler


Westlake ABLE

ViaQuest Behavioral Health

Westminster Technologies Inc.

Victory Gallop

Wexberg, Steven S., MD staff_display?doctorid=4837

Viguera, Adele, MD staff_display.aspx?doctorid=8194 Village Network

Wilhite, Myrita

Vision Development Team

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

Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio Vista Hearing Centers - Ashtabula, Geauga, Mansfield, Mentor, Parma Heights, Sandusky

Universal Low Vision Aids

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

University Hospital Discovery & Wellness Center

Vizzle - Monarch’s Teaching Technologies

University Hospitals Center For Comprehensive Care University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Child Development; Rainbow Autism Diagnostic (RAD) Center pediatric-developmental-behavioral-fellowship

Whole Kid

Vocational Guidance Services Vocational Services Unlimited VSA Ohio the State Organization on Arts & Disabilities

Willing Hands Inc. Wimbiscus, Molly, MD staff_display.aspx?doctorid=16301 Windfall Industries Windsor Heights zip_44122/jea_senior_living/9197 Windsor Laurelwood Center for Behavioral Medicine - Beachwood, Willoughby about.html Windt im Wald Farm

W.A.G.S. 4 Kids

Winfield, Anna, MD

Walinsky, Jennifer, Ph.D.

Winter Park Resort

Walled Lake Consolidated Schools Transition Program post-secondary-transition-program

Wiznitzer, Max, MD

Wearable Health Help - My MD Band

Wyant Woods Care Center 330-836-7953

Weaver Industries

Yoga Reach

Valley Counseling Services

Weekend Respite Camp for Children and Adults with Disabilities weekend-respite-camp.html

Young Athletes of Cleveland

Valley Riding Therapeutic Riding Program

Welcome House

Van Keuls, Nancy, MD staff_display?doctorid=2143

Western Reserve Counseling

Veneziano Law Firm

Western Reserve Speech and Language Partners

Unschool Camp Up Side of Downs The Up Side of Downs of Northeast Ohio provides support, education and advocacy for individuals with Down syndrome, their families and communities. USOD assists over 900 families in 16 counties in Northeast Ohio with a variety of programs and services. To learn more, visit or call 216-447-8763. Ursuline ArtSpace 2017

Wrights Law

Young Rembrandts Greater Cleveland- West Youth Challenge Zane’s Foundation Zurcher, Vickie, MD 216-636-1768



Parenting After Graduation

 One family shares lessons about life after high school with their two sons By Angela Gartner


eslie Vecchio and her husband Dominic have been working with both of their younger sons, 23-year-old twins Kenneth and Douglas, to find long-term employment, get them involved in the community and also to become more independent. The transition process hasn’t always been easy for the two boys, who both have developmental delays. She provides a little insight into how parents handle the “after high school life.” The Vecchios began the process while the boys were still at Brush High School in Lyndhurst by working with the vocational guidance office. Vecchio advises parents to be diligent and stay on top of school officials. Ask questions about what options are available when they graduate. Also, begin planning in junior high school for your child’s future. “You have to start thinking early,” she says. “We started in the 10th and 11th grades, but I would start sooner. Do it while they are still in school to get the resources that are there. Go to the meetings and don’t just sit back and wait. You have to be an advocate for your child. You have to guide (the services) you are asking for your child.” After the boys graduated in 2012, the Vecchios struggled searching for help and opportunities. “It was like a fish out of water,” she says. “You really need to get hooked up with the resources out there before they are obsolete.” She has been prepping her sons for adult life by having them take respon-


Kenneth (left) and Douglas in their 12th grade graduation photos.

sibility for common household duties such as being in charge of their own finances and making meals. To help the boys find employment, the Vecchios went online to see what’s out there and who’s hiring. “I would like to see them employed in what they are interested in,” she says. Currently, Douglas attends Lakeland Community College and hopes to get a job in the medical field; Vecchio says it’s something he’s wanted to do since he was little. After a long job search, Kenneth recently was hired for a full-time machining job. He also has been working part-time at Heinen’s. He attended Auburn Career Center in Painesville Township.

“It’s frustrating; they want to be like everyone else,” Vecchio says about the boys finding the right employment to fit their needs and interests. “It (was) stressful on the family. They want to have jobs, have an apartment and contribute to society.” She advises parents to be supportive of their children while they begin their adult life — this includes listening to what they feel, knowing what they can handle and then letting them guide you. You don’t want to keep leading them, you want them to be able to function as an adult and make their own decisions,” Vecchio says. “(To let go of that parental control,) you have to take a backseat.” 2017

“Legal Services with a Social Worker’s Touch” Estate Planning for individuals with disabilities and their families

Elder Law • Estate Planning Probate Administration Medicaid Planning and Applications Sandra J. Buzney, LISW, JD Jeffrey Braverman, Paralegal, Pamela G. Richards, Paralegal

216.283.0905 Conveniently located in Shaker Heights

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