LiveSpecial 2015 Northeast Ohio Edition

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— 2015 Northeast Ohio Edition —


A Resource Guide for Individuals with Special Needs and Their Families





Help caring for a loved one with special needs

HARD AT WORK Find and Keep a Job



Brought to you by ®


900+ Providers and Services to Enhance Your Care Plan

Nationally ranked in all 10 specialties. The only Northeast Ohio children’s hospital ranked in every specialty.

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DEPARTMENTS AUTISM 10 Helping Children with Autism

2015 Edition

18 Become Advocates for Autism


6 Worth Noting 7 Apps to Help Get

20 Wandering: A Cause for Concern


HEALTH 32 Bipolar Disorder in Youths

28 Transitioning to Adulthood

44 Camp for Children

34 Leading the Way:

LiveSpecial creators help other families of children with special needs

36 Monica Potter on

“Parenthood” and Calming Oils

with Hearing Loss

50 Memory Help for Aging Loved Ones


PLANNING 30 Funding for the Future


38 Hard at Work:


Find and Keep a Job


40 NCJW’s

Providers and Services pgs 52-65

DigKnitty Helps People with Special Needs

41 A Move Toward Independence

66 No Child is Easy:

Photo by Danny Potter


One mom’s emotions after her son’s diagnosis

Photography by Jules White 2015

46 Grandma and Grandpa Can Help Out

48 Get to Know ABLE Accounts

THERAPIES 8 Steps to Independent Walking 12 Picking Up the Beat Through Music Therapy 14 Speech, Language, Hearing Worries Addressed 16 Create a Happy Place for Music - Tips for a Successful Session EDUCATION 22 A Guide to the Special Education Process

ON THE COVER Alana Gohn, the daughter of Elaine Eisner and Scott Gohn, co-creators of, plays at Preston’s H.O.P.E.


Financial Planning Tips

24 Early Intervention for Learning Differences


26 Ask An Expert: Help say “No” to Bullying





f you have a family member with special needs — or if you yourself are that person — we want you to know this publication is created just for you. No matter the diagnosis — Autism Spectrum, Down Syndrome, learning or physical disabilities, multiple challenges or any challenging condition — this guide provides resources in which to help cope, enhance and enrich lives. You’ll be inspired by our cover story of Alana, whose parents weren’t content to simply provide the best care possible for their daughter with multiple needs. Instead, they co-founded, the star of this magazine, with National Council of Jewish Women/Cleveland. You’ll read about the Picker family, who created a group home for their son with Down Syndrome. You’ll learn about legal considerations necessary; become informed about special housing options; and read about educational resources available. You’ll also be directed to, the website dedicated to listing resources for the needs of any

and all individuals with special needs. is an online directory of more than 900 community resources including medical personnel, therapists, rehabilitative services, respite care, camps, special needs products and so much more. The website offers a simple, one-click access to each resource. The site is searchable by diagnosis, resource and location, with easily-navigable maps and links. Families also can connect with others who are experiencing similar needs through the LiveSpecial Facebook page. From Alibikids in Brunswick to the Zanes Foundation in Stow — and everything in between — you’ll learn there’s a place for your loved one to feel safe, secure and successful, and that there is a process in which individuals with special needs can be cared for throughout their lives. This magazine is called Guide for a good reason — because it’s special and it’s created especially for you!



ortheast Ohio Parent is thrilled to be partnering with NCJW/Cleveland to bring you the first edition of - the resource guide for families who care for individuals with special needs. We feel this publication is a wonderful extension of our core brand and allows us to cover the special needs comunity in a much deeper way than our monthly magazine can address. NCJW is a wonderful partner for us as they provided the LiveSpe-

4 resource and their vast network of families, providers and colleagues. These heros are the ones in the trenches each day with families in our area who strive to enhance the quality of life of individuals with special needs. We salute all of you, along with those individuals with special needs. We encourage you to look to as a resource to guide and educate you in your journey. 2015





26055 Emery Road Warrensville Heights, OH 44128 PRESIDENT Linda Barnett EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Mindi Axner 216-378-2204 ext. 103 VP COMMUNICATIONS Leslie Resnik LIVESPECIAL COORDINATOR Wendy Spitz 216-509-5015 LIVESPECIAL ADVISORS Elaine Eisner Cindy Glazer

PUBLISHER Brad Mitchell EDITOR Angela Gartner MANAGING EDITOR Denise Koeth ART DIRECTOR Laura Chadwick CONTRIBUTORS Kristen Gough, Marie Elium, Raven Gayheart, Ronna S. Kaplan, Kitrael Chin, Susan C. Stone, Jason Culp, Lannie Davis, Allison Frazier, Elaine Eisner, Dr. John Hertzer, Leslie Resnik, Laurie G. Steiner, Katherine Wensink, Janet Lowder, Ruchi Koval LiveSpecial Resource Guide is published by Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine and Mitchell Media LLC PO Box 1088 Hudson OH 44236 330-822-4011​ Copyright 2015 by NCJW/Cleveland and Northeast Ohio Parent 2015

Just a Click Away

Website provides local resources for children and adults with special needs


amilies of children or adults with special needs in Northeast Ohio have a comprehensive website that identifies and defines resources to help them through their unique challenges. Founded in 2013, LiveSpecial. com is an online directory of more than 900 local resources of medical personnel, therapists, rehabilitative services, respite care, camps, special needs products and so much more. The Facebook page connected to the site offers articles, notices of local events, and other helpful resources. The website, which provides links to each resource with simply one click, is searchable by diagnosis, by category, and by location with easily-navigable maps and links. “The website provides countless Northeast Ohio families the opportunity to find services that they may never have known existed — all in one place,” says Dr. Steven Wexberg, a general pediatrician at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s Beachwood Family Health Center. “As a physician, it gives me a valuable resource to share with my patients and their families.” is the outcome of two years of exhaustive research by NCJW/Cleveland volunteers.

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



Play Around

In Northeast Ohio, there are playgrounds for children with special needs. PRESTON’S H.O.P.E. he playground for children with all levels of abilities and disabilities is located on the property of the Mandel Jewish Community Center (26001 S. Woodland) in Beachwood. The playground was inspired by Preston Fisher, who had been diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy and died in 2008. His mother, Jackie, and Stacie Halpern, co-chair of the playground, helped to design and manage the 60,000-square-foot outdoor play facility. The playground, which has opened for its ninth season, has a new addition — a turf surface that helps those in wheelchairs get around easily. “This is the only place where families, especially those with both abled children and those with special needs, can go as a Photo by Jules White family together,” Halpern says. “There are activities for everyone to do — to just play and become friends.” Preston’s H.O.P.E. is an all-donation and volunteer organization. The park is open year-round, weather permitting. Donations may be made online at or sent to P.O. Box 510, Chagrin Falls, OH 44022-0510.


HOLLSTEIN RESERVATION or those on the west side of Northeast Ohio, the Hollstein Reservation inclusive playground, located at 47160 Hollstein Drive in Amherst (behind the Mercy Health and Recreation Center), has structured play for all ages and abilities. Opened in 2013, the park’s concept and design were part of a collaboration between parents who have children with disabilities and Lorain County Metro Park staff. The park features swings that accommodate people in wheelchairs; a stocked pond, where children of all abilities can fish; and a village of four tent structures that provides unique sensory experiences for children. The park also has a water play area. Daily admission is $2. Members are free. Visit for more information.



Mother and Son Co-Author Book About Asperger Journey by Sandy Petrovic


erely 10 years ago, my son’s achievements and opportunities were inconceivable to me. David Petrovic is a Notre Dame College senior who is majoring in middle childhood education with a concentration in language arts and social studies. Dave performs in many choir and theater venues, is an active public speaker, and is on track to graduate cum laude in 2015. He received the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2010 and is currently in the Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society. David is challenged by differences imposed by his Autism Spectrum Disorder. He had to embrace assistance, persevere, and battle obstacles: stereotypes, loneliness, bullies, misunderstanding, and both social and academic challenges. Seeking to improve the world’s understanding of Asperger’s and offer hope and inspiration, David and I co-authored Expect a Miracle: A Mother/Son Asperger Journey of Determination and Triumph. intended for every audience, professionals included. Visit, for more information about us and links to purchase our book.

Ohio Department of Education Resources for Special Needs

The Ohio Department of Education has an array of resources for parents looking to learn about special education requirements for their children, from a glossary of terms to procedures, assessment information and support. Visit

6 2015


Apps to Help Kids with Special Needs


Get Connected

mart devices have become helpful in breaking down the communication barriers for children with developmental disabilities. From improving social, reading and math skills to enhancing fine motor function, the possibilities are endless. There are hundreds of available apps specifically developed for

children with special needs. Searching the app store on your tablet or phone can be overwhelming, but there are great resources readily available.,, and all help caregivers identify helpful apps. Here are some suggestions to consider.

1 Autism Apps

FREE - iTunes for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch Autism Apps is a comprehensive list of several apps developed for early learners with special needs and for parents, therapists and teachers of children with special needs. It allows users to search for apps by more than 30 categories, such as behavior and social skills, creative play, self­care and sensory. Each app listed is linked to extensive reviews written by parents, specialists and other users, and includes video demonstrations or video reviews.

2 Model Me Going


Places 2

FREE - iTunes for the iPad Model Me Going Places 2 is a great visual teaching tool to help children learn to navigate challenging scenarios they will inevitably encounter. Getting a haircut, going to the doctor and playing with others at a playground can cause anxiety for kids with special needs. This app shows children the appropriate behavior for each location through a slideshow.


ing, Bugs and Buttons is a great educational tool disguised as games. Children count colorful buttons, solve bug mazes, and recognize and practice writing letters in 18 educational mini­games.

5 Gabby Tabs

$3.99 - Android and Google Play Gabby Tabs is an augmentative communication app developed by parents of a child with autism who is non­verbal. It helps and encourages children to communicate at home, in school and on the go. Gabby Tabs offers three customizable tabs, or categories, of things to talk about. Each tab holds six customizable buttons that play verbal messages. Five customizable key words are 3 available to the user at all times. Parents can record their own voice or sounds into the app, which fea7 tures kid­-friendly colors and images.


6 5

3 Singing Fingers

$0.99 - iTunes for iPad The Singing Fingers app lets children fingerpaint with sound. Children can draw on the screen with their fingers while making sound with their mouths, instruments, objects, etc. Colorful paint, based on the sound created, appears on the screen. When the drawing is touched or retraced with a finger, the sound is played back. This easy­to­uch app has no complex buttons, menus or rules and allows children with special needs to express themselves through music while using their imagination and fine motor skills.

4 Bugs and Buttons

by Raven Gayheart

$2.99 - iTunes for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch The Bugs and Buttons app is a vibrant world filled with adventure that encourages children to learn and play. Honing early learning skills including counting, fine motor skills, path finding, patterns and sort-

6 Sounds at Home

$6.99 - iTunes for the iPad Sounds at Home is an app for children to practice auditory and phonemic awareness. The animated Mama Bear welcomes children to her home, where they experience three different rooms, including numerous levels of play. Children practice identifying the source of familiar household sounds while following simple directions, two­step and temporal instructions.

7 Choiceworks

$6.99 - iTunes for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch The Choiceworks app is designed for caregivers to help provide clear and consistent support for children with special needs. The app helps nurture a child’s independence, positive behavior and emotional regulation. Choiceworks consists of three boards, the Schedule Board, Waiting Board and Feelings Board. The Feelings Board helps children verbalize their emotions by choosing an image that explains how they feel. Once the emotion is identified, the child then selects a coping strategy and an activity to make her feel better.


Steps to Walking

Program helps siblings improve strength and mobility in their legs. by Intesar Taye, OTR/L, Director of Children’s Services


armen and Nathaniel are siblings. Seven-yearold Carmen is a natural leader with a determined and energetic spirit. She enjoys baking, dressing up and being able to “play therapist” for her brother by holding toys out for him to grab and encouraging him to keep up. Nathaniel, 4, is a fun-loving boy who loves Matchbox cars, puzzles and basketball. Nathaniel and Carmen receive services through United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland’s Steps to Independence program. These siblings started the program after having major surgery to decrease spasticity in their legs and gain more independence in moving from place to place and walking. Working as a team together and with therapists, they have improved core strength, are taking longer steps with their walkers and are transitioning from sitting to standing with minimal assistance. The therapists look at the siblings’ individual personalities, as well as their relationship, to use it as part of their treatment. This cooperation and special bond have been important parts of their progress. Their progress has been impressive and the hope is both children will be walking independently within the next year. One of the top ranking con-


Using a LiteGait to build muscle strength for walking.

cerns among families of children with disabilities is identifying effective therapies to improve their children’s functional abilities, healthy development and quality of life. Multi-disciplined therapy can transform the lives of children by focusing on building specific age-appropriate developmental skills, such as walking, sitting unassisted or controlling hand movements. Intensive multi-disciplined therapy, such as the Steps to Independence program developed by UCP of Greater Cleveland in 2001, allows for physical, occupational and speech/language

therapists to work together to develop individualized goals for each child. Therapy plans are carefully targeted to make improvements in a child’s abilities in areas that will have the most impact on age-appropriate developmental tasks and interactions. This type of therapy is extremely intensive; children are seen for a period of three to four weeks, three to five days a week, two to three hours a day. Children work much like an athlete in training, participating in warm-up, strengthening and functional activities. In order to promote clients’ improvement, therapists use many different types of equipment and modalities to design treatment programs, including the Universal Exercise Unit, the TheraSuitTM, Pilates techniques and equipment, pediatric neuromuscular electric stimulation, aqua therapy, serial casting, Kinesio taping, massotherapy and craniosacral therapy, among others. These types of therapy models can be extremely successful in challenging children to meet developmental milestones and in post surgery recovery. Nathaniel and Carmen are great examples of how intensive therapy can benefit post surgery recovery. To find out more about the children’s therapy services at UCP of Greater Cleveland, please call 216-791-8363 or visit 2015

Children’s Therapy Services

UCP of Greater Cleveland offers individualized therapy services to children with a wide variety of disabilities

• Physical Therapy • Occupational Therapy • Speech/ Language Therapy • Assistive Technology • “Steps to Independence” Intensive Therapy

NOW SCHEDULING FOR ALL PROGRAMS Please call the Children’s Services Department at 216-791-8363 ext. 1250 or email 2015

of Greater Cleveland Building Brighter Futures






ll families of a child with autism must make decisions about how that child will receive treatment and grow through the years. While each child has different needs, there are some options that benefit everyone, from the early stages to near adulthood. INTENSIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY Once a young child has been diagnosed with autism, the best treatment option is to begin a program of intensive behavior therapy as soon as possible. This therapy typically consists of spending 20 to 30 hours a week with therapists who help the child learn to be more socially responsive and develop better language skills. They help the child replace the interfering, repetitive behaviors often seen in autism, such as flap-


ping hands or spinning in circles, with more appropriate ones, such as responding to people and playing independently. During therapy, the child is prompted to engage in these behaviors, either physically or through gestures, and once they do, even a little, the behaviors are reinforced by giving the child the things they like. “The results can be very dramatic,” says Dr. Thomas Frazier II, director of Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism. “Some children make advances in as little as a few weeks. Others may need a few months to show gains, but we do see improvement in almost all children. Children with autism who participate in intensive therapy have been shown to gain 12 to 15 points in their IQ over a two-

year period, while those who do not have early intensive therapy, or who receive no therapy, will only see a growth of about 3 to 5 IQ points in that timeframe.” For patients who do not have the time, money or access to an intensive behavioral therapy program, Cleveland Clinic Children’s recently developed a program of less-intensive therapy, which involves a few hours a week of behavior therapy with the child and trains parents on how to provide behavior therapy at home. “This program has just started, but it is already starting to yield some good results,” Frazier says. “Parents are learning how to prompt and reinforce appropriate behavior and the kids are showing nice improvements in communication.” 2015

PREPARING FOR ADULTHOOD TAKES TIME Planning to help a child with autism make the transition into adulthood is a lengthy process. Ideally, it should begin in early adolescence, as the child’s interests and abilities start to emerge. “Many children with autism are dependent on their families and caregivers, but our goal is to help them eventually learn to live and work as independently as possible in adulthood,” says Frazier. For many, holding a job can be a challenge, as they struggle to read social cues. Individuals with autism can encounter conflict with others and be uncertain regarding how to deal with it. The work environment can be baffling to them, as any small change in their routine or structure can be very difficult to handle. For higher-functioning children with autism, the transition to adulthood should focus on identifying their capabilities and interests, and then finding ways for them to use those skills, says Frazier. Often this involves pairing them with a job coach in an internship or other training situation, where they can be supported as they learn to navigate the social environment, as well as how to do the job. Then, they can be moved gradually into a more independent role. For children who are lower-functioning, the focus is more on training them how to perform specific tasks using behavior therapy to master the skills, and placing them in an environment in which a highly supportive boss or mentor can help them transition to the job and avoid unproductive behaviors that can lead to them being fired. Both groups need help mastering “soft skills,” such as how to communicate their wants and needs with supervisors or resolve conflicts with co-workers. 2015

A physician who specializes in autism services can help your family determine the best path to get your child the care they need as they grow. To learn more about the services offered at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism or to schedule an evaluation for your child, call 216-448-6440 or visit Cleveland Clinic Dr. Thomas Frazier II offers same-day appointments.

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Picking Up the Beat

in Communication Through Music by Ronna S. Kaplan, MA, MT-BC, Forest City Enterprises Chair Center for Music Therapy, The Music Settlement


illiam, now 22, began music therapy at age 4. His parents hoped music would prove to be a good medium for improved language. Like many others with autism, William was observed to respond positively to music, demonstrating a particularly strong sensitivity to the elements of melody, rhythm, and sung speech. He initially rarely spoke but was heard humming new and familiar tunes. William’s early music therapy plan focused on initiating eye contact when someone called his name, increasing speaking or signing, and accurately following one-step directions. He chose instruments and songs via pictures and often enjoyed the multi-sensory experiences of rolling on top of


the djun djun drum or lying inside it and feeling the beat played upon it. William’s music therapy includes a “home program.” First, the music therapist coached his father to use instruments with him, modeling and intervening as necessary. William’s home program now consists of baritone and piano practice. Using music successfully as a reinforcer and a medium through which to teach him new skills, communication continued to increase, with more frequent and longer sentences, more complex directions being followed, and more advanced and varied instrument play. William progressed from playing instruments with color- or letter-coding to using both hands (and feet on drums), isolating correct fingers, and reading traditional music notation. He participated in his high school band and now takes private baritone lessons, having performed in numerous concerts and recitals. Socially, he has learned to take turns, look at people when speaking to them, limit his repetitive speech, greet others and converse. Music therapy and adapted musical theatre groups brought opportunities to use his

social, communicative, cognitive, motor, and musical skills to the max. William participates in music therapy in a community music school. Through music therapy experiences and the many social and educational opportunities inherent within that structure, William has developed meaningful, lifelong leisure skills. Music therapy in a community music school exudes variety, serving individuals of a multitude of ages and functioning levels. William started music therapy in preschool and continues to benefit as a young adult. Music therapists may provide additional training to better equip other faculty to address unique challenges. Becoming more observant and responsive to differential learning styles help faculty become better teachers. Parents get something out of the music therapy experience, too. A mother of another longstanding client at The Music Settlement states, parents “get the privilege of interacting with other parents, being supportive of each other, because our children have like needs.” Another parent, Chuck Mintz, sums up the experience: “It’s not so much that Isaac (his son) is going to be a brilliant musician after 20 years of (music therapy) lessons. It’s that he’s a better musician and a better person…Isaac likes music enough that he does things that are difficult for him, like social things. The group puts him into a situation where he has to try and use these new skills. Music brings him to a place that he’d never be at otherwise.” 2015

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Center for Music Therapy

The Music Settlement is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

Our pioneering Center for Music Therapy was established in 1966 to positively impact the lives of children and adults facing a wide range of life’s challenges. The Music Settlement offers Music Therapy for individuals and groups at our University Circle campus, the Solon Center for the Arts, and the BOP STOP, as well as at outreach partner organizations around Greater Cleveland. For more information about becoming a client, or to learn more about providing Music Therapy services at your organization, please call us at 216-421-5806 xt. 140.

Begin your musical journey: Call today! (216) 421-5806 xt. 140 2015



Worries about

Speech, Language, Hearing

Can Be Addressed


peech and language abilities are the basis for all learning. Early detection and intervention with speech and language issues has been shown to improve communication skills before reading and/or behavioral problems arise. SPEECH AND LANGUAGE FOR ADULTS AND CHILDREN Here are some common communication issues seen in pediatric or adult patients from the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center (CHSC). Pediatric • Apraxia of speech • Articulation or phonological disorder • Dysarthria (slurred speech) • Language delay or disorder • Language-learning disabilities (language-based reading and writing differences) • Nonverbal communication needs (augmentative/alternative devices) • Social skills impairments • Speech, language or reading difficulties associated with deafness or hearing loss • Voice or resonance disorders (including those common with cleft palate)


Adults • Aphasia (language disorders acquired following a stroke) • Apraxia or dysarthria (speech disorders acquired following a stroke) • Deafness or hearing loss affecting speech production • Fluency disorder (stuttering) • Nonverbal communication needs (augmentative/alternative devices) • Voice disorders 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) For individuals who are unable to communicate verbally, the center can assess their abilities for various augmentative-alternative communication devices (also called speech-generating devices). The speech-language pathologists can complete a language-learning evaluation for older children who may have language-based learning disabilities.

AUDIOLOGY CARE At birth, every baby born in Ohio receives a hearing evaluation. An infant whose test results show hearing issues is referred to the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Regional Infant Hearing Program (RIHP), which is funded by the Ohio Department of Health. The program is a family-focused outreach service for infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing. All intervention services are provided at no cost to families. RIHP’s goal is to make sure that families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing receive complete information and the help they need to understand their child’s hearing loss. Children learn the language by listening to others around them. If what they hear is distorted — or if they cannot hear 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 screening or test. The center also offers audiology care for children and adults. Services offered include hearing screening, diagnostic hearing testing and the fitting of hearing aids and assistive listening devices. 2015

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 an appointment. SERVICES FOR THE DEAF COMMUNITY AND CLIENTS WHO HAVE HEARING LOSS Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center serves members of the deaf community — the majority of whom use English as a second language — using their preferred communication mode, including American Sign Language (ASL), which is delivered in many different forms. Depending on their given educational program as children, the communication mode that was selected by their family is set for life. Here are some services provided to

the deaf community, those who have hearing loss and their families: • 24-hour ASL interpreting services • ASL instruction • Neuropsychological assessment for ages 6-21 who are deaf, have hearing loss or have normal hearing. • Advocacy and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) consultation

COMMUNITY FUND MANAGEMENT FOUNDATION Trust accounts for Ohioans with Disabilities

Plan today for a brighter tomorrow! Trust accounts help individuals with disabilities •

Enjoy a better quality of life

Safeguard eligibility for government benefits

Visit Call 216-736-4540 or 513-559-6701 (Southern Ohio) page 1 2015

• Information and referral programs • Participation in training programs designed to enhance independent living skills • Outreach and collaboration development with other county agencies • Educational presentations to public school students through SignStage Program

Thursday, October 09, 2008 12:33 Composite



Create a Happy Place of Music for Your Loved with Special Needs

Tips to help your loved with special needs have a successful therapy session.


and to ease any anxiety your usic has always been an child may have, sing or hum integral part of mankind. with your child, one of the faWhether it comes from vourite songs, and be sure to tell the simple steady beat of clapping the music therapist what hands to the comthey are. plex interweaving of • If your child/teen has melody and harmony unpredictable medical in the modern day or behavioral issues that orchestra, music is as may cause concern such important to human as being prone to seizures, quality of life as air and self-harm or engaging in water. Its power ranges aggressive behavior such from soothing a crying as biting, please let the newborn with a simple music therapist know, for nursery rhyme to movtheir safety and that of ing thousands to sing Kitrael Chin your child. and dance at rock concerts. • M usical Fingers LLC always Music Therapy is the clinical welcomes parents to join in the and evidence-based use of music fun where appropriate or simply and music experiences to facilitate sit and observe. However that the improvement, maintenance may not always be the case with and/or restoration of an indievery music therapist, so please vidual’s physical, cognitive, social, ask if you can sit in. Most of us emotional and spiritual well-being will say, “Yes!” and functioning. • As with most medical or health Music Therapists work with a facilities, germs or bacteria are wide variety of populations ranging a constant threat. Do not be from treating soldiers with PTSD, afraid to ask your therapist if the and helping addicts overcome variinstruments that your child is ous addictions, to helping children handling, such as egg shakers, and teens who have autism or other have been sanitized prior to their developmental disabilities. being handled. When parents or caregivers • The majority of musical instruattend music therapy with their ments are solidly built, however, loved ones with special needs, there destruction of musical equipment are ways to help ensure a positive is always something all music music therapy experience. Kitrael therapists expect and prepare for. Chin, musical therapist and owner Don’t panic if your child smashes of Musical Fingers LLC, provides through a drum head while playsome tips to help the family prepare ing it. It usually means they are for a session: having a lot of fun! • While waiting for the therapist,


• It is normal to sometimes see tears during the first session. The first session is usually exploratory in nature, with the therapist attempting a variety of techniques/strategies to find out what works best for a particular child. With individuals who are non-verbal, it can be quite challenging to figure out what is bothering them. They could be upset by the temperature in the room or by a particular sound being played. Sometimes it can take a few sessions for a child to feel fully comfortable. Always reassure a tearful child that nothing wrong was done, and that it is okay to be upset. Musical Fingers LLC provides to our clients and students all our Music Therapy and Music Education services in the comfort and privacy of their home. Musical Fingers also holds annual Summer Classic Rock and Contemporary Christian Rock Camps. Musical Fingers never wants the joy and power of Music Therapy to be out of reach simply because of funding issues. To that end, Musical Fingers is an Autism Scholarship and Jon Peterson Scholarship Provider as well as a certified Medicaid Waiver Provider through Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Additional funding sources may also be sought through local county developmental disabilities boards. Please visit our website at for more information or call 330-554-4140 to request a complimentary session. 2015

Faith Hope Love Music

Musical, Vocal Instruction & Music Therapy for All Ages

A unique Music Instruction & Special Needs Music Therapy program proudly serving N.E. Ohio since 2000.

Before you select someone else for your child’s musical or therapeutic needs, consider this: • Musical Fingers, LLC is NOT and REFUSES to be your typical run-of-the mill program. Musical Fingers staff comprises of Board-Certified Music Therapists and all professional services are provided in the comfort, privacy and security of your own home. • For individuals with autism or special needs, music is a wonderful, fun medium for transforming DIS-ability into ABIL-ity. We can address a wide range of physical, cognitive, social, language/speech and emotional issues with carefully designed therapeutic interventions that run in lockstep with your child’s IEP or other treatment plans. • Musical Fingers strives to give each and every one of our beloved clients and their families a fistful of FAITH, a dash of LOVE, a bunch of HOPE, tons of LAUGHTER and a lifelong love of MUSIC! • We offer AWESOME local Summer Classic Rock and Contemporary Christian Rock Camps and special needs kids and teens are especially welcome! • We are a proud Ohio Department of Education Autism Scholarship/Jon Peterson Scholarship Provider and Medicaid Waiver Provider. For more information, or to request a complimentary visit: WWW.MUSICALFINGERS.ORG Call: (330) 554-4140 Email: 2015


Become Advocates for Autism


he months leading up to parenthood are filled with daydreams of what joy and happiness an addition to the family will bring. Very few imagine a life filled with confusion over how to best help your child, intensive therapy, and worry over the expense of providing for needs. However, that is the reality for some parents who have been told, “Your child has Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Those words are now heard by parents of one in 68 children. Parents who have kids on the spectrum learn more about autism every single day, but for their friends and other loved ones, it can be confusing. Here are some pointers on how to interact with someone who is on the autism spectrum from Milestones Autism Resources, a Beachwood-based organization that works to improve the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum by educating, coaching and connecting the autism community with evidencebased information. • Make sure you have the person’s attention (may be shown with body language or fleeting eye contact). • Make comments or directions clear and short. • Write out directions for a reader or draw pictures for a non-reader. Pause after giving directions to allow the person to process the verbal information. • Give the person choices in the


by Kacie Wielgus Buzzard, communications consultant, blogger, and parent of a 4-year-old daughter with autism

Comfortable Outside of Home If welcoming someone who has autism into your home, you can reduce any anxieties about the visit through early preparation. Try the following tips from Milestones Autism Resources: • A sk in advance if the individual with ASD has any particular habits or needs that you can prepare for them in advance (e.g. if they have food allergies, a preference to certain types of soap). • Limit distractions (less lighting, noise, uncluttered areas). • Offer a schedule of how you will be spending your time together with a clear beginning and end. • Have a chemical-free environment, avoiding cleaning supplies with strong odors

Aaron Schatzman

conversation (e.g. “Would you like a sandwich or pizza?”). • Have the person repeat important information to confirm under-

standing (e.g. Ask, “Where are we going?” after you’ve shared that information). • Use pictures or drawings to help the person communicate (e.g. pictures of food or activity choices). • Be patient while having a conversation, giving the person time to answer. • Try not to talk over or about him with other people around. SELF-ADVOCATES While families and other community members learn how to include those with autism, people on the spectrum can also become self-advocates to help communicate their needs. To achieve these ends, Milestones provides teen/adult services to help their families develop and implement appropriate transition plans for everything from career or vocational training to housing and support services. “Knowing that Milestones and its services are here has changed my life,” says Aaron Schatzman, a self-advocate. “Because of Milestones, I am a lot more outgoing. I know myself and how to advocate for myself better.” Also, Milestones 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. Everyone wins when communities are inclusive and accessible. 2015


Today 1 in 88 children is diagnosed with AUTISM.

Milestones is your local resource. We’re here to help.

June 18-19 AUTISM COACHING & CONFERENCE CONSULTATIONS For Parents, Professionals Prioritizing & and Self-Advocates Accessing Services 2015

TEEN/ADULT SERVICES Planning for the Future

ONLINE RESOURCES Tool Kits, Tips & Autism Calendar

Milestones AUTISM Resources

educating | coaching | connecting




Wandering A Cause for a Concern for People with Autism


afety is one concern that is important to all families, but is of particular importance for families who have loved ones with autism. A 2012 study from the Academy of Pediatrics stated that wandering is common, dangerous, and puts tremendous stress on families. Almost half of all children with autism wander from safe settings, too often with tragic consequences. Some of the core challenges of autism, including impaired sense of danger, coupled with an attraction to water or other dangerous


Courtesy of Amy C. Helgeson, Executive Director-Ohio at Autism Speaks areas, puts people with autism in harm’s way if they wander from a safe environment. Sadly, statistics show over 90 percent of autism wandering-related deaths are a result of drowning. For any family, having a safety plan is always important; for families affected by autism it is especially urgent because incidents of autism-related wandering tend to increase when the weather gets warmer and families start to change their routines. Also, people of all ages with autism are seven times more likely to interact with law enforcement.

Autism-related difficulties with communication and social interactions can lead to misunderstandings during police interaction that can be traumatic and escalate quickly. This is why autism training for all first responders in each community is so important and can help police, firefighters and EMTs learn how to better understand autism and learn strategies to best respond to an emergency involving a person with autism. In partnership with national organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Project Lifesaver International, organizations such as Autism Speaks are working to educate and train first responders nationwide to promote the safety and well-being of all people with autism, no matter where you live. Visit for our safety and wandering prevention resources and information for first responders and families. Call 888-288-4762 (en EspaĂąol 888-772-9050) or email To contact your Northeast Ohio office for more local information, events, and volunteer opportunities, call us at 216-524-2842 or cleveland@ 2015





Autism Speaks has committed over $200 million in total research funding nationwide. This investment includes the funding of more than 700 research projects.

Thanks to Autism Speaks’ advocacy, 41 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted autism insurance reform laws requiring coverage of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and other autism therapies. This represents more than 75% of the U.S. population. Autism Speaks has created over 40 tool kits covering a range of topics through the life span. Our kits have been downloaded over 700,000 times! The Family Services Grants programs provide funding to organizations serving individuals in the autism community in the areas of education, recreation, young adult/adult services and technology. Walk Now for Autism Speaks, the nation's largest grassroots autism walk program, is Autism Speaks' signature fundraising and awareness event, taking place in communities across the United States, as well as in Canada.






Alphabet Soup:

A Guide to the Special Education Process

Creating a plan to help your child with special needs get the right services.


chool is tough at any age. struggling not just academically, but Younger children vary greatly socially and emotionally, and those in readiness and the developstruggles appear to have an educament of basic skills. As they tional impact on academic get older, all children face performance. As a parent, increasing distractions from you should communicate technology, social presyour concerns to the school sure from bullying and the staff as soon as you become temptations of drugs and aware that your child is alcohol, in addition to the having difficulties. They need to compete for grades, may not be aware of the Susan C. Stone athletic achievement and problem and early interveneventual college placement. tion is an important factor in These pressures are magnified when the process. a child also has to contend with a When this happens, parents must learning disability. request a Multi Factored EvaluaFortunately, the law provides tion (MFE). This request should many protections for these children; be made in writing to document however, the laws can sometimes two important facts: that the relook like alphabet soup — containquest for an evaluation was in fact ing so many acronyms that the aver- made; and to confirm the date the age parent can become completely request was made. Upon receiving lost in the process. Here’s a look at the request, the school district will the process for setting up your child ask for written consent to conduct with special needs for success and an evaluation to determine if your what those three-letter abbreviations child is eligible for special educamean in each step. tion services. The district then has 60 days to complete an evaluation. THE BEGINNING The parent is an important part of The special education process the assessment team. The school begins with the initial referral. should inform you of all the steps Typically, parents or teachers find of the evaluation process. that a child is not progressing like When the evaluation is comother students. Maybe a student is pleted it is summarized in what


by Susan C. Stone

is known as an Evaluation Team Report (ETR.) If parents disagree with the ETR, an advocate or attorney can assist in deciding the next step since there are many options and each must be weighed carefully. For example, parents can request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) to be paid for by the school district. Parents might also choose to pay for an expert of their choosing to perform an evaluation. Finally, parents also can request a due process hearing on the issue. The district might respond by offering other interventions or by agreeing to provide accommodations under federal law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If the district determines that the child is eligible for special education services, they provide what is called a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) through the development of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The IEP must be completed within 120 days of the referral for the evaluation or within 90 days of your signed consent. This process can be tiresome for parents, and they can try to work with the district to secure some interventions while it 2015


is taking place, but until the IEP is developed, the district is under no obligation. PUTTING TOGETHER A PLAN The district will convene an IEP meeting with the Child Study Team, or Building Assistance Team. This team may be called by one of many names. Parents are part of this team and their input is important. The team will discuss what goals and objectives should be put in place. If the parents agree with the IEP, they can provide their written consent and the plan will be implemented. However, what happens when parents do not agree with the IEP? Parents have many options if they disagree with the district. Often, they can work with the district to make changes to their satisfaction. If this does not work,

they can choose to file a complaint or due process hearing request. The parents and district also may decide to pursue mediation. Navigating through these processes is critical to ensuring that the right services are given to a student and to ensure FAPE.

child face suspension, expulsion or even prosecution. Attorneys should ensure that problematic behaviors have been addressed by a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and that a proper Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) is created. A good BIP can truly prevent behaviors from escalating to those that could become a juvenile criminal offense. While the terminology and acronyms can be strange and confusing, they also can be useful tools to help your child. In time, the terms will become familiar and can provide comforting protection. Finding the right resources to help decode these terms is essential to the successful development of a plan for your child.



ADDRESSING FUTURE CHALLENGES Throughout the process, parents can face many other challenges. Just like other students, children with special needs might present behavioral problems and find themselves in trouble at school or even with law enforcement. An attorney can help make sure that the special protections afforded to children with special needs are enforced should a

Helping students get the education they deserve Everyone has the right to an education and at McCarthy Lebit, we advocate on behalf of students of all ages and their families. If your child is not receiving the educational services that he or she deserves, contact our education law practice leader, Susan C. Stone.

McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., LPA 101 W. Prospect Ave., Suite 1800 â–Ş Cleveland, OH 44115 216.696.1422 â–Ş 2015




ane D. Hull once wrote that, “at the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” This sage advice does not differ when applied to the parent of a child with learning differences. The positive involvement of one or both parents can determine the difference between success and failure for the child who struggles to learn. And the earlier the positive involvement begins, the better for all concerned. EARLY INTERVENTION The sooner a child with learning challenges is evaluated, diagnosed and begins to receive supportive intervention and accommodation, the lesser the overall negative effect of the learning difference. According to LD Online, symptoms of learning differences in preschool through fourth-grade include: PRESCHOOL • Speaks later than most children • Pronunciation problems • Slow vocabulary growth, often unable to find the right word • Difficulty rhyming words



Strong Start

Early diagnosis for learning differences has positive effects for the future. by Jason Culp • Trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colors, shapes • Extremely restless and easily distracted • Trouble interacting with peers • Difficulty following directions or routines • Fine motor skills slow to develop

GRADES K-4 • Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds • Confuses basic words • Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home) • Transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs • Slow to remember facts • Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization • Impulsive, difficulty planning • Unstable pencil grip • Trouble learning about time • Poor coordination, unaware of physical surroundings, prone to accidents While this is not an exhaustive list of symptoms, it is a guide that parents can use to determine if their

child might be in need of additional support in the classroom or a full assessment for the presence of a learning difference.

GETTING HELP Once the need for early intervention has been determined, parents should ensure their child is placed in the most supportive, enriching educational environment possible. Assessing the right fit for the child with a learning challenge requires research, interviews with school personnel and possession of the right documentation to ensure access to all applicable learning supports. The longer a student with a learning difference languishes in an unsupportive environment, the more likely the student is to suffer negative school and life outcomes. The simple process of experiencing academic and social success in school, despite a learning challenge, lays the groundwork for a positive mindset — the child realizes he can succeed with the learning difference, not in spite of it. Jason joined the Lawrence School community as Dean of Students in 2002. He is licensed as a Professional Counselor (PC) with the State of Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. Jason’s experience in special education and counseling began with work as Director of Medina County’s PHOENIX School, an alternative school for students who were suspended or expelled from their home schools. Following that, he served as a counselor for the Cloverleaf Local Schools and Director of Prevention and Intervention Services for STEPS (Substance Abuse Treatment, Education and Prevention Services) in Wooster. 2015

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Helping People with Special Needs Say ‘No’ to Bullying Lannie Davis and Allison Frazier from Julie Billiart School provide insight on how families can support their students if bullying occurs and how to prevent it. What kind of bullying is likely to occur toward kids with special needs?

All types are possible, however indirect bullying takes an innate awareness of social cues to pick up on — this is a skill that many special learning needs students do not acquire naturally Many times, students with special needs are unaware of bullying and miss that it is happening or don’t know how to communicate when it is. Sometimes, nuero-typical peers take advantage of kids with special needs and because the child may want to be accepted and “fit in,” they think/perceive the bully to be kind or friendly. What are the signs or effects children will show if they have been bullied?

• Avoidance-resistance toward a situation or place that use to be tolerable • Changes in behavior, mood, sleeping habits, crying, heightened attachment to family, headaches, stomach aches for no medical reason, etc. • Regressing in a preciously mastered area (e.c. bed-wetting) • Temper outbursts, depression, sadness- feeling helpless in other areas in which they typically had independence • Unexplainable physical signs like


cuts, bruises, scratches, bump etc. Know that kids with special needs don’t always communicate with words. Ask good follow up questions and allow them to communicate as they can (art, drawing, writing etc.) if you suspect they are being bullied. How can parents foster relationships

between peers, Schools and Commu-

nities to help prevent bullying?

Empower your children with coping skills and be proactive with talking about possible scenarios. Teach them about not being a victim and how to stand up to people making bad decisions. To do this, directly teach the skills needed in each situation rather than generalizing them. Learning one doesn’t mean they learned them all Plan out, discuss and role play how to handle specific situations. Sometimes they have to memorize the plan for each situation in order to know how to act. Also, provide information to your school district and teachers. Build a relationship of trust and respect with your district by knowing your role and trust teachers and administration with theirs — collaboration is key. Work toward an overall goal and staying as neutral as possible is best for the children and district and how

to ensure the bullying will stop. Also, try to remember, this is not the district’s “fault,” so teach your child how to cope and have open and honest conversations about what they can do to prevent and navigate situations that do occur. Ask questions like, “What did you do?” or “What could you do in the future?” Hold them accountable for what is reasonable so that they feel they have power in a situation. Help people understand children and people who learn differently. Address them and their needs in our world in order to move towards acceptance and empathy for all. Are there any laws to help protect kids with special needs in regards

to bullying?

Ohio’s law is found in the Ohio Revised Code, section 3313.666. The law prohibits harassment, intimidation, or bullying in public schools districts. The law requires the districts to establish a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying. The policy must be developed in consultation with parents, students, school employees, and community members. Public schools must follow their 2015

bullying policy, as required by the law. The law says they must, at a minimum: • document and investigate the incident, and • develop a strategy to protect the child or other person from new or additional bullying or retaliation.

Talk to a teacher, school counselor, or administrator who can help solve the problem. Be a listening and problem solving support to your child or find a mental health professional who can be that support, if you cannot. How can parents educate their

What can parents do or what type

child with special needs about

think their child has been bullied?


If your child talks to you and tells you they have been bullied, listen attentively to what he/she has to say. It may be painful to hear, but you need to listen and your child needs the opportunity to talk about it. Try not to personalize the bullying or make it about you. Don’t attempt to even the score with the bully or his/her parents. Your child is watching you lead by example and you want to teach effective strategies for repairing a relationship.

If you suspect your child will be a target of bullying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are many great books and resources available. There are also pediatric mental health professionals like a psychologist or behavior analyst can help you identify all the different problem solving and coping strategies that might be appropriate for various verbal, physical, and indirect bullying scenarios.

of support can they receive if they

bullying and how to communicate

If you child has been bullied he/ she will need to process the negative feelings. An emotions chart or five-point scale can be helpful to a child who has limitations with language. Strategies for dealing with the negative emotions are needed, such as taking deep breaths, counting, taking a walk, doing art, exercising, journaling, yoga, etc. should be explicitly taught. Social repair strategies such as forgiveness and focus on appropriate friendships are imperative for the child to let go of the pain of being bullied. Parents can praise the child for turning their attention toward healing and development rather than dwelling on the past. Written by Lannie Davis, vice president and Allison Frazier, director of student services of Julie Billiart School.

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Making plans for post-graduation life with your teens. by Kristen J. Gough


aking the leap to adulthood can be a challenge for any teenager — and their families. Yet for those with special needs, planning for adult life includes unique considerations. The good news is that there’s help available for parents looking for support and for teens who are ready to live more independently. While each child’s needs are unique, consider these tips for guiding your teen to success no matter what his or her ability and circumstance. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SCHOOL PROGRAMS Your child’s school plays a critical role in helping plan for the future. Under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act (IDEA), there are certain requirements the school must follow. These requirements include working with the family of a child with a disability to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP not only offers plans that detail academic progress, but also can map out other goals, like steps toward helping the child to be more comfortable in social situations or to participate in


speech therapy. Your child’s IEP team may include one of his teachers, a special education teacher, and other school staff who understand the needs of children with disabilities. The IEP also needs to include what’s called transition planning — in other words, how to prepare your child for life after graduation. While this plan can be put into place at any time, under Ohio state law it should be developed before the child turns 14. THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX There is no cookie-cutter transition plan suitable for every child. Each plan needs to be customized for each child — and just because that plan happens at school doesn’t mean that it needs to be all about academics. Think through with your child what steps will build toward post-graduation life. For example, if she’s interested in a career in the arts, perhaps going to one cultural event a month might be part of your plan. Or, if your child wants to find a job where she interacts with people, maybe the plan involves having

her spend afternoons in various supervised job sites that include greeting others, like a coffee shop or restaurant. You can reinforce a plan from school at home, for example, giving your child certain responsibilities like doing laundry or learning to prepare simple meals. Again, the plan will be dependent on your child’s needs, goals and abilities. Building flexibility into the plan is key. Your child may decide that he or she doesn’t like vocations with social interactions, even though that was part of the original plan. Or she may decide she wants to pursue a four-year degree instead of an associate degree. 2015

to Adulthood

PREPARE EARLY While the state requirement lists age 14 as the time transition planning begins, the earlier you start, the more prepared your child — and you — will be. Have regular discussions with your child about interests and what type of work and lifestyle she’d like to pursue. For children who are non-verbal or for other reasons are unable to communicate, tap into family support groups based on your child’s disability to find out more about the opportunities available and services offered through your community or state. Legal and financial considerations are best done well in advance, too. For example, a will 2015

can clarify who you want to be the guardian for your child in case you die or are unable to care for your child. You may need to seek legal action to become the guardian for your child with a disability. Financially, setting aside more funds to support your child post-graduation may be necessary. Schools are required to offer services up until your child turns 21. After that point, you may need to rely on government and community agencies for certain services. FIND A SUPPORT SYSTEM One of the most important pieces in your child’s path to adulthood is their support system. That system might include formal support groups in the com-

munity or your child’s school, along with those offered through religious congregations or other organizations. Look for groups in which your family can participate, whether they meet regularly or through virtual online forums. Through these support groups, you’ll be able to swap information about everything from healthcare providers in your area to everyday issues you may encounter raising a child with special needs. For a clearinghouse of local online resources, visit LiveSpecial. com to discover current information on medical, social and rehabilitation services and access information designed to help support people with special needs no matter their age.


Funding for the Future

Ensure financial stability for your loved one with special needs by Elaine Eisner, JD


s parents of a six-year-old daughter with special needs, we worry about so many things. For example, will our daughter have friends? Can she ride the bus to school? By far, the hardest thing to discuss or think about is what will happen to our daughter if we are not here. Who will care for her and how will they afford it? As our journey has progressed, we have become advocates for Alana in so many ways. We have become the meticulous planners, mapping out daily and weekly schedules of therapies, doctors and playdates. Our family motto is “one day at a time,” which works great in the moment but often hinders planning for the future. As parents and often grandparents, our responsibility is to make sure that the future is safe and secure for our loved one with special needs. Therefore, it’s important to have other resources, such as a special needs trust, directly designated to cover these costs. FUND A SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST WITH LIFE INSURANCE The first order of business is to work with an estate planning attorney to create a special needs trust. This is the vehicle for all assets designated to help your loved one. We all worry about retirement, the cost of care, and college educations for other children, so how is it possible to set aside enough to fund this trust for a family member with special needs? As insurance planners, we always start the conversation with, “If something were to happen to you today, where will the funds come

from to support your loved one with special needs?” Surprisingly, most people answer that question with government benefits. Social Security and Medicaid generally will not cover the cost of how you would like to see your loved one provided for — this is a common misconception. The most efficient option to fund a special needs trust often is life insurance. When it comes to life insurance, the three most common contracts are: term, universal life and whole life insurance. For special needs planning, having a permanent insurance policy is optimal.

This policy can be structured on a single life basis, meaning if the mother is gone, the insurance on her life can fund the trust. It often is more cost effective to use a second-to-die policy, meaning the policy will pay out to the trust only if two caregivers are gone. It is important to work with your team of advisors to determine the appropriate amount of coverage and the best insurance contract based on your particular financial situation. If you have insurance in place, please review and update the beneficiary designations. This includes insurance through your employer. Incorrect beneficiary designations on any asset can quickly unravel the best laid plans. FIELD A TEAM As parents, we have a team of teachers, caregivers and therapists for our loved ones — but do you have your team of financial advisors in place? This should consist of an estate planning attorney, an insurance professional and a wealth advisor. Meet regularly, and the hopes and dreams you envision for your loved one will be fulfilled.

Elaine Eisner, JD, and Scott Gohn, CLTC, are principals with the Eisner Gohn Group, an insurance planning firm that focuses on individuals, business owners and families that have a loved one with special needs.

30 2015

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Bipolar Disorder in Youths by Dr. John Hertzer


ompared to adults with Bipolar Disorder, youth with this disorder have more frequent shifts in mood and are at greater risk of attempting suicide, at times in a planned nature but more so because of impulsive behavior and decision making. While the disorder is treatable, parents who have children with a diagnosis can learn the risk factors, emotional behaviors and treatments.


DISORDER PATTERNS With any form of Bipolar Disorder, impairment in functioning has no known external stimulus or cause. Particular to the child and adolescent population, children with the disorder can see a substantial decline in school achievement, peer relationships, or social functioning. The emotional extremes tend to be accompanied by sleep disturbances, periods of hyperactivity

followed by lethargy, more trouble paying attention, sexualized behaviors, and risk-taking such as jumping from dangerous heights with younger kids and substance use in the teenage population. When in a depressed phase of bipolar illness, kids report more physical complaints such as headaches, stomach aches, and general body pain. Even before a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder is established, there are 2015

features in youth with other mood and behavioral disturbances that increase the likelihood of an eventual diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. These risk factors include a family history of mood disorders, worsening mood with the use of antidepressant or stimulant medication, and childhood depression that is treatment resistant and that may have associated psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations. Effective treatments are available for youth with Bipolar Disorder and typically the combination of mood stabilizer medication (i.e. lithium or atypical anti psychotics) and psychotherapy is recommended. As with other childhood mental health conditions, earlier intervention can positively impact the course of illness through symptom control and improved functioning.

FUTURE RESEARCH A new diagnosis in the recently published diagnostic manual DSM-5 is Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, or DMDD. The criteria for DMDD are severe recurrent intense temper outbursts occurring on average three or more times per week, in multiple settings, and with mood in between the outbursts being persistently irritable or angry. In addition, a duration of at least 12 months is required and without a symptom-free period of three consecutive months. DMDD applies to youth ages 6-18. This diagnosis, which is classified as a depressive disorder, will be an area of future research in part to compare outcomes with children and adolescents who carry a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis.

Dr. John Hertzer is Assistant Professor and James A. Horner Chair in Child Psychiatry at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Dr. Hertzer joined the faculty at UH Case in 2006 and has been the Director of the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry since 2013. He was part of Laurelwood Associates from 1999-2006. Dr. Hertzer’s clinical work primarily involves seeing outpatients for assessments and psychotropic medication management. He was a psychiatric consultant for Parmadale residential treatment center from 1999-2014 and currently for Carrington Youth Academy as well as for Village Network in their foster program. He earned his undergraduate diploma from Tufts University in Boston followed by his medical degree at Medical College of Ohio. His adult psychiatry training occurred at George Washington University and child psychiatry fellowship at Cleveland Clinic.

Bipolar i Disorder research study now Enrolling Now at University Hospitals Case Medical Center

DoesUniversity your chilD experience University Hospitals Hospitals • Unpredictable mood swings? CaseMedical Medical Center Case Center • IncreaseCase in energy or goalReserve directed activities? Western University Case Western Reserve University • Irritability? School SchoolofofMedicine Medicine • Decreased need for sleep? • Racing thoughts?

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Leading the


LiveSpecial creators help other families of children with special needs by Angela Gartner


lana smiles as she listens to her mom and aids sing “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” while sitting on the teeter-totter at Preston’s H.O.P.E Playground, a local adapted playground she sometimes visits. The 6-year-old enjoys typical kid activities such as swimming, playing Photo by Jules White ring-around-the-rosy, going to a favorite theme park, “Sesame Place” in Pa. and even sliding down a snow hill during a ski trip. While her parents, Elaine Eisner and Scott Gohn of Solon, rejoice in the accomplishments their daughter has made over the years, they know there are still challenges, therapies and milestones ahead. While the couple says they have been fairly lucky in finding resources for their child with special needs, they found themselves thinking, “Why not help others?”

34 2015

Elaine Eisner, Scott Gohn and Alana have a family day out.

that didn’t work before we got the right team. It’s constantly changing.” It’s something the couple says is frustrating, not only for them, but for their daughter, as it throws her off having to adjust to a different caregiver model.

LiveSpecial Idea The Beginning

Elaine Eisner and Scott Gohn were set to have their first child in 2008. “All throughout Elaine’s maternity everything was normal,” Gohn says. “Everything came back a completely typical child.” However, after Alana was born, Dec. 26 that year, the family realized that something was different about their daughter. “She wasn’t holding her head up or rolling over, and was having difficulty with feedings,” Gohn says. “There were certain indications. (We thought) she was just a little delayed and she will be fine.” Their pediatrician looked further into Alana’s development. “The growth (of Alana’s head) was below her peer group,” Gohn says. The initial diagnosis was Microcephaly, which is a condition where the head is smaller than normal because the brain has not developed properly or has stopped growing. “I was in denial, angry,” Gohn says after hearing the news. “We are very aggressive with her therapies,” he says, noting Alana’s different treatments from occupational, physical, speech — and even time in a swimming pool, which helped with her mobility. They found many options with the help of their pediatrician, as well as word-of-mouth — talking to other parents who have kids with special needs. Gohn says a diagnosis like Alana’s, along with her challenges, doesn’t fit into a perfect box, so it’s not easy to find what might work best for her needs. “In the end we all do the best for our kids,” Eisner says. “If (someone we know) is making progress (with a therapy or therapist), we would try. We tried several things

The couple — like many families who have children with special needs — had to navigate the process of finding an array of resources for their daughter. This brought up the simple question, “Wouldn’t it be great to put together a website so parents don’t have to struggle to find resources?” Gohn, who spent many years working in technology, wanted to create something online for families looking for services — from finding a good therapist to getting a haircut or their teeth cleaned — that would accommodate people with special needs. Eisner (says she) was on the executive board of National Council of Jewish Women/Cleveland, which has offices in Warrensville Heights and is a volunteer non-profit organization helping the needs and inspiring social change for women, children and families. She took the idea to the board in 2012 in hopes they would accept it as a signature project — and they did. Soon after, was born. NCJW volunteers — including Cindy Glazer, who Eisner says was an integral part in finding the content — and Gohn, who was the website designer, worked together to link Northeast Ohio families with more than 900 special needs providers and services. “ brings families together,” Eisner says. “Not just families, but also teachers, therapists and other providers. It also has become a resource for the (professional providers and specialists.)” The couple says the vision for is to expand to other special needs communities outside of Northeast Ohio, along with the greater ability to connect with other families through the Facebook page. Regarding Alana, Gohn says the couple is taking it one day at a time. “We don’t look too far ahead as we don’t know what we are going to get,” he says. “Alana is an amazing little kid.”

“Wouldn’t it be great to put together a website so parents don’t have to struggle to find resources?”


Monica Potter on ‘Parenthood’ and Calming Oils

by Angela Gartner Photo: Danny Potter


onica Potter, mom of three, Hollywood actress and entrepreneur, recently finished her portrayal of Kristina Braverman on the NBC drama “Parenthood,” which wrapped up production after five seasons this year. The show depicted her character’s struggles to raise three children, including a child with Asperger’s syndrome. “Parents related so much, not just to Kristina, but the Bravermans, because of what they faced,” Potter says. Potter, a Cleveland native who has recently opened her Monica Potter Home store in Garrettsville, which sells natural, home and beauty products, talks a little about her role on the drama series and her store.

What did you learn from portraying a mother (Kristina Braverman) who has a child (Max Braverman) with special needs?

“Kristina Braverman has taught me more than anyone — except my parents. The biggest thing I learned from (Kristina) and that storyline was to take a chance, but to also slow down and absorb things. Don’t take things for granted. And, to take your time and really relish those moments that are fleeting as a parent.”


The storyline was inspired from Jason Katims, the executive producer, who has a son with Asperger’s. Did he give you any direction based on his experience?

“No, and I asked him not to. The same thing (didn’t do research) with the breast cancer storyline (her character was diagnosed with and battled breast cancer in season four). I wanted to feel like I was going through it the first time with Kristina.

Potter also created a variety of different blends of natural essential oils that she sells in her store. She has done a lot of research and practiced the use of oils throughout her life. She talks about how she began using it with her two boys when they were young. (Danny is now 24 and Liam is now 20). She also has created Molly’s Dream Creams, inspired by her daughter, who is 9.

“I used to call it ‘Dream Sauce.’ The boys would get the biggest kick out of it (I would) spray their room and it would really calm them down tremendously. They still ask for it. That’s why I created Molly’s Dream Creams, because it’s a nightly ritual. (Molly and I) read a book, put the (cream on) and use essential oils on her pillow. It’s something we can do together to calm us both down. I know what works for my kids, and they are all very different.” She adds that when her son Liam would take (school) exams, she 2015

would have him use lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils, or blends. Roman chamomile and Kristina Braverman (Monica Potter) and her son Max Braverman (Max Burkholder) in lavender are her NBC’s drama series “Parenthood.” favorites and blend well together. “These are creams that would awaken, so you can be clear, but also calm. I know there are a lot of medications that offer that, but this is a natural way to do this.” She cautions, “you have to be very careful; (essential oils) are natural, but they are not regulated. I always urge parents to make things and create things, but also to use guidelines (look on the web or consult with a naturopath expert). Make sure you know what you are doing with essential oils.” “It’s not just about the kids, but also taking care of yourself so that you are calm. That energy that you exude translates to your kids.”

Since 1977, PSI has been committed to meeting the health and educational needs of children in Ohio’s schools. School Health Services School Psychology Services Prevention/Intervention & Crisis Management Services Speech/Language & OT/PT Services ESL/Foreign Language Services PSICertify Training & Education Center Webinars and Professional Development


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Hard at Work: Find and Keep a Job


itchell Kraft is similar to many teens. He saves some money from his part-time job and uses the rest for fun, especially movies. Horror flicks are a favorite of the Westlake High School graduating senior. Kai Black, 19, works at Chick-fil-A in Montrose. He squeezes lemons and prepares chicken for cooking. He likes his co-workers and managers. He’s learned how to use a public bus to get from his home in central Akron to the restaurant. He saved for months to buy a PlayStation 4 and pays his own cell phone bill. Mitchell and Kai are dedicated workers, savers and, occasionally, spenders. They are great employees and contribute to their communities. They also have developmental disabilities. Northeast Ohio has many opportunities for people with special needs, thanks to area programs and employers that have stepped up to help this community. TRANSFORMING LEGISLATION, NEW FOCUS Ohio is moving toward an employment model for its adults with developmental disabilities through Ohio’s Path to Employment First. The program was put into place by Gov. John Kasich three years ago. The premise is simple but transformative: everyone is presumed to be capable of community employment – with the proper support. That means families and employees can tap into a creative patchwork of services through a county board of de-


velopmental disabilities. Job coaches, employer outreach and other important services come together to help people find and keep jobs. Each of Ohio’s 88 counties has a board of developmental disabilities, which is a liaison for vocational assistance. From there, depending on the age of the individual, help comes from school districts, private and non-profit agencies, and other groups that work toward getting Ohio’s teens and adults with developmental disabilities into jobs. One example is Twinsburg-based Hattie Larlham, which, among other enterprises, runs a residential facility, school, businesses and training programs throughout Northeast Ohio. It’s the agency that helped Kai find – and keep – his job. People with developmental disabilities can stay in public high school up to age 22. Depending on the type of local support, meaningful work can be difficult to find. Hattie Larlham owns job training

by Marie Elium

sites – including cafés, dog daycare centers, a vending machine business and gardens – that help prepare clients for community employment. A job can have a transformative effect on someone with developmental disabilities. “I think it makes a richer life, and (provides) more personal growth and satisfaction,” says Dotty Grexa, Hattie Larlham’s vice president of vocational and enterprise services. “People have been unbelievably willing to work with us and it’s worked out for them.” WORKING – AND THRIVING – IN WESTLAKE Some high school and middle school students with developmental disabilities receive basic vocational training through county-based programs. After academic and other lessons, they may gather recyclables from classrooms or wash lunchroom tables. It’s a basic, yet vital step in learning how to work. Westlake schools have made vocational training a priority for students who have developmental disabilities and other special needs. Tabatha Devine is the district’s work-study transition coordinator. Part of her job is helping students prepare for the workforce by conducting mock interviews, making resumes and applying to – and sometimes getting – job interviews. Some students don’t qualify for state programs because their disability isn’t a substantial barrier to employment, she says. Others haven’t found the right employment fit. This year, she has worked with 2015

between 70 and 100 students who need employment support and who have learning challenges. Devine adds that local employers are incredibly supportive and help provide pre-employment training. Eventually, some students transition into paid positions. The short (an hour or so at a time) on-the-job training sessions allow students to develop skills and to determine job preferences after they leave Westlake schools. Among supportive employers are Winking Lizard in Avon, the North Olmsted Goodwill and Sunrise of Rocky River assisted living facility, among others. “Kids with developmental disabilities have a higher barrier to employment,” Devine says. Cooperation from local businesses and behind-the-scenes support go a long way toward eventual community employment. GREAT WORKERS, LOW TURNOVER Kristen Helling works with Ohio’s Department of Developmental Disabilities Employment First, which helps implement job training. Employment, regardless of someone’s disability, connects them to their community. A combination of local, state and federal support can help young people find suitable employment that uses their strengths instead of focusing on their disabilities, she says. “It becomes very critical that we do a good job at assessment and know the barriers and support and connect that person to a job that makes sense for the person and the employer,” Helling says. “Someone who is non-verbal and has repetitive behaviors may 2015

Kai’s Story Kai Black, who has autism, graduated from Ellet High School last

year. He started vocational training through Hattie Larlham in July and was hired by Chick-fil-A in August. He was in Ellet’s culinary

program and worked in its café between classes. What he learned in the school vocational program, plus support from Hattie Larlham, prepared him for his job.

Kai works part-time at the busy Montrose restaurant. His man-

ager just added an extra hour to his thrice-weekly shift.

“At first working at Chick-fil-A, I was nervous and didn’t know

what to do and then I met my work coaches from Hattie Larlham and they encouraged me,” Kai says.

In the beginning, his mom and grandmother drove him across

town to work. His Hattie Larlham job coach taught him how to buy bus tickets at Giant Eagle and to negotiate the bus route to work.

Because of the bus schedule and to ensure he’s not tardy, Kai catches the bus two hours before his shift starts for the half-hour trip.

Kai attended the restaurant Christmas party and enjoys banter-

ing with employees. The money is nice, too.

“The more I’m here, the more I feel grown up,” he explained.

“I couldn’t think of any better job than Chick-fil-A. What I learned from work is the more you work, the better life you can have.”

be detail oriented and conscientious. That could make him a good data entry worker,” she says. “The key is to focus on what they are really good at and make accommodations.” ENTERING THE JOB MARKET WITH EXPERIENCE Mitchell Kraft, who went through the Westlake school program, worked winter and spring break at Brighton Gardens of Westlake assisted living facility. He washed dishes, served residents in the dining room, bussed tables and helped out as needed, says his father, Joe Kraft. Mitchell, with the help of a job coach, is looking for a full-time job for the summer.

Mitchell had to save at least half of his earnings, just like his siblings. In the fall he will be taking a class at Lorain County Community College and will continue to work. Eventually, he hopes to get a two- or four-year degree. Having a job “is huge,” his father says. “I think we all worry about our kids, regardless. When a child faces a special need, you wonder, ‘Will your child graduate from high school? Will they go to college? Will they be able to work?’” “It’s some comfort knowing that my child can get a job. He’s heading on this road to independence and confidence like my other kids. I know he’ll be just fine.”


Meeting Knitting Needs NCJW’s Dig­Knitty undertakes poncho challenge for people with special needs by Leslie Resnik photos by Angela Gartner


nitters from the Cleveland section of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW/Cleveland) put together many stitches to save residents from the winter chills when they answered the call for ponchos instead of blankets for residents of Koinonia, a group of residential and service ­providing homes for adults with disabilities based in Independence. Dig­K nitty, established five years ago, enlists the talents of NCJW members who knit everything from teddy bears for children to hold and love when undergoing unpleasant hospital testing to blankets, mittens, hats and scarves. The group meets weekly all year long. Sandy Levine, co­-chair of


NCJW’s Dig­K nitty project, was informed by her daughter that Koinonia needed knitted products Sandy Levine holds up a poncho she and for its clients. the DigKnitty group Levine created to donate to others in the area. discovered an item that was lacking among the other “usual” needs such as blankets, hats and mittens — ponchos. Clients who use wheelchairs or had limited arm movement were restricted by blankets, which either caught

in the wheels of the chairs or fell off and didn’t provide upper body warmth. The 33 members of Dig­K nitty researched patterns, studied the appropriate lengths for the ponchos and began to knit, finishing 10 garments in a short period of time and donating them to Koinonia. Gail McPeake, director of health care services at Koinonia, and Patti Matzinger, waiver director, came to NCJW to receive the ponchos and were so thrilled that they requested more. If you have knitted needs for your loved one with special needs, call NCJW/Cleveland at 216­-378­-2204. 2015

Roommates, (from left to right) Jeremy, Scott and Ben pose together outside their home.

A Move Toward



en, Scott and Jeremy — in their late 20s and early 30s — have been living as roommates for the past several years. The three divide household chores and do activities together, such as watching sports or just hanging out on their own. While living together does have its challenges, these young adults also have to appreciate each other’s differences, which include developmental disabilities. FAMILIES WORKING TOGETHER It began with a pilot project idea in 2006 called “Innovative Independent Living Project,” a collaboration between non-profit groups Acentia, Welcome House, North Coast Community Homes, Cuyahoga County Board of DD, and Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential (LEAP). The goal was to help provide local adults with disabilities a viable independent living option through technology and collaborative support effort from their families and community services. Deborah Picker, Jeremy’s mother, says the funding was to develop classes to teach families how to set up an independent home. 2015

Three local young men become roommates and live on their own with support from parents and community services. photo and story by Angela Gartner

According to the project manual written by staff members of Welcome House and North Coast Community Home, “the funding by The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and the Billie Howland Steffee Family Fund covered the preparation and development of tools for the project before families invested their own personal resources. It did not cover the homes, remodeling, modifications or living expenses.” The Pickers were among several families — including Scott’s — who collaborated as part of the project. A PLACE TO CALL HOME The house that Ben, Scott and Jeremy occupy is located on the eastside of Cleveland and has five bedrooms, a large kitchen and a “hang-out” room in which the three spend time together watching a large TV. Jeremy is the most familiar with the house as it use to be his family home. “The idea of a living community

with friends started to occur to me (for Jeremy),” Deborah Picker says. “We had already gone through the training (from the Innovative Independent Living Project) and thought, ‘Why not have him live there?’” Deborah Picker, who still owns the home, also rents to the families of Ben and Scott. While the families knew each other through a few activities before the project, the coordination still isn’t easy. Each family and child has to spend a significant amount of time together to coordinate plans and responsibilities within the household. “It feels like a big risk when you are doing it,” Deborah Picker says about setting up the home. “Our home is more family-style. We (the parents) each have a few things we are responsible for (such as groceries, weekly dinners, lawn care, etc.).” Not only do the parents come weekly, the three also have Level 1 providers who help with activities, meals and tasks inside or outside the home. The parents also have 24-hour access through their iPhones to various cameras in the house. LIVING ON THEIR OWN The three young men feel more comfortable in the house than when they first moved in. “I feel good to live in a place like this,” Scott says. “I can see what I can do when I am on my own.” They also have gotten used to doing lots of typical responsibilities ranging from laundry to putting together meals and doing dishes. The three also have jobs and visit with families or do group activities. It’s not always easy to live with each other, but each tries to work together if someone is struggling. “I have great roommates,” Ben adds.



Planning Tips

for Parents of Children with Disabilities


any parents can only dream of knowing what the future might hold for them or their children. While all families must plan for unforeseen circumstances, parents who have children with disabilities have to ensure their children have the right care for their special needs. Here are six ways parents can help both their children and family if something unfortunate does occur.


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 at birth. Some may not become eligible until age 18, or after a disabling injury or disease later in life. Every situation is different, but in each, 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 and maintaining them.


BUY ENOUGH LIFE INSURANCE. A parent is irreplaceable. However, someone will have to fill in, whether it’s siblings or other relatives. In all likelihood, the family will have to pay for at least some services the


by Laurie G. Steiner, Esq., CELA

parent or parents had provided when able. If the estate is not large enough for this purpose, it can be made large enough through life insurance proceeds.


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. Leaving money for anyone with a disability jeopardizes public benefits. Many people with disabilities cannot manage funds — especially large amounts. Some families disinherit children with disabilities, relying instead 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 best approach is a special needs trust fund set aside for the child with special needs.


WILL AND APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN. While a will and the appointment of a guardian are important for anyone with minor children, they are doubly so for a child with special needs. Finding the right guardian can be difficult. In some cases, the care needs of the child may be so demanding that he or she will need a different guardian from his or her

siblings. The parents need to make these determinations while they can.


CARE PLAN/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. Should the child be in a group home, live with a caregiver, or be on his or her own? Usually, parents know best, but need to pass along the information. The memo or letter can be kept in the attorney’s files with the parents’ estate plan.


COORDINATION WITH OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS. A well-meaning relative who leaves money directly to a child with a disability can sabotage even a carefully developed plan. 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. Laurie G. Steiner is a member of the law firm of Solomon, Steiner & Peck, Ltd., located in Mayfield Heights. For more information, call 216-765-0123 or visit 2015

Enhancing the Lives of People with Disabilities Established in 1969, is a private, non-profit community agency serving people with disabilities. Blick Clinic provides clinical outpatient, residential and day program services. More than 85 clinical and support staff and over 300 residential service staff work with 1500+ people of all ages at the clinic, residential homes, day programs, school districts, and at various work sites.

Main Office 640 W. Market Street Akron, OH 44303 PH: 330.762.5425 TTY: 330.762.2284 Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Evening and weekend hours available on request.

Blick Annexes 661 W. Market Street Akron, OH 44303

682 W. Market Street Akron, OH 44303

2641 W. Market Street Fairlawn, OH 44333


Protect Assets For Your Special Kids Don’t Risk Their Government Benefits They Need a SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST

Laurie G. Steiner

Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation

Jennifer E. Peck

OSBA Certified in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law

SPECIALIzIng In: • Special Needs • Disability, Medicaid and Veterans Benefits Planning • Estate Planning

• Probate and Trust Administration • Elder Law • Corporate and Succession Planning

Solomon, Steiner & Peck, Ltd. 6105 Parkland Boulevard, Suite 140 Mayfield Heights, Ohio 44124 Telephone 216.765.0123

Call (216) 765-0123 For More Information 2015


Kids with Hearing Loss Get Social Through Camp Activities


leveland Hearing and Speech Center’s Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has a longstanding partnership with Advocates for Kids (AFK), a non-profit organization that serves children with hearing loss. AFK provides a number of summer social events in order for children to maintain language skills learned during their school year. The mission of AFK is committed to supporting organizations that serve children with special needs by providing experiences that empower them to realize their full potential. Advocates for Kids sponsors Camp OYO in the summers at Camp Nuhop in Perrysville for deaf children and those with hearing loss. Campers come from all parts of Ohio for the overnight camp, where they get to experience typical camp activities and continue to build critical language skills in the communication mode-of-choice. They are in an environment with other campers who are deaf and/or partial hearing loss, where they can share similar life experiences and self-advocacy endeavors. Children can establish life-long friendships with others in the deaf community throughout the state. Additional activities for kids with hearing loss are provided in the summer months within local community centers. Advocates for Kids provides organizations that serve the deaf community with funding to promote educational, advocacy, and support services that assist children in their goals to become independent and self -supporting individuals. For more information on Advocates for Kids or Camp OYO, visit For AFK summer activities. Contact Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing office at 216-231-0787 or 216-370-7771 or

44 2015

Photography Courtesy of Camp OYO from Advocates for Kids

THE COMMUNITY CENTERS FOR THE DEAF & HARD OF HEARING (CCDHH) AT THE CLEVELAND HEARING & SPEECH CENTER The CHSC Community Centers for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing — in Cleveland and Lorain — were established under grants from The Rehabilitation Services Commission (RSC)

under the state of Ohio. The state, in collaboration with leaders from the deaf community, recognized a need for services for those individuals who were leaving educational programs. It was clear that additional training was required to help these individuals to become independent, self sufficient and employed. The CHSC Community Centers

for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing provide an array of services that support individuals who are deaf or have hearing loss to become independent and employed citizens, including: • 24-hour interpreting services/make arrangements for those requiring captioned services • American Sign Language instruction • Neuropsychological assessment for individuals, ages 6-21 years of age, who are deaf or hard of hearing to evaluate cognitive strengths and weaknesses • Support services for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families • Advocacy and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) consultation Contact the Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing office at 216-231-0787, 216-370-7771 or

OPPOrtunitieS FOr Fun & LeArning! Services Provided by the Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) • • • • •

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreting services and classes Neuropsychology for learning and behavioral disabilities Educational and ADA advocacy and support Youth transitional and workforce readiness services SignStage – a sign language performing arts program

Some of the activities provided by Advocates for Kids (AFK) through CCDHH • • • • •

Parade the Circle Corner Alley bowling Metroparks picnic Roller skating Zoo visits

• • • •

Overnight stays at Camp OYO Lighthouse visit and boat ride Halloween event Annual Snowball event

For more inFormation on CCDHH or aFK events please contact Sue Bungard at 216-370-7771 VP 2015


Grandpa and Grandma Help Out From babysitting to monetary gifts, tips to help a grandchild with special needs By Katherine Esshaki Wensink


any grandparents want to help with typical things such as caregiving, and sometimes even with expenses, for their grandchildren. Grandparents are an important part of any child’s life – and that doesn’t change for children with special needs. However, there are certain things families have to consider for both grandparent and grandchild. VISITING WITH GRANDPARENTS Whether the grandparent picks up their grandchild from school everyday or hosts their grandchild for sleepovers occasionally to give the parent a break, a temporary power of attorney is a simple, useful form that allows the grandparent to take the grandchild to the hospital or contact their doctor if something is wrong. This docu-


ment can be prepared narrowly or broadly and updated regularly. The temporary power of attorney document should always be accompanied by a copy of the grandchild’s insurance card and a list of important physicians. HELPING WITH EXPENSES Communication is the key to successful financial planning for grandchildren with special needs. Privacy and discretion are always important both at the grandparent and parent level, but the grandparent does need to know if there are special issues, such as governmental assistance, which the grandchild is or will be receiving. Without communication, instead of assisting, the grandparent may be inadvertently hindering a grandchild’s ability to receive governmental benefits. It

is important that the grandparent speak with the grandchild’s parent to learn what, if any, income restrictions there are for the grandchild and what documents may be in place. Oftentimes, the parent of a child with special needs will have an estate plan in place with a special needs trust incorporated. In such a case, the grandparent can leave assets to the existing trust, without incurring the cost of a new trust. Further, it is not necessary to disclose the assets being left to the grandchild, and simply using the name of the special needs trust ensures the assets left should not harm the grandchild’s eligibility for certain programs. The most important point is not to leave assets to the grandchild outright. Whatever the answer, it is best to communicate with 2015

the parent ahead of time to ensure there are no surprises later in life. PLANS FOR THE FUTURE If the grandparents would like to leave specific assets to their grandchild and there is not already a trust for the grandchild, the grandparents may set one up. A flexible trust for grandchildren with special needs is wholly discretionary. If the trust meets the requirements outlined in the Ohio Trust Code, the trust will not be a countable resource and thus should not affect governmental benefits. The trustee may use trust assets for the grandchild to enrich his or her life, and upon the death of the grandchild, the remaining assets may be distributed to other grandchildren or even charity.

One way the grandparent may fund a trust for the benefit of the grandchild is through life insurance, in which the trust is the owner and beneficiary of a life insurance policy on the life of the grandparent. The trust is generally funded with annual exclusion gifts (currently $14,000 per recipient) to cover the cost of the insurance premium. Beneficiaries other than the grandchild with special needs will be included, because the annual exclusion gift to the trust could be deemed a countable resource to the grandchild. Upon the death of the grandparent, the trust would collect the life insurance proceeds to be used and held for the benefit of the grandchild. Upon the grandchild’s death, any amounts remaining in trust

would be distributed as the grandparent determines. There are many ways for grandparents to assist in the lives of their grandchildren with special needs. The key is to make sure there is communication between the grandparent and the parent, as well as to utilize an attorney that has expertise in the specific special needs areas. This ensures that a grandchild’s benefits will not be disrupted.

Katherine Esshaki Wensink is of counsel with McDonald Hopkins LLC and focuses her practice on estate planning and administration. She can be reached at kwensink@

Special needs require special planning Our estate planning team understands that children with special needs require special planning. Our comprehensive and thoughtful approach to planning is focused on helping you meet your objectives.

Attorneys. Advisors. Advocates.

Carl J. Grassi

Shawn M. Riley


Cleveland Managing Member

McDonald Hopkins LLC, 600 Superior Avenue East, Suite 2100, Cleveland, OH 44114 • 216.348.5400 2015



What Parents

Need to Know About

ABLE Accounts

by Janet L. Lowder and David S. Banas, Hickman & Lowder Co., L.P.A.


ow parents have another option in obtaining and/or protecting health insurance and supplemental income for their children. With careful planning and advice from a qualified Special Needs attorney, parents can utilize special needs trusts, estate planning with special needs provisions, and ABLE Accounts to maximize flexibility and independence for themselves and their children.

48 2015

ABLE ACCOUNTS In December of 2014, the president signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act). The ABLE Act provides a vehicle for qualified individuals with disabilities (prior to the age of 26) to establish tax-free savings accounts to meet their special and supplemental needs. ABLE Accounts are akin to 529 college savings plans that many families utilize to save for the costs of college tuition. The ABLE Act allows anyone to establish a special savings account for the benefit of a qualifying beneficiary to pay for disability-related expenses. Earnings in the account are not taxable and the funds will be unavailable resources for SSI and Medicaid.

However, there are significant limitations and pitfalls to avoid. For instance, ABLE accounts have a Medicaid payback provision. Total annual deposits are limited to the annual gift tax exclusion amount, currently $14,000. While any person may contribute to an ABLE account, a beneficiary may only have one account. Expenditures may only be made for qualifying expenses. Violations of these rules will result in the account being deemed available for Medicaid and SSI purposes. ABLE accounts provide another tool for parents to maintain Medicaid or SSI benefits. It also provides the ability to establish accounts and save funds to conveniently and inexpensively deal with small inheritances or lump-sum reimbursements without having a

special needs trust prepared. Special needs trusts will remain the keystone of planning for parents who have children with disabilities, both in estate planning and dealing with large settlements and receipts, but ABLE accounts has the possibility to become one of the staples of special needs planning. To learn more, contact Hickman and Lowder Co., L.P.A., or visit Janet L. Lowder, Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation, and David S. Banas are attorneys with Hickman & Lowder Co., L.P.A. Hickman & Lowder has offices in Cleveland and Sheffield Village.

Hickman & Lowder Co., L.P.A.

Your Advocate. Your Trusted Partner.

Raising a child with special needs is a life-long commitment. We understand the challenges your family faces and are committed to helping you plan for your child’s future needs. Special Education Law  Transition Planning Special Needs Estate Planning  Guardianship I (216) 861-0360 Turning Your Obstacles Into Opportunities 2015


Memory Health


For Aging Loved Ones

emory changes often as one grows older. But memory loss that disrupts daily life is not a typical part of aging; it may be a symptom of dementia. Dementia is a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, a fatal disorder that results in the loss of brain cells and function. It also is characterized by a decline in language and problem-solving, trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, a decrease in judgment, withdrawal from work or social activities, changes in mood and personality including apathy and depression, and other cognitive skills that affect a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Symptoms vary from person to person.

New Programs to Help with Memory Care


ontefiore’s new in-home memory care program is designed to provide quality memory care services and support at home so individuals may live as independently in their residence for as long as possible. If or when the time comes and an individual cannot live safely or independently on their own — or it’s just too much to take care of them — the Willensky Residence on Montefiore’s campus in Beachwood and the David and Freda Robinson Residence on The Weils campus in Chagrin Falls offer 24-hour nursing supervision. Residents facing the complex cognitive, emotional and physical effects of dementia receive individualized and group programming and activities that provide the stability of a routine while maximizing independence. For more information about Montefiore’s Memory Care Network, call 216-360-9080 or visit and

50 2015

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 70 percent of all dementias are Alzheimer’s, with over 4.5 million Americans currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It is a difficult disease for families to manage at home, and, without proper supports in place, it often is challenging for families and loved ones to manage. One of the key components to working with an individual or family member is to ensure there are wellplanned daily activities that provide structure, meaning and achievement and have positive effects for the individual. The overall goal of any interaction or activity should be to improve the physical, cognitive, spiritual, sensory and social well-being of an individual while maintaining his or her optimal level of functioning.

Montefiore MeMory Care network Leaders in Providing excePtionaL MeMory care for your Loved one The Willensky Residence, A Montefiore Assisted Living Memory Care Community, on our Beachwood campus, offers quality and compassionate care for individuals with dementia. Our programming provides the stability of a routine while maximizing individuality. Specially-trained staff are on-site 24 hours a day.

Some of our distinctive amenities High staff-to-resident ratio Assistance with bathing and grooming Housekeeping, laundry and linen change Activities to engage mind, body and spirit Innovative “life stations” centered on careers, hobbies & interests All rooms and suites include private bathroom and shower Separate entrance and parking

To learn more, contact Kristen Morelli, memory care program manager, at 216.910.2323 or e-mail

New rooms filling up fast. Call today to schedule a tour. 2015

One David N. Myers Parkway Beachwood, OH 44122


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 on-line 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 aged person with special needs.

4 Paws for Ability

Able Disability Magazine

A Better Way of Ohio

Academic Associates Learning Center

A Starting Point, Inc. Michael L. Seng M.D. 440-934-8777

Access Jewish Cleveland

A.C.T. Now (Autism Consulting and Training)

Accucare Home Medical Equipment - Westlake

A+ Solutions

AccuQuest - Mayfield Village

A1 Home Care Service Inc.

AccuQuest - Medina

ABA Consulting Inc. 216-272-3963

AccuQuest - Mentor

ABA Outreach Services

AccuQuest - Parma Heights

ABC (Asperger Boot Camp)

AccuQuest - Stow

ABC of Ohio

Accurate Speech, Inc.

Abilikids - Brunswick

Achievement Centers for Children

Abilikids - Cuyahoga Falls

ACLD Learning Center

Abilities First - Middletown

Active Minds 440-951-5600

Ability Van Rentals



Adapted Sports- Achievement Centers for Children Adaptive Living Shoppe at Menorah Park Adaptive Sports for Kids (A.S.K.) community_center Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio Adele Viguera, MD aspx?doctorid=819 ADHD Strong ADULT DAY PROGRAM- Achievement Centers for Children Advocacy for Advancement 330-562-0102 Aeratech Home Medical Affiliates in Behavioral Health, LLC AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland Aimee Gilman 2015

Akron Area YMCA-Rotary Camp for Children With Special Needs Akron Education Campus Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board

Alexandar Andrich, OD FCOVD The Vision Development Team / Senso Alice McIntyre, MD aspx?doctorid=847

Anne T. Brigham, Esq. 440-357-1101 Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple Anthony DiBiasio, Ph.D. Anzar Haider, MD aspx?doctorid=727 Applewood Centers Arc of Medina County

All Ears Hearing Center

ARC of Ohio Northeast Branch

All-Star Training Club - A Program of UDS

Ardmore Foundation, Inc.

Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship

Area Agency on Aging, 10B, Inc. SERVICES4AGING.ORG

Allison Brindle, MD aspx?doctorid=772

Arlene J. Coloma DDS MS - Brecksville

Allison Schreiber, MS, CGC Alternative Paths, Inc. America’s Best Transportation American Home Patient Twinsburg American Home Patient Mansfield American Home Patient Middleburg Hts Amy Lee, Ph.D. Andre Prochoroff, MD aspx?ID=121624 Andreas Marcotty, MD 216-831-0120 Andrews & Pontius, LLC Anita B. Gantner, Ph.D. aspx?ID=093849 Ann Marie Kalata-Cetin, DO aspx?DoctorID=190 Anna Winfield, MD aspx?doctorid=811 Anne Grady Center 2015

Arlene J.Coloma DDS MS - Strongsville Art Therapy Studio Arthur Lavin, MD ASGC Summer Social Skills Camp Ashtabula County Board of Developmental Disabilities Ashtabula Educational Service Center Asian Services In Action, ASIA Inc. ASPIES Greater Akron Assistive Technology of Ohio

Autism Society - Tri-County Chapter tricountyautismso

Autism Speaks Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, and treatments for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Please visit or call 216-524-2842. Autism-Scholarship Ohio Scholarships/Autism-Schol Avoy Home Health Care 216-731-7715 Axner Friedman, LLP Bair Foundation Baldwin Wallace Speech Clinic, CCC-SLP Barbara L. Ekelman, Phd. 216-464-9000 Barry Simon, D.O. aspx?doctorid=401 Bradley Greene Co., LPA Bay Pediatrics Dentistry Beacon Health Beck Center for the Arts Beech Brook

Attention Deficit Disorder Association

Behavorial Intervention Institue of Ohio Page.html

Auburn Career Center

Believers Academy Program

Autism Advocates & Consultants LLC

Bellefaire JCB Counseling & Community Services

Autism Family Foundation

Beltone Audiologoy & Hearing Care Centers Akron

Autism Personal Coach Autism Services for Kids Autism Society - Greater Cleveland Chapter

Beltone Audiologoy & Hearing Center - Lakewood Beltone Audiology & Hearing Care Centers Garfield Hts.


Beltone Audiology & Hearing Care Centers Barberton Beltone Audiology & Hearing Care Centers Cuyahoga Falls Beltone Audiology & Hearing Care Centers Elyria Beltone Audiology & Hearing Care Centers Medina Beltone Audiology & Hearing Care Centers N. Olmsted Beltone Audiology & Hearing Care Centers Parma Hts. Beltone Audiology & Hearing Care Centers Sandusky Beltone Audiology & Hearing Care Centers Twinsburg Benjamin Katholi, MD aspx?doctorid=145 Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging Beth Anne Martin, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=199 Beyond Camp-Julie Billiart School Beyond Our Boundaries Beyond Words Music & Dance Center

Blick Clinic Blick Clinic is a private, non-profit community agency that provides a variety of clinical outpatient, residential and day program services for individuals with developmental disabilities, behavioral health needs and other related conditions. Their dedicated staff work with over 1,500 people of all ages at the clinic, school districts, various work sites and in homes throughout Summit and Portage Counties.

Boardman Medical Supply - Girard

Calliope Speech & Language Services, LLC 800-787-3914

Boardman Medical Supply - Twinsburg

camp !magine

Boardman Medical Supply - Warren

Camp A.B.C. for Preschoolers

Brain Aerobics

Camp Can Do

Brain Balance Center of Canton

Camp Cheerful

Brandon’s Place

Camp FIT - Friendship in Teams

Bridge to Success

Camp Ho Mita Koda

Bridge to Success Skills Training LLC

Camp I.D.E.A.S

Bridges 440-350-9922

Camp Nuhop

Bridges Rehabilitation Services

Camp Paradise

Bridgeway, Inc.

Camp Snow Cubs

Brigitte at Your Service

Camp Sue Osborn

Brittany Residential

Camp Suntastic

Britton Smith Peters & Kalail Co., L.P.A.

Canfield Medical Supply

Broadmoor School

Cara Cuddy, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=497

Broadway Buddies - Stagecrafters 216-831-8601 Buckeye Industries Buckeye Medical Supply 216-381-4830 Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP Building Behaviors Building Behaviors Autism Center Building Blocks Therapy Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps Busy Hands Bright Minds, LLC

Blossom Hills, Inc.

By Your Side Homecare

Boardman Medical Supply - Boardman

Cafe O’Play

Boardman Medical Supply - Canton

Calico Center


Career Transition Center Carol Delahunty, MD 330-543-8050 Carol J. Culley your-legal-team/74 Carol Kwait, MA Carol Leslie, OT/L, CHT, CWC Carol Rosen, MD Catherine Gaw, Psy.D. Catholic Charities Community Services of Geauga County Catholic Charities Community Services of Lake County Catholic Charities Community Services of Medina County 2015

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Catholic Charities Community Services of Summit County Catholic Charities Disability Services of Cleveland Catholic Charities of Lorain County Catholic Charities Services of Cuyahoga County Cedar Audiology Associates, Inc. Center for Cognition and Recovery Center for Comprehensive Care at Rainbow Babies Center for Life Skills Center for Mental Retardation/ The Arc of Greater Cleveland Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare 216-432-7200 Centers for Families and Children Challenger Division of Little League Baseball CHAMPS Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation Charles Boester, DDS 216-741-3854 Charles Davis, MD Cherished Companions Child Guidance & Family Solutions Children’s Developmental Center Choices - A Community Social Center Christine Barry, Ph.D. 216-844-3230 City of Mayfield Heights Department of Recreation - Adaptive Program

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

Cleveland Eye Bank

Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center For over 90 years, Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center has been a provider of assistance to those who are deaf or hard of hearing, have difficulty speaking, have had a stroke or severe brain injury, or have other language or literacy delays and disorders. Their vision is a community where every individual communicates effectively.

Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center - Broadview Heights Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center - Community Center for the Deaf Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center - South Euclid Cleveland Mighty Barons Sled Hockey Cleveland Music School Settlement Cleveland Psychological Assessments Cleveland Sight Center Cleveland SignStage Theater Cleveland State University Speech/Language and Hearing Clinic 216-687-3567

Club Z! Home Tutoring Coleman Behavioral Health/ Trumbull Coleman Professional Services, Inc. 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.

Community Support Services, Inc. Compass Family and Community Services, Inc. Comprehensive Behavioral Health Associates Comprehensive Behavioral Services for Autism Concorde Kids Connect to One Connecting for Kids Connections in Ohio

Claudia Anders, OTR/L 440-260-0351

Cleveland State University Tutoring and Academic Success Center

Cleveland Area Soapbox Derby Special Division

Cleveland Treatment Center

Conrad Foley, MD 216-839-3600

Cleveland Christian Home

Cleveland Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program

Corner Stone Medical Services

Cleveland Clinic Children’s Therapy Services South 2015

Connections: Health Wellness Advocacy

Cornucopia Inc.


Council for Exceptional Children - Ohio

CYO Recreational Respite Program

Dragonfly Academy

County of Summit Developmental Disabilities Board

D & E Counseling Center

Drusilla Grant, OD

Daily Behavioral Health, Inc.

Dylexia Institues of America

Dancing Wheels Company and School

Early Intervention Consulting, LLC

Daniel Neides, M.D.

Easter Seals

David G. Umbaugh of Day Ketterer 330-650-1185

Easter Seals Disability Services

David J. Birnkrant, MD aspx?ID=052514


Craig Newman, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=158 Craig Raskind, MD Creating Connections Company, LLC Creative Education Institute Crossroads CSS Empowering People with Disabilities CTS - Contract Transport Services, Inc. Cued Speech for Integrated Communication, Inc. Custom Home Elevator and Lifts

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

Cuyahoga County Bd. 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 Cynthia Kubu, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=429


Davies Pharmacy, Inc. Debra Dutka 440-247-5991

Educational Alternatives Educational Assistive Technology

Deepwood Foundation

Educational Choice Scholarship Scholarships/EdChoice-Sch

Denise Bothe, MD

Educational Options, LLC

Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics 216-844-3230

Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County

Diane Clements, MS, CGC aspx?doctorid=146

Eileen Kennedy, Ph.D. 216-986-4000

Diane Cutter Ali, DO aspx?DoctorID=210

Eisner, Gohn Group

Different Needz Disabilities Resources, Inc Division of Senior & Adult Services - Cuyahoga County Donald Goldberg, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=597 Douglas Rogers, MD aspx?doctorid=100 Down Syndrome Association of the Valley Down Syndrome Support Network of Stark County Downs Designs Dr. Andrew Neal Berman, DDS 330-467-1800 Dr. Myrita Wilhite Eisner, Gohn Group is a leading resource for Life Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance and Long Term Disability Insurance. Their team has subject matter experts in each of these disciplines so they can craft and deliver the most cost effective and efficient plans for their clients. Eleanor Gerson School Elie Rizkala, MD, FAA aspx?ID=031708 Elissa Deggelman, Ph.D. 330-543-3701 Elizabeth Bolek, MA, CCC/SLP Elizabeth K. Dreben, Ph.D. aspx?ID=091017 Ella Pestana Knight, MD 216-844-5437 Elle’s Enchanted Forest 2015

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit

Ellen F. Casper and Associates - Beachwood

Fragile X Alliance of Ohio

Gerald Ferretti, DDS, MS, MPH 216-844-3080

Ellen F. Casper and Associates - Rocky River

Frank G. Radis, DDS 330-562-2700

GiGi’s Playhouse

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

Fred Rothstein, MD

Gold Therapy Service

Embrace Dyslexia

Friedman, Norman M., M.D. asp?dbase=main&setsize=

Good Shepherd Home Care

Emma Raizman, MD aspx?doctorid=166

Friends Forever, Inc.

Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland Greater Cleveland Aspergers Support

Employment Alliance

Friendship Circle

Epilepsy Association

Frogtown Low Vision Support

Green Road Early Childhood Developmental Center

Eric Berko, Ph.D. aspx?ID=18190

Frontier Day Camp

Greenleaf Family Center

FrontLine Service

Greentree Counseling Center, Inc.

Funutation Tekademy Computer Technology Camp

Guardian Angels Support Group

Ethan Benore, Ph.D. 330-543-8050 Euclid Adult Basic and Literacy Education Program (ABLE) Evant, Inc. Exactcare Pharmacy Exceptional Psychological Services 216-391-4970 Expressions of Diversity Extended Housing, Inc. Fairhaven - Trumbell County Board of DD Fairhaven Counseling Fairhill Center Family and Community Resource Center Family Child Learning Center Family Connections Family Pride of Northeast Ohio, Inc. Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center Firas Saker, MD 216-444-2568 FIT (Friendship In Teams) 2015

G.T.B. Medical Service, Inc. Gaitway High School Game On Gary Hsich, MD aspx?doctorid=599 Geauga County Board of Mental Health & Recovery Services Geauga Rehabilitation Engineering Geauga Rehabilitation Engineering - Ashtabula Geauga Rehabilitation Engineering - Mentor Genevive Falconi, MD 330-225-8886 Georgann Richardson 440-413-2800 George Kikano George Tesar, MD aspx?doctorid=109 Georgette Constantinou, Ph.D. 330-543-4270 Gerald Erenberg, M.D. 216-444-2375

Guidestone H. Gerry Taylor, Ph.D. Hanger Clinic - Akron 1 Hanger Clinic - Akron 2 Hanger Clinic - Alliance Hanger Clinic - Canton Hanger Clinic - Maple Hts. Hanger Clinic - Mayfield Hts. Hanger Clinic - Tallmadge Hanger Clinic - Willoughby Hanger Clinic- Westlake Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics Hanna Perkins Center for Child Development Hanson House Hastings Professional Medical Equipment


Hattie Larlham Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities

Hospice & Palliative Care of Greater Wayne County Howard Bonem, Ph.D.

Health Aid of Ohio

Howard Hall III, Ph.D. PsyD 216-844-3230

Health Care Solutions 216-901-9250

Huddle Connection

Healthy Start/Healthy Families Health Care Program

Heidi Senokozlieff, DO 330-721-5700

Huntington Learning Center

Help Foundation, Inc. 216-432-4810

Hydrocephalus Support Group - Cleveland ns_support_group.asp

Help Me Grow

i-CanBike 216-410-3007

Help Me Grow

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

Help Me Grow Lorain County Help%20Me%20Grow/Lo

Ingrid Tuxhorn, MD 216-286-6644

Hickman & Lowder Co. L.P.A.

- Sheffield Village - Cleveland The elder law and special needs attorneys at Hickman & Lowder chose to practice law because it allows them a meaningful way to advocate for people whose lives are complicated by special concerns and frustrated by a sometimes impersonal, imperfect system. They believe in the value of each human being, and that everyone, regardless of age, health, or capacity, deserves the best life possible.

Highbrook Lodge Holly Reimann, MA, CCC-SLP Holly’s Hearing Aid Center Homes for Kids, Inc. Homewatch Caregivers aspx Hope Educational Consulting, LLC Hopewell Farm


inmotion Insight Learning & Wellness Center Insight Wellness and Learning Center, SLP/OT Integrations Treatment Center Invacare Corporation Irwin B. Jacobs, MD aspx?ID=021451 JAF’s Therapy In Motion 330-722-2415 James Begley, MD aspx?ID=049304 James C. Gramlich 440-668-0420 Jamie R. Hughes, M.A., CCC/SLP 216-262-8163 Jane Holan, MD 216-844-7700 Jay Berk Ph.D., Inc. Jeffrey J. Orchen, DDS 216-663-1967 Jennifer Bryk Hechko, DDS 330-562-2700

Jennifer Walinsky, Ph.D. Jerilyn Hagan Sowell, CNS display.aspx?doctorid=553 Jessica Mester, MS, CGC display.aspx?doctorid=146 Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Bellefaire JCB Jewish Family Service - Employment Services Jewish Family Service - Parent Advocacy Jewish Family Service Association YOUTHABILITY JFSA Care at Home Johanna Goldfarb, MD John Bober, MD John Duby, MD, FAAP John Glazer, MD display.aspx?doctorid=163 John McDonnel, DDS 216-521-2424 John Murray Center John Vitkus, Ph.D. display.aspx?doctorid=293 Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program Scholarships/Special-NeedsJoseph Austerman, D.O. 216-636-5860 Joseph Bedosky, Ph.D. 216-983-0812 Joseph Lock MD 216-839-3600 Joyce A. Plummer, Esq. 419-798-4030 Judith C. Saltzman, Esq. Judith Deselich, MOT, OTR/L 440-235-3090 2015

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit

Julie Billiart School Julie Billiart School nurtures and empowers students with special learning needs. It is a Catholic K-8 school rooted in the educational principles of the Sisters of Notre Dame and welcomes diverse faith traditions. Julie Billiart School strives to build self-confidence, inspire Christian values and empower students with skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm for lifelong learning. Jyoti Krishna, M.D. aspx?doctorid=854 K M E Home Medical Equipment Kabb Law Firm Kadakkal Radhakrishnan, MD aspx?doctorid=733 Karen Broer, Ph.D. aspx?DoctorID=257 Karen Burk Paull, Ph.D. Karen Jacobs, D.O. aspx?doctorid=786

Kenneth A. DeLuca & Associates

Lakeshore Speech Therapy, LLC

Kenneth A. DeLuca, PhD and Associates N. Ridgeville

Lakewood ABLE

Kenneth A. DeLuca, PhD and Associates Rocky River Kenneth A. DeLuca, PhD and Associates Westlake Kerry M. Agins, Esq. 216-291-1300 Key Ministry Foundation KidsLink Neurobehavioral Center Kimberly Giuliano, MD aspx?doctorid=760 Kimberly M. Rau, MA CCC-SLP 440-227-9176 Kip Smith, Ph.D. aspx?ID=021832 Kleins Pharmacy and Medical Equipment Co. Knapp Center for Childhood Development

Karen Lieberman 440-263-3719

Knesseth Israel Temple

Karen M. Tomoff LPCC, LICDC 440-544-6988


Karla Gay Borchert, M.S., SLP 440-277-7337

Koinonia Homes

Kate Eshleman, Psy.D. aspx?doctorid=137

Koinonia Homes

Katherine A. Spitznagel, M.A., CCC-SLP 440-439-1600

Kristen Eastman, Psy.D. aspx?doctorid=368

Katherine E. Taylor 330-338-4526

Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Katherine Lamparyk, Psy.D. aspx?doctorid=162

Lake County Educational Service Center (LCESC)

Kathleen Kern, Ph.D. Kathleen Laing, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=328 Kathleen Quinn, MD 216-444-5950 Kathleen Ready Filipek, M.A., CCC-SLP 216-221-5470 Katy Hopkins, Esq. 2015

Lake Erie Swimming Lake Front Lodge Lake Shore Day Camp Lake-Geauga Recovery Centers LakeShore Day Camp

Lakewood Community Recreation & Education Language Learning Associates - Fairlawn Language Learning Associates - Hudson Language Learning Associates - Medina Lara Feldman, D.O. aspx?doctorid=142 Laura Adelman, DMD Laura Gerak, Ph.D. 330-425-1885 Laura Gillespie, MD aspx?doctorid=798 Laurie Sobisch, M.S. 216-991-7463

Lawrence School - Lower School

- Upper School At Lawrence School, they understand the unique needs –academic, social and emotional—of students with learning differences and attention deficits. Their specialized programs and methods are designed to help these students build confidence, advocate for themselves, and reach their full potential. There are over 300 schools like Lawrence across the country—but only one in northeast Ohio.

Lea M. Georgantas, AuD aspx?doctorid=929 LEAP - Cleveland 800-223-2273 LEAP Center for Independent Living Learning Disabilities Associates 216-233-2661 LearningRx - Bath Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy Legal Aid Society - Ashtabula County


Legal Aid Society - Lake and Geauga Counties

Mane Stride

MC Mobility Systems, Inc.

Legal Aid Society - Lorain County

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

Medbill Advantage

Leimkuehler, Inc. - Cleveland

Maria Isabel Herran, MD aspx?ID=149922

Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Leimkuehler, Inc. - Lyndhurst Leimkuehler, Inc. - N. Royalton Leslie Meadows, MA, MT-BC, NMT 330-421-3644 Leslie Speer, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=146 Library2You Life Access Life Style Mobility and Medical Supply 440-975-1931 LifeAct Lincare Lisa Hollo-Gryshuk, MA, ATR, LPC/CR 216-337-1874 Lisa O’Halloran. OT 440-777-2339 Lisa Stines Doane, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist Lorain County Board of Developmental Disabilities Lori Josephson 330-730-2875 Lorraine Surgical Supply Lose the Training Wheels Loving Hands Group Lynne Z. Petkovic, M. Ed. 440-247-3426 M. Yasser Armanazi, DDS Magnolia Community Clubhouse Mahoning County Bd. of Developmental Disabilities Malachi House Mandel Jewish Community Center of Cleveland


Marilou Duke 440-734-1770 Marilyn Hirsch, M.A., CCC-SLP 440-349-0811 Marissa Smith, MS aspx?doctorid=146 Marita D’Netto, MD aspx?doctorid=434 Marjorie Greenfield, MD results?s=&k=greenfield Mark Lovenger, Ph.D. 216-464-1277 Marvin Natowicz, MD, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=409 The mission of the Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities is to provide quality programs, services and supports that assist individuals with developmental disabilities to live, learn, work and socialize in their communities.

Medina Creative Housing Medina Metropolitan Housing Authority Meghan Barlow, Ph.D. Melissa A. Meehan, SLP 216-521-4408 Mental Health Advocacy Coalition

Mary Ann Thomas - Attorney at law

Mercy Rehabilitation Center

Mary Colleen Cameron Hunter, SLP 216-469-0446

Mercy Rehabilitation Services outpatient therapy

Mary Hall Mennes, MD 216-286-6260

Merle Frankel, DDS 440-995-3000

Mary Hughes 440-605-9271

MetroHealth - Comprehensive Care Program

Mary L. Padula, MA, CCC/SLP

Michael Carter Financial Group

MaryAnn DeMassimo, SLP 440-465-3381

Michael Manos, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=300

Masonic Learning Center - Cleveland Matthew’s Lending Library Max Wiznitzer, MD Mayfield Adapted Recreation

McCarthy Lebit McCarthy Lebit is a full-service law firm offering personalized services to individuals and businesses. Its areas of practice include Education, Family, Trusts & Estates, Employment, Banking & Finance, Corporate, Taxation, Insurance, Intellectual Property, Real Estate & Construction, Personal Injury, Criminal Defense, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Litigation.

Michael Romaniuk, Ph.D. astName=Romaniuk Michelle DePolo, Psy.D. Michelle Star Yoga & Healing Arts Middleburg Early Education Center

Milestones Autism Resources Milestones provides teen/adult services to help their families develop and implement appropriate transition plans for everything from career or vocational training to housing and support services. Milestones also provides coaching and consultation services to help parents prioritize their family’s needs, advocate for their child, identify services and know that they are not alone. 2015

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Miller’s Health Care Products for Independence - Akron

Muscular Dystrophy Association

New Hope Specialized Services

Miller’s Health Care Products for Independence - Canton

Musical Fingers

New Hope Specialized Services

Miller’s Health Care Products for Independence - Cleveland Miller’s Health Care Products for Independence - Youngstown Mind/Body Occupational Therapy, LLC Minda S. Rudnick & Associates 216-464-7654 Minority Behavioral Health Group 330-374-1199 Miracle-Ear of Cleveland Miracle-Ear of Elyria Miracle-Ear of Mentor Miracle-Ear of Middleburg Hts Miracle-Ear of North Olmsted Musical Fingers provides to their clients and students all their Music Therapy and Music Education services in the comfort and privacy of their home, as well as holds Summer Classic Rock and Contemporary Christian Rock Camps. They are proud to be an Ohio Special Needs & Autism Scholarship Program Provider and a Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program Provider. Music Therapy Enrichment Center, Inc. Music Therapy Enrichment Center NAMI Geauga Nancy Roizen, MD 216-844-3230 Nancy Van Keuls, MD 440-899-5550 National Alliance on Mental IllnessGreater Cleveland

Miracle-Ear of Richmond Hts

National Autism Association Helping Hand Program

Miracle-Ear of Strongsville

National Autism Association of Southeast Ohio

MLF Speech Therapy

National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities

Molly Wimbiscus, MD aspx?doctorid=163 Monarch Center for Autism Monarch’s Teaching Technologies


National Multiple Sclerosis Society Ohio Buckeye Chapter National Stuttering Association - Akron Chapter National Stuttering Association - Cleveland Chapter For more than 130 years, Montefiore has cared for Cleveland’s aging Jewish and general community. They continue to provide excellent and comprehensive care to individuals as they age and support to families. Guided by Jewish values, Montefiore is dedicated to a standard of excellence and personalized care, enabling individuals to live with dignity and security and as independently as they are able.

Nature’s Bin

Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation

New Avenues To Independence, Inc. 2015

NE Ohio Parent Mentors

Nicole Gerami, MA, CCC-SLP Nikhil Koushik, Ph.D. Nita Leff, LSW, M.Ed. Norma Martin 440-933-0657 North Coast Community Homes North Coast Education Center North Coast Orthotics and Prosthetics 440-233-4314 North Coast Tutoring Services North Shore Residential Services, Inc. Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare 330-467-2420 Northern Ohio Branch of International Dyslexia Association Notre Dame College Disability Services Notre Dame Skills Lab Ohio Bureau of Rehabilitation Services Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) Students-with-Disabilities Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities Ohio Department of Education (ODE’s) Office for Exceptional Children ODE/ODEDetail.aspx?page=3

Neera Agarwal-Antal, MD, Director 330-650-4200

Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) - Disability Financial Assistance

Neighborhood Solutions, Inc.

Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council

Neighboring Mental Health Services

Ohio Guidestone


Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled PhysicallyDisabled.aspx

Paul Rychwalski MD aspx?doctorid=945

Ohio Medicaid Waiver Disability Services & Waivers

Peak Potential Therapy

Psych & Psych Services Psycho-Diagnostic Clinic 330-643-2333 Psychological & Behavioral Consultants

Ohio School for the Deaf

Pediatric Neuropsychology Center

Ohio Works First (OWF)

People First

Olsen Hearing - Bedford

PEP Early Childhood Plus

Olsen Hearing - Parma

Performance Therapy Group 440-708-0317

Our Fathers House

Person Centered Therapies, Inc.

Rachel Vovos, Au.D. aspx?doctorid=943

Our Lady Of The Wayside

Personal Leasing Transportation

Rainbow Camp

Our Lady of the Wayside

Peter Geier, MD 216-464-1277

Ravenwood Mental Health Center

Out of the Box Behavioral Solutions, LLC

Phase VI Driving School 216.407.4235

Ravenwood Mental Health Center

Paddy O’Flynn

Pilot Dogs Inc.

Re Bath

Painesville ABLE

PLAN of NE Ohio (Jewish Family Service Assn.)

Re-Education Services, Inc.

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

Polaris Career Center

REACH Counseling Services - Main Office

Pamela Gleisser, LISW-S

Pony Tales Farm

Rebecca Hazen, Ph.D.

Pamela Senders, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=498

Portage Path Behavioral Health

REM Ohio, Inc.

Positive Education Program - PEP

REM Ohio, Inc. - Valley View

Powers Karate

Rec2connect-Gemini Center

Park Synagogue - Community Unity Program Parliament Tutors Parma ABLE Parmadale Institute index.html Parmelee & Parmelee, LLC Partners in Justice Partners To Empowerment Wellness Center Partners with Paws Pastoral Counseling Service Pathway to Independence, Inc. 330-686-7100 Patricia Klaas Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=547


Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Ohio Precise Speech Language and Learning, Inc. 440-937-9772 Preston’s H.O.P.E. Playground

PSI Affiliates, Inc. For more than three decades PSI has been committed to meeting the health & educational needs of children in Ohio’s schools. Their psychological, health, speech and educational services now serve tens of thousands of children each year. PSI’s Prevention/Intervention programs were selected as a Winner of Ohio’s BEST Practices Award. Psycare, Inc.

Pure Health, Inc. QUANTUM LEAP Linking Employment, Abilities & Potential (LEAP) Rachel Tangen, Ph.D. Rec2Connect provides innovative Recreation and Aquatic Therapy services to individuals with special needs. They assess, design, and implement effective Therapeutic Recreation based programs on an individualized basis to assist clients in achieving developmental milestones, rehabilitation, increase muscle and tone development, exercise and fitness activities, strengthening, and overall recreation satisfaction. RePlay for Kids ResCare HomeCare Reserve Psychological Consultants, Inc. 330-929 1326 Rich Center for Autism 2015

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Rising Star Learning Center 440-454-2898

Senders Pediatrics

RMS of Ohio, Inc.

Services for Independent Living

Robert Findling, MD 216-844-3455

Shaker Heights School District Parent Mentor

Robert Weiss, MD aspx?doctorid=287

Shanna Kralovic, DO

Rocky River Behavioral Pediatrics Roman Dale, MD aspx?doctorid=733

Share-A-Vision Sharon Freudenberger, DDS

Southwest General Pediatric Rehabilitation Spec Edu Konnections, LLC 330-332-2860 Special Navigator for Families with Special Needs Special Olympics Ohio Special Stars of The North Coast 440-770-6227 Specs4Us

Shelter Care

Spectrum Psychological Associates, Inc.

Rose-Mary Center

Sherry Dinner, Ph.D.!ut/p/c5/ hY7LDoIwF

Star Therapy and Sales Corp.

Royalton Music Center

Shine Ohio AKA Hydrocephalus Support Group 440-888-2454

Ruscel Montessori Children’s House 740-393-1200

Shine with Frannie

RX Home Health Care, Inc.

Signature Health, Inc.

Rx Home Healthcare, Inc.

Silhouette Dance & Fine Arts Center OH

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

SkyLight Special Needs Planning special-needs-planning/

Ronald McDonald House

S.P.L.A.S.H for children with disabilities 330-655-2377 x 156 S.T.A.R.S. Autism Program S.U.P.E.R. Learning Center Sally Ibrahim, MD aspx?doctorid=921 Samantha Anne 216-444-6691 Sandra Einstein BS. Ed. Sandra Summers, Ph.D. Sara Menefee Santoli Attorney Sari Issa Alqsous, BDS aspx?ID=131573 SAW Solutions At Work School Psychologist Files Scott Bea, Psy.D. aspx?DoctorID=207 2015

Smarty Pants Tutoring SOAR! 440-327-6454 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

Starfish Academy STARFISH Advocacy Association Stark & Knoll Co., L.P.A. Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities Stark County Transportation Starting Point State Support Team 2 - Northern Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center Cuyahoga Special Ed Resource/Service Center State Support Team Region 3 State support team 4 State Support Team 5 - Northeast Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center State Support Team 8 Step By Step Step by Step Academy, Inc. Stephanie Gordon 216-226-8803 Stephen Cosby, MD Stepping Stones Mental Health Educational Consulting STEPS Center for Excellence in Autism


Steven S. Wexberg, MD aspx?doctorid=483

The Center for Instructional Supports and Accessible Materials (CISAM

Stonewood Residential, Inc. 216-464-6300

The Child & Family Counseling Center of Westlake

Stuart B. Katz, DDS 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 330-928-3137 Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board Summit Psychological Associates, Inc. Sumru Bilge-Johnson, MD bilge-johnson Sylvan Learning Center Tarry House, Inc. Tatiana Falcone, MD aspx?DoctorID=819 Teach Toileting Temple Am Shalom Ten Lakes Center’s Generations Program The American Council of the Blind (ACB) The Arc of Greater Cleveland The Arc of Summit and Portage Counties k%3d&bbsys=0&bbrt The Attention Center The Autism Center at OCALI The Center for AAC & Autism


The Music Settlement

The Disability Rights Center of Ohio Highly qualified Board Certified Music Therapists at The Music Settlement’s Center for Music Therapy positively impact the lives of individuals facing a wide range of life’s challenges, utilizing music-based interventions in a clinical setting to help accomplish specific individualized goals, support learning and transfer of skills, and improve quality of life.

The Family Advocacy Program-Jewish Family Service Association

The Nord Center

The Fine Arts Association

The Shul

The Galvin Therapy Center

The Sitter Connection

The Galvin Therapy Center-Early Start Autism Program

The Steel Academy

The Cleveland Nanny Connection

The Gathering Place The Gathering Place - West The Geauga County Board of Developmental Disabilities/The Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Center The Hearing Center - Fairview Park The Hearing Center - Middleburg Hts. The Hearing Center - N. Ridgeville bringmanhearingaidcenter.comman The Jewish Education Center of Cleveland B’Tzelem The Jewish Education Center of Cleveland ETGAR The Jewish Education Center of Cleveland SEGULA The KIDnections Group The Legal Aid of Cleveland The Magical Feather Multisensory Educational Clinics The Model Spinal Cord Injury System Clinic

The Temple-Tifereth Israel The Tutoring Center The Unschool Camp The Up Side of Downs The Up Side of Downs The Village Network The Vision Development Team The Whole Kid Therapeutic Horsemanship Program-Achievement Centers for Children Think Computer Foundation Thomas Blondis, MD, FAAP, FSCN Thomas Frazier, II, Ph.D. aspx?doctorid=766 Todd Kotler, Esq. html Total Education Solutions SummerEnrichmentPro Tourette Syndrome Association of Ohio 2015

For a complete listing of the provider information, please visit Townsend Learning Centers

Ursuline ArtSpace

Tree of Knowledge Learning Centers, Inc.

Valley Counseling Services Adult Office

Trumbull Career and Technical Center

Valley Counseling Services Children’s Office

Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board

Valley Counseling Services Southeast Office

Tupos Therapy Growing Together 440-258-7870

Valley Riding Therapeutic Riding Program

Turning Point Counseling Services, Inc.

Vanessa Jensen, Psy.D. aspx?doctorid=643

Twinsburg Parks and Recreation Department


Two Foundation

ViaQuest Behavioral Health

United Cerebral Palsy

Vicki Krnac UCP of Greater Cleveland provides a continuum of care to individuals with disabilities; from early intervention for infants and children’s therapy to lifelong adult residential and vocational supports.

Vickie Zurcher, MD 216-636-1768

United Disabilities Services - Akron

Vista Hearing Centers - Geauga

United Way First Call for Help

Vista Hearing Centers - Mentor

Universal Low Vision Aids

Vista Hearing Centers - Parma Hts.

University Hospitals

Vincent Caringi, MD Vista Hearing Centers - Ashtabula

Vista Hearing Centers - Sandusky

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

Vista Hearing Centers/ R.J. Gandee & Co Mansfield

University Hospital Discovery & Wellness Center discovery-and-wellness-center

Wadie Shabab, MD aspx?DoctorID=136

University Hospitals Center For Comprehensive Care

Weaver Industries

University Hospitals Center For Comprehensive Care University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Child Development 2015

Vocational Guidance Services Vocational Services Unlimted W.A.G.S. 4 Kids

Weekend Respite Camp for Children and Adults with Disabilities weekend-respite-camp.h Welcome House

Wendy Cunningham, Psy.D. aspx?doctorid=142 Western Reserve Counseling Western Reserve Speech and Language Partners Westlake ABLE William F. Hamilton, Psychological & Behavioral Consultants 216-548-2895 William J. Novak, M.D. asp?dbase=main&setsi William Patrick Day Early Childhood Center aspx Windfall Industries Windsor Laurelwood Center for Behavioral Medicine - Beachwood about.html Windsor Laurelwood Center for Behavioral Medicine in Willoughby Windt in Wald Farm Wyant Woods Care Center 330-836-7953 Yazan Al-Madani, BDS aspx?ID=124826 Yoga Reach Young Athletes of Cleveland Young Rembrandts Greater Cleveland- West Youth Challenge

Zane’s Foundation Zane’s Foundation, Inc. assists families with loved ones with special needs through educational community outreach programs, advocacy services and the Family Support Fund initiative. Through this initiative, they provide funding assistance for camps, therapies, respite services and assistive/adaptive equipment to assist with daily challenges and improve quality of life.


No Child is Easy

One mom’s emotions after her son’s diagnosis by Ruchi Koval


ou know those kids who are so easy, everyone is jealous? I had one. He was sweet, gentle, lowmaintenance, friendly and smart. I was almost overwhelmed at how cute he was (so much cuter and easier than his peers, I privately and somewhat smugly observed). But truthfully, I felt I kind of earned an easy one. As the sixth child, he followed in the same line of his two brothers and three sisters of all types and personalities. I felt that he was a little smile from God after some rough parenting years. Then, I began noticing some odd things about “my easy one” — he seemed too easy. He didn’t want me to tuck him in at night, saying, “I can put myself to bed,” “Don’t sit on my bed,” or “No hugs or kisses.” He didn’t nudge or whine or ever say “Mom, look at me,” “Can you help me,” or “Get off the phone and pay attention to me!” If I couldn’t find him, he was usually somewhere perfectly responsible, like riding his bike with his helmet without asking me or telling me he was leaving — at age six. My husband and I finally decided this easy child was exhibiting some alarming red flags in his aversion to


including us in his life. So with a bizarre mix of fear of being right and fear of looking like a crazy Mom, I spoke to my Ruchi Koval pediatrician. I stumbled and stuttered over the word, but I made myself say it: “Should we be thinking about Asperger’s?” The word faltered on my tongue, feeling sickening, foreign and dreadfully contagious. Well, let’s watch it and see what develops. We watched it. What developed was more social anxiety, disturbances at school and a slow withdrawal from most friends. My easy kid was now my most difficult kid. After evaluations, testing and a lot of crowdsourcing, the chilling day came on an equally chilling day in March. “We have sufficient reason to diagnose your son with high functioning autism and anxiety.” “You mean Asperger’s?” I asked. “They don’t call it Asperger’s anymore, but yes, that’s what we think based on the sdlkjfotpoiwepoeixc lohiopjdoisatpiweyh.” Or at least that’s all we heard. On that day, I felt that our dreams for our child died. I say that without an ounce of regret, because it was exactly how I needed to feel. I understand now that Asperger’s is not a death sentence or a dreaded diagnosis at all. It is a handy shortcut to describe people who share certain characteristics with our son, such as high IQ, low emotional IQ, processing things logically instead of instinctively,

and a tendency to obsess over odd things. I understand this now, after intensive ABA therapy and anxiety medication have helped other sides of our son emerge. Our son also has other characteristics that exist outside of his Asperger’s diagnosis, such as a wicked sense of humor, a love of swimming, animals, and a neartotal adoration of his older brother. However, on that day, we needed to mourn. We needed to mourn the hopes, dreams and expectations that we’d had. We needed to mourn the easy kid we thought we had gotten. We needed to mourn the kid who was going to do regular things like go to school, have a typical bar mitzvah and do the regular sports. We needed to absorb just how different life would be. Our mourning lasted about a year – a year from which we are just now emerging. I’m not going to whitewash life with Asperger’s. Sometimes it’s very difficult, more difficult than I ever knew. Not being able to hug or kiss our son is possibly the most painful thing I’ve experienced so far as a mom. But I am now at a place where I can say this: having our son, exactly the way he is, is a little smile from God. Because having our son, exactly the way he is, has taught us so much about humility, patience and learning to adjust expectations when life throws you a plot twist. And when he gives me his funny smile, and twinkles his big brown eyes at me, I know. That’s his hug. I’ll take it any way he wants to give it. 2015

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