Here's what we found for you
- Developmental disabilities: early childhood
Caring for children with developmental disabilities presents unique challenges. For children up to age 3, Stark County Early Intervention (EI) provides services for families to help children reach their full potential. Using a team approach, developmental specialists and therapists, who are specific to the needs of the family, work with caregivers and children to coach, teach specific techniques, and provide appropriate resources to parents and caregivers. Learn more about the programs and services available for young children with developmental disabilities.
- Developmental disabilities: childhood
For school-aged children with developmental disabilities, services are typically provided through specialized instruction in a classroom setting. Additional resources may include occupational, physical and/or speech/language therapies, nursing services and behavior supports. Learn more about the educational programs available for children with developmental disabilities in your home system by consulting your district’s special education department.
- Developmental disabilities: youth & teens
Beginning around age 14, is it important that families of children with developmental disabilities start the process of transitioning to adulthood. This includes activities such as age-appropriate transition assessments, setting measurable postsecondary goals and planning an eventual career path. Through support from the Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities, learn ways to set your child up for success and independence in adulthood.
- Developmental disabilities: young adults
The journey to adulthood can be challenging for anyone, and especially for young people with developmental disabilities. From securing employment and managing health care responsibilities to finding accessible housing and transportation, there is a lot to learn to ensure a smooth transition. To plan for success in the adult world, community resources are available. Learn about the advocates and supporters helping to empower young adults with disabilities in Stark County, Ohio.
- Major Unusual Incidents (MUIs)
A Major Unusual Incident (MUI) is an event that negatively impacts the health, safety or wellbeing of an individual with developmental disabilities. These incidences must be reported immediately, either by staff, families, the general public or the individual themselves. Learn how to best report an MUI with help from local Stark County agencies.
- Developmental disabilities service eligibility
To receive services from Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities, children must meet a list of requirements determined by Service and Support Administration (SSA) intake specialists. Eligibility must be re-determined at ages 3, 6 and 16, but the initial request for services can take place at any time.
- Applying for disability
Do you feel that you or someone you know is eligible for disability services? If you are no longer able to work due to an illness, accident or injury, you may qualify for social security disability insurance in Stark County. Learn how to apply for disability assistance and get started today.
- Developmental disabilities & mental health
Young people with developmental disabilities are at a much higher risk for also experiencing mental health challenges. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for these children, teens and young adults to get the support they need. They may have trouble communicating their symptoms and behaviors are often falsely attributed to their disabilities. As a result, co-occurring conditions can cause significant strain on parents and guardians who may not know the best ways to seek treatment for their loved ones.
- Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: A mother and son’s 20-year journeyI teach about people with disabilities and how Stark DD helps more than 3,900 people, including my son, living in Stark County. Read our story.
- GraduationWhether your child goes on to a postsecondary education, meaningful employment or a different living arrangement, he or she will need to transition into the “real world.” All three of these present their own challenges and opportunities. You may have discussed some of these prospects with your child and his or her IEP team before graduation. No matter what path your child takes, there are steps regarding medical and legal rights to be considered as your child transitions to adulthood.
- Independent living skills
If your child has developmental delays and functional needs, you may wonder if he or she will be able to live and thrive on their own. With the right preparation, young adults with developmental disabilities can succeed at living independently. Find supportive resources available here in Stark County.
- Transition to an Individualized Service Plan (ISP)
The Individualized Service Plan (ISP) outlines specific services and supports necessary for a person with developmental disabilities to remain healthy and safe during daily life. Find programs and resources to help coordinate a successful transition from IEP to ISP in Stark County, Ohio.
- Stories of Self-AdvocacyWatch these videos from Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities to find out how young people with disabilities are advocating for themselves.
- Death of a guardianThe passing of a parent or caregiver is always a difficult time, but it is a particularly urgent concern for people with developmental disabilities. Not only are there the issues of grief and loss; decisions need to be made about legal guardianship, where the person with disabilities will live, how they will support themselves financially and how they will take care of their day-to-day needs.
- Service & Support Administrators
Service and Support Administrators (SSAs) assist more than 1,700 people with developmental disabilities throughout Stark County, connecting them with the supportive services they need. Advocating for the rights and interests of eligible individuals, SSAs help families navigate the various resources available to them. Learn more about the role of SSAs and find contact information to reach out.
- Guardianship & medical responsibilities: what can I do?
Guardianship is established when a person with functional needs is no longer able to maintain control over their own decisions. Because this is a legally binding process, it should only be considered as a last resort. Explore alternatives to guardianship and learn about ways to protect the rights of Stark County residents with disabilities.
- Support for children with developmental disabilities
Caring for a child with developmental disabilities can be a significant financial and emotional challenge. Stark Help Central has gathered together some of the most common resources to help you provide the care your child needs. From transportation and child care to cash, food and employment support, learn about the resources available to you.
- Child care & developmental disabilities
Securing child care for children with unique needs can be difficult. It is often a challenge to find someone qualified and trained to care for children with functional needs. This page will help you find accessible child care resources for a child with developmental disabilities.
- Employment & developmental disabilitiesYoung adults with developmental disabilities possess a range of skills, talents and capabilities that benefit the workplace. However, many of these individuals fear being turned away from suitable employment, simply because of their disability. Learn about local employment services that offer career guidance, training and job placement to people with disabilities.
- Financial support: developmental disabilities
People with developmental disabilities face unique challenges as they strive to build independent and fulfilling lives. If you or someone you know has a qualifying disability, there are many assistance programs and services available to help you support yourself financially. Learn about your options to help along your journey toward financial stability.
- Advocacy & self-advocacyBy law, students with disabilities must be invited to attend school IEP meetings that consider postsecondary transition goals. With adulthood approaching, there are many choices and decisions to be made – from next steps in schooling to finding a job and learning to live independently.
- Your role as a parent or caregiver
Caring for children with developmental disabilities presents unique challenges, and it’s normal to have questions and concerns. Find resources, tips and guides for parents and caregivers of children with developmental disabilities. You will learn ways to advocate for your child’s rights and make sure they grow up safe and supported.
- Community integration
Everyone should have the opportunity to participate in community events, social activities and shared experiences, regardless of ability. Learn about the employment, leisure, religious and social opportunities available in Stark County for people with disabilities.
- Special education servicesEvery child with developmental disabilities has a right to receive a free, appropriate, public education in the least restrictive environment possible. Learn how school districts across Stark Country are supporting students with functional needs through a variety of educational programs and services.
- Financial independence & responsibilityIn Ohio, when young people with disabilities reach 18 years old, they are considered legal adults and have the right to manage their own finances. At this time, it is helpful to understand the various types of financial resources available to adults with disabilities, including Medicaid. Find local Stark County financial support services and reach out today.
- National Developmental Disabilities OrganizationsFind national developmental disabilities organizations with Stark County chapters that keep advocates connected and offer resources for children.
- Developmental disabilities: medical appointments & services
It is critical that people with developmental disabilities have access to and take advantage of quality health care services. When Stark County residents with disabilities are healthy, they are better able to participate in everything this community has to offer.
- Guardianship & medical responsibilitiesSome adults with developmental disabilities may be considered unfit to take on responsibility for their own health care. As such, legal guardians are appointed to make significant medical decisions, while ensuring the individual’s wishes are respected whenever possible. If you have a disability, it is important that you understand your rights and the effects an appointed guardian will have on your independence.
- Medicaid waivers & paying for servicesWith Medicare waivers, people with disabilities are able to receive care in their homes and communities instead of hospitals, nursing homes or other care facilities. There is currently a waiting list and certain criteria must be met to enroll, so it is important to start the application process early.
- Developmental markers to look forHow a child responds to and interacts with the world around them gives clues to their developmental progress. When a child doesn’t meet development milestones in a range typical of their peers, it may indicate a difference in their growth. Find resources to contact if you think your child is showing signs of a cognitive or physical disability.
- From a Mom Who Knows: Celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
I love to take my children out of the house. Whether it is shopping, the park, going for a walk around the neighborhood, to church, or on an adventure- we are always on the go. However, as a parent of two special needs daughters, both with different needs, this can be a challenge. Having one child with physical disabilities means we must make sure the location is accessible and can be accommodating to our specific needs.
- Accessible transportationStaying connected to the community can be challenging for people who struggle to use transportation services due to a developmental disability. If you or someone you know has a disability, specialized transportation programs are available to get them safely to their destinations.
- Nonviolent crisis intervention training
Students with developmental disabilities are often disciplined by removing them from the learning environment – such as through suspension or expulsion. Nonviolent crisis intervention training works to keep all students in the classroom using positive behavior supports and other preventative measures. Contact your local school district to learn more about nonviolent crisis intervention training.
- 2-1-1 Helpline Transitions Resources to StarkHelpCentral.com
In 2023, 2-1-1, Stark County’s helpline, transitioned to StarkHelpCentral.com.
Closing the Stark County information system and online database—that was run by United Way of Greater Stark County—and moving resources to StarkHelpCentral.com helps streamline the process for community members looking for resources and information.
StarkHelpCentral.com can help you find community resources available to you and your family. The searchable community resource website is supported by Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery (StarkMHAR),
- Employment resourcesWhether you are a young person looking for a part-time job, a parent who is out of work or an individual with disabilities planning for independence, resources are available to help you navigate the job search.
- Evaluation Team Report
The Evaluation Team Report (school district evaluation) is essentially the beginning step in the special education process. Before a child can receive educational accommodations and related services, the child must be evaluated to identify developmental delays. Once the evaluation is complete, the child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is assembled by a team including parents, teachers, therapists, behavioral specialists and school administrators.
- Local transportation
For many Stark County residents, public transportation services are essential for their basic needs, including trips to work and medical appointments. Fortunately, local transportation resources are available to support low-income individuals as well as those with permanent disabilities. Find routes and contact information for public transportation providers near you.
- Occupational & physical therapy
Occupational and physical therapists support children with disabilities by developing fine and gross motor skills, self-help skills and sensory control. Stark County schools must provide this service when a child’s education needs demonstrate their necessity. Using direct and indirect services, as well as assistive technology and classroom modifications, therapists collaborate with parents, teachers and other intervention specialists to help children reach their full educational potential.
- The Legacy Project of Stark Makes an imPACT
Who We Are
In 2015, The Legacy Project of Stark was founded by Eugene Lingenhoel. As he was delivering backpacks & school supplies at Lehman Middle School in Canton City, the principal, Jeanne McNeal, who is now the principal at Oakwood Middle School in Plain Local, asked Eugene if he would be willing to meet with some of her students. Jeanne saw a need for her students to have a positive role model in their life and saw an opportunity to provide that for them.
Alive Now Services
Alive Now Services is a faith-based, non-profit organization founded to assist individuals with finding residency and providing personal home care (HPC) services to people with developmental disabilities. We specialize in meeting the needs of both adults and children with severe autism, both verbal and non-verbal.
Canton, OH 44708 Learn more
GiGi’s Playhouse Canton – Down Syndrome Achievement Center
GiGi’s Playhouse Canton is fulfilling the dream of the Down syndrome community of having a location where individuals with Down syndrome of all ages have a place to call their own, where they feel safe and can explore their abilities through proven programs with support and celebration. Parents no longer feel the anxiety of finding a place where their loved one will be unconditionally accepted and offered opportunity to become their best of all.
Each participant will grow with the programs at their own pace and interact with their peers in an environment of celebration and achievement.
Canton, OH 44718
Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities
MUI Hotline: 330-477-4477 – If you believe a person with disabilities is at reasonable risk for harm
Funds and services to support the health, safety and education of people with developmental disabilities including:
Canton, OH 44708 Learn more
Individualized education program for children with Autism and other developmental disabilities.
Streetsboro, OH 44241
Make-A-Way Drop-In Center
Social, recreational and educational opportunities for people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities.
Massillon, OH 44648
Beyond Our Boundaries
Bringing people with developmental disabilities together to set the stage for an active and social life.
Canton, OH 44702
The Arc of Ohio: Northeast Region
North Canton, OH 44720
Quality of Life Health Care Service, LLC
Quality of Life Health Care Service, LLC provides care services for those with developmental disabilities in Stark, Summit, and Portage counties.
Canton, OH 44714
Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA)
Public transportation through 34 fixed routes and four transit centers. Special programs are available for students, Medicaid recipients and individuals with developmental disabilities.
Canton, OH 44707
Help Me Grow-Early Intervention
If you’re concerned that a child may have a delay or disability, it’s important to refer them for Early Intervention as soon as possible. Early Intervention can address all types of concerns, like crawling or walking, speech delays, or social interaction like playing with other children.
Early Intervention is available in every part of the state and to any eligible child,
North Canton, OH 44720
40 Developmental Assets
The 40 Developmental Assets® is a framework consisting of preventative measures, positive experiences and qualities that young people need to grow up healthy, caring and responsible. These assets are protective factors that have been consistently shown, by research, to buffer youth from risk.
Ohio Department of Disabilities
Start a search for waiver-funded service providers offering transportation, housing, day services and more.
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities
Helping to support Ohioans with disabilities as they achieve quality employment and independence:
- Customized employment plans
- Social Security disability determination
Canton, OH 44709
Connecting people to housing, mental health services and community support in Stark County, Ohio.
Need help? Click here for first steps.
Canton, OH 44714
Stark County Early Intervention
Providing support and services to children under the age of 3 who have or are at risk of having developmental delays.
Louisville, OH 44641 Learn more
Massillon VOA Housing
Section 8 housing for those with disabilities.
Massillon, OH 44647
Direction Home Akron Canton: Aging and Disability Resource Center
Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging & Disabilities (Direction Home Akron Canton) is a private, non-profit organization that helps older adults and people with disabilities thrive in the places they want to call home.
- Aging and Disability Resource Center – Provides professional, one-on-one consultations to access to information on in-home care and community resources.
- Meal Sites/Senior Centers
- Assisted Living Waiver
- Care Coordination
- Ohio Home Care Waiver
- Acute Care Transitions
- And More
Call 1-877-770-5558 or click here to learn more.
Uniontown, OH 44685
Canton Social Security Office
Provides federal disability and social security benefits to Stark County residents.
Canton, OH 43725
Help at Home
Help at Home provides home health care services for seniors or people with disabilities.
Canton, OH 44718
Hattie Larlham Constant Companions – North Canton
This day program for adults with disabilities offers social, educational, volunteer, and recreational activities.
North Canton, OH 44720
Golden Key Center for Exceptional Children
Dedicated child care facility for children with autism, down syndrome or other disabilities.
Canton, OH 44709
Meals on Wheels of Northeast Ohio
Provides food donations to individuals who are homebound due to age, illness or disability, with no eligibility requirements.
Massillon, OH 44646 Learn more
Equal Employment Opportunities Commission
Protecting individuals from discrimination at work based on age, gender, disability, race, religion, and/or sexual orientation.
Canton, OH 44702
SARTA Proline Services
Transportation services for passengers with ADA-recognized disabilities throughout Stark County. Visit the website to learn more.
Canton, OH 44707
The Character Effect
The Character Effect™ is a flexible developmental framework that brings together mindfulness and character strengths into an effective curriculum that promotes happiness and improves overall well-being in your school. Visit online for more information.
Stark County Probate Court
When a person is unable to manage his or her personal estate because of a disability or chronic illness, a guardian is appointed by the Stark County Probate Court.
Canton, OH 44702
Helping to maximize the potential of individuals with disabilities to become independent, well-rounded, self-confident individuals:
- Equine activities
- Recreational programs
- Social services
- Vocational support
Hartville, OH 44632
Early Childhood Resource Center (ECRC)
The Early Childhood Resource Center (ECRC) promotes healthy development through family strengthening and early education resources:
- Child care information and referrals
- Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK) kindergarten readiness program
- Professional development resources for educators
- Home and group-based learning opportunities
- Developmental screenings and community resource connections
- Car seat help
Canton, OH 44703 Learn more
Provides emergency shelter to the homeless and tools to help them get back on their feet and become self-sufficient
Also provides early care and education services to children that enhance their development and prepare them to be successful as they transition to kindergarten
To be placed in housing you must first register with the homeless hotline by calling 330-452-4363
Canton, OH 44702