Special education services

Every 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. With knowledge about resources, rights and responsibilities, families are best prepared to advocate for their children.

To get started, contact your local school district to find out what services are available.

Advocacy Support

Should you need additional support outside of your school district, contact these resources for help advocating for yourself and your child.

Helpful Link:

The Arc of Ohio: Northeast Region

The Arc of Ohio is the voice of people with developmental disabilities, their families, friends of people with disabilities, and those who work with them.
The Arc of Ohio is a grassroots organization which advocates for human rights, personal dignity and community participation of individuals with developmental disabilities through legislative and social action, information and education, local chapter supports, and family involvement.
The Arc of Ohio can help with IEPs, getting services as well as support for inclusive education and LREs and waiver services for families.
1401 South Main St
North Canton, OH 44720
Phone: (234) 571-5689
Hide HoursShow Hours
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Ohio Coalition for the Education Of Children with Disabilities

The Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD) is a statewide nonprofit organization that serves families of infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities in Ohio, educators and agencies who provide services to them.
Phone: (740) 382-5452
Early childhood education programs

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
Find a list of child care programs in Stark County here. 
1718 Cleveland Ave. NW
Canton, OH 44703
Phone: (330) 491-3272
Phone: 1-877-691-8521
Hide HoursShow Hours
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
8:00 am - 8:00 pm
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
8:00 am - 8:00 pm
8:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Golden Key Center for Exceptional Children

Dedicated child care facility for children with autism, down syndrome or other disabilities.
1431 30th St. NW
Canton, OH 44709
Phone: (330) 493-4400

Idea House

Sensory-friendly early learning program for children on the Autism spectrum.
6630 Towpath Ave. NW
Canal Fulton, OH 44614
Phone: (330) 970-0777

Kids Link

Individualized education program for children with Autism and other developmental disabilities.
899 Frost Rd.
Streetsboro, OH 44241
Phone: (330) 963-8600

Preschool special education

Free preschool special education services are available to all children with disabilities, ages 3 to 5 years old in Stark County. Some of the classes are operated by the districts themselves while other districts contract with the SCESC to provide instructional services to their preschoolers. Contact your home district for more information on their preschool program and ask to have your child evaluated if you suspect there may be developmental delays.

Special education services

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.

Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are required to receive special education services in Stark County public schools. These important documents are put together by the teaching staff, parents, school administrators and the students themselves, to prepare for success in school. Included in these plans are details about the child’s learning needs, services required from the school and ways to monitor the student’s progress.

Contact your local school district to begin this process.

Programs like the following are offered by local school districts throughout Stark County. Reach out to your school system directly to learn more about the special education services available near you:

  • Audiological (hearing) services
  • Speech/language pathology
  • Occupational and physical therapy
  • Adapted physical education
  • Nonviolent crisis intervention training
  • Itinerant services

Home schooling is a right that all Stark County parents have for their children. In order to educate children at home, parents must notify their local school district and comply with Ohio homeschooling requirements.

Educational accommodations for mental health

It is essential for schools and mental health providers to coordinate education services to support students both academically and emotionally. These educational accommodations might include case management, specialized classroom instruction, counseling and crisis intervention.

Behavioral Health Programs

In Stark County schools, guidance counselors, behavioral health specialists, teachers and school administrators collaborate to plan specialized instruction and support services for students with behavioral health concerns. Through teacher education, in-classroom strategies, case management and more, schools are better able to manage disruptions, reduce truancy and increase student resiliency.

School Psychologists

School psychologists play an essential role in a child’s overall education plan. They collaborate with educators, serve as part of a child’s IEP team and provide mental and behavioral health services in the classroom and at home. School psychologists also coordinate the evaluation process in order to determine or re-determine if a child qualifies for special education services beginning at 3 years old. Contact your local district to learn about the mental health services and educational accommodations offered in your school system.

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.

If someone is eligible for services as an adult, their SSA will assess their needs and determine available resources and opportunities to provide the necessary support. Within the approved budget, SSAs will coordinate services to support the individual’s health, safety and independence.

The ISP is the service plan that identifies what is important to a person and makes them happy, as well as the outcomes they are working on and the supervision required from their service providers to help them succeed in adulthood.

Once determined eligible for services, Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Stark DD) may be an important resource during the transition to adulthood. Request to talk to an SSA for help developing an ISP that meets your needs.

Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities

A Major Unusual Incident (MUI) is an event that negatively impacts the health, safety or wellbeing of an individual with developmental disabilities. If you or someone you know is experiencing a major unusual incident, call the 24-hour hotline to report the event. MUI Hotline: 330-477-4477 The Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities exists to connect individuals and families with the services they need for health, safety, education and a high quality of life.
  • Service and Support
  • Early Intervention
  • Preschool
  • Health Services
  • Transportation
  • Family Support
  • Medicaid Waivers
2950 Whipple Ave. NW
Canton, OH 44708
Phone: (330) 477-5200
Intake: (330) 479-3582

After high school, your child may choose to pursue further education, go into the workforce or seek out a different living arrangement. No matter what they decide to do next, this newfound independence can present challenges and opportunities for young people with developmental disabilities. You may have discussed some of these prospects with your child and his or her IEP team before graduation. Whatever path your child takes, there are steps regarding medical and legal rights to be considered as your child transitions to adulthood.

The following recommendations can help create a smoother transition to adulthood for young people with developmental disabilities: