We represent many students of all ages with disabilities, and we make it a point to provide as much guidance in this area as we can. For example, our Special Education FAQ section answers many of the most common questions we hear from parents. But oftentimes, we are also asked about community resources that might be helpful for families that we serve in our practice. Below please find a list of different organizations or businesses that can provide resources for parents of special needs children, both online and in person:
1. Milestones Autism Resources
Milestones Autism Resources improves the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum by educating, coaching and connecting the autism community with evidence-based information. Their website features over 1,000 resources for Ohio families, including camps, research institutions, adulthood transitioning, and more.
2. Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA)
COPAA’s goal is to provide high quality educational services and excellence in advocacy for those in need of or providing representation of families with students with disabilities. In line with this mission, they provide training and conferences for attorneys to help them better serve the those with disabilities.
3. Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is a national organization dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks does this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. On their website, parents can find sensory friendly events in their area (mostly virtual now due to the pandemic), find local autism experts, and get immediate information by speaking with an Autism Response Team (ART) member via live chat or on the phone
4. Bellefaire JCB
Bellefaire JCB is among the nation’s largest, most experienced child service agencies providing a variety of behavioral health, substance abuse, education and prevention services. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Bellefaire JCB helps more than 43,000 youth and their families yearly achieve resiliency, dignity and self-sufficiency through its more than 25 programs, including autism services, residential treatment, adoption services, mentoring and more.
5. Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
The CEC advocates for appropriate government policies, sets professional standards, provides professional development, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice. CEC has student chapters at hundreds of colleges and universities.
6. U.S Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education has developed guidance and policies related to special education for schools and school personnel to allow students to continue to pursue their education during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as providing other general resources.
7. Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI)
Located in Columbus, Ohio, OCALI is dedicated to improving the lives of those with Autism by “linking research to real lfe.” However, OCALI also has centers dedicated to Teaching Diverse Learners, Lifespan Transitions for the disabled, and family and community outreach. The organization’s website has a variety of resources and guidance for districts, parents and children with disabilities to stay informed, connected and supported during the pandemic.
8. Help Me Grow
Help Me Grow provides systems and supports to pregnant women, caregivers, and families with young children with disabilities or developmental delays through home visits and early intervention. They have regional partners serving every county in Ohio.
9. Cuts N Curls
Cuts N Curls has been voted the number one children’s salon in Cleveland for the last five years. Located in Solon, Ohio, its staff understands your concerns as a parent of a child with special needs. Having been trained by Autism Speaks, the staff will do everything they can to make your experience at CNC stress-free and enjoyable in a safe environment. Their goal is a positive experience for the whole family. They even encourage story-based intervention, also known as social narrative, with a custom story about the salon that helps children with special needs or sensory issues understand expected behaviors when getting their hair cut.
10. The Music Settlement
The Music Settlement serves people of all ages with disabilities. After completing the Center for Music Therapy intake/placement process, individuals may work toward personalized therapeutic goals in group or private music therapy sessions. Its Arts N Play class for children ages 3-6 is co-led by an early childhood teacher and a board-certified music therapist; children with disabilities play and bridge with typically developing peers.
11. Friendship Circle of Cleveland
Friendship Circle is a national organization with regional chapters, including Cleveland. They match teenage volunteers with special needs children for hours of fun and friendship. These structured, shared experiences, which include everything from lunch meetings to summer camp, empower children with special needs, while enriching the lives of everyone else involved. Friendship Circle’s calendar remained full even during the pandemic, offering a great number of virtual events.
12. Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center
Fieldstone Farm remains one of the largest and most respected therapeutic riding centers in the country. Their website also has a great number of videos to help people of all ages learn about horses. According to their site: “The organization has helped thousands of people of all ages and with all types of challenges achieve what they thought was impossible. Children have taken their first steps after riding their horses. Others have said their first words and become inspired to learn. And all students and their families have found hope, joy and acceptance, as well as a welcome respite from the trials of living with a disability or special need whether it is autism, depression, anxiety, memory loss, sensory impairments, cerebral palsy, developmental delays or multiple sclerosis, among others.”
13. Monarch Center for Autism
The Monarch Center for Autism is actually a division of Bellefaire JCB, also on this list. It is the result of a partnership between Bellefaire, Cleveland Clinic, and Harvard Medical School to better serve children with autism. provides a comprehensive array of programs including preschool, k-12, residential treatment, and even a virtual program for students on the autism spectrum.
14. Julie Billiart School
Julie Billiart Schools are a “community of exceptional, Catholic, independent day schools for children with learning differences.” With three campuses across Northeast Ohio, the Julie Billiart Schools serves K-8 students with autism, ADHD, anxiety, dyslexia, and other learning differences. Proud of their student-centered approach to learning, they offer monthly Open Houses for interested parents.
15. Hanna Perkins Center for Child Development
Hanna Perkins is a non-profit organization offering child and adolescent mental health services, counsel and support for parents, and early childhood education with a social-emotional focus — including a dedicated classroom for children with autism spectrum disorders. Since 1951.
16. KidsLink Neurobehavioral Center
KidslInk is a clinic and school in Streetsboro, Ohio that offers appropriate care for children that is not dictated by insurance companies in terms of length of appointments, location, or frequency of services. Their interdisciplinary approach combines treatment medical expertise, mental health professionals, speech language pathology, occupational therapists, and more as needed in each unique situation.
17. Jay Berk Phd. and Associates
Jay Berk Phd. offers high quality psychological care beyond just psychotherapy, including Perspectives Academy, an alternative placement for students who need a break from regular education and to be placed in a therapeutic environment. You can listen to Dr. Berk discussing his work on our podcast here.
18. Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center
Founded 100 years ago, the nonprofit Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center is the oldest provider hearing, speech-language, learning, and deaf services it he country, serving thousands of infants, children and adults annually. CHSC employs 50 speech language pathologists, sign language interpreters, audiologists, and other support staff throughout 4 locations in Northeast Ohio. Their website is a great resource for research and publications, and has a portal to book a sign language interpreter for your event or key communication with members of the Deaf community.
19. F.I.T. (Friendship in Teams) Social Skills Groups for Children
FIT (Friendship In Teams) is a unique social skills program that offers children ages 3-19 a chance to make friends in a fun, engaging environment. From their website: “Whether a child struggles socially due to autism spectrum disorder, a learning disability, language delays, ADHD, or social anxiety, we offer a variety of programs designed to help build their social communication skills.”
20. Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism
Located at the Cleveland Clinic’s Hospital for Rehabilitation Campus, the Center for Autism‘s programs are “designed specifically to provide diagnostic, treatment based on applied analysis and intensive educational programming.” This center includes the Lerner School for Autism, serving patients age 5 until 22, as well as outpatient diagnostic and treatment clinics.
Though being the parent of a child in need of accommodations comes with unique challenges, Ohio parents in particular don’t have to walk this road alone. We hope you found the resources above helpful. If you’d like to speak to a special education lawyer for any reason, please don’t hesitate to contact us.