In Ohio, children three years of age and older who need significant modifications in their educational programs may be eligible for special-education services through their school district. I asked Lee Ann Derugen, co-director of the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities in Marion, to give us a quick overview of special education in Ohio and suggest some things parents can do to get started.
Who should a parent in Ohio contact about having a child classified for special education?The parent should send a letter to contact the principal of the building their child would attend requesting an initial evaluation to determine if their child qualifies for special-education services. [Download the booklet "Whose IDEA Is This? A Parents Guide to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004," which explains Ohio's special-education procedures.]
What does special education look like in Ohio?Special education means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. Instruction may be conducted in a classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings as determined by the IEP team.
Do you have any advice about special education in Ohio?Parents need to document, document, and document.
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About Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities: OCECD is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the educational interests of children with disabilities. OCECD offers information, training and support to parents of children with any disability, ages 0-26. Parents new to the site can start by calling the 800 number listed under "Need Assistance?" Next, click on the tabs for Trainings and for Resources.