Maintain good records
Maintaining good records is very important. There could be numerous times throughout your life where you might need to produce an important record. Personal records that should be maintained are: social security card, birth certificate, medical records, and all evaluations (from schools, specialist, doctors, and other agencies).
Try this online tool Ohio GPS These common documents will be needed throughout transition years and later in life. They will be necessary to determine eligibility for most services you may want to access. It is a good idea to have them in a safe place where you can easily find them when needed.
The use of the Guiding People through Systems (GPS) tool is offered as a public service to assist families organize their children’s important medical and school records into one convenient, online location. The Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities makes no warranties, either expressed or implied, concerning the privacy of the medical or personal information shared with this service.
Where Do I Start?
It is important to know and understand as much as possible the system and where to start.
Attend, plan, and encourage your child to participate in their Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is the legal document that defines a child’s special education plan. An IEP includes the disability under which the child qualifies for special education services, the services the team has determined the school will provide, the child’s yearly goals and objectives and any accommodations that must be made to assist their learning. These accommodations can include Occupational Therapy (OT), Speech Therapy (SLP), and assistive technology.
Contact your local School District
Encourage and promote independent living skills at home
It’s never too soon to seek out social opportunities for your child and begin teaching general safety awareness.
Speak to your child’s teachers/school staff; local safety personnel; depending on the level of your child’s abilities and what you are looking for.
Knowing and making connections
To access all available benefits and services you and your child are eligible for. Check into Special Needs Trusts to see if this applies to your child. As appropriate, investigate and apply for Social Security, Medicaid, Jobs and Family Services, and Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps. Consider Estate Planning.
The Stark County Board of DD Service and Support Administration Department.
Apply for Social Security Benefits if applicable: Social Security
Look into Medicaid and other services Jobs and Family Services may offer you
Contact the Bureau of Children With Medical Handicaps to see what assistance can be provided.
- Community integration
- Explore advocacy/self-advocacy
Know your options
Families should have an understanding of educational options. This could include classroom structure or drop-in educational services. Families can also attend Community Resource Fairs which are events where many agencies and community partners come together under one roof to showcase what services they offer to students and families.
Education is not “one size fits all” and being aware of available options promotes success. Knowing what sources of support are available can be helpful. Asking questions is a good way supply you with the information that best fits you.
Stark County Board of DD
Determine Eligibility (age 3 or older) for Stark DD services. Once a child is determined eligible for Help Me Grow services, this automatically transferes to Stark County Board of DD services.
Contact SSA Services for intake and eligibility information.
Contact the Board of DD to Determine Eligibility.
Parent request or physician referral to Stark County Help Me Grow if developmental delays are suspected
Ohio’s Part C/Early Intervention system aims to identify and serve children under the age of three with developmental delays and disabilities, as provided for under Part C of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Throughout Ohio’s 88 counties, local Help Me Grow programs communicate with parents, doctors, hospitals, child care providers and other community agencies to identify children with existing developmental delays, or those with medical diagnoses with a high probability of delay. to evaluate a child age 0-3 for early intervention services Intervention services are provided by a team made up of developmental specialists, speech, occupational and physical therapists, dietician, nurse, etc.
For more information, go to Ohio Department of Health: Help Me Grow. If a child is 3 yrs. or older, contact your local school district for an evaluation.
Parents and caregivers with concerns regarding their child’s development may have their infant or toddler evaluated by a transdisciplinary team at absolutely no cost to the family. Children are evaluated for skill levels in the areas of adaptive, cognitive, communication, physical, and social-emotional development using appropriate diagnostic tools. Should skill development delays be noted, individualized services that meet the expressed needs and wishes of the family are provided by members of the Stark County Board of DD transdisciplanary team to the child and family through a Primary Service Provider. The overall goal of Early Intervention services is to coach the family on how to work with their child within every day routines in their lives so their child is a full member of the family. A Service Coordinator from Help Me Grow helps guide the family through the process, from program entry until the child transitions out by age three. This includes preparation for preschool with the family’s school district beginning when a child is 2 1/2 years old.
Connect with support groups, read publications, online research
Connect with parents or other caregivers who can lend support and provide information on what to expect and accessing services in the upcoming years.
Work with your Services Team to plan Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
The parents/caregivers who interact with children every day are the first and most important teachers in a child’s life. Therefore it’s important that the parents/caregiver are the driving force behind a child’s routine-based developmental plan.
Learn about the Individualized Family Service Plan and what to expect:
Become familiar with service options
Parents have a choice between home based routines (evidence based) focused services from Stark County Board of DD or the traditional medical model from outpatient providers in the community.
Become aware and and explore services provided by Stark DD beyond Early Intervention
Two of the services that families can access are Family Support Services and Service and Support Administration. Family Support Services provide assistance to families to support loved ones/children in the family home through funding items such as medical supplies, camps, recreation, counseling or respite, etc. Service and Support Administration can advocate and connect families to community resources.
Email Stark DD: StarkFSS@Starkdd.org
- Provide opportunity for socialization and safety skill development