Options for special needs students


By Joseph Pratt

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The South Central Ohio Educational Service Center (SCOESC) has put together a list of contacts and information for families who feel the need to reach out for support concerning their student’s learning needs.

Public school districts and the Ohio Department of Education are trying to identify children with disabilities, birth through 21, who may be in need of special educational services. The Ohio Department of Education conducts the Intensive Awareness Campaign in accordance with the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Ohio Revised Code, and the State Board of Education’s Rules for the education of handicapped children.

The definition of a disability varies between ages.

For children birth to age three, a disability means an established condition known to result in delay or a documented development delay.

For children ages 3-5, a disability means that a child has a documented deficit in one or more of the following developmental areas: communication, vision, hearing, motor skills, social emotional/behavioral functioning, self-help skills, and/or cognitive skills.

For school-age students, a disability means that a student has been identified as having one or more of the following conditions: autism, deaf-blindness, hearing impairment including deafness, mental retardation (CD), multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, emotional disturbance (ED), specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury and/or visual impairment including blindness.

Scioto County schools offer many options for students who fall in the category of special needs. Schools offer evaluations for all children with suspected disabilities, birth through age 21, as well as educational services for all children with disabilities.

Once the school district is notified of a child who is suspected of having a disability, the child’s parents are contacted and informed of their rights, as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Ohio Revised Code, and the State Board of Education’s Rules for the Education of Handicapped Children

“The key to a student being successful is a positive relationship between the school and the parents,” Director of the Southern Ohio Academy Pat Ciraso said. “Often times, what happens is that parents think the child does have a handicapped condition, but it isn’t necessarily an IEP condition. Parents just need to communication with their child’s school.”

Ciraso explained that schools are equipped with licensed professionals and school psychologists who are trained to help identify possible problems students might be having, as well as supplying methods to treat the problem areas.

“A school is always ready to help a parent develop a plan on helping their child make the most of their education,” Ciraso said. “The main key is to communicate with the school about your concerns, be open-minded, because sometimes parents become upset when their child doesn’t qualify for and IEP through the specific state requirements, and to properly implement these plans to make the student more successful.”

If you know a child who is suspected of having a disability, contact your local school district listed below for assistance:

Cathy McCoy, of Bloom-Vernon Local Schools, can be reached at 740-778-2320; Steve Williams, of Clay Local Schools, can be reached at 740-354-6644; Melissa Colyer, of Green Local Schools, can be reached at 740-354-9150, ext. 3104; Carrie Kyne, of Minford Local Schools, can be reached at 740-820-2287; Jennifer Scherer, of New Boston Local Schools, can be reached at 740-456-4375; Melissa Shannon, of Northwest Local Schools, can be reached at 740-259-2250; Charles Kemp, of Portsmouth City Schools, can be reached at 740-354-1849; Lisa Harley, of Valley Local Schools, can be reached at 740-259-3115; Wilma Erwin, of Washington-Nile Local Schools, can be reached at 740-858-3951; Aimee Hall, of Wheelersburg Local Schools, can be reached at 740-574-8130; Patricia Ciraso, of Southern Ohio Academy, can be reached at 740-354-0215.

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.

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