• Private & Charter Schools, Scholarships

    What are your rights if you choose to place your child with a disability in a private or charter school? Your child will be covered for limited services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) if attending a private school but will be covered completely in a charter school. Your child may also qualify for accommodations and modifications in the classroom under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act if the school receives federal funding.

    The Complex Care Center at Cincinnati Children's provides information and resources to help families find information on private and charter schools.

  • Specialized scholarships are available for children with special needs through the Ohio Department of Education:

    • The Autism Scholarship Program gives the parents of children with autism who qualify for a scholarship the choice to send the child to a special education program other than the one operated by the school district of residence to receive the services outlined in the child's IEP. You can find a fact sheet and list of providers on the website.
    • Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program will provide scholarships to students who, for the 2012-2013 school year, are eligible to attend kindergarten through 12th grade and have an IEP from their district of residence. The amount of each scholarship will be based on the disability identified on the student’s IEP and will not exceed $20,000. You can find a fact sheet, frequently asked questions and maximum scholarship amounts for disability categories on the website. 

    If you choose to have your child attend a private or nonpublic school, you still have certain rights guaranteed under the IDEA:

    • If you or the school suspect a disability, your child can be evaluated through an evaluation process conducted by the school district where the nonpublic school is located (this may not be the school district where you live).
    • If your child is found eligible for special education services, the school district must offer a free appropriate public education (FAPE) through the development of an IEP. However, your child must be enrolled in your public school in order to receive the special education and related services detailed on the IEP.
    • If you choose to have your child continue to attend the nonpublic school, the public school district in which the nonpublic school is located consults to develop a services plan for your child. However, services can vary greatly among nonpublic schools. Your child does not have the right to receive the same special education and related services that would be available through the IEP in the public school. You will have to sign a form indicating that you understand that you are declining the services and supports being offered in your public school, at this time.

    If the nonpublic school receives federal financial assistance, your child may receive services under Section 504 if there is a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.

    Charter or community schools are state-funded public schools that operate outside of the traditional public school system. They may not discriminate in their student selection, charge tuition or ignore laws relating to health, safety and civil rights. What makes them different from traditional public schools is that they have fewer rules and regulations to follow in such areas as curriculum, grade levels and length of school year. However, they must follow all state and federal laws related to special education, including IDEA and Section 504. Charter schools must provide a free appropriate public education including the development of an IEP or 504 Plan to eligible students.
    • Autism and Applied Behavioral Services, located in Cincinnati and Dayton, provides intensive educational placements for children of all ages to increase communication skills, decrease challenging behaviors, and learn social skills. The program offers year round placement for children with Asperger's, Autism, ADHD and other related diagnoses.
    • Center for Possibilities, located in Hobart, Indiana. provides educational programming including:

      • Preschool for children with developmental disabilities, including physical, occupational and speech therapy.
      • Preschool summer camps for children with disabilities who are enrolled in other programs during the school year.
      • Inclusion Preschool Summer Camp with Hobart Family YMCA.
      • Adult program for students age 22 and above with a developmental disability focusing on the development of self-care skills, daily living skills and academic advancement.
    • The Children’s Home of Cincinnati is a state chartered, non-public, alternative educational option for children who have difficulty succeeding in a traditional school setting. All children referred to our school must have an IEP and district referral, which covers the cost of tuition and provides transportation to and from school. Their high school program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The program is a partnership between The Children’s Home of Cincinnati and Linden Grove School. They are an Ohio Autism Scholarship Provider.

    • Cincinnati Center for Autism, located in Springdale, offers a school program, transition, camp, individualized interventions, therapies, after school respite and teen night out options.
    • Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati provides an intensive, multidisciplinary approach to education, training and development for individuals with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other motor challenges. They accept children ages 6 months to 12 years:

      • Parent and Child Program ages 6 months to 3 years
      • Early Childhood Program ages 3 to 6 years
      • School Ages Program ages 6 years to 12 years
    • Langsford Center is an Ohio Autism Scholarship Fund provider located in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Highlands and Middletown, Kentucky that has extensive experience in reading strategies associated with learning disabilities, dyslexia and autism.
    • Linden Grove School is an Ohio Autism Scholarship Fund provider private school that offers an alternative learning program for students, Kindergarten through grade 8, who struggle with a more traditional school setting. Linden Grove serves students who typically have a variety of needs that impact their learning due to various disabilities, including ADHD, language processing disorders, dyslexia, sensory integration disorder, high- functioning autism, Asperger's syndrome and related social and behavioral difficulties.
    • Skyward Academy, located in Deer Park, Ohio, addresses the academic and independent living skills of students on the autism spectrum and/or with other learning issues. The program includes academic instruction, behavior management strategies, life skills instruction, speech, and occupational therapy services. Skyward primarily serves students in 8th grade through high school graduation and has a separate program for students in 6th and 7th grade to prepare them for the high school program. Skyward students have several options for obtaining a high school diploma. A vocational component is also available. Skyward Academy is an Ohio autism scholarship provider.
    • Springer School and Center in Cincinnati, provides a specialized curriculum for children, ages 6-14, with diagnosed learning disabilities.

      Springer's specialized research-based curriculum and support strategies help students with learning disabilities build the educational, emotional and social skills needed for success in the classroom - and everywhere else.  Based on readiness and individual needs, a comprehensive academic program is designed for each student.  It includes instruction in art, music and physical education, and access to numerous extracurricular activities.  Language, motor and psychological services are available as needed.  Technology is integrated throughout the school, and a one-to-one laptop program for older students prepares them for high school.

    • Stepping Stones in Cincinnati operates the Autism Alternative Education Step Up program and works with schools to provide an alternative education for elementary, middle school and high school students on the autism spectrum who are not succeeding in a traditional school setting. Students who have been removed from school because of extreme or violent behaviors have options in this year-round program.

    • Summit Academy Cincinnati Community School serves children in Kindergarten through 8th grade. It is a tuition-free, non-profit community school for alternative learners. It is specifically designed for students with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and related disorders.
    • Summit Academy Transition High School in Cincinnati is a tuition-free, non-profit community school for alternative learners and is specifically designed for students with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and related challenges. It  serves children in 9th grade through 12th grade.