Changes to Ohio’s Autism Scholarship Program Mean More Students Can Use the Scholarship

On July 3, 2023, the new Ohio operating budget for the 2024 and 2025 fiscal years was signed. This budget bill made significant changes to how students qualify for the Autism Scholarship.

July 25, 2023Read More

Manifestation Determination Review

A Manifestation Determination Review (MDR) is a meeting to determine whether or not a student’s behavior that has resulted in a potential suspension or expulsion is due to their disability. It is a required procedure under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) if the student is expelled or suspended...

April 26, 2023Read More

Suspension, Expulsion, and Emergency Removal

School discipline and student safety are top priorities for any school district. Students may be removed from school for a variety of reasons. The different removal types can impact student’s education in a variety of ways, particularly for special education students.

March 14, 2023Read More

Continuum of Placement Blog

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is the legal requirement that children with disabilities be educated in the same environment as children without disabilities whenever possible.

October 4, 2022Read More

Ohio Dyslexia Law Update

Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, Ohio schools will face new requirements when it comes to screening and educating students with dyslexia. Ohio Revised Code 3323.251, along with Ohio’s Dyslexia Guidebook, mandate new screening procedures and best practices to ensure students with dyslexia are identified and appropriately educated at a...

August 18, 2022Read More

Extended School Year

Extended School Year (ESY) is educational services for students with disabilities that take place outside of the standard 180-day school year. If ESY is necessary for the student to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), then these services must be provided in accordance with the student’s IEP and...

August 4, 2022Read More

Requesting an Early Reevaluation

The following blog gives information on how to request an early reevaluation, including a sample letter to send to your child's school if needed.

July 22, 2022Read More

Your Rights on the Autism Scholarship or the Jon Peterson Scholarship

In Ohio, special education scholarships such as the Autism and Jon Peterson scholarships are available for students on an IEP.

August 18, 2021Read More

Understanding Compensatory Education

Compensatory education can be requested from a school when that school has not provided the specially designed instruction outlined in your IEP.

June 29, 2021Read More

A Year of Advocacy: 2020’s Lame Duck Session

COVID-19 ensured that 2020 was a vital year for advocacy, and Disability Rights Ohio met that challenge. Throughout the year, DRO submitted testimony on numerous bills to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

January 6, 2021Read More

Your Voting Experience

his year, Disability Rights Ohio is asking you to tell us about your voting experience in a survey from SABE GoVoter Project.

November 3, 2020Read More

PLAN YOUR VOTE: Tracking Your Ballot

If you took advantage of absentee voting this year, make sure your vote counts!

October 29, 2020Read More

PLAN YOUR VOTE: Special Situations and Transportation

Sometimes, even the best-laid plans can go awry. With Election Day just less than one week away, DRO wants to make sure that you’re ready to vote"regardless of what life may throw at you

October 28, 2020Read More

PLAN YOUR VOTE: Your Rights At The Polls

Even in the pandemic, people with disabilities are guaranteed several rights when voting in person on Election Day:

October 21, 2020Read More

PLAN YOUR VOTE: Ohio's Remote Ballot Marking System

For Ohioans with disabilities, there are many different options available to ensure their voices are heard in the upcoming November election.

October 15, 2020Read More

PLAN YOUR VOTE: Casting Your Ballot Safely

There are many options available to vote in the November 3rd election, including voting by mail with an absentee ballot, early voting in-person at your local Board of Elections, and voting in-person at your polling place on Election Day.

October 6, 2020Read More

PLAN YOUR VOTE: Early in-person voting

Voting early in-person is a great way to stay safe during this election season and still make sure your vote counts.

October 1, 2020Read More

PLAN YOUR VOTE: Voting Absentee

Voting by an absentee ballot is a great way for people to vote from the safety of their own homes, especially during these unusual times.

September 24, 2020Read More

PLAN YOUR VOTE: Getting Registered

Getting registered to vote in the upcoming election is the best way to make sure your voice is heard!

September 17, 2020Read More

What are the COVID-19 Relief Bills?

The Ohio General Assembly and Congress recently finalized legislation to provide relief to individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic which included a $2 trillion stimulus package impacting daily life for people with disabilities.

April 7, 2020Read More

What's the deal with Ohio's Primary?

If you already voted, great! There is nothing for you to do. If you didn't early vote for the March 17 primary election, you can now cast your ballot by mail until April 28th.

March 31, 2020Read More

Polls are Currently Closed but DRO's Voter Hotline is Open Tomorrow

As of 10:30 pm on 3/16, the polls have been ordered to officially close tomorrow by Ohio's Director of Health. DRO's Voter Hotline will STILL BE OPEN from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 800-282-9181. DRO staff will be available to answer your questions, and we may be able...

March 16, 2020Read More

DRO Joins National Celebration of Pro Bono Week

Did you know that October 20-26 is the National Celebration of Pro Bono week? During the last week of October of every year, the nation celebrates remarkable pro bono work completed by lawyers, paralegals and law students. Across Ohio, thousands of attorneys donate their time and expertise to participate in...

October 22, 2019Read More

Addressing Behavior Challenges at School: Part 1

Students with disabilities are more likely than their nondisabled peers to have behavioral challenges in school. As a parent, you may find yourself getting calls or communications about your child's behavior -- or worse, you may find out that they are facing more serious discipline, like a suspension or expulsion....

September 11, 2019Read More

DRO Submits Comments on Medicaid Managed Care

The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) is preparing to take new bids for contracts from managed care providers. A managed care provider is a health insurance company ODM pays to provide health care services to some people. In Ohio, most people who have Medicaid must join a managed care plan...

August 13, 2019Read More

Ohio's State Budget: Final Update

This final budget update will highlight seven provisions discussed in three previous blogs and how they have been altered by both the House, Senate, Conference Committee, and Governor.

August 6, 2019Read More

To Bear Witness

"You got jury duty?" my neighbor asked. "Yeah, it's finally over; what a nightmare...." I said, my head throbbing from the migraine I had for the past day and a half.

July 31, 2019Read More

State Budget: Thank You for Your Advocacy

On July 18th Governor Mike DeWine officially signed Ohio's state budget into law. The Governor's signature gave final confirmation that we had collectively defeated the provision that would have impacted the independence of Disability Rights Ohio to protect and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

July 24, 2019Read More

Educating Voters is the Goal of SABE GoVoter Project

Have you ever been told who to vote for while you were at the polls? Or perhaps, because of your disability, a poll-worker assumed you were incompetent and treated you like a child? If this hasn't happened to you, consider yourself lucky. Unfortunately, voting issues like these happen to people with...

July 16, 2019Read More

Franklin County Voters: Come check out the new voting machines!

Franklin County has new voting machines with new accessibility features! This year the Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE), with help from the state legislature, purchased new hybrid voting machines. The machines allow voters to print out a paper ballot, which is then fed into a ballot counter unit. They can...

July 10, 2019Read More

Ohio's State Budget: Last Call for Advocacy

Since the introduction of the State's budget by Governor DeWine as House Bill 166 (HB 166) in March, there have been several changes made by both the House and Senate. Now the two Chambers are debating differences and deciding on a compromise through the Conference Committee. The budget is required...

June 26, 2019Read More

DRO Policy Summit tackles important issues

DRO held a Policy Summit in late April to discuss important policy and major issues impacting people with disabilities, their providers and their loved ones.

June 5, 2019Read More

Ohio's State Budget: We Need Your Help

This week, Disability Rights Ohio provided testimony to the Senate Finance Committee regarding the state's budget bill, House Bill 166. As mentioned in Ohio's State Budget: An Update, there were several positive provisions that provided increases to services critically needed for people with disabilities. Many of these same increases were...

May 29, 2019Read More

Ohio's new interview process for victims of crime leads to creation of Adult Advocacy Centers

The disability community is abundantly aware that people with disabilities are far more likely than the general population to become victims of crime and that those who perpetrate those crimes are very often not prosecuted. There are many justifications for perpetrators not being held accountable for their actions, but one...

May 8, 2019Read More

The High Need for Mental Health Services in Ohio’s Prisons and Jails

Individuals diagnosed with a mental illness are disproportionately represented in Ohio’s prison and jail populations. For example, in 2015, more than 15,500 individuals with serious mental illness were in Ohio’s jails, an increase of 6% from the previous year, and one in five individuals in Ohio’s prisons have a mental...

May 1, 2019Read More

Ohio's State Budget: An Update

After Governor Mike DeWine introduced his proposed budget to the General Assembly, the budget was introduced as House Bill 166 (HB 166), and since then a team at Disability Rights Ohio has been reviewing the bill. Various House subcommittees have also held hearings on that bill (see Ohio's State Budget...

April 23, 2019Read More

How to Give Effective Testimony in Ohio's Legislature: Part 2

In Part 1 last week, we talked about why public testimony is important and explained how to submit your own testimony to Ohio's legislature. In Part 2, we'll talk about things to keep in mind when you're writing your testimony and what will happen when you arrive at the statehouse...

April 16, 2019Read More

How to Give Effective Testimony in Ohio's Legislature: Part 1

The process of giving public testimony in front of state legislators can be intimidating, but it is a great way to make your opinion heard. The state budget process, which is happening now, provides many opportunities to provide testimony for legislative proposals you care about.

April 9, 2019Read More

What is the DRO Representative Payee Review Program?

n 2018, Congress passed HR 4547, the Strengthening Oversight and Beneficiary Protections Act, which created a new program for the Protection & Advocacy (P&A) system - the Representative Payee Review Program. The program allows P&As like Disability Rights Ohio to perform regular reviews of representative payees within the Social Security...

April 2, 2019Read More

Ohio's State Budget Process: Think Locally, Act Locally

Every two years the State of Ohio goes through a budget process that deeply impacts the lives of everyday Ohioans. This year Governor Mike DeWine is required to release his budget by March 15. The entire process occurs between the March 15 deadline and June 30, as the state constitution...

March 5, 2019Read More

How We Help: Investigating Abuse and Neglect

In addition to monitoring, which we covered in last week’s blog, Disability Rights Ohio has the authority to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect. We conduct investigations to gather information and then work to the best of our ability to remedy any issues we find.

February 26, 2019Read More

How We Help: Monitoring Visits

At Disability Rights Ohio, we provide legal advocacy and rights protection to a wide range of people with disabilities. We do so much that it can be hard to explain everything that we do. This is the first in a two-part blog series that will explain our work to monitor...

February 19, 2019Read More

Part 2: The DSP shortage is turning lives of people with disabilities upside down, including mine

While my life is the most significantly impacted by the provider shortage, everyone in my family experienced this problem. My brother also started looking for solutions, and he found a long-term living facility (ICF/IDD) specifically for people with neurological disorders an hour from my home.

February 5, 2019Read More

Part 1: The DSP shortage is turning lives of people with disabilities upside down, including mine

My name is Susan Koller. I'm 36 years old and have cerebral palsy. I use an electric wheelchair and need help with all my activities of daily living. On April 4, 2018, my life got turned upside down when I moved to a long-term care facility for individuals with neurological...

January 29, 2019Read More

An Attitude of Inclusion

Ask people without disabilities if they are prejudiced against people with disabilities and the answer will likely be “no.” Ask someone with a disability if they have experienced prejudice or discrimination and the answer may be “yes.” A business owner may not believe that he or she discriminates against people...

January 22, 2019Read More

Legislative Wrap-Up: Lame Duck Legislation

Lame Duck is a period after the November election up until the end of the year when the Ohio General Assembly attempts to pass as many bills as possible before the newly elected General Assembly takes over in January and legislators’ terms expire or they have been voted out of...

January 15, 2019Read More

Kent State program provides opportunity to delve into disability policy

In the fall and winter of 2018, I had the opportunity to participate in a semester-long program at Kent State University that allows upperclassmen to live and learn in Columbus - Ohio's state capital. We attended briefings and committee meetings and had our own internships three days a week. The...

January 8, 2019Read More

Transition strategies for high school students

Knowing the best time to prepare your child or young adult for the world beyond high school is tough. However, it is my hope that by implementing the strategies outlined below, you and your child will gain the confidence you need to navigate the transition process.

December 11, 2018Read More

Guardianships and Independence

Disability Rights Ohio gets a lot of phone calls from people who have guardians. Some of the most common complaints happen when guardians don’t give wards enough independence.

December 4, 2018Read More

Your gift on #GivingTuesday will help people like Sadie and Marcus

Today's blog has a special focus on #GivingTuesday. Because of people like you, Disability Rights Ohio is able to advocate for the human, civil and legal rights of those we serve. Now is the perfect time of year to reflect and harness the power of giving to create change.

November 27, 2018Read More

The SABE GoVoter Project survey wants feedback from voters with disabilities

Many barriers continue to exist that prevent voters with disabilities from exercising their rights. That is why the Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) GoVoter Project is collecting information from voters with disabilities across the United States about their voting experience in 2018!

November 13, 2018Read More

Reminder: DRO's Voter Hotline will be open on Election Day

Tomorrow, November 6, is Election Day, and the polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. DRO's Voter Hotline will be open the same hours at 800-282-9181. DRO staff will be available to answer your questions, and we may be able to help if you think your voting...

November 5, 2018Read More

Common Questions: Voting if you unexpectedly can't get to the polls

In today's special blog post, we'll answer some more common questions we hear about voting, this time about situations that might keep you from being able to get to the polls to vote on Tuesday. These issues have been a DRO priority for the last several years, both in our...

November 2, 2018Read More

Common Questions: Registered voters, voters with criminal records, and getting rides to the polls

Continuing with our voting series, this week we are answering three more common questions: "I have voted before. Did I have to register again to vote this time?" "Can I vote if I have a criminal record?" "I want to vote in person, but I need a ride to the...

October 23, 2018Read More

Common Questions: Voting with a guardian and getting help in the voting booth

We’re three weeks from Election Day and early voting has started! Today we’ll continue our voting rights blog series by answering two common questions about voting and people with disabilities: Am I allowed to vote if I have a guardian? and Can I get help with my ballot in the...

October 16, 2018Read More

Thursday on Facebook Live: Learn about Ohio’s new absentee voting option

Voters with vision impairments and other print disabilities now have a new option to cast an absentee ballot. At 11:30 a.m. Thursday, October 4, Disability Rights Ohio will host a Facebook Live event at the Franklin County Board of Elections, where we will talk about and demonstrate the new remote...

October 2, 2018Read More

Ohio's voting registration deadline is almost here!

It’s National Voter Registration Day, and our voter education blog series continues! In Ohio, the deadline to register to vote in the November 6th General Election is Tuesday, October 9, just two weeks from today.

September 25, 2018Read More

Watch for your absentee ballot application in the mail

If you are registered to vote, you should have received an application for an absentee ballot in the mail shortly after Labor Day. If you did not get one, it’s important that you check to make sure that you are still registered and that your address is updated. You can...

September 18, 2018Read More

New guide helps advocates serve crime victims with disabilities

Violent crime is unfortunately a terrifying reality for one in five crime victims with a disability. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 2009 and 2015 the rate of violent victimization against persons with disabilities was 2.5 times higher than the rate for persons without disabilities.

September 11, 2018Read More

A’loni Wagner gets to graduation with advocacy support from DRO

A’loni Wagner had gone to an alternative school for kids with behavioral disabilities for most of her life, and she did well there. “They treated me like me,” she says, “I had lots of friends there. I was a popular kid. I knew everybody. I knew all the teachers. I liked...

September 5, 2018Read More

Have you moved recently? Be sure to update your voter registration

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6, 2018, and, in Ohio, many important statewide and local issues and races will be on the ballot, including elections for Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, all of Ohio’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and one U.S. Senate seat.

August 28, 2018Read More

Support and Service Animals: A Few Basics

Some of the most frequent questions we get involve disability rights laws and animals. There is widespread confusion, so this post will go over a few basics from two federal laws: the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

August 21, 2018Read More

What are the signs of abuse, neglect and exploitation?

As Ohio’s federally and state-designated Protection & Advocacy system for people with disabilities in Ohio, Disability Rights Ohio has the authority to go into any facility where people with disabilities live to investigate abuse. In the last year alone, we have investigated and reported facilities for unsanitary conditions, disrepair, sexual...

August 14, 2018Read More

From Country to City: A Look at Transportation in Ohio

Accessibility and transportation go hand in hand with my need to get around my community. I am not alone; there are thousands of people around my state who utilize specialized transportation every day. Not everyone can drive or has access to a vehicle or the opportunity to utilize public transit....

August 7, 2018Read More

BILLS TO WATCH: The Ohio Public School Deregulation Act

Education policy has been a major area of focus this General Assembly. Specifically, school administrators have been working through legislation to remove regulations they view as burdensome. They believe the fewer regulations imposed on schools will provide more flexibility to districts and allow them to establish better outcomes for students....

July 31, 2018Read More

Seven Tips for Parents for the Beginning of the School Year

As a parent of a school-age child with a disability, the last thing you may want to think about during the summer is your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) for the upcoming school year. This is understandable because the process can be daunting and emotionally draining, but summer is a...

July 24, 2018Read More

National Disability Voter Registration Week

As we prepared for National Disability Voter Registration Week this week, I studied some statistics about disabled voters and found it quite interesting. I gathered data from Pew Research Center and Rutgers University and found these facts:

July 20, 2018Read More

Accidental American: Voting as a Disabled Person

The America I grew up in was no place for a kid in a wheelchair, and it never let me forget this; I’d smell the inside of a bakery I could never actually enter, or else I’d read Wikipedia summaries of the newest comics I couldn’t buy from a comic-book...

July 17, 2018Read More

Transition Services Should Begin Early

When a student with a disability reaches age 14, it is time to start thinking about and planning for what will happen after high school. This may seem premature or overwhelming because often times the family is busy trying to make sure the student has the services he or she...

July 10, 2018Read More

Kayla Stacy finds a path forward after being abused by her doctor

Trigger Warning: This story contains discription of sexual assault. People with disabilities depend on doctors. For therapy. For prescriptions. For guidance. Kayla Stacy’s long journey with chronic pain had left her frustrated by many healthcare professionals who didn’t take her complaints seriously. So when she found a doctor who seemed to...

June 26, 2018Read More

BILLS TO WATCH: The SAFE Act: An Opportunity to Stop Suspending and Expelling Kids in Preschool through Third Grade

Education has changed a lot in the past 20 to 30 years. At DRO we’ve seen an increase in calls from parents with kids with disabilities who are facing more and more extreme discipline. While it was almost unthinkable in the past that children as young as 3 years old...

June 19, 2018Read More

Guest Writer: Institutional Life and Community Life Are NOT Equivalent Choices

"The average non-disabled adult does not live with 3 or more unrelated persons. In fact, unless living in an unwed lover relationship, most non-disabled Americans don’t live with even 1 unrelated person (stepchildren I consider related by marriage), especially after the age of 30."

June 12, 2018Read More

Did you know that DRO can be your back-to-work advocate?

Many people with disabilities want to work, but they need some help determining what kind of job they want, gaining the right skills for that job and then finding and keeping that job. The technical term for these types of needs is “vocational rehabilitation services,” or VR services. In Ohio,...

June 5, 2018Read More

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