Columbus OH
Print This Page

Advocacy & Legal Rights

Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Scholarship Programs

Ohio provides scholarships to private schools for students attending low-performing public schools, scholarships for families considered low income, and students with learning disabilities to schools or programs to meet students’ needs. Go online for information about the EdChoice Program, Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program, Autism Scholarship Program, and additional educational resources.
25 South Front Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 728-2743 or (877) 644-6338
Subscribe for Text Alerts for each scholarship program:

ADA (American with Disabilities Act) National Network

Provides information, guidance and training on issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Anyone can call to speak to an ADA specialist. ADA specialists address complex questions on topics such as reasonable accommodations at work, building codes for new construction projects, accessible housing, and transitioning from school to work.
(800) 949-4232

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

The country’s largest cross-disability membership organization advocating for political and economic power for those with disabilities. They offer several scholarships, mentorship programs, paid internships, and a leadership program for young Black disabled individuals. Their website has helpful information on policies affecting people with disabilities, and current political news.
1030 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20005
(202) 521-4316 or (800) 840-8844

American Council of the Blind Ohio (ACBO)

Non-profit membership organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired through education and advocacy. They host monthly meetings and fun community events and retreats. The Matching Grants program provides funds to any blind or visually impaired resident of Ohio to pay half the cost of a purchase up to $1000 for new adaptive equipment. Find program details and contact information for other chapters on their website.
3805 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43214
(614) 470-2226 or (614) 261-3561

Best Buddies Ohio

Their One-to-One Friendship program creates social inclusion and friendships for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities at middle and high schools, colleges, and online across Ohio. The Leadership Development program empowers people with and without IDD to become leaders, public speakers and advocates.
PO Box 45353, Westlake, Ohio 44145
(614) 928-3383

Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)

Provides technical assistance to prevent and resolve special education and early intervention disputes, and improve outcomes for children and youth with disabilities. Families can find helpful guides on state agencies, educational advocates, IEPs, and more.
576 Olive Street, Eugene, Oregon 97401
(541) 359-4210

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)

A coalition of national disability organizations working together to advocate for national public policy that ensures the independence and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society. Their website has resources such as recorded trainings and a national listing of job and internship openings.
820 First Street Northeast, Washington, DC 20006
(202) 567-3516

Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities

County agency supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities. Provides support through two core areas: early Intervention for children under 3, and Service and Support Administration, which can include assistance with daily living, therapeutic needs, connection to resources and social groups in your community, and help to find and maintain a job. Use the website to find important information on Medicaid waiver services, forms, and to find a provider near you.
7991 Columbus Pike, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035
(800) 474-9787 or (740) 201-3600

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)

National civil rights law and policy center directed by individuals with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities. They provide specialized legal services for cases that have the potential to affect large groups of people with disabilities and achieve law reform. Their website has helpful information on topics like healthcare access, special education, foster/kinship care, and transportation. They also post job and internship opportunities.
3075 Adeline Street, Berkeley, California 94703
(510) 644-2555 or (510) 841-8645 TTY

Disability Rights Ohio

Advocates for people with disabilities in Ohio. Their website has helpful resources on abuse, neglect and exploitation, employment, benefits counseling, education, voting, and more. Rise Up is an interactive youth advocacy guide with resources for transitioning into adulthood. Most of their resources are available in multiple languages, including Spanish and Somali. Complete the online intake form for legal help.
200 Civic Center Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 466-7264 or (800) 282-9181
Rise Up guides:
Intake Form:

DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking & Technology)

Hosts programs and projects for precollege and college students with disabilities, and advocates for universal design in the workplace. Families and professionals can find a wealth of information on their website on career readiness, mentorship programs, accessible classrooms, and technology. DO-IT Pals is a virtual community for high school students with disabilities that want to go to college. They also have a list of Scholarships for students with disabilities.
Voice/TTY: (206) 685-3648 or (888) 972-3648

DWAVE (Deaf World Against Violence Everywhere)

Serves Ohio’s Deaf, Deaf Blind, Deaf Disabled, and Hard of Hearing communities by offering culturally affirmative services in response to relationship and sexual violence. Call to speak to a trained advocate for individualized safety planning and case management. Referrals can be placed for material help, legal help, social services, and mental health counseling. They offer 24-hour advocacy for survivors of sexual assault at local hospital emergency rooms. They also hold trainings for volunteer advocates, professionals/providers working with Deaf clients, and Deaf Culture 101.
PO Box 1286, Worthington, Ohio 43085
Videophone: (614) 678-5476
Voice/Text: (614) 887-7233
National Deaf Hotline VP: (855) 812-1001
National 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline Voice: (800) 799-7233

Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (ESCCO)

Serves: Preschoolers and Students ages 18-22 with special needs who have deferred their high school diploma.
The ESC offers multiple programs on the campuses at Columbus State Community College and The Ohio State University to create individualized transition plans for students and help them meet their career and lifestyle goals. Each program includes help with activities of daily living, hands-on experience at multiple work sites, on-campus, and in the community. They also host an Early Learning Peer Model Program with small group instruction for preschool-aged children. Find program details and application instructions online.

  • Campus-Based Transition: (614) 445-3750
  • Peer Model Program: (614) 542-4106

2080 Citygate Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43219

Epilepsy Legal Defense Fund

Legal Defense Fund through the Epilepsy Foundation, to help end epilepsy-related discrimination. Their Attorney Network is made of experience attorneys who have agreed to provide some level of free legal services. They can help with cases related to employment, education, public accommodations, police and first responder services, housing, healthcare, and criminal justice. Go online to complete an Application for Assistance.
(800) 332-1000
Application for Assistance:

Family Resource Network of Ohio (FRNO)

Provides resources, tools, and trainings to help individuals and families of individuals with developmental disabilities. Their website has database of programs and organizations across Ohio for helpful products, therapy, schools, legal help, clinical trials, and more. They use Charting the LifeCourse principals to help individuals and families of all abilities and ages develop a vision for a good life, and regular LifeCourse trainings are available for families and professionals.
The Ohio State University Nisonger Center
1581 Dodd Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43210
Family Resource Coordinator: (614) 293-2134
Family Support Coordinator: (513) 636-4723

International Dyslexia Association (IDA) Central Ohio

Advocacy organization supporting individuals and families with dyslexia. They have a Dyslexia Digital Library with tons of educational information, a directory to find providers near you, resources for providers, and more.
PO Box 1601, Westerville, Ohio 43086
(614) 899-5711
Central Ohio:

JAN (Job Accommodation Network)

Offers free guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. JAN consultants offer one-on-one guidance on workplace accommodations, ADA and related legislation, and self-employment and entrepreneurship options for people with disabilities. Assistance is available both over the phone and online. Their website also has helpful information on a wide range of medical conditions with related resources and accommodations.
Voice: (800) 526-7234
TTY: (877) 781-9403
Text: (304) 216-8189

Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University

Federally-funded program through Gallaudet University advocating for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. Their website has lots of helpful guides and training videos for parents and professionals on topics like language development, reading to Deaf children, and early intervention. Call the Gallaudet University East Regional Center for help finding professional development and educational opportunities for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.
East Regional Center: (978) 556-3701 or Video Phone (978) 241-7417

Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC)

Provides free civil legal assistance and guidance to low income residents and senior citizens of Columbus and Central Ohio. Legal Aid attorneys may be able to help you with the following types of cases or legal problems: consumer law, family law, housing, public benefits, reentry, seniors, tax law, veterans, and education. Their website also has a page of Resources with easy to read information on these topics.

  • Columbus Office: serves Franklin and Madison county
    1108 City Park Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43206
    Intake: (614) 241-2001
    General Inquiries: (614) 224-8374 or (877) 224-8374
  • Marion Office: serves Delaware, Marion, Morrow and Union county
    150 Oak Street, Marion, Ohio 43302
    (740) 383-2161 or (888) 301-2411

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

Easterseals Central and Southeast Ohio is the official Ohio State Long-Term Care Ombudsman sponsoring agency, for Region 6 and Region 8 Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs. The program advocates for excellence in long-term services and supports wherever consumers live. Ombudsmen do not regulate nursing homes and home health agencies, but do work with providers, residents, their families, and other representatives to resolve problems and concerns.

  • Region 6: Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Union, and Pickaway counties
    (614) 345-9198 or (800) 536-5891
  • Region 8: Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, and Washington counties
    (740) 345-9198

Mid-Ohio Board for an Independent Living Environment (MOBILE)

Helps veterans and people with disabilities find information, support, and referrals for disability-related services. They also provide adaptive equipment loans, peer support groups, living skills classes and transition services.
1829 East Long Street, Columbus, Ohio 43203
(614) 443-5936

National Association for Rare Disorders (NORD)

Represents people with rare disorders. They have programs to help uninsured individuals in getting needed medications, provide a list of support groups for people with rare disorders and information about rare diseases.
National Headquarters: 55 Kenosia Avenue, Danbury, Connecticut 06810
NORD’s Patient Services: (800) 999-6673
Español: (844) 259-7178

National Association of the Deaf (NAD)

Civil rights organization by and for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. Their website has great resources including a national ASL directory, advocacy letter tips and templates, filing a complaint, employment and fair housing information, and regular webinars.
8630 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
(301) 587-1788 Voice/VP or (301) 587-1789 TTY

National Center on DeafBlindness (NCDB)

A network of projects for children and youth under 21 with Deafblindness. Find tons of information for families and professionals on assessment, education and learning, life skills, transition planning, and more. They also host Family to Family support groups, webinars, and nationwide events.
(516) 366-0047

National Center on Health Physical Activity & Disability (NCHPAD)

A resource for information on physical activity, health promotion, and disability, serving persons with physical, sensory and cognitive disability across the lifespan. Their website has helpful information on disability and aging, adaptive physical activity, and inclusive guidance for community health organizations. They also have a state-by-state directory of accessible parks, adaptive equipment suppliers, and physical activity programs for people with disabilities.
3810 Ridgeway Drive, Birmingham, Alabama 35209
(866) 866-8896

National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)

Represents the largest provider of legally based advocacy services for people with disabilities. They work with organizations across the country to advocate for the enactment and enforcement of laws protecting people with disabilities. Their website has information on registering to vote and voter assistance, and other topics related to disability rights.
(202) 408-9514

National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC)

Offers information for new parents and professionals, speech and language resources, health care information, education, behavior tips and more.
30 Mansell Court, Roswell, Georgia 30076
(800) 232-6372

National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)

Their website provides lots of great resources and information about Down syndrome throughout the lifespan. They offer regular webinars and family programs, multiple scholarships, and more.
1155 Fifteenth Street Northwest, Washington D.C. 20005
(800) 221-4602

National Family Association for DeafBlind (NFADB)

Non-profit and advocacy organization serving families of individuals who are DeafBlind. Find information on legislation, resources for families, family Facebook group, and events online.
(800) 255-0411

Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (OACBDD)

Represents the 88 county boards of developmental disabilities throughout Ohio and monitors legislation at the state and national level. Their website lists helpful advocacy information for individuals, families, and professionals.
73 East Wilson Bridge Road, Worthington, Ohio 43085
(614) 431-0616

Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD)

Statewide nonprofit organization serving educators, agencies, and families of infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities in Ohio. Programs include 1:1 reading mentoring, It’s My Turn free online self-advocacy course for middle and high schoolers, Family-to-Family meetings for parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children, and parent mentoring. Families and professionals can find helpful trainings, videos, and tipsheets on their website.
125 Executive Drive, Marion, Ohio 43302
(844) 382-5452

Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD)

Oversees a statewide system of supports and services for people with developmental disabilities and their families across the lifespan. Each county in Ohio has its own Board of Developmental Disabilities, which is the place to start for determining eligibility, assessing your needs, and coordinating which services can best support you. Use the website to find your county board, forms, and program information.
(800) 617-6733
Main Website:
Find your County Board:

Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Dispute Resolution

Situations may arise where parents or other family members believe a school has violated federal or state law. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Office for Exceptional Children (OEC) and Office of Early Learning & School Readiness (EL&SR) encourage parents, family members and schools to work together to resolve differences for free. The website provides information about mediation services and more.
25 South Front Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(877) 644-6338

Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council)

Council operating under the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Ohio DD Council members, staff and stakeholders work together to improve services for Ohioans with disabilities. Their website has information for potential members, grants and awards, and a resource library for families.
1810 Sullivant Avenue, Columbus, OH 43222
(614) 466-5205 or (800) 766-7426

Ohio Head Start Association

Head Start is the largest national school readiness program. The Ohio Head Start Association focuses on leadership and advocacy. Use their Directory to find Head Start providers and services in each county in Ohio. They also have information on becoming a Head Start ambassador and contacting your congressional representatives.

Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA)

Statewide association of service providers advocating for Ohioans with developmental disabilities. Their website has helpful resources for families and professionals such as a glossary of disability acronyms, trainings, a job bank, and public policy information.
1152 Goodale Boulevard, Columbus, Ohio 43212
(614) 224-6772

Ohio Self Determination Association (OSDA)

Non-profit organization empowering people with disabilities and their families through teaching self-determination principals and  legal advocacy. They provide training and self-advocates with disabilities, connect members to resources for vocational support, and organize advocacy opportunities in Ohio.
6155 Huntley Road, Columbus, Ohio 43229
(614) 563-0788

Ohio Special Education Legal Clinic (Lawyers4Students)

Offers a free Special Education Legal Clinic for parents of students with disabilities (ages 3-26). Parents and guardians meet with a special education advocate or attorney to ask questions and discuss challenges related to special education services. The Clinic includes a group workshop followed by a Q&A panel from special education professionals. Free, 30-minute guidance sessions with attorneys are also available.
262 South 3rd Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Columbus: (614) 745-2001
Cleveland: (216) 714-1515
Cincinnati: (513) 496-1635


Parent Mentor of Ohio

Parent Mentors are parents of children with special needs staffed by the Ohio Department of Education. Parent Mentors can connect families to appropriate programs, explain the IEP process and attend meetings with families, and provide education and support to fellow parents. Use the website to find a Parent Mentor near you. The website also has great resources for parents on IEPs, legal rights, transition, and more.
1900 Kenny Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210
(614) 247-9982

People First of Ohio

Statewide advocacy organization that works with state legislators and builds relationships with other advocacy groups and state agencies, to help people with developmental disabilities. They have chapters across Ohio, go online to find one nearest you.
1335 Dublin Road, Columbus, Ohio 43215

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International

Professional organization promoting equine-assisted services. Their website is a great source of information about equine therapy and standards, and they provide credentialing for professionals. Families can use the website to find programs across the country based on location or medical condition. They also offer scholarships to cover the cost of equine programs. Their programs serve at risk youth, military veterans, individuals with developmental disabilities, and more.
PO Box 33150 Denver, Colorado 80233
(800) 369-7433

Respect Ability

Disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. They offer a National Leadership Program for undergraduate and graduate students, scholarships, and a webinar resource library for individuals and professionals on a wide range of topics related to disability justice and inclusion.
(202) 517-6272

Southeastern Ohio Center for Independent Living (SOCIL)

Non-profit, non-residential organization assisting people of all ages with all types of disabilities to live more independently. The majority of their board and staff are people with disabilities, assisting others with disabilities. They provide information and referrals for housing, education, transportation, assistive technology, and benefits. They also offer Advocacy/Peer Support, Independent Living Skills Training, and help locating other community-based services.

  • Fairfield County: 418 South Broad Street, Lancaster, Ohio 43130
    (740) 689-1494
  • Hocking County: 96 West Hunter Street, Logan, Ohio 43138
    (740) 380-1475

The Arc of Ohio

Advocates for the rights of individuals with disabilities through legislative action, information and education, local chapter support and family involvement. Families can call for a Family Advocate to help navigate the disability system and answer questions on everything from waivers, to guardianship, transition services, county boards, the appeal process, and much more. They can help families get assistive equipment, and their website has lots of helpful information for individuals and families.
1335 Dublin Road, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 487-4720

The Center for Disability Empowerment (CDE)

Community based, non-residential Center for Independent Living serving individuals of any age, with any disability, who are residents of Franklin, Delaware, Union, and Licking, counties. They help consumers develop individualized Independent Living Plans and support them in reaching their goals. Services include peer mentoring, transportation, help with housing, employment, and benefits. Empower Youth is a virtual support group for ages 14-24.
4400 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43214
(614) 575-8055

U.S. Department of Justice Disability Rights Section

The Disability Rights Section implements the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Their website has a helpful guide to disability rights laws.
Talk to an ADA Specialist: (800) 514-0301 Voice or (800) 514-0383 TTY

U.S. General Service Administration (GSA) Section 508 Accessibility Program

Provides information, resources and tools focused on helping the government implement the requirements of Section 508. The website has legal requirements and resources for designing accessible content like documents and presentations, buying accessible products and services, and training tools.
(202) 272-0080

U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)

Federal agency that promotes policies and coordinates with employers and all levels of government to increase workplace success for people with disabilities. The website offers information, legal standards, and resources on topics like accommodation requirements, accessing personal assistance services, colleges and apprenticeship programs, and more.
(866) 487-2365

United States Access Board Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines

The Access Board is an independent federal agency that develops accessibility guidelines and standards. Their website has legal guidelines for building accessibility, prescription labels, transportation, filing an ABA complaint, and more. Call to speak to an Accessibility Specialist with questions about accessibility guidelines.
(202) 272-0080


Started by an attorney who has a learning disability, Wrightslaw has become a widely used resource for families on special needs education and advocacy. Their website has an Advocacy and Law Library, bookstore, and helpful information for families on a variety of topics, such as IEPs, 504s, assistive equipment, and more.

Print This Page