Frequently Asked Questions


Potential Development is a school where everyone works together to nurture, train, and educate your child for success. That being said, you may have some early questions which we hope to address by answering some Frequently Asked Questions.

Potential Development includes three schools in Youngstown, OH. Completing our campus of schools is the Preschool, Elementary/Middle School for Kindergarten through 6th grade, and the High School for 7th grade through 12th grade. Youngstown is a diverse community located in Northeast Ohio midway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Get to know the Youngstown area here

Children must have a formal diagnosis of autism and an individualized education plan (IEP) from their district of residence. Prospective students at the Preschool are evaluated on an individual basis.

We serve grades Preschool – Grade 12, beginning at age 2 ½.

Please click here to schedule an appointment and to learn more about the enrollment process.

As a non-public charter school in the state of Ohio, there is no fee to attend the school. Tuition is paid through the Autism Scholarship Program and the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program for students who qualify with a formal autism diagnosis and IEP. More information is at . Upon acceptance, Potential Development assists parents in renewal of these scholarships yearly.

Your child can earn his/her high school diploma while learning employment and life skills necessary to grow into an independent young adult. As a non-public charter school, students earn their high school diplomas via multiple pathways including accumulating 20 high school units and passage of the five parts of the Ohio Graduation tests with or without accommodation; completing a standards-based IEP; and taking the OGT alternate assessment. Potential Development has both a life-skills and academic track for the best outcome based on your child’s capabilities.

Potential Development utilizes the TEACCH Method. The TEACCH Method offers a setting with an array of structured teaching methods to enhance learning characteristics of individuals with autism, including strengths in visual information processing, difficulties with social communication and executive function. More information about the TEACCH Method may be found here.

Speech, occupational, and physical therapies facilitate your child’s academic, social, and emotional growth. Mental health services, art therapy, and social skills groups, are additional interventions that complement academic instruction and improve your child’s development. Certified professionals lead these interventions, update therapies as needed, and keep you informed of your child’s progress. 

Potential Development has created a vibrant 11-month academic year which runs from mid-August to mid-July, yearly.

Drop off and pick up times: 

Preschool | Drop off is 8:15 – 8:30 & pick up is 2:15 – 2:30

Elementary/Middle School | Drop off is 8:10-8:30 & pick up is 2:00-2:30

High School | Drop off is 8:10-8:30 & pick up is 2:15-2:45

Potential Development does not provide transportation; however, many districts of residence do provide transportation. Potential Development will assist in requesting and facilitating transportation from home districts. Students are individually escorted into and out of the building to their transportation.

Potential Development is committed to encouraging families to pack nutritious lunches and snacks for students based on their individual preferences. We offer a dedicated space for students to eat lunch and a microwave to heat up hot foods. Each school has snacks available for any child who forgets his/her lunch.

Potential Development does not staff a summer program; however, we work on an 11-month academic calendar to provide students additional education and activities. Numerous community resources for summer, break times and respite are available at the Autism Society of the Mahoning Valley website here

Potential Development has a robust array of activities that goes beyond academics. Click here for detailed information. Included are esports, bowling, swimming, basketball, track, pep club, art therapy, and music instruction through the SMARTS Beats program. A new outdoor fitness center at the high school includes numerous exercise equipment for recreational and therapeutic value. The Elementary/Middle School playground has also recently been revamped. In addition, students are encouraged to participate in outside programs as they arise such as the YSU English Festival, Penguin Preview Days and robotics competitions. Special events such as the Elementary/Middle School and High School Art Shows, Sports Banquet, Prom, Talent Show, classroom parties, special guest presentations and field trips create a well-balanced education.

On average, each classroom of six students includes one qualified teacher and an aide or paraprofessional. Students who need additional intervention in reading and math are evaluated individually for weekly extra assistance with our Title teacher.

Every staff person who interacts with your child understands and has experience working with children who have autism. This includes all the adults, from the classroom teachers, aides, other staff and administration. All of our teachers are licensed by the Ohio Department of Education and many carry their intervention specialist certification. In addition, our support staff includes both aides and paraprofessionals.  

An Individualized Educational Program (IEP) is a legal document that details your child’s specific educational and developmental rights, needs, and goals. The IEP can be changed or modified as needed to ensure your child’s needs are met in school. A formal IEP must be on file for each child attending Potential Development.

Teachers submit progress reports four times yearly which track your child’s progress. In addition, Parent Teacher Conferences are scheduled twice each year. Parents are encouraged to fully participate in their child’s education, cultivating a relationship with his/her teachers and the appropriate school Program Coordinator.

Your child may demonstrate skill mastery in controlled classroom settings. However, you ultimately want your child to be able to succeed at home, in the community, and other real-world settings. Potential Development employs a full time Guidance Counselor and Transition Coordinator who will help them examine career possibilities and offer exploratory visits to employers and agencies and invites guest speakers to discuss other post-high school career and education opportunities. Our Transition Coordinator actively seeks appropriate education and workforce opportunities in the community specialized for each graduating senior.

Potential Development partners with you to create a customized education that equips your child for success. Regular communication between parents or guardians and the school administration and teacher is crucial to your child’s progress. Potential Development employs a full time Social Worker who has created a monthly parent meeting schedule which offers a wide variety of topics for discussion and information. In addition, a Parent Teacher Organization is in place which allows parents to help with specific events and volunteer at large fundraisers. A monthly newsletter provides a calendar of events and showcases school activities. Potential Development uses the One Call and Remind systems to relay important information on a regular basis. The school’s website has been revamped to be more user friendly and to give updated and timely information, and a lively social media presence captures many day-to-day activities and is an additional source of information. Ultimately, staying in touch with your child’s teacher, checking your email frequently and reading all communication sent home is the best way to be involved.

The best person to reach out to for a deeper conversation is  Finally, an autism school might check off all your boxes, but your child should like it, too. He or she should feel comfortable, nurtured, and safe in all areas of the school every day. Give your child a chance to explore the building and meet the staff. Visit classrooms, therapy rooms, lunch area and outdoor playground. Your child’s reactions during and after the tour can help you decide if Potential Development is a good fit or not.