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Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities


About Us

About Us > History


About the Society of Handicapped Children


In an effort to meet the educational needs of children with disabilities living in Medina County, a small group of parents and friends met during the Spring of 1953 and formed the Society of Handicapped Children (SHC). After overcoming several financial and logistical hurdles, the first classes were held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church and in a storage room at Garfield Elementary School in Medina. Traveling from all corners of the county, students were transported to school in refurbished funeral limousines, equipped with safety lights and school bus signs.


By 1956, enrollment had increased and the classrooms at the church and school were no longer able to accommodate the students. Coincidently, it was at this time that Weymouth School on Remsen Road was being closed as a result of a merger with the Medina City Schools. Once again, the SHC pooled their resources, talents and energies. The organization successfully convinced the school board to allow them occupancy of this old school building. After much remodeling, redecorating and refurnishing, the newly named, St. Nicholas School was dedicated on December 8, 1956.

The Medina County Training CenterAs the years passed and the children grew into adults, it became apparent that the county needed a facility that would provide constructive activities for individuals with disabilities. Not surprisingly, the SHC was able to gain financial support from the local citizens. Community members successfully voted to approve a bond issue and a tax levy for the building and operation of a workshop facility. With plans poised for action, dreams came to a sudden halt with the news that the parcel of land originally promised by the county was no longer available. Months passed, offers were made and finally, the SHC purchased St. Nicholas School and its adjoining land. Once papers were signed and legalities were cleared, SHC deeded the building and property to the county commissioners for use as the site for the Medina County Training Center. After nearly two years of problems and obstacles, construction finally began. In November of 1962, 4 classes and 7 workshop clients moved into the newly renovated building.



In 1967, Ohio passed a state wide law instituting County Boards of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. The administrative and financial responsibility of the training center and school would now be assumed by the newly created Medina County Board of MRDD. Governed by a body of seven community volunteers, appointed by county officials, the Board continued to offer quality programs and services to individuals with special needs.

The Medina County Achievement CenterThe board opened the doors to a new 80,000 sq ft, state of the art facility in January 1992. Known today as the Medina County Achievement Center, the building houses a school, a workshop, Service and Support Administration (SSA) and administrative offices. The Board also provides services through the operation of our Community Building and Transportation Departments, both located in Medina.



In January of 2007, the Medina County Board of MRDD celebrated the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Achievement Center by burning the bond that financed the building's construction. To commemorate this occasion, two time capsules were compiled that contained items from the agency's past. The first capsule is buried in the building's courtyard. The second capsule holds memorabilia donated by the staff and clients. Both capsules are marked to be opened in 2057.

On July 7, 2009, Governor Ted Strickland signed legislation changing the name of the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities to the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. The bill had its origin when a group of self-advocates from Athens County expressed their concerns with the term "mental retardation" to their local board. A state legislator from Athens County, Jimmy Stewart, was moved by what they said and began the process that culminated with the signing of the bill. It became law 90 days after it was signed. On October 4, 2009, we officially became the Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

We have seen tremendous growth and change over the past fifty years, yet we continue to provide the very best educational, occupational and social opportunities to the individuals with cognitive challenges living in Medina County.


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