Footprints Center for Autism to open on Perry Schools campus

Special education services in Lake County are growing.

After diligent fundraising and planning, a local nonprofit organization announced that it has acquired a facility in Perry Village to provide educational and therapeutic services to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Footprints Center for Autism at 4261 Manchester Ave. will open its doors for formal programming on Sept. 4.

“We are so excited to be in a location that is easily accessible for residents of Lake County, Ashtabula County and Geauga County,” said Executive Director Erin Bolyard. “Our new location is just under 5,000 square feet total with room for expansion as needed. This facility has ample space for classrooms for different age groups, as well as designated spaces for therapeutic programming.”

The center will be located on the Perry Schools campus.

Footprints Center for Autism will provide special education services, speech therapy service, and occupational therapy services to students ages 3-22 in either day treatment programming or outpatient programming formats.

“What makes our program unique, though, is that each child will have an individually crafted curriculum and program that is built by a team of therapists, teachers, and parents,” Bolyard said. “Because autism is a spectrum disorder, it does not look the same for everyone. We believe that programming should be as unique as the individual and work diligently to ensure that all needs are met.”

Footprints Center for Autism is currently accepting students for the fall.

“We will begin a series of student orientation sessions beginning the week of Aug. 13 so that students and staff are prepared for the start of the school year,” she said.

Bolyard will be joined with her two business partners, Clinical Directors Nicole Best and Claire Caldarea.

They are currently seeking a part-time speech therapist, a part-time occupational therapist and a part-time paraprofessional to join the staff. Anyone interested in enrollment or employment can contact Erin Bolyard at

Footprints Center for Autism will be hosting the #MakingFootprints 5k and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walks, which is the last major fundraising event prior to the school year starting. The event will be held July 28 at Fairport Memorial Park in Fairport Harbor.

Registration/Packet Pick-up begins at 7:30 a.m., and the race begins at 8:30 a.m.

“At the conclusion of the race, there will be a party in the park, which will include a vendor fair, music, games for kids, and more,” Bolyard said. “This event is family friendly and we encourage people of all abilities to join us for this event.”

Registration information can be found at Participants can sign up individually or as part of a team.

“There are so many emotions that go along with the process of opening up any business — excited, overwhelmed, joyful, frustrated, hopeful, motivated,” she said. “There is something special, though, about the way Footprints Center for Autism has come to be. This has been a dream for myself, Nicole and Claire for a number of years and to see it come to fruition fills our hearts with the kind of joy that comes from seeing your passion and your purpose become your business. And to have a community surround you, support you, and believe in your dream with you, that means the world to us.”

More information about the specialized center can be found at

Source: Footprints Center for Autism to open on Perry Schools campus

Jimmy Kilpatrick, a national recognized professional special education advocate since 1994.

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