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Today's Family Magazine

Unlock your child’s potential at Broadmoor School

Nick Willet plays for the Broadmoor Bobcats basketball team who are undefeated in 35 years of fielding a team. Nick will graduate from Broadmoor this year.

By Ante Logarusic

Perhaps the biggest joy a parent can experience is watching our children discover the world around them, as well as their place in it.  As we all know, every family’s journey is different, and sometimes our path isn’t exactly the one we may have expected.

Families of children born with a developmental disability can benefit from a helping hand, not just to help them manage but to help them flourish. Fortunately for Lake County, there’s Broadmoor School in Mentor.

Broadmoor is the Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities/Deepwood’s educational program for children who have a developmental disability.  They work closely with local school districts who assess children and develop Individual Education Plans (IEPs).  Broadmoor staff work with local school districts and structure learning environments to support a student’s individualized needs.  Currently, Broadmoor is the provider of 48 school-age students (6 – 22 years) from all school districts in Lake County.  There are six classrooms with up to eight students, as well as additional adult support, to help students prepare for the highest level of success and independence possible. 

“Our goal is to work collaboratively with families, school districts and community resources to advance academic skills to each student’s capacity, strengthen independence, increase life skills, develop competency, and enhance communication and social-emotional skills,” says Liz Miller, Broadmoor School principal and director of children’s services.  

Seven-year-old Emmy Thomas was born with PCDC, a rare genetic mitochondrial disorder.  Parents Molly and Brian were introduced to Broadmoor through Ohio Early Intervention – a statewide system that provides coordinated early intervention services to parents of eligible children under the age of three with developmental delays or disabilities.

“We are very lucky to have a strong support system with family and friends as well as the doctors and therapists,” says Molly.

Emmy was about to start classes at Broadmoor four years ago but that was delayed by the pandemic.  Due to a compromised immune system because of her disorder, she was forced into lockdown at home. Broadmoor accommodated her needs by arranging for online interaction.

“They let us zoom into circle time so she could see her teachers and friends,” says Molly, “I can’t tell you how much that helped.”

Since enrolling, Emmy has made strides socially as well as gained independence. 

“She is in the right environment to help her thrive, whether it’s cognitive, emotional, or otherwise,” says Molly, “She’s happy when she goes to school. She claps her hands when we pull into the parking lot.  We know she’s in good hands.”

And that kind of support continues at Broadmoor as students get older.  Their Lake Education and Employment Program (LEEP) prepares students age 16 through 21 for adulthood.

Classrooms remain limited to eight students, but there is heightened focus on encouraging independence.  As part of this program, students can go to volunteer activities, volunteer work sites, practice life skills (such as doing laundry, organizing, and cooking), and participate in community enrichment experiences. 

Volunteer worksite visits explore potential employment opportunities and help students understand roles that might be of interest to them and what skills they will need to build.

Nick Willet will be graduating from Broadmoor School this month and will soon be exploring day programs to see which is the best fit for him.  His mother Elaine shared that he has learned valuable daily life skills from the program, and it also strengthened his independence and helped him get into the community more.

“Broadmoor offered flexibility that we would not be able to find elsewhere.  Nick is on a modified schedule that works for him, and the staff is so patient and understanding,” says Elaine, “We absolutely love Broadmoor.”

Another key aspect of Broadmoor’s School-Age Program is its focus on community engagement. Each year, more than 15 local high schools and community organizations visit Broadmoor to play a one-hour basketball game against the Bobcats, tour the school, and mingle with students. 

As a member of the esteemed Broadmoor Bobcats, Nick is no slouch on the basketball court either as he and his teammates layer victory upon hard-fought victory.

Because playing matters as much as learning, Broadmoor also has an all-inclusive adapted playground that includes an early childhood center and spans a variety of activities for students of all abilities, including older student areas (such as a pickle ball court).  The playground is open to any family whose child is eligible to receive services from the county board.  A fence helps families relax knowing safety is first and foremost. 

Every child deserves the chance to realize their full potential. For many, Broadmoor becomes their valued support system. 

Learn more about Ohio Early Intervention at  

Learn more about the Lake County Board of Disabilities/Deepwood and Broadmoor School online at