YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Potential Development is a comprehensive education system for students with autism — for children as young as two-and-a-half years old through 12th grade. The school also offers speech, occupational and physical therapy to help supplement their education.

Potential Development started as a special needs preschool in 1953. The school has grown to now serve Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties.

“The growth recently has been tremendous,” said Potential Development CEO Paul Garchar, Jr. “We are currently serving almost 240 students from across the three counties, and we’re very proud of that.”

Potential Development currently operates three locations in Youngstown, including a preschool on Indianola Avenue and two facilities on Market Street. One school teaches students in kindergarten through sixth-grade school and the other seventh through 12th grade.

“What makes Potential Development stand out is the individual approach we take to every student,” said Garchar, Jr. “We provide flexibility in the classroom, we maintain an excellent classroom ratio with one teacher and at least one or two aids for every five or six students in class.”

There’s also a full-time licensed social worker on staff who works with families, a school guidance counselor and a transition coordinator who helps the older students begin to prepare for the next step after Potential Development.

For more information about Potential Development call (330) 746-7641 and visit them online at