There are very limited comprehensive transition curricula supporting individuals with developmental disabilities through transition to adulthood in existence. One of our goals is to fill this gap by offering an individualized framework for meeting the needs of students "aging out" of their school programs and the statutory protection of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Access Academy has several sources in place to build, operate, and support our various programs. These funding sources include:
McKay Scholarship (grades 9-12+)
Florida's school choice programs allow parents to choose the best educational setting—public or private—for their child. The McKay Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities provided over 31,000 Florida students with special needs the opportunity to attend a participating private school during the 2015-16 school year. The McKay Scholarship Program also offers parents public school choice. A parent of an eligible special needs student may choose to transfer the student to another public school.
Gardiner Scholarship (grades 9-12+)
The Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) program helps parents individualize the educational plans for their children with certain special needs. The program, previously called the Personal Learning Scholarship Account, was named the Gardiner Scholarship in January of 2016. The new name honors Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner, who led the legislative effort to create the program, and his family. Gardiner and his wife Camille have championed the cause of children with unique abilities for many years. The Gardiners have two daughters and a son, Andrew, who has Down syndrome.
A different kind of scholarship: The Gardiner Scholarship (PLSA) is different than other state scholarships in that it allows parents to personalize the education of their children with unique abilities by directing money toward a combination of programs and approved providers. These include schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology – even a college savings account.
The Gardiner Scholarship amount varies according to grade and county of residence. The average amount for most students in the 2016-2017 school year is $10,000, and is based on a matrix level of 253.
Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Waiver program. This government funded program provides community services to individuals specific to their health support needs as an alternative to services provided in an institution. Specifically, the Individual Budgeting (iBudget) Waiver is designed to make the funding process fair and equitable for all Medicaid recipients on the Developmental Disabilities waivers by allowing more opportunities for recipients to direct their own care, choosing services that matter most for their unique circumstances and flexibility to respond to changing needs.