Q: My child is autistic. I have recently heard about the Autism Scholarship Program. What is the Autism Scholarship?
A: The Autism Scholarship Program was established in 2003 by the Ohio General Assembly. The purpose of the scholarship is to provide funding to parents of qualified children with autism. It allows parents to select a private education provider to help with their child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) instead of their local public school district. Any money awarded by the scholarship must be used solely for the IEP.
Q: How much money could I receive through the Autism Scholarship Program?
A: The amount of the annual scholarship award is $20,000 per qualified child.
Q: How many children are currently funded under the Autism Scholarship Program?
A: As of 2013, over 2,400 students are enrolled in the Autism Scholarship. That number has more than doubled in the last five years.
Q: How do I know if my child is eligible for the Autism Scholarship Program?
A: Your child must be between the ages of three and twenty-two. He or she must have been clinically diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and he or she must have a current IEP and ETR (Evaluation Team Report). Your child must be registered in a public school district, but cannot attend a public school while receiving the scholarship. The child cannot be a high school graduate and you must have identified an approved Autism Scholarship Program provider.
Q: Is North Coast Tutoring Services an approved provider?
A: Yes! North Coast Tutoring is an Autism Scholarship provider, approved by the State of Ohio and the Department of Education (ODE). We not only provide specialized individual services for your autistic child, but we also help you apply for the scholarship.
Q: So, who will be working with my child?
A: North Coast Tutoring Services will select a specially trained tutor to work with your child. We have over 300 active tutors all over Northeast Ohio.
Q: Isn’t there a lot of paperwork required?
A: Do not worry! North Coast Tutoring Services will not only help you apply for the scholarship, but will prepare reports for the school districts that meet the ODE guidelines. We will be with you every step of the way.
Q: If we use the scholarship money just for support services, can my child still attend public schools?
A: No. Once your child receives the scholarship, your public school district is no longer required to provide them with a free and appropriate education (FAPE). The purpose of the scholarship is to allow your child to receive both educational and support services through an approved and private provider.
Q: When can I apply for the Autism Scholarship?
A: In order to qualify for funding for the 2014-2015 school year, you must apply no later than June 30, 2015.
Q: Do I need to reapply every year?
A: Yes. Beginning July 1, 2015, you can apply for the 2015-2016 school year.
Q: Does North Coast Tutoring provide any other special services for children with autism?
A: Yes! Every summer, the Creative Education Institute hosts an Academic Fun & Fitness Summer Camp at Lakeland Community College. Commonly referred to as the “un-school camp,” the Academic Fun & Fitness Summer Camp is designed specifically for children with learning differences, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, or Asperger’s Syndrome. Campers are introduced to reading and math through games and multi-sensory activities. They also become involved in science, sports, computers, music, theatre arts, and more! The camp is a nurturing, welcoming environment where kids can just be kids, make friends, and have fun. We will be posting a whole article about camp before the summer.
Q: Where can I find the application for the Autism Scholarship?
A: The scholarship application is available online on the Ohio Department of Education’s website. Visit http://education.ohio.gov and search for the Autism Scholarship Program. Aside from information, they also provide a list of approved service providers for the scholarship.
Q: Who can I contact at North Coast Tutoring Services to learn more about the Autism Scholarship?
A: Ellen Karakul is our Program Director for both the Autism Scholarship Program and the Jon Peterson Scholarship. You can e-mail her at EllenK@northcoasted.com, or contact her by phone at 440-914-0200.
For more information, please visit the (North Coast Education Services’ website or the Ohio Department of Education’s website (http://education.ohio.gov.
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