Ohio is leading the way in educational opportunities for individuals with autism by sponsoring the
Ohio Autism Scholarship Program. Since 2003, the program has been providing up to $20,000 a year for families to seek an educational placement outside the public school system.
Funds can also be used to gain access to early intervention services and for individualized programs that may include several different essential therapies. Currently, more than 1,600 students avail themselves of the scholarship and the number of students who may apply is unlimited.
The Ohio General Assembly is discussing expanding the program to include all children with disabilities, not just autism.
As someone who had to fight my son’s school system for several years in order to obtain an out-of-district placement, this program is truly inspiring. The time my son languished in limbo while our case crawled through the system was not worth it against the eight months at a private school the district ultimately agreed to pay for.
I also love that the scholarship includes early intervention and therapy. No child with autism should be denied treatment because of his or her family’s lack of economic resources. That has always been a vexing injustice.
While the public school system is mandated to provide an appropriate education to every student, the reality is that this just isn’t the case. Between that sad fact and the astronomical costs of therapies for autism, many children on the spectrum have been falling through the cracks. I hope more states will take Ohio’s program as a blueprint for closing those gaps.
More info can be found at http://www.scohio.org .