Diploma Options for Students with Disabilities
The number and types of options for diplomas vary from state to state. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 has increased the pressure on schools across the country to improve graduation rates for all students, including students with disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997 require that students with disabilities participate in state and district assessments and that results be reported. These requirements have had an impact on the states, affecting the range of diploma options offered to students. Many states offer multiple diploma options as a strategy to meet the requirements of NCLB and IDEA and to improve school completion rates for students, especially those with disabilities.
Florida students may choose from one of five different types of diplomas.
Step Up For Students is a state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organization that helps administer five scholarships for Florida schoolchildren: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) and the Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) for lower-income families, the Gardiner Scholarship for children with certain special needs, the Hope Scholarship for public school students who are bullied or victims of violence and the Reading Scholarship Accounts for public school students in third through fifth grade who struggle with reading.
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or keep a job. VR mission is to help people with disabilities find meaningful careers. They offer career counseling, financial assistance with tuition and job counseling.
Academic Options. AO is a practice of Independent Consultants specializing in therapeutic and educational placements. Founded in 2006, AO has assisted thousands of families from all over the world navigate the difficult and confusing process of exploring residential or boarding options. Their goal is to help every child, adolescent, and young adult succeed in life.
College Living Experience is a post-secondary program for students who require additional support with academic, social and independent living skills. CLE provides intensive assistance to students of varying abilities. Students with autism, Asperger’s, learning disabilities, developmental delays and a host of other special needs receive the support they need to pursue post-secondary education and become independent adults. Participating schools include Broward College, Florida Atlantic University, American InterContinental University, Nova Southeastern University, Sheridan Technical Center, and McFatter Technical Center.
The Dan Marino Foundation (DMF) is a results-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons with autism or other developmental disabilities. Using innovative approaches to problem solving and leveraging the latest computer technologies, the DMF is creating unprecedented opportunities for the disability community. At the core of the Foundation’s initiatives is Marino Campus, an intensive 10-month post-secondary educational program to help young adults with autism or other developmental disabilities bridge the gap between high school and employment
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
- The Official Website for the State of Florida – Department of Education: Exceptional Student Education
- Department of Education – The Department of Education provides a list of resources pertaining to the needs of children with disabilities.
- The National Center for Learning Disabilities – The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is committed to ensuring that all students with learning disabilities graduate from high school with a standard diploma – prepared for college and the workplace
- Learning Disabilities Association of America – Since 1964, the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) has provided support to people with learning disabilities, their parents, teachers and other professionals. Today, the LDA is the largest nonprofit volunteer organization advocating for individuals with disabilities, and provides cutting-edge information on learning disabilities, practical solutions and a comprehensive network of resources.