Ohio Autism Scholarship

The Ohio Autism Scholarship Program aims to assist Ohio students on the autism spectrum in obtaining education services from private providers.

This includes tuition at private schools, with benefits amounting to up to $27,000.

Through the Autism Scholarship Program, parents gain the freedom to select a private or alternative public service provider for their child with autism.

The services acquired must be pertinent to the student’s disability.

By choosing the scholarship, families relinquish the public school’s responsibility to furnish their student with a Free Appropriate Public Education, in the hope that the external placement will better cater to the student’s specific needs.

Ohio Autism Scholarship

Ohio Autism Scholarship Eligibility:

  • Ages 3 to 21
  • Diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder
  • Registered in a public school special education system
  • Possess a current IEP
  • Students can utilize the voucher regardless of prior enrollment in public schools
  • If not previously enrolled in public schools, formal transfer into the public system is necessary for IEP purposes

Rules and Regulations for Ohio Autism Scholarship:

  • Income Limit: No restriction on income
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: No obligation to have attended public school the previous year
  • Geographic Limit: Applicable statewide
  • Enrollment Cap: No limitations on enrollment
  • Voucher Cap: $31,500 annually in FY2022, and $32,455 annually in FY2023 and beyond
  • Testing Mandates: No mandatory testing requirements
  • Exclusivity: Available only to students with special needs

School Requirements:

  • Registration with the State: Schools must register with the state.
  • Compliance with Nondiscrimination Codes: Schools need to adhere to state nondiscrimination codes.
  • Demonstration of Fiscal Soundness: Schools are required to demonstrate fiscal stability.
  • Staff Credentials: Schools must employ properly credentialed staff.
  • Background Checks: Teachers and staff working with children must undergo background checks.
  • Minimum One-Year Operation: Schools should be operational for at least one full year.
  • Certified Insurance Coverage: Adequate liability, property, and casualty insurance must be certified by a certified public accountant.
  • Regular Progress Reports: Schools are expected to provide regular student progress reports to parents and the resident public school.

What is Autism?

  • Autism is a neurological disorder disrupting communication and social interaction, often emerging in the first three years of life, leading to significant challenges in daily activities.
  • Specialized care is commonly provided by a team of experts, recognizing the absence of a universal treatment approach.
  • Ongoing research yields new therapies and treatments, offering resources to cope with autism-related challenges.

Types of Autism Spectrum Disorders:

  • Classic Autism: The most prevalent form, marked by issues in social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors or interests.
  • Asperger’s Syndrome: A milder variant, involving social interaction difficulties and focused interests, but usually without repetitive behaviors.
  • PDD-NOS: A category encompassing Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), sharing some features of classic autism and Asperger’s syndrome but not all.

Treatment and Intervention:

  • Interventions vary according to the type of autism.
  • Possible interventions: behavioral therapy, educational programs, and medication.
  • No singular approach fits all cases of autism spectrum disorders.

Causes of Autism:

  • Autism originates in the brain and nervous system.
  • No definitive cause identified; thought to result from a blend of genetic and environmental factors.
  • Some theories attribute autism to environmental chemicals, while others link it to maternal diet during pregnancy.