Gardiner Scholarship – Children with Certain Disabilities Have Access to $10,000 Scholarships

Florida students (3 years old through high school graduation or age 22) who have specified disabilities (see below) may receive a scholarship on the average of $10,000 per school year to use towards therapies, curriculum, private school tuition and college pre-paid accounts.

The Dyslexia Research Institute is partnering with FSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) to host a public seminar about the scholarship on March 2nd at the Leroy Collins PUblic Library at 200 W. Park Avenue.  Parents may attend a 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. session to learn more about the Gardiner Scholarship. The seminars are free to the public.

Senate President Andy Gardiner created the scholarship after seeing the parents of children with special needs struggle with financially accessing therapies or appropriate programs for their children.  “While the McKay Scholarship, another special needs scholarship, helps many parents, the Gardiner Scholarship helps parents whose children may have not been in the public school system. So home schooling parents and/or parents whose children have been in private programs may access this scholarship.” reports Robyn Rennick of the Dyslexia Research Institute.  The Gardiner Scholarship is also available to students in public school but they must withdraw to access it.

The Gardiner Scholarship is available to students with one of the following disabilities:  Autism spectrum disorder (including Aspergers), muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome or intellectual disability.  Students must be identified by either a current Individual Education Plan (IEP) from a Florida school district or have a formal diagnosis from a Florida licensed physician or psychologist.

Aaron’s mother can attest to how much the Gardiner Scholarship has meant to their family.  “Aaron struggled both academically and emotionally due to his disabilities. Finding Woodland Hall Academy has been incredible for both Aaron and us as a family. He works hard and independently at home and has become an outstanding student, earning high grades and filling in the “gaps”. Being able to access the Gardiner Scholarship has helped tremendously in relieving the financial strain that specialized schooling entails.”

For more information concerning the seminar contact Robyn Rennick, Dyslexia Research Institute, (850) 893-2216 or Allison Leatzow, CARD Center, (850) 488-3994.