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Mission Statement

Accessible Academics is a not-for-profit agency that advocates for inclusion and supports people with disabilities to become independent.

Vision Statement

We will provide services accessible to all locally and leverage technology to reach service deserts around the nation.

Core Values

Inclusivity, Accessibility, Integrity, Advocacy, & Giving our Students Agency.


Founder & CEO

Azure Showers, Ed.M.

Azure is a New York certified teacher with her Masters in Education and has been  working with high school and college students from a variety of backgrounds, including those considered at risk or special needs since 2012.

She founded the non-profit Accessible Academics in 2016 to help her students complete their college degrees and live independently in the community. Her dream is for every student to have access to postsecondary support and believes that Accessible Academics is a step towards achieving that goal.

CEO Azure Showers

Board of Directors

  • Justin Kiernan – President

  • Barbara Boese- Vice President

  • Michael Avillo – Secretary

  • Laura Mandel – Treasurer

  • Laura Pietak

  • Shannon Carrigan

Dedicated to Help Students with Disabilities

After Azure Showers' former transition program left Buffalo, she had a choice to either relocate or create. Thankfully, she chose to launch Accessible Academics to ensure her caseload of students did not have to drop their education and go home. Azure wanted her students to graduate with an education that would serve them for life.


Azure recognized that there were limited post-secondary transition programs in Western New York (WNY) available at no or low cost to students with disabilities. Often, students were expected to rely only on the reasonable accommodations provided in college, when they required greater support. Most Medicaid-funded programs divide support amongst different staff members, making it confusing for the students they serve. Other transition programs limited students to only auditing classes, preventing them from gaining qualifications which could open so many doors in adult life. Also, these tranition programs were college-specific, restricting access to other institutions and the types of credentials they could earn. Accessible Academics could serve a community of students who were being failed by the traditional education system.


Accessible Academics addresses these issues by matching a coach to a student who will assist them in every area they require. Students can attend any post-secondary program in WNY, receive credit, and graduate with any degree or certificate!  Since starting the program, we found that many students are not interested in college but want to work towards self-employment goals or their GED.  Accessible Academics has expanded services so students can focus on their career and independent living skills. Students do not need to have a disability to benefit from our services. Our programs are free for low-income students!


Whether a student is a typical learner, or has a disability, pursuing college, trade school, or a GED program can be a challenge – and we want to be there to help. We know that a positive outlook is essential for growth and development. That is why our goal is for students to embrace a positive attitude about learning. With our guidance and students’ personal effort, students will see the results they want.

Accessible Academics' students sitting in a classroom
Accessible Academics' students playing corn hole

Student Stories

Accessible Academics' student Matthew Valente

Matthew, Student

Matthew Valente has been working with Accessible Academics since fall 2020 to complete online courses at SUNY Erie and publish animated poems on endangered and misunderstood animals. He is working with our professional animator, Cote Zellers, to bring his poetry to life.  Matthew has been featured on The Art of Autism’s website for his #ActuallyAutistic animated poetry. You can visit Matthew's YouTube channel to see his animated poems.

Josh, Student

“When I was in need of an internship to complete my BS in Information Sciences and Technology, I contacted Accessible Academics for help.  It wasn’t long until I was traveling to University at Buffalo to complete my internship in user experience development. Accessible Academics was there to support and guide me every step of the way. My internship experience was my first true test of my independent living skills as a young adult with Autism. Accessible Academics assisted not only with my work and study habit development, but with training in household management and stress management.

I am happy to say that, thanks in large part to the support provided by  Accessible Academics, I completed my degree and am now gainfully employed in the field of Information Technology for one of the world’s largest business-to-business finance organizations. I am excited for Accessible Academics as it moves forward...and provides support services for an increasing number of young adults in need. I have the utmost faith that, with hard work and dedication, they too will succeed academically and in life itself.”

David, Parent

“Our daughter couldn’t have been so successful in college at ECC without the help, guidance, and support of Accessible Academics. The program goes well beyond academics and has helped our daughter to be more confident and secure. This service is extremely important and valuable for families with children who have LD, ADHD, and ASD. Accessible Academics’ services is a Godsend.”

Our Program Fliers

High School Transition Services

Transition Program

ACCES-VR Services

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