Accessible Academics: Disability Changes your Life!
Buffalo Healthy Living | March 30, 2020
Anne Showers was born and raised in Western New York, attended Williamsville East High School and UB, hoping to become a veterinarian. Then, a series of events derailed her plans.
“During high school, I experienced all of the symptoms of an anxiety and stress disorder, but I didn’t understand what it was and how it was affecting my life. Having epilepsy also didn’t mix well with my anxiety, as anxiety and stress trigger seizures,” says Anne. So, despite needing only one more class for admission to the prestigious Cornell veterinary program, Anne reduced her course load and altered her plans. But, as the saying goes, “When one door closes, another one opens.”
Anne earned a master’s degree in Science Education and worked at a private transition program for college students with disabilities. The program no longer exists, but Anne learned a lot about this population, including what worked and what didn’t. The experience led her to become founder and Executive Director of Accessible Academics. Accessible Academics is the only educational nonprofit in New York state that offers teens and young adults with disabilities the opportunity to transition from high school to post-secondary education and independence, and also earn college credit. The program is free to students who qualify through the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPPWDD) or ACCES-VR.
Parent Network of WNY | February 20, 2019
We have BIG transition news to share with you!
A new non-profit agency in WNY is currently expanding and seeking new students for the Fall 2019 semester! Accessible Academics is to provide transition support exclusively to students with varying abilities who are seeking a credit or certificate bearing post-secondary education. With the help of this program, students can attend any higher education institution in WNY and receive the additional supports they need to successfully realize their goals.
The Accessible Academics “Base Transition” program includes four hours per week of individualized, curriculum-based coaching, personalized for each student. Students receive coaching based on their goals, including help with coursework and planning, time management, organization, life skills, social skills, and other skill areas. “At other transition programs, students are expected to work on the same skills, attend the same school, or only audit classes. The programs that offer more variety to students tend to be for-profit and prohibitively expensive for the majority of families,” says Founder and CEO, Anne Showers. “Accessible Academics is giving students the same range of higher education choices that their peers have, with the personalized support that they need to be successful, regardless of their income.”
Students with special needs get a boost with college academics
WBFO | February 15, 2019
Students with special needs are receiving a boost as they seek higher education or a post-secondary program. WBFO’s senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the program is called Accessible Academics.
“I have a learning disability – on top of having Asperger’s Syndrome,” said George Rodriguez, from the Bronx and majoring Arts & Letters at SUNY Buffalo State.
Rodriguez is receiving assistance from Accessible Academics to support his college learning. The agency provides a transitional program for young adults to navigate college after high school.
“A lot of times they’re use to a whole committee of people there to help them. They’re told what they need to do and when and when you’re an adult and you’re in college – it’s all about your decision,” stated Anne Showers, CEO and founder of Accessible Academics.
Showers explains, like Rodriguez, students in the program have an array of learning or development disabilities, a mental illness, traumatic brain injury or cognitive behavioral difficulties.
Accessible Academics Receives Tower Foundation Grant
News Release | May 1, 2018
(BUFFALO) May 1st, 2018 — Accessible Academics is pleased to announce it has been awarded a two-year competitive grant for $80,000 by The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation to expand its transitional services for young adults with special needs. With these dollars, Accessible Academics will be able to help more students with special needs complete their postsecondary education and attain meaningful employment.
“We believe that the supports provided by Accessible Academics will help students gain the post-secondary skills they need to begin a successful career and to participate in the community,” said Tracy A. Sawicki, executive director of the Tower Foundation.
“We’re delighted that the Tower Foundation has partnered with Accessible Academics on this very important initiative. The Trustees’ faith in our ability to bring this unique program model to students in our area speaks volumes to their innovative leadership,” said Accessible Academics CEO Anne Showers.
The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation supports community programming that results in children, adolescents, and young adults affected by substance use disorders, learning disabilities, mental illness, and intellectual disabilities achieving their full potential. To learn more about the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, visit www.thetowerfoundation.org