Top 11 Best Schools for Autism in Florida

As a parent, having a child with autism can be disturbing as there are few of them in the world. Children with autism think differently and react to things in another way which is why it is hard to control and understand them in most cases.

Autism in children can be noticed at an early age or as they advance in age, while a condition like this is not a medical condition with treatments or a cure, the best way to help autistic beings is by enrolling them in a quality school that nurtures and cares for autistic children commonly addressed as schools for autism.

In this article, we have compiled some of the top outstanding schools for autism in Florida where kids with autism can be enrolled and given maximum care and attention.

It is essential to enroll autistic children in schools specially designed for them, as it will help them to learn faster, connect and make friends as well as fight some of their unfavorable conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, anxiety, depression, and epilepsy.

Enrolling them in a school other than the one designed for them might affect them negatively and most times they’re seen struggling to belong with others who are not in the same condition.

Autism comes in different forms most influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Autistic children have different strengths and challenges, in the way they learn, think, and solve problems ranging from highly skilled to severely challenged.

Some autistic may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less help and, in some cases, live entirely independently, no matter the one your kid is currently passing through, enrolling him or her into the nearest school of autism where they would be nurtured is the best decision a parent can make for their autistic child.

What is autism?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental illness marked by difficulties in social communication and social interaction as well as repetitive or limited patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, including hyper and hyperactivity to sensory input. Autism is not a one-size-fits-all condition, and treatment and support should be tailored to individual needs and strengths.

Strategies and considerations for helping autistic children thrive

Every autistic child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Regularly assess and adjust the support and strategies based on the child’s changing needs. Parents, friends, and the community need to accept and understand autistic children as it is vital in helping them to thrive.

Below are some of the strategies you can adopt to help autistic children thrive:

  • Early Intervention

Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial. Start as early as possible with therapies and interventions tailored to the child’s needs. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy are common interventions.

  • Individualized Education

Work with educators and specialists to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a similar tailored plan that addresses the child’s specific needs and strengths. Consider special education services, if necessary.

  • Sensory Support

Be mindful of sensory sensitivities. Create a sensory-friendly environment by reducing overwhelming sensory stimuli, providing sensory breaks, and accommodating sensory needs (e.g., noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys).

  • Structured Routines

Autistic children often benefit from structured routines and clear schedules. Visual schedules and timers can help them understand and prepare for transitions.

  • Communication Support

Use alternative communication methods if verbal communication is challenging. This might include sign language, picture communication systems, or communication apps.

  • Social Skills Training

Offer social skills training to help autistic children understand social cues, engage in conversations, and build relationships. This can include group therapy sessions or one-on-one coaching.

  • Support for Emotional Regulation:

Teach emotional regulation strategies, such as deep breathing exercises or mindfulness techniques, to help children manage their emotions.

  • Encourage Special Interests

Recognize and encourage the child’s special interests or talents. These interests can be a source of motivation and skill development.

  • Inclusion and Acceptance

Promote inclusion in regular classrooms whenever possible. Encourage neurotypical peers to understand and be accepting of their autistic classmates.

  • Collaboration with Professionals

Work closely with a team of professionals, including teachers, therapists, and healthcare providers, to ensure a holistic approach to the child’s development.

  • Family Support

Provide support and resources for the child’s family. Autism can be challenging for parents and caregivers, so access to support groups and respite care can be beneficial.

  • Advocacy

Be an advocate for the child. Ensure they receive appropriate accommodations and support in school and other settings.

  • Promote Independence

Encourage age-appropriate independence and life skills. Gradually introduce tasks and responsibilities to build self-confidence.

  • Be Patient and Flexible

Understand that progress may be slow, and setbacks can occur. Be patient and adaptable in your approach.

  • Celebrate Achievements

Recognize and celebrate the child’s achievements, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can be a powerful motivator.

Top 11 Best Schools for Autism in Florida

The following is the list of the top autism schools in Florida according to our research;

  • Divine Academy
  • Rainbow Montessori Multicultural School
  • Palm Beach School for Autism
  • South Florida Autism Charter School
  • Academy for Autism
  • Jericho School for Children with Autism
  • Jacksonville School For Autism
  • North Florida School of Special Education
  • Autism Inspired Academy
  • Beyond the Spectrum
  • Florida Autism Center of Excellence (F.A.C.E.)

Divine Academy

Location: Pembroke Pines, FL

The first on our list of top autism schools in Florida is Divine Academy, this school was founded in 2005 by Ingrid Garcia and Pamela Vogelsang because of the desperate need in society for private schools that cater to children with special needs.

The shared mission of the founders of this noble academy is to provide a program where each student is allowed to grow and thrive, The school currently has over 50 students enrolled and still one to more enrollments.

They also play the role of providing students with special needs the means and knowledge they need for independent living, The knowledge acquired from this school will help them to enter the workforce through educational, vocational, and life skills instruction in a safe, nurturing, and structured environment.

Divine Academy programs run 40 weeks in line with the Broward County School schedule but do not have early release days.

Each student with special needs at Divine Academy is given an IEP (Individualized Education Program) based on their individual needs.

There is high school, middle school, and adult program, some of the programs they offer include life skills, social skills, academic instruction, therapies, vocational training, and afternoon specials.

Click here to apply

#2. Rainbow Montessori Multicultural School

Location: Hollywood, Florida

This school is the second on our list of top autism schools in Florida, Rainbow Montessori Multicultural School is not just among the best autism schools in Florida, the school is the finest in Montessori.

The common goal of Rainbow Montessori Multicultural School is to foster innate creativity in every child as well as help them maximize their potential as children.

RMMS offers low student/teacher ratios and a multicultural program that includes Spanish, French, S.T.E.M., Music, Art, Gardening, Yoga, P.E and Computer.

Rainbow Montessori Multicultural School is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), Broward County Childcare Licensing and Enforcement, and The Early Learning Coalition. It is also registered at the Florida Department of Education and meets the standards of excellence of Montessori educators.

The quality programs offered at Rainbow Montessori Multicultural School are highly committed to promoting global understanding and citizenship, fostering a deep appreciation for the languages and cultures of the world.

Your child must be 12 months (walking) and above before you can enroll him/her in Rainbow Montessori Multicultural School, they offer a 10-month enrollment program and a 12-month enrollment program in line with the Broward County Calendar.

Scholarships available at Rainbow Montessori Multicultural School

  • VPK Scholarship – a state-funded educational program available to all four-year-old children in Florida.
  • School Readiness Scholarship – Available to eligible low-income families.
  • Step Up for Students Scholarship – Available to Kindergarten and Elementary Students, ages 5+.

Click here to apply

#3. Palm Beach School for Autism

Location: Lake Worth, Florida

Palm Beach is one of the top autism schools in Florida. The school was founded by a group seeking a better education for their autistic children.

It is a public charter school that teaches autistic children from 3-12 years old. Palm Beach offers programs that are highly individualized and data-driven, each student at Palm Beach School of Autism receives a customized education plan based on their unique needs and strengths.

The academic subjects they offer include math, science, and language arts, as well as life skills such as communication, socialization, and self-care. They also offer a wide range of therapies and services like speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and counseling.

With a focus on community development and involvement, Palm Beach partners with local businesses and organizations to provide their students with opportunities for real-world experiences and job training.

Their learning environment is very conducive for children with autism, the school is the number one leading school in the field of special education in Florida. It provides a supportive and nurturing environment that helps autistic children to strive and reach their full potential.

Programs offered at Palm Beach School for Autism

The following is the list of programs offered at Palm Beach School for Autism;

  • Preschool Program
  • Elementary School Program
  • Middle School Program
  • High School Program

Click here to apply

#4. South Florida Autism Charter School

Location:  Hialeah, Florida.

SFACS is a top school for autism in Florida, this school provides educational and therapeutic services to children suffering from autism spectrum disorders (ASD), especially those residing in Miami-Dade/Broward Counties.

Their mission since inception is to provide the most effective individualized educational programs possible.

With the common goal to expand their programs and services in an all-in-one campus that will meet the needs of the entire demographic of autism spectrum disorder, from newly diagnosed children to adults living with ASD.

Their school hours are divided in the following order:

• Kindergarten – 1st Grade: 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
• 2nd Grade – 8th Grade: 
8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Dismissal at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesdays)
• 9th Grade – 12th Grade: 
8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Click here to apply

#5. Academy for Autism

Location: Orlando, Florida

Academy for Autism was established in 2005 by a parent of two children with Autism, the academy came into existence as a result of their quest to improve the quality of life and independence of children with autism by providing an affordable education alternative to all families of Central Florida.

Children enrolled in this school are treated with dignity at all times, The school is organized in a way that helps the teacher to adapt to each child’s best learning styles. Instructions are given individually backed with a predictable daily schedule, sensory input, and behavioral intervention in a program tailored to each child.

Academy for Autism is affordable and available to low- and middle-income families with special needs children.

The school is made up of a professional and dedicated team that specializes in the field of special education, The school team has extensive training in multiple disciplines including autism,  exceptional student education, varied exceptionalities, applied behavior analysis, Speech and Language Pathology, and Occupational and Physical therapy.

Programs offered at the Academy of Autism

The Academy for Autism’s academic program provides the following:

  • A 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio
  • Behavioral Approach (ABA, Verbal Behavior, Task Analysis)
  • Boardmaker online
  • Dance class
  • Equals & Touch mat
  • Handwriting without tears
  • IPad Instructional Teaching
  • Music Therapy
  • PCI and Edmark reading program
  • On-site occupational, physical, speech & oral-motor therapy
  • A Multi-disciplinary approach
  • TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-handicapped CHildren)
  • STAR Program (Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research)
  • ULS (Unique Learning Systems)

Click here to apply

#6. Jericho School for Children with Autism

Location: Jacksonville, Florida

Jericho School is one the best autism schools in Florida, it is a nationally recognized private non-profit school in Jacksonville, Florida for children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

This school provides comprehensive individualized instruction based on the science of Applied Behavior Analysis and the analysis of Verbal Behavior.

The school is a leader in the treatment of children with autism and the application of Applied Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behaviour.

The Jericho School welcomes students regardless of age, race, religion, gender, or national origin.

Top reasons you should consider Jericho School for Children with Autism

  • Low Student-to-Teacher Ratio
  • Over 20 Years of Service
  • Approved by the Department of Education
  • Tricare Approved
  • Certified 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization
  • Five Star Rating According to GreatSchools.org

Jericho School for Children with Autism programs

Jericho School for Children with Autism offers the following:

  • Full-time and part-time school
  • Communication clinic
  • ABA kindergarten program
  • Intensive ABA summer program
  • Community outreach program

Click here to apply

#7. Jacksonville School For Autism

Location: Jacksonville, Florida.

This is a nonprofit educational institution located in Jacksonville, Florida, specifically dedicated to providing specialized education and support for children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Jacksonville School For Autism aims to help these individuals reach their full potential, develop essential life skills, and achieve a higher level of independence.

This school typically serves students from ages 18 months to 22 years, covering a wide range of educational needs for individuals with autism.

They offer a specialized curriculum tailored to the unique learning profiles and needs of children with autism. This curriculum often includes evidence-based interventions, structured teaching methods, and therapies to address communication, social, academic, and behavioral challenges.

JSA typically offers a range of therapeutic and support services, which may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, and individualized behavior intervention plans (BIPs).

Click here to apply

#8. North Florida School of Special Education

Location: Jacksonville, Florida.

This is a private nonprofit educational institution located in Jacksonville, Florida. North Florida School of Special Education is dedicated to serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

NFSS provides comprehensive educational programs and support services for students with a wide range of disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome, and other developmental challenges.

The mission of North Florida School of Special Education is to provide a caring and inclusive environment where students with disabilities can reach their fullest potential academically, socially, and emotionally.

NFSS typically serves students from early childhood through adulthood, offering a continuum of programs to meet the diverse needs of individuals with disabilities.

The school typically provides access to a range of therapeutic services, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, and behavioral therapy, as needed by individual students.

Click here to apply

#9. Autism Inspired Academy

Location:  Clearwater, Florida.

This is one of the best autism schools in Florida, It is an education-based nonprofit school that applies character education and social-skill development as the foundation of student growth.

This academy empowers children with autism to have lives of meaning, purpose, and joy, they boost student’s self-confidence, self-awareness, and social abilities as well as expose them to a developmentally appropriate academic program.

They are committed to empowering students with the tools they need to flourish in collegiate, professional, and communal environments. They believe each student possesses an innate entitlement to education.

Click here to apply

#10. Beyond the Spectrum

Location: Sarasota, Florida

Beyond the Spectrum is among the best autism schools in Florida, it is a nonprofit education center and therapeutic clinic serving students from the ages 4-22 diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome, ADHD, and related developmental disorders.

Beyond the Spectrum hosts a variety of therapies throughout the school day to enhance students’ learning experiences, including speech, ABA, OT and PT, music, dance, and mental health counseling.

This school believes every child deserves to be loved and accepted for who they are, they support both the children and families of our community affected by Autism and other related disorders.

They offer two programs which include the Peabody Academy, Mariposa Program, and the Beforecare & Aftercare program.

This prestigious school does not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, colour, race, age, national or ethnic origin, or disability in the administration of its admission or educational policies, scholarship and loan programs, other school-administered programs, or in employment.

Click here to apply

#11. Florida Autism Center of Excellence (F.A.C.E.)

Location: Tampa, Florida.

This a charter school located in Sarasota, Florida, that primarily serves students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related developmental disabilities.

F.A.C.E is highly dedicated to providing a specialized educational environment and support for students with autism, they deliver a comprehensive, individualized education program that is tailored to the unique needs of each student.

The school typically offers a curriculum that integrates evidence-based practices for teaching students with autism. This may include applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and other related services.

It is among the top autism schools in Florida.

Click here to apply

What Causes Autism?

The exact cause of autism is still not fully understood. While genetics is believed to play a significant role, the interplay of genetic and environmental factors remains a complex area of study.

Why Does Autism Vary So Widely?

Autism is often described as a spectrum disorder because it can manifest in such a wide range of ways, from mild to severe.

What Services Do Autism Schools in Florida Offer?

Autism schools in Florida typically offer a range of services, including individualized education plans (IEPs), speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy (such as Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA), social skills training, and sensory support.

Are Autism Schools in Florida Public or Private?

There are both public and private autism schools in Florida. Public schools may offer special education programs for students with autism, while private schools may specialize in autism education and often require tuition.

How Do I Find an Autism School in Florida for My Child?

To find an autism school in Florida, you can start by contacting your local school district’s special education department. They can provide information about public school programs and services. For private autism schools, you can research online, ask for recommendations from healthcare professionals or support organizations, and schedule visits to potential schools to assess their suitability for your child.

Do Autism Schools in Florida Accept Students from Out of State?

Some autism schools in Florida may accept students from out of state, but it depends on the specific school’s policies and availability. It’s essential to inquire directly with the school you are interested in to understand their enrollment criteria.

Are There Scholarships or Financial Aid Options for Autism Schools in Florida?

In Florida, there are scholarship programs like the McKay Scholarship and the Gardiner Scholarship that may provide financial assistance for students with disabilities, including autism, to attend private schools, including autism schools.

What Are the Benefits of Sending a Child to an Autism School in Florida?

Benefits can include specialized curriculum and teaching methods, a focus on social skills development, sensory-friendly environments, understanding staff trained in working with autistic students, and access to therapies that cater to the child’s unique needs.

Conclusion

When selecting an autism school, careful consideration of factors like the school’s approach, staff qualifications, and services offered is essential.

The above schools aim to empower autistic students and promote their growth and development in a supportive and understanding environment.

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