The team at THF is proud to announce we recently delivered a grant to organizers at Learning Independence for Tomorrow, Inc. (LiFT), a Clearwater, Florida-based school that serves neurodiverse children and adults.
"Our goal is to level the playing field for individuals with learning differences and neurodiversity," Tasha Curry wrote in the organization's grant application. "We provide our learners exceptional academics, life skills, career training and opportunities to strengthen social skills and build meaningful friendships. We have a passion that each student comes to value and view their diversity as a gift to be celebrated. Equally important is for each student to respect the differences found in each other."
She said that individuals with neurodiversity face a "unique set of challenges affecting their ability to succeed in school, employment and independent living."
Graduation rates for individuals with neurodiversity are consistently reduced in traditional school systems. According to the Florida Department of Education, Pinellas County’s average graduation rate was 79.7% and Hillsborough County's 78.2% in 2019. In the same year, 95% of students at LiFT earned a Florida high school diploma.
"LiFT provides an exceptional education for neurodiverse students, Kindergarten through 12th grade and beyond," she added. "Our programming has ensured student success since 2013, with a 95% graduation rate and subsequent workforce development."
LiFT's programming includes access to individualized education plans, allows for on-site paraprofessional support and small enough classes to meet students where interventions are needed the most.
THF grant funds will support the school's Learning Academy Modified Program (LAMP), which will provide a dedicated classroom space to students who are two or more grade levels behind. School officials will purchase adaptive items including active seating chairs, wiggle seats and desks.
"These individualized modifications may change what the student is taught or expected to complete to be successful at school," Curry said. "LAMP often utilizes small groups, one-on-one assisted instruction where needed, hands-on visuals, large text, and books on tape. LAMP students will experience classes with grade-level peers and standards, to support their specific abilities, learning style, and a felt experience of social/emotional inclusion. The addition of a sensory-friendly and dedicated study space will ensure our students can make a year’s worth of academic gains in the most conducive environment available."