Expanding Individual Potential Through Innovative Instruction
ACCESS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit offering evaluation services, full-time education, therapy, training, and activities for individuals ages 6 weeks through adulthood with language and learning disabilities. Founded in 1994, ACCESS includes ACCESS Early Childhood, ACCESS Academy, ACCESS Therapy, ACCESS Academic Therapy (specialized tutoring), ACCESS Life (a young adults community-based program), ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center, Behavioral and Mental Health Counseling, CES Waiver, and Project SEARCH® Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative in partnerhship with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (a year long, on-the-job internship program for young adults with developmental disabilities).
ACCESS has always been parent-led and has followed the need of those we serve.
ACCESS began in 1994 offering preschool services for seven children and a school-aged program in 1998. Since then, ACCESS has continued to meet the needs of surrounding communities, opening the ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center in 2005 and offering ACCESS Academic Therapy in 2007. The AERC provides psychological and psycho-educational evaluations given by an on-staff clinical psychologist. It currently serves Arkansas and surrounding states. In less than 10 years, we were providing evaluation services in Arkansas and now today, to the surrounding states.
In August 2011, ACCESS opened a new young adult program, ACCESS Life. The program, for adults ages 18-35, focuses on developing a healthy lifestyle, maintaining academic skills, practicing vocational skills and developing independence
In 2013, in partnership with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, ACCESS launched the UAMS Project SEARCH® program, a yearlong, on-the-job internship program for adults ages 18-35 with developmental disabilities. The program provides interns with vocational training and follow-along services for sustained, competitive employment. Project Search has been recognized nationally with a 90% job placement outcome. We have placed young people in competitive jobs, making a living wage with great companies.
In 2014, we began offering Community-Based Support Services in Saline, Pulaski, Faulkner, Lonoke, White, Garland and Jefferson counties. Through the CES Waiver funding source, we provide case management, supportive living, and supported employment. These services are designed with the hopes and desires of the individual and families; providing community involvement is the hallmark of this program. The goal is for our clients to experience a real sense of community, which we define as safe, secure housing combined with nurturing, stimulating and recreational employment to enjoy life.
In 2019, ACCESS became a CARF accredited organization. The organization also added Behavioral and Mental Health Counseling to its services, allowing us to serve our mission in true comprehensive, person-centered approach. Those services are now provided through the ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center to students in ACCESS’ full-time programs as well as outpatient clients.
ACCESS employs more than 200 staff members and serves more than 250 students and outpatient clients weekly. Future plans include a retail and residential community for adults with and without disabilities.