Welcome to ACCESS

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The ACCESS (Adult Curriculum for Community, Employment, and Social Skills) Program provides instruction and community-based learning opportunities designed to help post-high school Deaf students (18-22 years old) develop practical real-world skills in the areas of employment and independent living.

Employment Skills

ACCESS students learn the skills needed to find and maintain employment, including how to:

  • Identify jobs based upon career interests.
  • Complete job applications and prepare for job interviews.
  • Recognize and demonstrate the traits of being a valued employee.

We also offer students the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience for a minimum of 10 hours per week. On-the-job training and job coach support is provided as needed. 

Independent Living Skills

Helping students develop independent living and self-advocacy skills is emphasized in all facets of our program. With this in mind, students have the opportunity to develop functional daily living skills such as:

  • Budgeting and money management
  • City bus training
  • Personal and community safety
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • Personal decision-making
  • Accessing community-based resources

Transition Planning

The ACCESS Program provides comprehensive transition planning that includes the involvement of the family, home school district, and community service providers. This ‘wrap-around’ approach ensures that students are able to successfully transition back to their home communities with supports and resources already in place. 


Do you provide job placement or help students find paid work?

On occasion, students may be offered paid employment while in the ACCESS Program, however this is at the discretion of the employer and is not an expectation of our program. We do not seek out paid job placements for our students. Instead, our focus is to help students develop valuable work ethics and transferable job skills that may lead to future paid employment after leaving our program.

Do you offer Residential Services?

Students living outside the Austin-Metro area live in the ACCESS Student Cottages on TSD campus. The residential program also gives students the opportunity to develop basic home management skills such as meal planning, cooking, cleaning, safety, and minor home maintenance.

How long does a student stay in the ACCESS Program?

Students stay in the ACCESS Program only for as long as necessary to meet their educational goals. Our intent is to help students’ transition back to their hometowns prior to aging out of special education services so that we can remain involved on a consultative basis and help establish community-based supports.

How much does the ACCESS Program cost? 

There is no tuition to attend the ACCESS Program, however all students are expected to pay a yearly supply fee and monthly activity fee to cover student materials, city bus transportation, and community outings.

Does the ACCESS Program follow the TSD School Schedule?

Yes. We follow the TSD school calendar. We are closed for school scheduled breaks and holidays. ACCESS students go home on the weekends.

What is the criterion for eligibility?

To be eligible for the ACCESS Program, students must have completed their graduation requirements or have received a high school diploma. They must be motivated to participate in our program and have an educational need for additional training in either employment or self-help skills. As per our Governing Board policy, the school is not intended to serve students whose needs are appropriately addressed in a home, hospital, or residential treatment facility; or for students whose primary, ongoing needs are related to a severe or profound emotional, behavioral or cognitive deficit. 

Do you accept applications year round? Is there a deadline to apply to the program?

We accept new admissions throughout the school year, however students gain the most benefit when they start at the beginning of the year.

Current TSD seniors interested in attending ACCESS should meet with their Career Counselor. 
New students interested in attending the ACCESS Program may request an application from the TSD Admissions Office.

If you have additional questions about our ACCESS Program, contact Beth Smiley at Beth.Smiley@tsd.state.tx.us