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Our Mission

Our mission is to share evidence-based resources and strategies for student learning and success. Our collaborative work with educators, families, & administrators leads to a team roadmap for students with complex learning challenges to reach their full potential.

About SDES

Specially Designed Education Services is focused on creating and providing curriculum, training, and consultation related to programming for students with moderate to severe disabilities including autism. We are the publisher of The Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics and offer instruction and mentorship related to its implementation. We also work with teams to address child-specific concerns (initial programming, planning for communication, behavior, etc.), as well as classroom set-up and scheduling. We provide webinars and pre-scheduled workshops at our training center in Bothell, WA, and district-wide trainings on location.

About the Authors

Dr. Candice Styer and Suzanne Fitzgerald are co-authors of the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics. Together, they have 50+ years experience working with children and adults with disabilities in a variety of settings and roles.

How it Started 

The Styer-Fitzgerald Program was first published in 2009 as a result of the authors’ vast and varied teaching experiences, as well as educators’ suggestions and feedback through the years. 

Since the Program was first published, we have been honored to train and work with hundreds of teachers across the nation. We have seen the Program being implemented in multiple classrooms in both urban and rural school districts and have been humbled to hear stories of success from parents, teachers, paras, and administrators. The response has been far beyond what we could have ever imagined.

Over time, we have not only revamped existing content areas, but we are continually adding new material and functionality to the Program in an effort to both keep up with the times and meet the needs of as many special educators and students as possible. 

Keeping Relevant

We believe the true measure of the success of an assessment and curriculum is the effect it has on the teachers and students who use it. We are eager to hear feedback and suggestions related to the Program as a whole. We ask all customers to share their experiences—challenges as well as successes. Every enhancement to the Program is a direct reflection of the feedback we receive from those who use it. 

Our dream continues to be to reach students and help educators like you provide the best possible education for each child that enters your program. What started as a tool in our classrooms is now in its 3rd print edition, offered online in the cloud, and has inspired many supplemental programs as a way to stay current and remain the most comprehensive and user-friendly program on the market. 

Our Promise to You

Being special educators ourselves, we appreciate the many wonderful and demanding aspects of this job. When you implement the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics with a dash of your own personal style, your classroom will feel more manageable and your students will experience greater independence and self-efficacy.

We are here to support you every step along the way! Thank you for your commitment to educating and enhancing the lives of students with disabilities.

Specially Designed Education Services is a 100% Certified Women Owned Enterprise.

Our Team

Suz bw

Suzanne Fitzgerald

Founder Author

Brent Fitzgerald

Vice President
Managing Director

Debbie Austin

Senior Editor
Vice President of Operations
Dr. Cambria Hurlimann

Dr. Cambria Hurlimann

Vice President
of Customer Success

John Standal

Vice President
of District Partnerships
Nick #2

Nicholas Moran

of District Partnerships
SDES Team Template-2

Celeste Marion

Project Partner

Tucker Mueck

Business Development

Dr. Candice Styer

Emma bw

Emma Packard


Dee Anne Hill

Michela #2

Michela Laverty

Teacher Consultant


SDES has teamed up with Mundo Pato, Inc., our cloud publishing partner, to create a simple and affordable solution for special educators to use during this critical time.

The Virtual Teaching Materials are a separate supplemental purchase that will greatly enhance the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics ​or can be used on its own.

Virtual Teaching Materials Pricing 1st year: $1000 non-recurring configuration fee plus 12 x monthly charge.

Monthly subscription charge is based on a minimum of 100 students ​and increases by $125 per group of 25 additional students.

Scheduling Tip

Find a student in your classroom who can read and understand your master schedule. Assign them a job in the morning to help set up individual student schedules. See the video of Megan setting up the schedule.
Play Video
Suzanne’s student Megan was her Teacher’s Assistant first period during her junior and senior year. One of her jobs, among other clerical tasks, was to set up individual student schedules. It saved Suzanne prep time in the morning and was a great vocational experience for Megan.

SDES has teamed up with Mundo Pato, Inc., our cloud publishing partner, to create the full Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics in the cloud. *The Styer-Fitzgerald Program in the Cloud Start-Up Fee: a $6000 non-recurring start-up fee will be added to the first year subscription only.

Cloud Pricing

Monthly subscription charge is based on a minimum of 100 students ​and increases by $125 per group of 25 additional students.