PROGRAM — Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program

By Ashlee’s Mom, Ginny.

We thought we were done have kids but there was another plan! I was 42 and my husband was 51 and we had been married for 30 years. We were less than a year away form an empty nest.

Ashlee is twelve and was adopted at eight years old, after coming to us through child protective services at six years old. We also had her for her first year of life. Her birth mom is a member of our extended family. We were more concerned with Ashlee’s safety than our future, so we adopted.

Ashlee is very complex. She has ADHD, dyslexia, speech/language delay, global developmental delays, and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). We’ve also had our own health difficulties. I am two years out from having cancer and my husband currently has cancer.

“The fact that there are no restraints on the curriculum means we can move up or down in levels as needed.”

Ashlee was in a private school with a part-time aid. We got the ESA two or three years ago. The private school only went to fifth grade. So I started homeschooling her last year. She is currently doing adjusted second-grade work, though she is entering the 7th grade.

It wasn’t until I started homeschooling Ashlee that I realize how far behind she is. Socializing is very hard for her, so school was nothing but a huge struggle. The private school was very good at teaching life lessons, so she was still gaining in some ways.

Public school here in our area was not an option. They don’t have the support structures she needs given her circumstances. We are working on bonding and lowering learning anxiety at home now.

The money the ESA provides has been immensely helpful. It is covering vision therapy that is most likely not as thorough by schools and her insurance doesn’t cover all of it. We cannot afford everything she needs, even with ESA, nor do we live in an area where services are readily available. But we can do more for her.

I can buy a curriculum that best suits her. I am able to personalize it for her as needed. The fact that there are no restraints on the curriculum means we can move up or down in levels as needed.

Every family, child, and circumstance is different. ESA dollars could greatly benefit all families, not just those that qualify currently. It’s so amazing to be able to receive the funds we need to provide Ashlee with the support she needs. If all families had this option I think more kids could be better educated because their personal needs could be met.

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