I have cerebral palsy and autism. When I was 5 years old and ready to go to kindergarten, the public school district did not want my mom to enroll me. They told my mom I shouldn’t be in school and that I needed to be in a “life skills” course. My mom says she knew they were pushing her toward sending me to live my life in an institution.
My mom searched and searched for ways to help me. She found out the state had a new program called the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) and it changed everything for us. I was one of the very first students to use ESAs when it started in 2011 and through the years my mom has been able to help me so much!
“Right now I’m able to see a master’s level tutor four days a week.”
My mom homeschools me so she can constantly watch my progress and assess my needs. Every day I have to work hard to get better at things like reading. Right now I’m able to see a master’s level tutor four days a week. Although I love books, reading remains a struggle. But I’m now at a 5th grade reading level.
I’m really good in History. My mom loves to tell people how I recently had a very long conversation with a museum docent on Roman History. She says that we talked each other’s ears off!
Seven years ago, when we were new to the ESA program, my mom got me into horseback riding therapy to help my balance issues caused by having cerebral palsy. Over the years of therapy, I discovered that I have a special connection with horses. I can ride the horses that no one else in my therapy group can ride. My mom says I have a real gift because the horses, even the ones that get easily spooked, are calm when I’m around them. I want to spend my life working with horses so my goal is to one day own a farm or ranch.