PROGRAM — Education Savings Account

My son was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism when he was a kindergartner. He was in a CD Self-contained class (Communication Disorder) until he was mainstreamed in third grade. We had our challenges through the years but the public school did the best they could to meet his needs.

Then he started middle school and puberty hit. My son experienced the raging hormones that come with all middle school students. However, students like my son are affected differently. He had even more challenges with social interactions which are typical for students with autism. His needs were changing. Unfortunately, public school was not a good fit for him anymore.

He started refusing to go to school. High school was especially stressful for him as the school campus and classes were much bigger and many had many more students. This was very overwhelming for him. We as parents did not know what to do. We couldn’t afford private school. Three of our children are still school age. We knew that something had to change in order for him to prosper.

I had made a call to Gateway Academy to see what the school was all about. We toured the school and our son loved it! So did we. The only problem was that there was no way with our income that our son would be able to attend. There was no way to afford the tuition.

That is where ESA stepped in and provided our son with a scholarship. We filled out the forms and got all the needed paperwork so our son could attend Gateway Academy. Our son could not have attended Gateway without the scholarship that ESA provided. We did not think that there was any way that our son could attend a High Functioning School with our income. We are so very grateful for the Empowerment Scholarship Account, for all their help, and for funding for students like our son. Thank you so much, ESA! We are eternally grateful!

Gateway Academy is a wonderful school and our son is so happy there! We are so thankful there are schools out there for students like our son so they can grow to be successful adults. He is finally in a place where he can be as independent as he can possibly be. We are also thankful for scholarships like ESA that allows us as parents to give our kids every opportunity to open up to them to succeed. We are so very excited to see all the amazing things that our son will accomplish by having the opportunity to attend this very special school!

All families that want to choose a school that is best suited for their child’s needs should be able to have these schools available to them. Every child deserves the best education for their needs in order to have a successful and independent life.

Many see those with Autism and other disorders as a lost cause, but that’s just ignorant and untrue. These kids are so bright and they can learn. They may learn differently but that is a beautiful gift! These kids are so smart and have beautiful souls. They are amazing and they have just as much potential as any other child!

Sadly, a lot of these kids fall through the cracks in public schools. Two of my kids are in public school and one has already graduated. But just because public schools worked for them does not mean it is a good fit for all kids. Kids that have different needs should be able to attend a school where they can learn to the best of their ability.

Thankfully there are schools that are out there for kids like mine. However, not all parents can afford the tuition of these special schools. All parents should be able to provide the right educational fit for their children despite their financial situation. Organizations like ESA are helping to achieve that. We are very thankful for that!


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