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My name is Britney Beumeler. My daughter, Harper, is a student in the Lower 2 class at Access Academy. This is Harper’s second year at Access. She is able to attend this school because of the Succeed Scholarship. Harper is a twin. She and her 6-year-old brother are very different from each other. Since she was born, she has had many issues with developmental delays and sensory issues. Since she was about 6 months old, I have had to aggressively pursue therapies and evaluations to try to get her what she needs. She did not walk until she was 2 years old, and although I knew this was concerning, no one seemed to think this was anything to worry about.

Fast forward to Pre-K3, and Harper is 4. I had concerns about her readiness for Pre-K4. Her teacher suggested having her evaluated by our school district as they would provide services until she went to kindergarten. Although she scored below average and lower on all testing, she did not qualify for any services because “it does not affect her ability to learn.”

In October that year when Harper moved into Pre-K 4, her teacher expressed concerns about her inability to even trace words and shapes, recognize colors, shapes, numbers and letters. She also did not socialize with peers because of her fears that were present because of her gross motor delays. She did not play like the kids her age.

I again met with our school district and was met with low scores that were not bad enough for her to qualify for therapy or assistance. On my own, I reached out to private agencies to get my daughter the help she needed. I had to pay for these out of pocket, because by private insurance does not pay for evaluations without a diagnosis and does not pay for any therapy. I do not know how you are supposed to get a diagnosis without an evaluation. With these evaluations, Harper scored low enough to qualify for TEFRA.

For years, the school district told me there was nothing they could offer my daughter. She was not “behind enough” to get services. She now qualified for TEFRA. This is where ACCESS comes in the picture.

ACCESS was the first place that has been able to provide the resources needed for my daughter to get all THREE of her therapies during school hours. She has built relationships with her therapists.

ACCESS has provided the type of classroom and learning environment that is needed for my daughter who has ADHD and developmental delays. She needs the small classrooms. She needs more one-on-one attention.

When reading the letter to defund the SUCCEED scholarship and citing things like test scores as the only marker for determining if this program is successful is misleading. Most of these kids start out behind. They are a product of the system that has failed to intervene early. So yes, my daughter does not test at her age level, but she has made tremendous advances in her social skills, emotional well being, self confidence, love for school, as well as academic improvements. She can now write her name, count, identify numbers, shapes, and letters. She is beginning to read. She loves school. She is proud of herself.

In a traditional setting, my daughter was not thriving. Imagine hearing your five year old saying things like “I’m not smart enough to do this” or “This is too hard for me.” It is heartbreaking. We do not hear this negative self talk anymore.

My daughter and many others will likely have lifelong consequences if the Succeed Scholarship is defunded. Access and many other schools like it are a lifeline to so many of our children that learn differently from others. Putting these children in a traditional classroom setting without the resources needed to support their social, emotional, and academic needs will create a new problem for our state as these children become adults.

– Britney, parent

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!