Faces of Freedom - Brandon

I first met my children 5 years ago when a social worker brought them to my house at 11 pm on a Monday night. Brandon was 20 months old and his sister Skylah was only 6 months old. Brandon did not speak or have any expression on his face. It was 4 months before a saw the first spark of life behind his eyes. Three years later, the adoption was final. At this point, Brandon had already been diagnosed with Autism. He was making improvements, but he still did not speak (unless he was quoting Mickey Mouse). When it was time to start kindergarten, I went to the public school and talked to them about Brandon. He was going to have to go to a different school than the one we are zoned for, and his special education class would have 14 students in it. My son, who couldn’t communicate or sit still for 3 seconds, would have been lost.

Then I meet with the director of Compass Academy. Brandon was in a class of 5 students. He was able to receive all of his therapies including ABBA at school. His communication skills have exploded. He is starting to write his name and letters. This would not have been possible in a larger classroom at a public school. He is now in 1st grade and continues to thrive thanks to his Succeed Scholarship and Compass Academy. I’m a single parent. I would not have been able to send Brandon to Compass Academy without the scholarship, even though I earn a very good salary a Pediatric nurse practitioner at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

I read the letter written by the education equality organizations, and what they fail to realize is that children need attention and love not just knowledge. This is especially true for children with disabilities and children in foster care. These children are never going to be able to learn if their emotional needs are not met first. This is not going to happen in the large classes in public schools. The “educators” in these organizations and the school boards need to learn that there is more to teaching than just test scores.

I have nothing against public schools. My daughter just started kindergarten at public school, but education is not one size fits all. That does not exist, trust me!

– Sherrie, parent

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