October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

October is Learning Disability Awareness Month!

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

October is Learning Disability Awareness Month! So, we are sharing some organizations that provide support services for individuals with learning disabilities. Click the categories below (or the arrows at the end of the row) to see the available resources.

Organization

Organization’s Mission

“Our mission is to provide early intervention to children with special needs so that they may maximize their potential by the time they reach kindergarten. The Allen School will:

  • create and implement an ongoing early intervention plan specifically designed for each child that will ensure appropriate educational placement by the time he or she is kindergarten eligible.
  • empower families with tools to be strong advocates for their child with special needs
  • offer opportunities for interaction with children who have special needs to promote community awareness.”

“The UCP Butterfly Learning Center is committed to providing quality, inclusive preschool services for children of all abilities. Children learn best and become more adept through play-based interaction with children of differing abilities, cultures, and backgrounds.”

“We have a heart for helping children from six weeks to six years with early childhood education as well as serving the adults in our community with disabilities by providing them with continued education, Life skills, & a place with their peers with whom they can socialize.”

“It is our mission to improve the lives of children by providing the highest quality therapeutic, educational, medical and behavioral health services designed to each child’s potential. We believe the participation of family and caregivers in this process is fundamental to empower children to participate in life’s activities. We are committed to the support and growth of our professional team by promoting clinical excellence through continuing education, interdisciplinary teamwork, and community outreach.”

“Developing and enriching the lives of individuals and families through therapy, education and support.”

Organization

Organization’s Mission

“Our mission is to provide early intervention to children with special needs so that they may maximize their potential by the time they reach kindergarten. The Allen School will:

  • create and implement an ongoing early intervention plan specifically designed for each child that will ensure appropriate educational placement by the time he or she is kindergarten eligible.
  • empower families with tools to be strong advocates for their child with special needs
  • offer opportunities for interaction with children who have special needs to promote community awareness.”

“We believe every child has unique God-given gifts that need to be fostered. We further believe that all students are able to learn and thrive in an educational setting. ​It is our desire to accommodate special needs including, but not limited to Autism spectrum disorder, including Asperger’s syndrome; Apraxia of speech; ADD/ADHD; ODD/OCD; Specific learning disabilities; Developmental delays; Emotional and behavioral disorders.”

“To provide exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities or special needs have equal opportunities to live, learn, work, and play in their communities.

At the Academy
All belong
All learn
All lead to succeed.”

“Hannah School is Arkansas’s first and only school devoted solely to teaching children with dyslexia. The Hannah School helps students struggling with dyslexia and related learning differences. We offer educational programs for children with language-based learning disabilities that continuously promote success academically and socially — for a lifetime.

*Arkansas has a K-12 scholarship program that provides funding for students with disabilities to be able to attend provide private schools. Click here for more information on this program – the Succeed Scholarship.

Organization

Organization’s Mission

“Expanding Individual Potential Through Innovative Instruction

“The ultimate goal of Civitan Services is to help our clients maximize their potential for independence, and realize accomplishment, personal dignity and success in their lives. Our entire existence is the result of the belief that every individual, regardless of their disability, has choices, goals and dreams. Civitan Services is empowering these individuals to realize their dreams and achieve what they want most out of life.

“Easterseals Arkansas has been helping individuals with disabilities and special needs, and their families, live better lives for 75 years. From child development centers to physical rehabilitation and job training for people with disabilities, Easterseals offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals.

“The Mission of First Step, Inc. is to promote integration and independence of all people with disabilities.

“Adam’s Clubhouse provides intellectually and physically disabled, school age children a protective, nurturing and caring environment through after school and summer care programs. Our passion is assisting the families by empowering the parents and guardians the opportunity to focus on their continued employment or educational goals, enabling them to be better providers for their families, or simply allowing them a break as a caregiver. Our commitment to these families is as strong as their commitment to their children. Providing a safe daycare option for these special families is as much of a gift to us as it is a gift to these families.”

“The mission of the AAROC is to provide Hope, Direction & Support to families of individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and we fulfill our mission through activities.”

“Arrows Behavior Therapy and Consulting was created to provide applied behavior analysis service to the northeast Arkansas area. We wanted to create a therapy clinic with christian values for both our employees but also our clients and their families.”

“Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.”

“Camp Aldersgate creates life-changing experiences for individuals with special needs, enabling them to expand their worlds and express their unique voices.”

“Friendship Community Care is in the business of uniting communities. We empower people to live with dignity, happiness and pride.”

“It is our mission to improve the lives of children by providing the highest quality therapeutic, educational, medical and behavioral health services designed to each child’s potential. We believe the participation of family and caregivers in this process is fundamental to empower children to participate in life’s activities. We are committed to the support and growth of our professional team by promoting clinical excellence through continuing education, interdisciplinary teamwork, and community outreach.”

“Welcome to the Miracle League …. There is nothing like it! When you step into the ballpark, you know that there is something inclusive for everyone, from the barrier free surface made of recycled tires to, thus creating a unique opportunity to challenge, to understand and to correcting misperceptions about individuals with mental and/or physical disabilities. Quickly learning that our players are not much different than yourself they simply go about it differently.”

“Pediatrics Plus is a specialized pediatric healthcare provider. We utilize a unique and innovative blended service model designed to produce the best outcomes for children. Pediatrics Plus operates with a very progressive mindset.”


Faces of Freedom - Antranelia's

Faces of Freedom - Antranelia's son

Faces of Freedom - Antranelia's

I am writing to express my concern about the funding for the Succeed Scholarship. This scholarship provided financial assistance to my son which allowed him to attend the Access Academy School. He has made so much progress since enrolling in 2019.

I am humbly requesting that funding for this scholarship continue to be provided which allows students at the Access School to receive instruction in a smaller group setting that is more conducive for learning.

– Antranelia, parent

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!


Faces of Freedom - Korey

Faces of Freedom - Korey

Faces of Freedom - Korey

My wife and I found ourselves adopting a special needs child as we are approaching our 60s. By adopting our son, we were able to remove him from an unstable home and keep him out of the foster care system, but the public school system was unable to handle his special needs. He was falling farther behind and growing more frustrating. The Succeed Scholarship has enabled us to not only get Korey the education he needs at Access, but also afford the multiple therapies that he needs to eventually succeed as an individual. The Succeed Scholarship is essential to our ability to raise him well.

– Steve, parent

(This story was also shared in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in more depth. Click here to read the article.)

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!


Faces of Freedom - Owen

Faces of Freedom - Owen

Faces of Freedom - Owen

It is difficult to put into words just how much the Arkansas Succeed Scholarship has meant to our family. We became recipients of it for the first time this year, and it made it possible for our son, Owen, to not only receive a quality education but also get the one-on-one care that he has needed for so long.

Owen suffers from PANS/PANDAS and has since he was about four years old. This immunocompromising disease means he has symptoms that mimic ASD, Bipolar Disorder, DMDD, Oppositional Defiance, ADHD, as well as ticks and various other behavioral issues in response to illness. His body immediately attacks his brain when it encounters any kind of infection resulting in episodes of extreme irritability, mood swings, aggression, inability to focus, and even memory loss.

For years, we have moved from public school to public school only to have him placed in one ALE program after another. We were repeatedly told that this was our only option besides homeschooling (which is unfortunately not an option for us since both myself and my husband work full-time).

We were also told that because he had missed so much academically in ALE, he would need remediation in all subjects even if he could transition to a regular classroom. We knew that Owen was capable of so much more. We also knew that private schools offered smaller class sizes and sincerely felt that this environment would allow Owen the accommodations he required while giving him a solid education.

Wanting to give him his best possible chance, we sold what we could and took out loans from family members in order to place him in a private school in Bryant. The change was immediate. Owen thrived. He obtained All-A honor roll for the whole year and actually made friends for the first time in his life.

The cost of the tuition though had taken a serious toll on our budget and after two years, we were having to consider putting Owen back in public school despite the fact that this had never been a good environment for him. And then we heard about the Succeed Scholarship.

It truly brings tears to my eyes to think of what this scholarship has given to our family. We were at the end of our financial rope with private school tuition, and this scholarship saved us and our son. Because of the scholarship, our son, who had fallen through the cracks of the educational system was listened to and provided for. Because of this scholarship, he has found a safe learning environment that would not otherwise have been an option for him.

I realize that there is so much pressure on legislators and officials to use state funds effectively. I cannot imagine the weight that must carry for all of those serving our state so selflessly. In regards to this scholarship, please know that words cannot describe how grateful our family (and countless others across the state) is and forever will be. Because of this scholarship, our son is no longer forgotten and hopeless. Because of this scholarship, he is succeeding beyond anything we thought imaginable. Because of this scholarship, we have so much hope for his future. I am immensely proud and thankful to be a resident of a state where even those with extreme challenges are not only considered, but truly cared for. Thank you again for providing this incredible opportunity for families all over Arkansas; it has truly made all the difference.

– Lauren, parent

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!


Faces of Freedom - Brady

Faces of Freedom - Brady

We are so thankful that our son, Brady, is a Succeed Scholarship recipient. He is able to attend Compass Academy, where they are better equipped to help each individual child thrive based on how they learn. Brady enjoys going to school, and they are so passionate about helping each kid be successful at their own pace. We are so thankful that the Succeed Scholarship provides him that opportunity!

– Wendy, parent

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!


Faces of Freedom - Isabella

Faces of Freedom - Isabella

I am an educator by trade, so seeing my daughter, Isabella, struggle in school hurt my heart. When she started the third grade, we transferred her from an academically advanced public charter school to my home school, a public elementary school. I was SURE she would receive the help she needed there, because my school was fantastic at remediating and providing interventions.

However, while the assessments and data proved she was struggling … she wasn’t “low enough” for many resources in our public school setting. I was frustrated. I was livid. I was her parent AND a teacher at this fantastic school, but could not get my child the help she needed. I could not even get her tested for dyslexia by the district, even though SO many markers were there. I felt defeated, like we wasted yet another year … and here she was about to go into the fourth grade and still could not read.

Since the public school district denied our request to test Isabella for dyslexia, we hired one of the few certified and approved test examiners we could find locally. This was NOT cheap, and took several days. The findings broke my heart. Not only did Isabella have profound dyslexia, she also had dysgraphia (no wonder she could not tie her shoes and wrote in the center of a line on paper) and dyscalculia.

We had several meetings with the examiner, public school staff, and even her future principal/teacher for 4th grade on what the best accommodations were for her, and set up a Barton tutor (again, out of pocket, because all the school was able to offer at that time was a PE teacher that had only seen a training video. That did not leave me confident enough that my child could get caught up AT ALL—we were wasting time!!

During her 4th grade year, we tried so hard to make the best of what public school had to offer. We tried oral testing, we tried every kind of math fluency game I could find (and I had great resources as a fellow teacher in the district!). But we kept being hit with assessment data that was not improving like it needed to be.

Isabella started to believe she couldn’t do it and that she was stupid. She had one year left before being sent to the public middle school. She could NOT be fed to the wolves reading at a 2nd grade level! She struggled socially, and her behavior at home became more than we could manage. We knew we had to make big changes for her AND for our entire family.

During that time, I had come to hear of a school named ACCESS. Its curriculum was based on the Dubard Association Method, similar to the Barton method she had started in public school, but instead of it being 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes, it was used for many academic areas and for HOURS every day. After meeting with them, touring the school, and letting Isabella shadow for one day, we made the hard decision to pull her from public school and put her in a school that could finally meet her needs.

This decision was VERY taxing on our family of 7. We had to pull Isabella and her older sister out of competitive dance, and cut back in many other areas in order to afford the tuition. Her dad began a second job. We were DETERMINED to do what we needed to make this work for her. However, we did not know how long we would be able to keep that kind of financial strain up, seeing as her older sister was in high school and would be thinking of college soon.

ACCESS was a wonderful fit for Isabella. She qualified for other therapies, which she could not have in a public school setting. She was getting individualized physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. Her grade equivalency went from a beginning 3rd grade reading level to an end of year 4th grade reading level!!! That is almost TWO WHOLE YEARS worth of growth in 12 months!!!!! I literally cried when she brought home her first chapter book. That year at ACCESS was the year she learned to tie her shoe. It was the year she read her first chapter book AND ENJOYED IT. She joined Special Olympics and found her niche in swimming. The child had an incredible backstroke! We were so proud of her progress, and pleased with the institution that was helping make her feel successful! With so much progress, the conversation at home was often “how much longer can we afford to let her stay when she is doing SO well??”

The following year, we heard that ACCESS was beginning an accreditation process and was accepting the Succeed Scholarship. Once I looked into it, I realized it was the money from special services already allotted to my child in that school district — only she was not attending public school. So, it made sense to me that the money should follow her to a school that fit her needs, when public school could not. This was a complete Godsend to us!!! It did not cover tuition completely, but it paid a large portion of it. This meant that Isabella could stay at ACCESS and continue to thrive!

Isabella is beginning her 5th year at ACCESS. She has been able to test out of therapy, and in her 9th grade year, is starting to do 6th/7th grade math. She is reading and writing at levels we were not sure we would ever see out of her if she had stayed in public school. Isabella’s self esteem is high. She is happy. SHE HAS FRIENDS!!! She is learning how do things that most teenagers are doing (like studying the driver’s manual for her permit). We fully expect her to be able to get her GED and go onto a technical school in a few years. None of this would be possible without ACCESS. And without the Succeed Scholarship, Isabella would be without ACCESS.

– Amy, parent

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!


Faces of Freedom - Tracy's

Faces of Freedom - Tracy's daughter

Faces of Freedom - Tracy's

My daughter was able to receive the Succeed Scholarship for the first time this fall. The scholarship has made it financially possible to attend a school that meets her needs. The change in school has made a huge difference in her desire to attend school and has reduced her stress greatly.

She deserves the same opportunity to learn as anyone else. She has untapped potential that now has a chance to be found through her new school. Losing this scholarship and forcing her to go back to public school would be to her detriment. The public school does not meet her needs and does not give her the same opportunity to learn. The Succeed Scholarship is vital to her future and her ability to succeed.

– Tracy, parent

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!


Faces of Freedom - Sydney

Faces of Freedom - Sydney

I wanted to reach out and let anyone and everyone how much my family appreciates the Succeed Scholarship. First, let me express that I am a public school employee and a big supporter of our Arkansas public schools. My mother, aunt and mother-in-law are all retired teachers, and I have been employed in the education system for 15 years now as a Speech-Language Pathologist.

My daughter Sydney attended public school from kindergarten until fifth grade, where she benefited from both 504 and IDEA services. However, as her diagnosis of non-verbal learning disability continued to complicate her education, our family reached the decision that our school district could not accommodate her learning needs for her to succeed to her fullest potential.

With lots of prayer and research, we placed her at Access Academy, where she has benefited from specialized instruction, smaller classroom size, open arms for children with disabilities, a peer group and friends. Most importantly, in two school years at Access she has mastered three grade levels of reading and two grade levels of math, bringing her much closer to her age appropriate level. Please take my daughter’s story into account before there are any decisions made about changing funding the Succeed Scholarship.

Professionally, I support The Reform Alliance and the Succeed Scholarship; however, there could be a need to review the eligibility criteria for the scholarship. A student who has a speech-language impairment should be adequately serviced from their local public school, and currently students with that eligibility category qualifies for the Succeed Scholarship. As in the case with my daughter, there was truly a discrepancy between what services and individualized education she could benefit from by moving to a private school.

Thank you sincerely for your time, attention and support of our Arkansas students with disabilities. They are valuable and deserve only the best educations they can receive.

– Lauren, parent

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!


Faces of Freedom - Piper

Faces of Freedom - Piper and Kasey

Faces of Freedom - Piper

My family benefits tremendously from the Succeed Scholarship. My 12-year-old daughter, Piper, is able to attend Hannah School this year because of the scholarship. We adopted Piper when she was 5 years old out of foster care. We knew Piper had an ADHD diagnosis when we adopted her. She is definitely a bright and enthusiastic child.

Piper loved school! We actually had her in a small private parochial school near our house, but by the time Piper made it to fifth grade it became more apparent that she was falling behind her peers. A friend of mine suggested we have Piper tested for dyslexia. We did it and not only was Piper dyslexic, she had a “double deficit” where her speech plays into it. It was a very expensive test, and it was a relief to have an answer to Piper’s trouble with school work. It was also a sad time, because I couldn’t believe we had let so many years go by without knowing she was dyslexic and NEEDED HELP.

We tried hiring a tutor twice a week for almost two years. It just isn’t/wasn’t enough. Piper needs intense intervention DAILY. She needs teachers who understand dyslexia and how to teach a child who struggles with it. We moved Piper to Hannah School this year with hopes she will be able to catch up to her peers and be able to transition in a few years to a more traditional high school. Without the Succeed Scholarship, this would not be possible. We are a middle class family, but we have three children. Piper is not our only child with special education needs.

We adopted Kasey (our middle child) two years after Piper’s adoption was final. Kasey was 6 years old when she came to us. Her foster family described her as “eccentric.” One year after living with Kasey, it became apparent that Kasey was not a normal 7 year old. We knew she had a traumatic background, but not much else is known about where Kasey came from. We decided to have Kasey psychologically tested.

When Kasey’s tests came back, I sat with the therapist and bawled. My daughter had a list of disabilities that I had never heard of: Sensory Processing Disorder, Borderline Intellectual Functioning, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Attention Deficit. What were we to do? Would Kasey ever grow to be an independent adult?

We were told there were two choices for Kasey’s education. She could stay in the small parochial school we had put her in, and they would make accommodations for our child to the best of their ability or we could put her in public schools where she would be in with the general population but be pulled out for special ed classes.

Kasey does not deal well with change, and in her short life she has had to deal with so much change and turmoil. We decided to keep her where we had her. Last year Kasey struggled terribly. Her teacher was fantastic, but Kasey knew she wasn’t able to do the same things her peers were doing academically. She began to have daily migraines and vomiting. My little girl who loved school didn’t want to go anymore. Once Covid-19 hit and we had to home school, we knew we had to find another way for Kasey.

Another friend told me to check into Access Academy. Wow! What a perfect fit for Kasey! She was accepted, and — with the Succeed Scholarship — we were able to budget for Kasey to attend. She is thriving there! She has only been there for a month now, but my Kasey loves school again. She talks with love about her teachers and can’t wait to go. I feel hope that she has found a place to help her move from a child and on into adulthood! We need this scholarship! It has helped not only our family, but so many other families like ours.

– Lezlie, parent

Click here to learn more about the Succeed Scholarship!