An Arkansas mom’s story about the power of education choice

Compass Academy in Conway, Arkansas, is a private, non-profit school for children with developmental disabilities or those with difficulty adjusting to a public school setting. It provides full-time, year-round education for students age 5 and up and participates in the state’s Succeed Scholarship Program.

Like many parents of a child with special needs, Erica Boucher was frustrated at the lack of educational options available for her son Hayden. Diagnosed with autism, Hayden was labeled a “bad child” by school administrators who concluded that his difficulty in the classroom stemmed from Boucher not disciplining him enough.

The former preschool teacher and mother of five was thrilled to learn that her home state of Arkansas participates in the Succeed Scholarship Program, which opens the door for students with learning disabilities to attend state-approved private schools. Boucher reports that Hayden’s behavior has improved at his new school, Compass Academy, and that he has begun to move forward academically.

Says Boucher:

At Compass, they know how to help students with autism and learning disabilities cope with their conditions. They don’t punish Hayden — they help him. When he has a stimming episode, they know how to help him calm down and then let him return to his desk. They understand when he has a hard day with autism and don’t hold it against him later. Every day is a new day.

Boucher recently told her story to Project Forever Free. You can read it here.

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