On this episode, reimaginED Senior Writer Lisa Buie talks with Karen Prewitt, whose son, Caleb, 15, is benefitting from a change in Florida law that is merging the McKay Scholarship program into the state’s Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities.
Born with Down Syndrome, Caleb attends North Florida School of Special Education in Jacksonville, his parents’ school of choice for him since kindergarten. While the McKay Scholarship made it possible for Caleb to have the best possible educational environment, it covered tuition only, leaving the family with out-of-pocket costs for physical, occupational and speech therapies that help children with Down Syndrome learn to be as independent as possible.
The new scholarship program is an education savings account, which allows parents the flexibility to spend their money not only on tuition and fees but also on necessities such as private tutoring, devices and therapies not covered by insurance.
“Once we make the transition to the Family Empowerment Scholarship, we can use it for private speech therapy, or even private tutoring just for homework needs … we’ve had tutors on and off through the years and we’ve always had to pay out of pocket for those, but with FES we can use those funds to help pay for tutors.”
- Circumstances surrounding Caleb’s birth and diagnosis
- How the Prewitts learned about the McKay Scholarship
- Why North Florida School of Special Education is the best fit for Caleb
- Where Caleb found his inspiration for triathlons
- How Caleb’s school is preparing him for life after graduation
- Karen Prewitt’s advice for parents of special needs children