“. . . weeping may endure for a night, but
joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30: 5).
Dealing with special needs is a family journey, not limited to the child with the diagno- sis. My son has unique abilities and learns differently. He happens to
For years prior to the diagnosis, we
were perplexed by John’s speech patterns, motor skills, inflexibility with daily life, and adverse reactions to bright
lights, loud noises, and large crowds.
During those years, John had testing
and therapies, but those were done on a
careful schedule and budget. Often late
at night, after our children were asleep,
my husband and I shed tears over how
we would manage to meet John’s short-and long-term needs as prescribed by
The special needs journey is like a
maze with hovering fog most days, especially in the beginning. I knew the therapies John’s doctors suggested would be
costly and time consuming. My thoughts
were jumbled as I wondered, “How will
God provide?” We are not alone, and I
know thousands of parents of children
with special needs live with these challenges every day.
For them, I’d like to offer a ray of hope.
One afternoon in July 2014, I received
an email from Florida Parent Educator
Association (FPEA) about a new special needs scholarship available for private school students and homeschoolers!
The instant joy I felt from that email was
overwhelming. We applied that day. A
few weeks later, we were awarded.
The Personal Learning Scholarship Ac-
count, as it is called, provides state funds
that can be used for a wide range of
education-related services. It can be used
for curricula, instructional materials, tech-
nological devices, and specialized therapies
from approved providers. It can be used for
tuition or fees at eligible private schools and
post-secondary educational institutions. It
can even be used for contributions to an
approved prepaid college program. Funds
that aren’t used are rolled over the next
year, and they can continue to be used until
the student graduates from a post-second-
ary educational institution or has gone four
consecutive years after high school with no
further education. The amount depends
on the student’s disability and the county
he or she lives in, but the average amount
per student right now is about $10,000 per
year. This is money we could never dream
would be available to help John.
Even better, the PLSA comes with two
by Mary Kurnik
things not usually associated with a gov-
ernment education program: flexibility
How Florida’s New Educational Choice
Program Helps Homeschoolers with
The PLSA comes with two things not usually
associated with a government education
program: flexibility and freedom.