Access to Early Education

In a recent Sunday paper from the Tampa Bay Times, I came across an article titled “By age 3, rich kids attend school; poor kids stay with grandparent”.  I only saw the article because I was looking at the picture of the dinosaur bones on that page because my daughter was so excited about Dinosaur World for her birthday.  Anyway, back to the article….

The original article from Washington Post written by Christopher Ingraham.  The article reference a new book, Cradle to Kindergarten; which I will be checking out.  The key emphasis is on economics/wealth.  Parents who cannot afford preschool, will leave their children with family or grandparents.  On the other side, the wealthy parents will afford the best preschool for their child to begin early education.  This starts a cycle of inequality with reading and math skills that only widens when students enter kindergarten with their more wealthy classmates.  (disclaimer: this is how the article reflected on grandparents leaving kids in front of the television.  In my family, we proudly used grandma to care for our babies.)

It got me thinking about wealth and autism.  When it comes to early intervention, poor people…like myself… cannot afford therapy without proper health insurance and medical diagnosis.  However, those that are wealthy have the ability to try various schools, tutors, and therapies without worry of insurance or diagnosis because the have the financial means to fund it.

I remember thinking about Trump’s son with autism and thinking…wow, maybe the laws will change in my son’s favor…

then the let down…

I assume, Trump has no idea about autism and no idea what myself or other people like me have have had to go through to try to get help, intervention, services and therapy for their child.  He lives in a different world where because of his money,  his son has or will have access any therapy or resource that he needs or wants.

The rest of us are just trying to get into early steps or FDLRS so that we can start to get our child help from the government.  In order to go private, I would have to spend thousands of dollars just for the diagnosis.   Then, dealing with the insurance company with hours and hours just to get appointments covered or approved.  Insurance companies with take your patience and hours of your life for a three minute solution but you have no choice but to wait because it’s the only way you can afford to pay.

It was three years ago this week that my son was approved for the FDLRS program and started in a blended preschool class.  His first day was 11/04/14.  If not for this starting point, I don’t know how I would have learned and grown in order to continue to find my son more help and access to therapies.

Tips on how I worked to afford more therapy

  • Used an Flexible Spending Account at work for pre-tax savings and an annual  lump sum

  • Applied for many medical grants

  • Stopped buying new clothes and shoes for myself and as much as possible for the kids

  • Sold at a consignment shop anything we weren’t using for money

  • No eating out, meals at home always

  • Asked friends and family for help

  • Kept applying for medically needy healthcare

  • Researched and applied for scholarships: McKay and Gardiner


Keep fighting.  Together we have a voice for our children!

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