Your Story: Ashley Richards
August 7, 2018
“We have faced major challenges ever since my daughter, Riley, was born. She has a very rare genetic disorder—there are only 50 cases like hers in the entire United States. We noticed when she was six months old she couldn’t hold her head up, and that’s when we found out. It took her until two to sit up, to three-and-a-half to eat solid foods, and she walked at four. She’s had two kidney surgeries, an eye surgery, and she’s also epileptic.
“I learned about the Opportunity Scholarship Fund through Special Care, which is now Riley’s school. It’s been a godsend because our income was just over the limit for health care assistance for her, and we can’t afford to send her to a private school on our own. With the scholarship we’ve been able to put her in Special Care’s pre-K program, and the impact on our family is huge.
“The school has been so great. Riley is five, but she’s cognitively at about two and a half. They’ve worked with her on her walking. The doctors can’t tell me if she’ll ever be able to talk, but the school is working with her on that too.
“It is such a relief knowing we’re able to take Riley to a school that knows how to fulfill her every need and teaches her at her level. She absolutely loves it when we hit the parking lot every day; she gets so excited! They all know her, and they all love her.
“We didn’t have to jump through any hoops to get help from the scholarship fund either; it was just a straightforward application, and the people at Special Care worked with us to get it done. Without it we would have had to put her in public school, where they wouldn’t be able to give her the type of specialized attention she needs.”