Variety SchoolWe were accepted into The Variety School of Hawaii this past week. Needless to say, it’s been quite a summer. From getting her diagnosis, to applying to The Assets School and then getting referred to The Variety School, it’s been a whirlwind. And here I thought I’d get to relax while she went to camp!

School starts for us next week & as much as I thought she’d fight us on it, because, lets face it, what kid doesn’t love getting to sleep in, she’s really looking forward to it. She’s counting down the days, looking longingly at her pile of supplies on the table that used to be our homeschool table, and talking about what she might do at her new school.

While we’re very excited that she’s going to be in a great place where she’ll fit like a hand in a glove, we’re more than a little concerned about the financial aspect of the whole endeavor. For a child like Aidan on the ASD, tuition is $28,500/year. We were able to get grant-in-aid funds to bring it down to $19,150/year. We’ve enrolled in Tricare-ECHO like good little lemmings. The school is great. They provide individualized instruction, speech therapy, occupational therapy, adapted PE, remediation where needed, enrichment where needed. Really it’s everything she needs. But, because they don’t provide ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy, & therefore aren’t considered “approved ECHO providers”, ECHO won’t pay one thin dime. Of course.

Excuse me ECHO, I don’t want her behavior modified nor do I want her “cured”. I happen to like her just the way she is. She is incredibly gifted and if this school can remediate her working memory and her processing speed (& maybe as an added bonus, develop a few social skills) her IQ will be off the charts and she can talk to people about what she knows without scaring them off.

So the $64,000 question is this, to whom do I appeal this arbitrary decision? Surely I don’t take the word of a call center functionary? I know there have been instances of ECHO paying for special needs schools. I need to know who to talk to, how to get a hold of them & just how high this Warrior Mama needs to climb to fight. Because believe me, if there’s money out there that can be used to pay for her education, I’ll fight tooth & nail to get to it. Not just to save our family a few measly ducats but damnit because we’ve sacrificed for it and they owe it to us. She wasn’t even 2 when her Daddy went to Iraq, just a baby. He got home in time for her 3rd birthday. Tell me she doesn’t deserve a good education from her Uncle Sam.