TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Watching videos of Connor Duncan playing with the family dog or walking on a balance beam shows your run-of-the-mill 5-year-old boy.
“He likes to go to the playground, he likes playing on his jungle gym, he enjoys trampoline park,” said Christina Duncan. “Most recently, a scooter that we’ve bought for him.”
But Connor’s parents, Christina and Eric, say he has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and goes to speech therapy, occupational therapy and applied behavior analysis therapy. They said they use a Florida nonprofit called Step Up For Students to help pay for those therapies.
If they didn’t have that funding, “It would be twice as much money that we’re shelling out for all of these expenses,” Christina explained.
The family said Step Up For Students gives them thousands of dollars a year in scholarship money. But as of late, that’s dried up.
“On Sept. 15, I called, and I was told that it would happen by midnight that day,” Eric recalled. “It didn’t happen.”
The two showed 8 On Your Side their account, with $14.72 remaining. That has them reworking their budget.
“We were planning to get speech therapy started up again,” Christina said. “Since we’ve not been receiving our funding from the scholarship, we’ve kind of just put that on pause.”
8 On Your Side reached out to Step Up For Students and explained the Duncan’s problem.
In a statement, the company said they have funded the majority of students that were approved for scholarships. Additionally, Step Up said, “With regard to the Duncan family, their FES-UA student was one of a very small number of students where we encountered an error with the application and it took extra time to resolve. Connor should have funding in his account Friday. Step Up sincerely apologizes for the delay and any difficulties it caused this family.”
Shortly after 8 On Your Side reached out, the company said — and the Duncans confirmed — their account had been fully funded. They said they plan on enrolling Connor in private kindergarten next year, and said they need that scholarship money to do so.