The Arc Caddo-Bossier was founded in 1954 by parents who wanted more for their children with disabilities. At the time, these children had no access to public education, but their families knew that with the right tools they, too, could learn, grow, and develop life skills. Therefore, the program now known as Goldman School and Child Development Center was born. Today The Arc Caddo-Bossier offers an array of services for adults and children with disabilities, including equine-assisted services, inclusive childcare and early education, community living, and workforce development. The Arc Caddo-Bossier has been "building unlimited opportunities for people with disabilities" for nearly 70 years. In all we do, we strive to help those we serve achieve their least restrictive environment and live as independently as possible.
Catie Plaxco, parent of a student at The Arc Caddo-Bossier's Goldman School and Child Development Center, calls the program, and our organization as a whole, a “hidden gem” in our community. Catie and her husband, Chris, love to share about what The Arc Caddo-Bossier has done, and continues to do, for their son, Max. Here is their story:
Max Plaxco was born with congenital CMV (cytomegalovirus). Due to brain damage caused by the virus, Max now has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and cognitive delays. In October 2020, after not being able to go into their son’s classroom due to COVID, Catie and Chris found themselves in a scary place. They discovered that the daycare Max was attending had been leaving him buckled in an adaptive feeding chair for hours at a time, claiming they didn’t know what to else to do. Catie, having been on the waiting list since she was pregnant with Max, and even before she knew he’d have disabilities, called The Arc Caddo-Bossier’s Goldman School for help. She was elated to hear that they had an opening for Max.
According to his parents, Max has “thrived” since he began attending Goldman School at age 2. The inclusive classroom model has allowed him and his typically developing peers to learn from each other. Not to mention, those peers don’t treat him any differently because of his disabilities. To them, “he’s just Max!” The following story, as told by Catie, is a perfect example:
“We were at the pool and a little girl from Max’s class was there for a birthday party. When it was time for cake and ice cream she wanted to stay and play with Max, not go with the rest of the kids to open presents and cut the cake – that right there is what inclusion is all about!”
Max also benefits from therapeutic horseback riding at The Arc Caddo-Bossier’s GREAT Program. He loves all the staff and the horses and, because they offer inclusive camps for children, Max was able to attend and ride with his typically developing brother, Knox, last summer.
Stories like that of The Plaxco Family are the reason we do what we do at The Arc Caddo-Bossier.