Friday, October 24, 2008

Sarah Palin's Speech on Special Needs Policy

No matter who you are going to vote for in November you must admit that times are changing for the special needs community. Awareness and Education are making a difference. I just watched Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, in a news conference saying how children with special needs would get more attention in their administration. She has and will in the future bring to light to the difficulties and triumphs of families who have a child with a disability. She has a child with Down's Syndrome and also a nephew with autism, so she is in the same boat with many of us.

I am so glad that someone is taking notice of how parents of children with a disability are striving to find appropriate care for their child, and mostly they do this all out of pocket because schools don't pay for everything. Jason and I have been fortunate to live in a school district that is very good at trying to fulfill our requests for Zion's education. But what about those parents who live in cities that have inadequate education, no special services, and no-one educated in the profound disabilities of those with autism. It was awesome to hear that with Palin as vice president, education funding would be portable for those who have special needs. Parents would be in charge of their child's education and have the ability to choose the school that is right for their child.

For example, there is a school that specifically treats children with autism in Springfield, that is too expensive for most families. Some profoundly autistic children need to attend this school, but the parents are unable to find funding. Palin says under their administration funding would follow the child to this school even though it is a private school. This is amazing!

Also, in her speech she said that the IDEA would be fully funded under Mccain/Palin. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

With a fully funded IDEA children would be able to receive services earlier, which you all know is paramount for getting the upper hand with autism. Did you know there are studies coming out that can discern in infants some autism characteristics? Early intervention has been a specific key in how well Zion is doing today. Every parent needs to have infants screened and tested and also have those services provided to them, in order to decrease the most severe side effects of the disability.

Whole new goals open up for my son when people in the administration start putting our kids first instead of earmarks and special funding for crazy projects. It might mean the difference of Zion living in assisted care as an adult or Zion realizing his goal by going to college and becoming an astronaut!!!

Zion's quote: “Mama! First brush Zion's teeth, then fly on spaceship!”

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