Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A mother's outrage

I wanted to share with you a letter that I wrote late last night and shared with all of my collegues and school today. Everytime I read it, it makes me so mad that I cry, and then I get mad because I'm crying . . .

Dear Carmichael Family,
I wanted to share with you something that affects me personally and also affects you professionally. Yesterday, my husband and I attended a transition meeting to help my two and a half year old son transition to special education preschool. Some of you may know that he was born with microcephaly, a condition where his head and brain are significantly small and he consequently has motor, speech, and other developmental delays. What you might not know is that he has been receiving early intervention services since he was three months old. At the time that he began this process, the doctors did not know how severe his delays would be, or if he would even be able to be in a regular classroom. It soon was very clear that although his personality was sharp, his motor skills were very delayed. With the help of a physical therapist, he was able to roll over at 11 months old, crawl at 12 months, and walk at 16 months old. We then learned that he also has significant speech delays. At this point, after over two years of visits from Physical, Occupational, and Speech therapists, he is doing much better than we had anticipated, but still has far to come. My husband and I discovered yesterday that because of the severe budget cuts coming from the state, my son will no longer be receiving any of these services after next week. If he is able to successfully transition to Special Education Pre-School, he can once again have all of his services reinstated next school year. To my outrage, not only does this affect my son, but all children who are covered by the Blake Foundation with AZIP who do not have "severe" handicaps. Do I need to stress how important early intervention services are to our children? Max’s neurologist has told us time and time again that the most important years of a child’s brain development are before he even starts school. I am willing to take shots at my own personal career with the already devastating budget "solutions" coming from the state, but I REFUSE to allow my son to suffer because the legislators feel that these essential services can be cut! I am willing to stand and fight these problems until my fingers are sore from typing, or my voice is gone from speaking, alone, if I have to. But I am asking you to support me, and all of the children that need this help more than I can express. Please contact our representatives (again) and fight for what is right for our children.

Thanks for being my shoulder to cry on (and my ear to complain to),
Giuliana Fleming

I have recieved comments, all positive, from my fellow teachers, and I plan on sending this letter to my legeslators. I thought about taking out all of the strong language, but I really think that these decision makers in Arizona need to feel the wrath of a mother, because I'm sure that I'm not the only one who is fuming right now.

Here is the link to the Blake Foundation's webpage:


Amelia said...

Beautifully written, Giuliana. Every bit of "strong language" is warranted.

I miss you.


jenny said...

alex's services were all cut as well at about the same time he transferred to his preschool. are you aware that because of a lawsuit filed in maricopa county, these services all have been temporarily reinstated? call me or e-mail if you have any questions.

Jessica said...

Intervention services do not always end up successful, but they do have a high success rate of at least 85%. As such, each member of the intervention group is provided with drug intervention training to prepare them and make them effective interventionists.