Dear Betsy DeVos, What About My Son With Disabilities?


Dear Betsy DeVos,

I am aware there is basically no chance you will read this letter. However, as a mom of a child with disabilities, I feel this needs to be said. Considering you not only have no educational background, but no children in the public school system… I feel you couldn’t imagine or be aware of some of the mountains we as parents have to climb. That being said, since you are set to be the new Secretary of Education, you should be well-educated in just the tip of the iceberg of what we have seen.

My son was born full-term and perfectly healthy. At 20 months old, he was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and apraxia. We started therapy right away with home care. At 2 and a half, we started meeting with FDLRS (they help transition children with disabilities from early intervention to the school system). We had evaluations and meetings up until two weeks before he turned 3 — all just to make sure his therapies were in place and the therapists understood the extent of my son’s sensory, language, and feeding challenges.

At 3 years old, he was placed in an amazing pre-K VE (varying exceptionalities) program through the public school in our zone. He received necessary services both in and out of school three times a week. The only reason he was able to attend this specialized program is because of government funding. We had an IEP meeting two to three times a school year to ensure my son was getting the most out of the VE program.

This is funding you feel is put to better use going to private schools and charter schools, as opposed to public schools that make sure children like my son receive the services they need and an IEP. These are private schools and charter schools that make their own rules — schools that can flat-out refuse to accept our children because they are “too much work.”

My son is now 9 years old. This is his first full school year without an IEP. He was finally considered “at age level” for his expressive language skills just before his 6th birthday (despite being at or above age level for his receptive language skills constantly). These are the kids you are taking from if you take money out of public schools.

Sincerely,

A concerned mama

Editor’s note: This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Disability

Man in a wheelchair holding groceries.

The Word That's Losing Its Meaning in My Life With a Disability

Inspiration. What does this word mean? It’s one of the highest compliments you can receive as a person — unless it’s overused or used for the wrong reasons. To say you are inspiration to a person is to let them know you have touched their life in one way or another, and that is something [...]

DreamStreet Theatre Company Puts On Incredible, Inclusive Productions

DreamStreet Theatre Company is a professional theater company that gives young adults with disabilities the opportunity to explore and perform the creative arts. Read the full transcript: This theater company puts on incredible, inclusive productions. DreamStreet Theatre company is a nonprofit professional theatre company in Brooklyn, New York. Since 1998, DreamStreet has helped people with [...]
Sarah Kim, a young woman with cerebral palsy, holds up a sign saying 'I beat bullying by standing against the R-word!'

The Pledge We Can Take to Help Beat Bullying of People With Disabilities

by Sarah Kim “Look, she’s retarded!” Those were the words that welcomed me on my first day of second grade. Second grade was the first time I noticed I was so different from my peers. For the previous year, due to my cerebral palsy, the school administrators placed me in special education, where most of [...]
Red carpet for Academy Awards.

Zero Nominees for Academy Awards Have a Known Disability

As Hollywood celebrates Oscars weekend, a glaring omission of nominees is evident. No known actor or other individual with a disability was nominated for an Academy Award. By not including authentic disability in the diversity conversation, Hollywood leaves out the largest minority in the United States. Hollywood has to catch up with its audience. Diversity [...]