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Dear Betsy DeVos, What About My Son With Disabilities?

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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.


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.

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Originally published: February 28, 2017
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