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A Letter to the Governor Trying to Cut Early Intervention Funds

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Governor Rauner,

You don’t know me. Our paths have never crossed — until recently — when I read about your proposed budget cuts to Early Intervention. My heart sunk. I couldn’t catch my breath. Tears streamed down my face.

Since we’ve never met, you can’t possibly be aware that I’m the mother of an amazing 2-year-old, Ceci. You don’t know that she has a smile that can light up the room. And an unbelievably contagious belly laugh. You don’t know that she loves puppies and ice cream and dance parties. That she gives the best and the biggest hugs. Or that she is the strongest and most determined person I’ve ever met.

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You also don’t know that she has hypotonia and a gross motor delay. That she receives physical therapy services through Early Intervention. That without these services, without our amazing physical therapist, we would be lost. She would be lost. And that fact terrifies me.

Early Intervention gives our family hope, support and guidance. Early Intervention gives my daughter a chance.

A chance to walk and explore the world around her.

A chance to be included — to run with her friends on the playground as their laughter dances around them.

A chance to do silly dances with her older sister and giggle until happy tears run down both of their faces.

A chance to reach her potential and, in doing so, experience all the beauty life has to offer.

And although we don’t know each other, I do know some things:

I know if you make cuts to this program, my daughter will no longer receive the services that have been so instrumental in helping her learn to crawl, walk, run and jump.

I know without these valuable services, my daughter will slowly and surely fall further behind her peers.  And she has worked so hard to get where she is — harder than you could ever begin to imagine. How dare you threaten to take that away?

I know my daughter will not be the only child affected — hurt — by these cuts. There are many other Cecis out there — children who need Early Intervention services and who deserve a chance.

I also know there are other moms like me out there — moms who love their children with every fiber of their being and want the best for them.

And let me tell you a funny thing about moms:  when you make one of us mad, you’ve ignited the fury of the masses. And nothing is scarier than a bunch of angry moms.

Governor Rauner, in closing, I realize I may have misspoke earlier. Ceci may be determined, but am the most determined person I know.

If you make these proposed budget cuts to Early Intervention, I can guarantee that you will be hearing a lot more from “yours truly.”

Ali Cummins

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Originally published: March 4, 2015
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