Saturday, March 15, 2008

Missouri: No more lost potential

Alexa Cahalan did not fit in to any of the schools publicly available to her. This video illustrates why Bryce’s Law and SB 993 are so needed in Missouri. To require families with special needs children to move in order to get the right environment they need to succeed is absurd and antiquated. Then, consider situations like Alexa’s where moving actually hurts their condition (this is especially true with Autism Spectrum Disorder)—what could be simpler than allowing them to go to the best school, regardless of where they live? What could be simpler than offering a scholarship to a family who has the added responsibility of achieving an appropriate education for their child?

For all of the detractors out there that say offering a tax credit for this public good will cost too much or isn’t worth it, consider that there are 130,000 other IEP students in Missouri just like Alexa who can thrive if they are matched with the right school. Senator Crowell is right about the potential that in so many cases gets locked away during critical years of development—we need that. We can talk about the potential burden (other states have actually saved money through scholarship programs like this) or we can talk about the potential good. I think when talking about a child’s future, all other concerns need to fall by the wayside: I’m sure that’s how Missouri’s parents of special needs children feel.

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