Champlain Valley Educational Services was forced to cut more than 80 positions on top of the nearly 100 that were cut last year as schools pull their special education students back in attempts to save money.
Special education students are costly for taxpayers, partly because the federal government doesn’t keep promises, such as covering more of the costs related to educating such students.
What’s come through loud and clear during all of this is comments by many taxpayers who are fed up with having to cover the costs of educating special education students. They claim it is too costly and requires too many services.
So, typical taxpayers, I’m sorry.
By typical, I mean one who doesn’t fall under the special-education label.
I apologize for my son, Samuel, who was born with 1p36 deletion syndrome, a disorder caused by a genetic deletion. It is characterized by moderate to severe intellectual disability, delayed growth, hypotonia, seizures, limited speech ability, malformations, distinct facial features and hearing and vision impairment .
I don’t know why Sammie was born with this.
I do know he is adorable, and like everyone, he loves and wants to be loved and feel safe and secure.
But Samuel also takes advantage of typical taxpayers who shouldn’t have to shoulder some of the financial burden to help him live to his potential.
Since he was born, Sammie has received speech, physical and occupational therapy, in the home.
He is five and just graduated from his first year of kindergarten at Champlain Valley Educational Services and continues those therapies there. He has a one-on-one aide since he can’t walk, change his clothes or go to the bathroom on his own. He recently started crawling, though it cost taxpayers money since it was partly due to the work of his therapists. Had I known, I would have told them sitting on his butt forever was fine, and less expensive.
I realize I need to be tougher and less caring with Samuel.
So, tough you were born with 1p36 deletion syndrome. I know that in order to learn to walk, talk, feed yourself and function in society you require assistants, aides and therapists, but tough.
Tough, Sammie, because taxpayers don’t care, nor should they.
Take away the assistants, aides and therapists and let children like Samuel sit around and drool and defecate and urinate on themselves from birth to death. Samuel will look and act drastically different at say, 13, without those services, and many disabled individuals will die young, but hey, it’s costly, and typical taxpayers need their money. So, tough Samuel.
I hugged you and said I love you when you said “Dadda,” but a speech therapist helped with that. I know the gait trainer is supposed to help you walk, but I’m gonna have to sell it and reimburse the taxpayers. My heart smiled when I balanced you by your arms and for the first time you put one foot in front of the other as I held you up and you giggled, but that was the result of a physical therapist, so forget about walking, ‘cause that’s expensive.
I can’t afford those services, and it’s not because I don’t work full time, because I do, but they are way out of my price range. I’m already drowning in medical debt because of mine and my family’s medical issues.
Still, I’ve been selfish, and my typical neighbor needs to buy organic this week and gas up the SUV for a weekend in Montreal.
Awwww, Sammie just woke up and is smiling at me from his bed with his big eyes.
There I go again, acting soft when what typical taxpayers need is hard.
Look Sammie-Sam, I know I promised you would walk and talk one day, but, er…tough.
Reach Editor Stephen Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.