Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What About Children With Special Needs?

This is the text of a letter recently sent by Wake parent Linda Hayduk to the Wake County Board of Education, County Commissioners, and members of the NC General Assembly.

"The decision to force students onto a year-round schedule has raised a lot of concern. Many parents feel it will be detrimental to their children and their families. I count myself in that group.

"What about children with special needs, specifically, autism? Surely, if this plan is to be implemented in less than one year, you must have considered these kids. As a parent of an eight year old child with autism, I want you to know how serious this issue is. Transition is one of the main areas of difficulties for people with autism. This is documented fact, not just one parent's opinion. Teachers, staff and parents meet annually to make transition plans for our kids. Experts, including Dr. Sally Flagler, of the WCPSS Autism Department, advised against putting our child with autism in a year-round schedule because of the added transitions of tracking in and out, to different class room settings.

"Of course no child lives in a vacuum. Along with a child with autism, our family includes two typical children, one in middle school and one preschooler. We look forward to hearing the details of your plans to make this situation work for all of us, and provide the education all Wake County students deserve." -Linda Hayduk

If you are a parent in a comparable situation, I encourage you to write to the county and state leaders, and to the editor of the N&O. Links to help do that are on the right side of this page.

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