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From the Texas Speaker of the House

Submitted by:  Speaker Joe Straus

House District 121

“I appreciate the opportunity at this busy time to reflect on
the inspiration that families across the state provide as they help their children with disabilities learn, develop, and grow. This nightlight serves as a reminder of these strong, dedicated, and loving Texas families.”


Anonymous said...

Speaker Straus:

The funny thing about kids with disabilities is that most grow up to be adults with disabilities. This is why disability rights advocates support programs and services that cover the needs of people with disabilities of all ages. This session you will have to prioritize what you spend scarce dollars on. We hope you will INVEST IN COMMUNITY.

For an Institution and Barrier Free Texas,

Bob Kafka
ADAPT of Texas
1640A East 2nd St
Austin, Texas 78702

Anonymous said...

Speaker Straus,
Thank you for your comment; all Texas children, of all abilities, should have the opportunity to learn, develop and grow ... and become part of our communities, helping us to develop into a better society.

Sundaresan said...

I appreciate the Speaker's comments. As a parent of an Autistic adult I would like him to think about the help we receive from the various providers of the HCS programs. At a time like this I hope the Speaker will help ensure their budgets are not eroded. The Rainy Days fund is for times like this and must be tapped to help in the financial crisis that we now face. The mentally handicapped cannot be asked to share the burden. Many parents like me are already doing our best by caring for difficult children instead of sending them to the Institutional care that would cost the State a lot of money. Cutting funding for the HCS Programs and to the providers is a receipe for more people going to institutions and getting a lesser care for much more funding. I hope this arithmatic is understood by our legislators and if the Speaker would take the prestige of his position to impress on his colleagues to minimum maintain the funding for the HCS programs (I assure that we need more funding to improve quality of service and there is no good program for Autistic adults especially in Houston). Thanks for his kind words and we now await action from the legislature.

Anonymous said...

As a parent of a young adult with significant disabilities, I am still amazed at the decision of our lawmakers in deciding to cut funding to programs that already require parents to wait well over ten years to obtain services because of the overwhelming need elicited by families across the state of Texas. I have struggled to find service providers, and to make ends meet. I am a parent who works three different part time jobs in order to keep my family going and to be able to provide care for my son. I am active in driving him to therapy each week, turning down full time employment in order to utilize those few providers in my area who offer the therapeutic services he needs. Receiving services from CLASS or HCS does not mean that you are given an easier life, or that you are no longer a participant in your child's care. It provides the much needed help and relief that goes with caring for a child with disabilities, it helps to keep our kids healthy, and interacting with the community in which they live.
Reducing spending in these areas will in effect roll back the progress this state has made to the time when institutions were functioning again. But we all know that these institutions will not be opened to meet the need, and our family members who need services with be forgotten, and considered nonessential because their worth cannot be measured according the almighty dollar that is being spent on them currently.
The other consideration that I would hope that everyone would make is the quality of life that can be given to our kids. We know that many of them once graduation or aging out of school services occurs, they will be launching back into the home after experiencing a school career for over 18 to 22 years. It resembles having a place employment for over 20 years and one day being told you are all done. There is nothing for this population to look forward to. A life of social interaction during school is taken away and then if they are fortunate enough to receive services from HCS or the CLASS program their interaction with others is based solely on individuals who are paid to be involved with them on a daily basis.
We as parent's of children with significant disabilities are asking that our child's worth and contribution to society be thought more of the in dollars and cents, but in the promise of a life that involves opportunities and experiences. Everyone will be affect by a disability at some point in their life, the decision made in regards to funding services to people with significant handicaps will be the foundation to how people with differences are considered in the future.
Keep our funding and help us give our children a life that is respectful and dignified.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent of a special needs child. We have utilized and relied on many of the service that are to be cut. I tried working full time to support my family, but it was nearly impossible to do that. This was due to all the constant surgeries, doctor's appointments, home therapy, etc. for my special needs child. I cannot stress enough how vital programs like DARS, Medicaid, and special education is to my family as well as countless other families and individuals throughout Texas. Please, I urge all legislatures to reconsider the major financial cuts to these programs. Please, somehow, keep these programs available to the people that need them. No parent is prepared for raising a child with special needs. It's a growing process and programs like DARS, Medicaid are crucial to families succeed. So tomorrow, on April 1st, 2011, please vote for no cuts to these very important programs.