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Monday, January 31, 2011

Action: Visiting with children with disabilities and their families at "Down By The Border" in Brownsville

Submitted by: Representative Ryan Guillen

House District 31

"Perske Pencil Portraits 1971-1990"

“I am truly inspired by the strength and courage of children with disabilities and their families. A while back, I had the pleasure of dropping by Down By The Border in Brownsville, an association that helps children with disabilities in South Texas. It was rewarding to visit with the children and to spend quality time with them. As a public servant, I have fought tirelessly to enhance the lives of children as well as adults with disabilities in our state and will continue to do so.”


Anonymous said...

The majority of children with disabilities are just pure love. But sometimes the only love they get back is from organizations like this. These children need our help and support .Thank God for Down By The Border. Her's hoping they are here for a long time to come.maluctio

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Guillen for taking the time out of your busy schedule to spend some time with some of our children here in the Valley. You most probably left with an overwhelming feeling of love, something we don't usually experience in our day to day lives. Those of us who are parents of children with disabilities are blessed to have this feelings often. Please remember that feeling when it comes time to decide what budget cuts you will vote for.
Isela Wilson

Anonymous said...

My name is Amy Connor and I live in Austin with my husband and our daughter.

Our Daughter Elana is 31 years old and has multiple disabilities. She has seizures, coordination problems, communication issues, and behavior issues. She cannot be left alone ever. At the same time she has exhibited art in numerous places including City Hall. She has written and performed in a play with VSA here in Austin. She contributes every day to people she meets with her big heart to welcome them regardless of how they perceive her.

She is on the waiting list for HCS and/or CLASS services and will probably remain waiting for about ten years. I work full time for the State of Texas and my husband is a teacher at several institutions such as Austin Museum of Art and the Austin School of Film. Because we both work we pay people out of a small trust for Elana to be with her and join with her in activities in the community for over forty hours a week. It adds up to a lot of money.

As long as we have lived in Austin, outside of Public Education, Elana has received no services from the state. Everything Elana does has come out of her small trust. Without funds or services from the state Elana would be without help to be in the community. The state cost for services at the state school or state hospital is about one hundred forty thousand dollars a year. The state cost to help her live in the community is about one third of that.

I have heard that people are being asked “what funds should we use to pay for services “ because we have a budget shortfall in the state. To us it doesn't completely make sense to have 13 institutions up and running at a cost of about 4 billion dollars per institution. The buildings are not at full capacity and the mere cost of operating the building is astronomic and , in our opinion short sighted.

We have heard that the lobby of parents of people whose family members are in the institution is extremely strong. Institutionalizing their loved ones however has come at a high cost for a greater number of people than those housed in the institutions. These families go about their business, take vacations, go to their jobs, without worry, but at whose expense.

It simply does not make sense to not fully house institutions and then pay for the cost of upkeep. We think it's time legislators thought about what makes sense for the majority of Texans while preserving the care and safety of those who have special needs and this is my answer to the question of funding. It is time to consolidate and close some of the state facilities. If the money from this savings was passed on to fund home and community services, it would serve to shrink the waiting lists and to fund people who are already receiving services.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for supporting and advocating on behalf of all Texans who have a disability. You are respected by all, no matter where they choose to receive services, State Supported Living Centers and community supports.

Belinda Gaddis said...

My son receives benefits under the CLASS waiver program. Benefits we could not afford otherwise. Benefits which are essential to his development. Benefits which are not covered by our personal insurance. Please remember that each cut that is made is a cut to a person's services. Thank you.

Christina Silva said...

Rep Ryan Guillen
Thank you for your support in helping our children in the Rio Grande Valley. My husband and I have a 9 year old son who is blind due to ROP with development delay. He has been on the waiting list for HCS and/or CLASS waiver program since he was three years old we feel that with any budget cuts to this funding it will take more years for our son to get services soon. Thank you again for your support.
Christina Silva