Monday, April 18, 2011

Gov. Cuomo - In case you forgot, it's Autism Awareness Month.

‎"A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Ghandi

This afternoon my best friend, recieved a letter in the mail from Birch Family Services School for Exception Children.  Her daughter, Livi, has attended Birch Early Intervention program, since March 2011.  The letter stated that as of May 31st, Early Intervention classroom operations will be discontinued.  Why?  Budget cuts.  

The rate of reimbursement for Early Intervention (EI) services controlled by New York State has not been increased in 16 years.  And as of April 1, 2o11, NYS reduced EI rates by another 5%.

Devastated does not describe what my friend is feeling.  And she is only one parent.  There are other mothers and fathers of Birch kids - feeling just as devastated.  Where will their children go?  And will they find appropriate placement as mandated on their IEPs?    

Talk to any parent about Early Intervention and they will tell you - it works.  It makes a difference.  When I think of The Boy before and after EI - it's like two different kids.  Before EI, The Boy had no language, no eye contact, imaginative play or social skills.  And once he had the tools he needed to learn, he thrived.

I want Livi to thrive too.  I want her to have the same services The Boy received.  I want my best friend to recognize the difference EI can make.  Because the impact of losing services after the slightest progress has been made could cause serious regression.  And nothing pains a parent more than seeing your child reach a milestone,  and then having your child's progress become stagnant.

For parents to receive a letter stating that their child's program is closing during Autism Awareness Month is beyond insulting.  It says that our government - does not care.  That their child is not worth it.  That their child is not entitled to a free and appropriate education.  That they might as well give up on their child.  Because government has given up on their children.

Maybe this petition won't make a difference.  But it's time to say - our children are worth it.  They are entitled to a Free and Appropriate Education.  We will not give up.  And Early Intervention services is something worth fighting for.  We must fight for our children, until they are able to fight for themselves.

Sign the petition here - 

Thank you!


  1. I think that's a slap in the face to parents who rely on early intervention service. Our city doesn't seem to care about it's citizens all they care about is taking away vital service and balancing the budget on the backs of the working class and poor. EI is a vital program whose funding should not be cut without EI my son probably wouldn't have made the progress he's made so far. He was 2 and barely said a handful of words, had other delays and it's not easy sometimes the staff as you well know can be annoying and unaccommodating especially with working parents. I'm trying to get an extension of services for once he ages out at 3 it's been no picnic. Sad part about it is no one seems to care about an issue until it hits home.

  2. Signed!
    EI made a difference for my girls as well. They would not be where they are today if it had not been for EI.

  3. Thank you for signing :)

    I don't understand how they keep trying to cut back on something that works. And it's senseless really because what will happen to these underserviced kids when they become adults. Government needs to realize - either pay for it NOW or pay for it LATER. And later will be a lot more money.


AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.