Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

United, We Have Met Fiscal Crises before; United, We Can Do It Again

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

United, We Have Met Fiscal Crises before; United, We Can Do It Again

Article excerpt

These are troubling times. In nearly every area of the United States, most of us face difficult economic problems - in our own homes, at our places of employment, in our local communities, and at every level of government. At times like these, we often wish we had much less information about the vast economic and political issues that disrupt our equilibrium and can make us feel overwhelmed and helpless.

Recently, one of our staff voiced concerns she shared with friends who also had children with disabilities. She and the other parents were pleased about the progress their children had made. They were very frightened that valuable programs would disappear along with community concern for their children. We tried to reassure her that great progress had been made in the past two decades, and society could not hide from children and families in need.

We have faced difficult periods before and we have persevered. We have learned how to respond to challenges and about the strength that parents have, especially when they work together.

Her anguish did not quickly leave us. In our sear for some positive suggestions, we discovered that we had written about a similar crisis almost 10 years ago. Here are some excerpts:

After two decades of progress, the status and direction of programs that serve individuals with disabilities are threatened. New patterns of funding and changes in regulations are being discussed and proposed on every level of government, nation state and local ... Over the past ten years many articles ... have helped our readers understand and become involved in the legislative process. Since changes were just beginning to happen, it was relatively easy to inform our audience about successful ventures in the legislative area.

The current status of programs seems chaotic and unfocussed. Changes are taking place...

... it is important for all of us to understand why each of the federal agencies involved proposes changes. Understanding these reasons will help us promote a dialogue not only with the agencies but more importantly with the broader public--our friends and neighbors.

After a law is passed, money ordinarily has to be appropriated for adequate implementation. We know that at times, a law is thwarted when funds are not provided.

... the withholding of federal funds is dramatically shifting the burdens to states and communities that are already having difficulties meeting their own general needs. …

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