Thursday, September 18, 2008

Who Is a Friend of Special Needs Kids?

In all my Republican bashing, I did write a somewhat favorable post about Cindy McCain being a special ed teacher and Sarah Palin walking in the March for Babies....partly because I didn't want to be entirely negative.

However, when Palin continues to describe herself as an advocate for special needs kids in her acceptance speech, I laugh out loud. When have Republicans ever supported adequate funding for special education? Four-month-old baby Trig, while I have no doubt that the Palin family loves him dearly, is being used as a campaign prop. He's a campaign prop unless Palin truly puts her money where her mouth is. And her record of walking her talk is not so good.

This excellent post on the Daily Kos outlines the myth vs. the reality of the McCain-Palin record on special education funding, and it's written by a dad of a special needs kid, who knows only too well how much better these kids fare if they are born into middle- to upper-class families who can afford to spend thousands of dollars on tutoring and Palin herself. But how is the Palin-McCain ticket going to help all those families who cannot afford such "luxuries"?

Speaking of special education, the other thing that distresses me about our country's paltry support of people needing extra assistance is that all special education and support stops when a child turns 22 or graduates from high school. The worries and stress caused by that reality were portrayed well in a book I read a few months ago, Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs. Not only do we stop providing services, but the parents of special needs children also have the extra burden of worrying about what will happen to their child after they are gone.

John McCain and Sarah Palin, WWJD?

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