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updated: 2/24/2011 4:50 PM

Who will stand up for special needs?

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Thanks to the following candidates for coming to our Special Needs Forum on Aug. 26: 44th district state representative candidates Billie Roth, Republican, and Democrat Fred Crespo ; 54th District Democrat Matt Flamm; 56th District candidates Ryan Higgins, Republican, and Michelle Mussman, Democrat; and 28th District state senate candidates John Millner, Republican, and Democrat Corinne Pierog.

While I appreciate your participation, the discussion on how to improve the education and services for special needs children and adults is far from over. Pledging to advocate for special needs families is nice to hear, and saying you understand there is a problem that needs fixing, is not good enough for families in your districts.

Illinois is at the bottom of the nation in providing resources to this population. Resources for special needs families have been cut way back since before the state got itself into this financial mess.

Ignoring special needs  families in Springfield will continue to go on until politicians take notice. Coming up with plans for improvement in special needs areas like preK-high school special education, respite care, community college-based job training and placement, better training of bus employees that take special needs children to school, health care and housing for special needs children and adults, to name a few issues, needs to be addressed sooner then later.

If politicians and others don't come up with solutions, taxpayers will be paying more for inaction and ignoring the problem, because this is an exploding population that will be getting older and require more resources, as their parents get too old to take care of them.

Why not maximize the potential for special needs children to be self sufficient and contribute to society when they are adults, and save taxpayer money?

Which of these politicians has the ideas to lay the groundwork for improvement for our families or are they making promises they have no attention of keeping? Time will tell. Who will be the first politician to step up and lead and discredit what a lot of people think of what politicians are doing right now in Springfield? Let me know your answer.

Mike Baker