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posted: 3/28/2013 4:40 AM

What you should know about 'Lily'

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What you should know about 'Lily'

Lily is almost 6 years old. She had four open heart surgeries before she was 5. She is deaf in one ear and has a hearing aid for the other. She was born without the balance mechanisms in her ear, so she can't walk without assistance.

She is fed through a tube, and among other things is autistic. Lily is just one thousands of kids being taught in schools in DuPage County. On April 9, we will be voting on a bond issue for a school in Wheaton for some of these students. There are some things you should know.

Since age 3, Lily has been going to a public school. Her class of 10 includes a few with only hearing problems. Others, like Lily, have more complex issues. Some, like Lily, require a full-time nurse. This is not a "normal" classroom.

Lily has a "kid cart" that is loaded onto the little yellow school bus and secured for the trip to school. She is accompanied by a nurse because her heart issues sometimes necessitate a trip to the emergency room. At the school the "kid cart" is stored in the classroom, and Lily uses a walker.

These students are being taught by some remarkable teachers. No two children are alike in age or in their state of development. The teachers need to know different teaching methods because the students respond differently. Lily can count to 100 and has about 75 words in her vocabulary. But Lily only talks in her room at home.

In these difficult times no one needs more taxes. But there are kids like Lily in every neighborhood. Most will grow up, learn to deal with their issues and become good citizens. I believe these outstanding teachers deserve the facilities and tools to educate these "special" kids.

Herb Mueller


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