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Archive for Monday, October 28, 2002

Autism efforts

October 28, 2002

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To the editor:

I wished to respond to the article "District comes up short for autistic student." As a graduate of the Lawrence public schools and as the brother of an autistic student, I know better than most how hard the paraprofessionals, staff and teachers work at all levels in Lawrence. I know how dedicated the professional staff is in the autism program at South Junior High and throughout the district. They provide the absolute best level and attention that any reasonable parent or caretaker could expect.

As my family's personal experience attests, however, it takes two the school and the parents to be most successful in the development of any child. It must be kept in mind that every child is different, and without continuous effort from all sides, it is difficult to achieve the best outcome.

Having recently moved from Lawrence to further my career in public administration in Massachusetts, let me state that the amount of money and resources dedicated to the programs in Lawrence and in Kansas as a whole pales in comparison to that spent here in Massachusetts. But the results, the approach taken and the success achieved educating those with any limitations mental, physical or emotional in the Lawrence public schools is as good if not better than many similar efforts here. What Lawrence provides and is able to accomplish with limited classrooms, finances and people should be celebrated and held as a model for other districts to follow.

To the hardworking staff of the Lawrence public schools, let me thank you all for the sacrifices you make, the dedication you show and for all of the work that you do. You make a difference in all of our lives.

Michael Young,

Lexington, Mass.

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