I’m writing in support of Cailin Shovkoplyas’ June 7th letter supporting parents of nontraditional learners. Thank you, Cailin, for pointing out the struggles parents face in getting the best services for their atypical children. You are absolutely correct.

I have a 10-year-old autistic grandson, who struggled in school in the early years and still has a few days that can be out-of-sync. With the advocacy of his mother, along with area and state organizations working and helping the school district guide him from being an explosive child and removing him from seclusion, he has become a child who loves school and is sad during vacations and at the end of the year.


I also have a seriously ill granddaughter, age 5, who is starting her school experience this fall. Her parents, again strong advocates, have already met and planned with school officials to make sure her safety and well-being is clearly understood.

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As an educator, I have had the experience to work with many parents of special needs children, who worked tirelessly to support their children’s education. Occasionally, the schools can feel threatened by this advocacy. State regulations too often handcuff schools and teachers.

Mental illness is another serious problem, and must be taken seriously. My letter on Thursday, regarding the violence in our schools and neighborhoods, asked for a community effort on ways to curb and change the mindset of those who are independently choosing to disrupt the social norm.

Parents need to take action when their children are creating problems, whether it be to work with the school and social services to get the support needed, or to rein in children who are more interested in destruction rather than working for the good of all. Negative attitudes lead to a dark future for those who can and do make a conscience decision to violate social behaviors.

As a community, we should always want and expect the very best for all children. Children should be held accountable for the expectations and plans carefully designed for them. Again, we must all take an interest in our children of all ages, color and differences, and provide the very best opportunities for learning. Children are our future. For those students and parents who can not abide by society’s code of conduct, then our entire community needs to find ways to make sure that attitude changes.