Monday, July 28, 2014

Autism Communication Pilot Project

Syracuse Institute on Communication and Inclusion
Do you have a non-verbal child with Autism?

Do you think your child could use technology to communicate: like an iPad?

Montgomery County Government has funded an "autism communication pilot project" that is being implemented in TWO schools. For FIVE children. These schools are in Bethesda and Potomac.

Resources, training, and technology are being lavished on these five children. Today, we heard the Montgomery County Innovation Officer and Chris Richardson speak effusively about training for parents, training for siblings, expansion of use of the technology into afterschool programs, working with the recreation department, etc etc.

I am fuming mad.

Not because these FIVE children don't deserve every bit of this effort. They absolutely do.

But there are many many other parents across Montgomery County who are DESPERATE for this type of intervention and technology for their child. I know, I have talked or emailed with some of you. But Chris Richardson and Dan Hoffman seem to be comfortable limiting this program to the five privileged familes at these two wealthy schools. The County Council ED committee (Craig Rice, Phil Andrews, Cherie Branson) seems to be willing to let them get away with that.

Does the community think this is "fair"? Does the community think this is "equitable?"

I don't. I think we need to make an appointment with Craig Rice and outline to him just exactly why it is patently unfair to limit this potentially life-altering technology to five kids...while at the same time approving MCPS to purchase $15 million dollars worth of Chromebooks to be distributed across MCPS.

The Superintendent is always babbling about Equity. From the disability community perspective, this Autism Pilot Project is so blatantly INEQUITABLE that I think we need to make a stand.

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