A news channel located in Bryan-College Station, Texas reported a story of a young boy named RJ, who was born with a clubfoot and suffered a pediatric seizure that left him unable to use his left arm. A state funded program for early childhood intervention for children with special needs began assisting RJ, and he is now a joyful elementary student that gets around with the assistance of his walker.
Not all children with special needs in Texas receive the help they need. Texas’ population of children under 3 years old has grown 4% from 2011 to 2015. Even with this indicated growth, Texas is still neglecting children with special needs ages 0-3. Early Childhood intervention is a state government run program. Many participants in this program have ended their contracts with no intention of returning. This could increase the possibility of neglect and abuse in children with special needs. Medicaid’s reimbursement for therapists who help children with special needs was also cut.
These early childhood intervention programs are vital to the growth and development of children with special needs. Their decline will come with a higher public cost to families who do not receive the help they need early on. According to the Houston Chronicle, special education is twice as expensive. The federal government pays 1/5 of that cost while the remainder is paid by the school district and state.
This undeniable growth of the Texas population along with the pressure that parents and advocates are putting on law makers, will hopefully help the argument for a change. Texas legislatures have the opportunity to decide the direction in which special education may turn.
For more information and resources on planning for your loved one with special needs, browse through our website at specialneedsforum.org.