Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Let's empower parents of special-needs children

[Guest post by OCPA intern Emily Solomon]

A post on State Representative Jason Murphey’s blog last month echoes something we have heard with increasing intensity in the media recently: school choice for children with special needs. He explains that the public school system simply can't provide the specialized treatment required by special needs students, and suggests that parents of these students be allowed to take their tax dollars and use them to pursue proper treatment and education for their children.

Now, pair this view with the reality that our state is short on behavioral specialists and therapists (as reported by The Associated Press). At first, it may seem contradictory to suggest that we privatize education for special needs children on the basis that public education cannot provide adequate therapy when there are clearly not enough therapists in the private sector, either. However, it is important to remember the old adage "If you build it, they will come." If we empower parents to seek proper treatment and education for their special needs children, demand for therapists in the private sector will increase, drawing therapists to our state and ultimately improving care for all special needs children.

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