Editorial broadcast on Boston Channel 5 (WCVB-TV), Wednesday, March 11, 1998, at 6:57 AM and 12:28 PM

It's time to learn the facts about special education. Those, like Channel 5, who believe the standard of maximum possible development is unfair or unnecessary have never met my little guy or the thousands like him across the country.

My son was born with the potential for normal development but also with autism, a disorder so severe that by age three he lacked the skills of a toddler even half his age; by age four he was too dangerous to be left with other children. The Brookline schools told us he just needed ninety minutes a week of group speech therapy. Fortunately, we found research that showed he might recover but needs over twenty times that much help. Because of the maximum development standard we won our battle, and our son is now headed for a career, instead of a life of costly services at your expense.

I talk to families all across the country. In states with weaker laws children just like mine are being tragically underserved. The Education Committee has wisely voted to study the proposed change. Let's all be sure to use facts, not anecdotes, and put children, not money, first.

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