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Voice: Speaking problems not seen in ‘drug babies'

February 11, 2002

We were saddened and shocked to read Mr. Ed Woeten's letter in the Imperial Valley Press. The things he said about special needs children were so ignorant that they don't even deserve an answer.

It seems to us that a man of Mr. Woeten's character should not be hired to work with children in special education classes. In fact, he should not work with any children. If there really is a para-educator named Mrs. A, she has obviously broken laws of confidentiality and showed very poor judgment and lack of compassion.

We have a grandson who is 11 years old and who does not speak. We are very grateful to the wonderful teachers, teachers assistants, speech therapists, occupational therapists, regional center workers, bus drivers, administrators and everyone who has showed such caring and understanding. They have not only helped us to manage this child at home, but they are teaching him an alternate method of communication. They are teaching him independent living skills so that his adult life will be more fulfilling.

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Also for the edification of your readers, there are very few "drug babies" in Imperial Valley special education classes. Drug babies may have learning disabilities, but they can speak.

There are many reasons for a child to have the type of handicap that so disgusted Mr. Woeten, from genetic to medical accidents, to problems such as autism, for which the cause is unknown.

Regardless of the cause of a child's disability, that child is entitled to an appropriate education so that he can reach his maximum potential.

GEORGE and AUDREY McFADDIN

El Centro

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