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Voice: Assumptions in letter tragically wrong

February 12, 2002

I am writing in response to a letter that appeared Feb. 3, under the title "The tragedy of drug babies." Although the letter touches on an issue of concern in our society, the effect of drug use by a mother on an unborn child, its main thrust seems to be that the parents of most children with disabilities are "addicts" and that the children themselves are "beyond repair."

Neither of these assumptions is correct, and it is unfair to the parents, the children and the special education teachers who teach them to let such assertions stand unchallenged.

Area Board XIII is an agency of the state of California. Our mandate is to protect the legal, civil and service rights of persons with developmental disabilities. The children and families we serve do not conform to the cruel stereotype expressed in the letter. They come from a range of socioeconomic levels and all races and ethnic backgrounds. Disabilities know no boundaries.


It is difficult to imagine the pain these families must have felt upon reading the letter. I want to assure them this is neither our view nor the view of the educated public. Area Board XIII will be pleased to provide further information and educational materials to interested parties.

Please feel free to contact us at (800) 748-2055.

Thank you for your continuing commitment to educating the public about persons with disabilities.


Chair, Developmental Disabilities Area Board XIII

San Diego

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