Letter to the Editor


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To the editor:

I was born with cerebral palsy. I can imagine that my parents were probably pretty heartbroken when they found out. However, I know they have never given up on me. They did everything they could do to better my life. They drove hundreds of miles just to take me to the best doctors. They made sure I got the physical therapy I needed, even if it meant they had to see me cry because it physically hurt me. They even sent me to the Cerebral Palsy Center when it was open in Cape Girardeau.

Today, I am a teacher at the Easter Seals Child Development Center. It came as a big shock when my fellow co-workers and I were told the center would be closed down March 10. The first thoughts that came to my mind were: What about the children with special needs? Where will they go? Will they receive as good care elsewhere as they do at Easter Seals?

As I look back on the last year and a half at Easter Seals, I cannot believe the progress I've seen in all of the children with special needs. Several instances come to mind when I think about how these children have improved. Not too long ago, I remember a teacher running into my room and saying, "Hurry! Come to my room! You're not going to believe this." It was nap time, so I couldn't imagine what was going on. As I walked in her room, I could hear a child saying "Bubba" repeatedly. It was a little boy who is nonverbal. "Bubba" is the name of his grandma's dog. I could not believe my ears. I remember thinking at that moment, as I held back my tears, "Now this is what we are here for."

Another instance was when a little girl in my class said my name for the first time. I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but this little girl has Down's syndrome. She repeats a lot of things people say, but she does not say things on her own very often, especially not someone's name. I cannot even begin to describe how I felt at that moment when she said my name. She then looked up at me, smiled and laughed. It may not sound too monumental, but I will never forget it. This little girl went from wanting to do things by herself all day to running, laughing and playing with her friends.

I could probably write a book on the wonderful things that have happened at Easter Seals. I know that every one of the teachers at the center has plenty of amazing things they have seen all of the children do or say. None of us will ever forget them.

I have accomplished a lot more than I was expected to. I walk without assistance, have a bachelor's degree and lead a so-called normal life. I can thank all of those people who helped me in my early years of life like my family, friends, doctors, therapists and teachers. I know they have made me who I am today. I only hope my fellow co-workers and I have done the same for the children at Easter Seals. I wish we could continue to be there to help them. I cry every time I think about not being there to see them progress more. Now these children will face another obstacle in their lives. They will have to leave friends and teachers who care so much about them. My heart goes out to these children and their families. I would also like to give the teachers a big pat on the back. I think they have done an outstanding job. It is too bad that the same people who gave us this wonderful opportunity are taking it away.


Cape Girardeau