Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Info about CRS cuts

Please click here to read Stacy's post about the current and possible future cuts to the CRS (Children's Rehabilitative Services) program that (do and will) negatively impact a large number of children with disabilities in Arizona!

Please help a little one ...

The family of a darling little 2 year old girl I know, Ariana, is working on raising funds so that they and Ariana, who has a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, can travel outside of the U.S. (likely to China or to Mexico) one year from now so that she may receive umbilical cord blood stem cell therapy treatments which may very well make all the difference in Ariana's future abilities.

Her mother, Elisa, published a very well-written post on her blog about why she and her husband feel strongly about obtaining this treatment for their sweet daughter. Rather than re-post it in this space, please click here to read the post "Hope for Ari" on their family blog.

Of note is that Ariana's parents, Jake & Elisa, are part of the group of plaintiffs in the court case that was filed by AAPPD recently - the result of which, so far, has been the halt of the DDD cuts to services and provider rates, which, for now, has made an indescribable difference for individuals with disabilities throughout the state!

As the parents of three young children, Jake & Elisa have a lot on their plates - a major understatement - in spite of that, since the shocking announcement of the cuts to DDD and AzEIP services last month, they have not only made the time and put forth the extra effort to tell their family's story as part of the AAPPD lawsuit(Ariana has a twin brother, Gabriel - both children have received and benefited greatly from early intervention services) but they have also written letters, made phone calls, and are doing all that they can do as parents to advocate for all of the little children in the state of Arizona whose all-important support and therapy services are on shaky ground.

If you run across this blog, and this post and have stuck with me this far, please consider taking the time to learn more about this family's cause and then, if you would like to help, please click on the "ChipIn" widget on their sidebar and donate whatever you feel you are able to (even just $1! Every little bit counts!) and watch the "Hope for Ari" fund grow!

Thanks for reading . . . and for considering helping out sweet, beautiful Ariana! : )

Monday, March 16, 2009

a little spot of budget-cut humor . . .

On the very day in February, a few weeks ago, that the drastic DES budget cuts were announced, I ran across this piece of "flair" on that silly facebook site. My stomach was all in knots that day - for the children losing services and also I feared (and, sadly, rightly so, it turned out) that the early intervention provider agency I have worked for since 1998 would not survive such drastic cuts.

This little piece of facebook flair was the one chuckle I had that day! (The sentiment could not BE any more appropriate for our situation in AZ, could it??)

Great info on other sites!

I have added to my sidebar the RSS feed for two of the most-informative resources I've found that are covering the same info as I am on this blog: The AZ Early Intervention Parents/Caregivers Yahoo! Group and the "Early Intervention in Arizona" blog maintained by Stacy, an early intervention provider in the Phoenix area.

I strongly encourage all visitors to this blog to check out my sidebar and browse the feed for both of the above-mentioned sites to see their latest postings!

More info re: filing requests for due process hearings

It is important for families whose early intervention services have been, are, or will be interrupted due to the DDD/DES budget cuts to file written requests for due process hearings. For more information, please see Stacy's post, here.

Info regarding cuts to Arizona CRS (Children Rehabilitative Services)

Stacy, an early intervention provider in the Phoenix area, has two blog posts up about the cuts to CRS services. Rather than re-posting all of the info on this blog, here are the links to her two posts:

1. If You Benefit From CRS Services

2. Cuts to CRS Funding (advocacy info)

The above information was initially distributed as an action alert by Raising Special Kids.

Capitol Building Rally - March 19th

The Tungland Corporation has organized a rally at the Capitol for this Thursday, March19th, to raise awareness of the DES/DDD cuts. Click here to see the details that are posted on Stacy's "Early Intervention" blog!

Important info for Parents: talking points, due process info!

The following information was passed onto me by Maureen Casey, Chair of the Arizona Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) for Infants & Toddlers and it has been published via this blog with her permission:

1. Tips for telling your Early Intervention story when writing to Governor Brewer, and members of the legislature to protest cuts in early intervention services. (Although there is a current hold on the cuts to those services, it is only a temporary fix ... we are not out of the woods yet!)

2. Key statement to include in a letter requesting a due process hearing (see highlighted text at end of document)

If you want more information and to have your questions about requesting a due process hearing answered, I strongly encourage you to click here to view the AZ Early Intervention Parents/Caregivers Yahoo! Group messages. You may read the AZ Early Intervention ... Yahoo! Group messages without joining the group (if you would like to post to the group you must first joing the group using your Yahoo! ID).

Maureen Casey
& Kristina Park - Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, of the AZ ICC for Infants and Toddlers moderate and are active members of the AZ Early Intervention ... Yahoo! group and they are SO knowledgeable and helpful!

Friday, March 13, 2009

News article: "The human anguish of state's budget cuts"

From an article on azcentral.com

"A cut that eliminated services to developmentally disabled children from birth to age 3 was especially harsh, many said.

"It's just a blatant message: They're not important enough," Garcia said after she received one week's notice that daughter Mariah's therapy services would end.

Although Wednesday's court ruling means the services will continue for now, they're likely to be cut again as lawmakers deal with next year's budget and its deep deficit.

DES officials say they decided to spread the cuts broadly to avoid hitting one area harder than others. Although "gut-wrenching," agency officials said the cuts are necessary to contribute to balancing the state budget.

At the Garcia home in Maricopa, cheers broke out when Mariah, age 15 months, pulled herself up from her blanket into a push-up pose.

"If she's able to bear weight on her arms and legs, it shows she's getting strength," said Trudy Kopas, Mariah's occupational therapist.

Although most children her age are walking by now, Mariah hasn't yet started to crawl.

Yet Kopas said there has been progress. When she met Mariah in August, the baby was four to six months delayed in development for children with Down syndrome. Now, she's only one or two months behind.

Mariah has recently started to hold her baby bottle, another milestone.

If the specialized treatment Mariah gets is eliminated, Garcia said she'll try to do it herself. But it won't be the same.

"They're trained to see things in these kids that we don't see," she said of the therapists who have worked with Mariah.

Her private insurance isn't much help; Garcia said it would pay 42 cents per therapy session; sessions run at least $65 an hour. She and her husband say they could pay out of pocket, but it would make everything else tight on their one-income, two-child budget."