TEACHH the children well

In 1994, a Buncombe County schoolteacher changed my life. My son was a student in her classroom. We had just moved here from Houston, where he had always struggled in school. The cadre of child development experts I had taken him to in Texas had diagnosed ADD.

It was so obvious to his teacher what was going on, she thought I was keeping it a secret. My son has a mild form of autism; learning that changed everything. He is now a taxpaying adult with an associate degree, a mortgage, and all the ups and downs of life in the real world.

This was possible because the state legislature provided funding to Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped Children, or TEACHH, a program administered through the University of North Carolina, so that they could do outreach to teachers about autism. Now, the state legislature is turning its back on these programs, programs that help people live full, productive (tax-paying) lives.

The cuts in programs like TEACCH were not necessary. The legislature chose to eliminate a one-cent sales tax, a move that has impacted education in many ways, and will make it more difficult for our children to get the education they deserve. We expect better from our elected officials.

— Terry Van Duyn

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