• 68°

DD levy is important for the present and future

The Lawrence County Developmental Disabilities (DD) program is very important to students currently receiving DD services, as well as to students who, in the future, may need DD services.

Open Door School is one example of a service provided through the DD program.

I was principal of Open Door School for eight years, and witnessed firsthand the value of the DD program to the population of students they serve. During my tenure at Open Door School, I learned that being the parent of a child with developmental disabilities can be both a blessing and a challenge.

When parents learn that there is an educational program in Lawrence County such as Open Door School to guide them through the educational process, it eases a lot of stress.

Families quickly learn that Open Door School will welcome their child, educate their child, and prepare their child to become a productive member of the community. Although my career path lead me away from Open Door School, I will always be a proud supporter of the DD program. The educational services provided to the students and their families through DD are truly life changing.

Students enrolled at Open Door School get to attend and/or participate in many of the same activities as students attending public schools. The excitement on the students’ faces is priceless as they participate in events such as basketball games, science fairs, dances, bell choir and many others. Equally as exciting is watching the families react with pride and joy as their child engages in social and competitive activities — confident that their child is happy and successful.

In addition, DD educational services extend beyond the scope of school activities. DD also provides students with a wide range of transition services to guide and prepare them as they transition to adult life. Students explore career options, practice interview skills, job shadowing, and engage in numerous other activities tailored to their individual needs. As previously stated, this transition experience fills them with pride and makes them eager to become productive members of our community. I, myself, feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment when I see former Open Door students of mine serving in our community.

It is important to remember that DD services are a choice that families and their educational teams make as an alternative to public education.

Some families may decide that the DD services are not for them, and that is fine. However for those families that are in need of DD services, it would be a major setback for the child if these services were to no longer exist. Not only would it be detrimental to students currently receiving DD services, but it would create a serious void in the options available to parents when planning their child’s educational path.

For all of these reasons, and many more, it is critically important for the voters of Lawrence County to support the DD levy. Voting for this levy not only allow the educational services of DD to continue, but it also makes a statement that the people of Lawrence County care about students with disabilities and their future.

Please, support the developmental disabilities levy!

Jeff Saunders, superintendent,

Lawrence County Educational Service Center