Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Make A Difference

There have been lots of time when I've read petitions for one cause or another, and sometimes I've signed, but sometimes I let it go, and later wondered if I could have made a difference.  This one hits so incredibly close to home. This is too important to let it go...I have to be heard..I need to make a difference.  And I need you to help too.

Due to recent budget cuts, Louisiana is facing the elimination of several health programs, including our Early Intervention program.  Early Steps made such an amazing difference in our lives.  Maddie was never supposed to walk...she runs.  Early Steps comes in at the very beginning, and provides critical therapies when they are needed most.  By starting from day one, they give these kids the best chance at reaching their full potential.  I can't even imagine how different things would be for us right now, if Early Steps had not been available to us.  Please help us save this program, and give our kids the opportunities they deserve. 

You can help by emailing your senators using the links , and sample letter below,
 AND/OR you can click to sign the petition at Change.org 

Thank you for helping make a difference.

Contact Senate Committee before Friday, May 18th to protect services for people
with developmental disabilities. Please ask your family and friends to do the same!

On Friday, May 11th, the House stripped $268 Million from the budget (HB1).

The bulk of those cuts ($100 Million in state funds) will come from the Department
of Health and Hospitals (DHH). This is in addition to the $57.7 Million cut from
DHH by the Appropriations Committee.

If not restored by the Senate, these cuts will result in:

* 9.7% Medicaid provider rate cut
* Elimination of EarlySteps
* Elimination of Early Childhood Supports and Services
* Elimination of Adult Protective Services
* Elimination of State Funded Personal Care Assistance Program
* Closure of Central State Hospital
* Not filling 168 NOW slots created through attrition
* Reductions/eliminations in numerous other DHH programs/services.

Contact (call, email, and/or write) the committee member(s) in your region and Chairman
Donahue if you want to protect services for people with developmental disabilities.

Contact Chairman and Members of Senate Finance in Your Region

To call a Senator at the Capitol: 225-342-2040

Senator Jack Donahue http://senate.la.gov/Donahue/
3030 East Causeway Approach
Mandeville, LA 70448
donahuej@legis.la.gov [mailto:donahuej@legis.la.gov]

Senator Norby Chabert http://senate.la.gov/Chabert/
P.O. Box 2417
Houma, LA 70361
chabertn@legis.la.gov [mailto:chabertn@legis.la.gov]

Senator R.L. "Bret" Allain, II http://senate.la.gov/Allain/
600 Main Street, Suite 1
Franklin, LA 70538
allainb@legis.la.gov [mailto:allainb@legis.la.gov]

Senator Sherri Smith Buffington http://senate.la.gov/Cheek/
9973 Mansfield Road
Keithville, LA 71047
smithbuffington@legis.la.gov [mailto:smithbuffington@legis.la.gov]

Senator Dan Claitor http://senate.la.gov/Claitor/
7520 Perkins Road, Suite 160
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
claitord@legis.la.gov [mailto:claitord@legis.la.gov]

Senator Ronnie Johns http://senate.la.gov/Johns/
1011 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 515
Lake Charles, LA 70601
johnsr@legis.la.gov [mailto:johnsr@legis.la.gov]

Senator Eric LaFleur http://senate.la.gov/LaFleur/
P.O. Box 617
Ville Platte, LA 70586
lafleure@legis.la.gov [mailto:lafleure@legis.la.gov]

Senator Fred H. Mills, Jr. http://senate.la.gov/Mills/
800 S. Lewis St., Suite 203
New Iberia, LA 70560
millsf@legis.la.gov [mailto:millsf@legis.la.gov]

Senator Edwin R. Murray http://senate.la.gov/Murray/
1540 N. Broad St.
New Orleans, LA 70119
murraye@legis.la.gov [mailto:murraye@legis.la.gov]

Senator Gregory Tarver http://senate.la.gov/Tarver/
1024 Pierre Avenue
Shreveport, LA 71103
tarverg@legis.la.gov [mailto:tarverg@legis.la.gov]

Senator Mack "Bodi" White http://senate.la.gov/White/
808 O'Neal Lane
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
whitem@legis.la.gov [mailto:whitem@legis.la.gov]

Sample Letter

Subject line of your email or at the top of your letter:

Restore cuts to DHH made by the House and Appropriations Committee!

Include information about yourself and your family member in your letter.

This can be in a few short sentences. You may want to include:

* Your name/the name of the individual with a disability you are advocating for
and his/her relationship to you
* The diagnosis or disability of this individual
* How these cuts would affect your family or people you care about

Include this message:

Please restore ALL of the funds to DHH cut by the Appropriations Committee and the
House. These funds are needed to provide critical services to our state's most
vulnerable population.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I'm All Ears

It's almost here... And these two are excited.

This guy has been counting down the days for 2 months, watching the Disney trip planning video, and studying the park maps like there's gonna be a quiz. He can't talk about anything else...He. is. pumped. And I love it.

This little girl can't wait to see Minnie. She has learned all the important princess songs, and will sing them for anyone who will listen. Her brother's excitement is contagious, and she has definitely caught it as well.


I'm excited too. I've got the matching shirts...

And the surprise Goodie Bags...

I'm just so ready to watch them take it all in for the very first time. I'm ready to feel the magic...

In 24 hours the car will be packed, and we will be almost ready to load up our sleeping bugs, and be on our way. I can't wait!


And in other news... This Thursday was the staffing meeting to determine Maddie's eligibility for services from the school system. It didn't go well. Maddie did not qualify for PT, PT tracking, OT, or Speech. (for those wondering about the speech: She has a stutter that surfaced about 5 months ago that has not resolved) The only service she has qualified for is adaptive PE. Needless to say, I was stunned...and angry. And there were tears. Lots of them. I sat there, feeling helpless, and listened to their PT list off every challenge and difficulty Madison has, and explain why it doesn't factor into her educational environment. It doesn't matter. It's not their responsibility because it won't effect her ability to learn. To be honest, I knew after her evaluation that it would be difficult for her to get PT, but I always expected tracking. Tracking allows the child to be on the radar of the PT...They check in on them, and talk to the teachers about any issues. They are just simply "aware" of the child, and make sure any issues are addressed. I am frustrated, and I'm not sure how to proceed. I'm not sure if another evaluation would make any difference, and if it did, would the service even be worth the fight? I don't know. I do know I will continue to do everything I can to make sure Maddie's needs are met...even if I am the only one meeting them. And now I'm going back to my happy place, because in 24 hours we will be on our way, and I will not let this bring me down. I'm done. I'm spent, and I need a vacation. I need some magic...now, please. :)
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