Dear Limestone District School Board ,
Admin, other parents "like me"
& all else involved,

Today is World Autism Day.
Last week we celebrated World Down Syndrome Day.
Next week it will be something else.
And I was once proud of how our Board walked in inclusion with support.

But, now, I’m confused.
I am a parent of a child, your changes next year will hurt.
I’m having chats with other parents and there is talk of MPP’s and media getting involved.
And a whole uproar stirring.
Which frankly is just & may be needed.

But, I thought I’d first approach you with a letter.
Which in my opinion seems to have the most positive outcomes thus far in my life.
I am sorry letters, got me ungrounded earlier with my parents growing up.
Love letters, got boys to fall for me deeper.
Advocacy letters, got policies changed, our city to acknowledge World Down syndrome Day, a Local Radio Station to apologise using the R-word on air and mega changes in representation in media.

Resulting in my daughter, whose only 11 getting awarded the youngest “Hero of the Year” Award by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, rocking a cover on a National Parenting Magazine, was on a Billboard all across the Country, in a Cheerios commercial and will be featured in an upcoming Disney movie.

Doctors once told me she might not walk or talk.
I know how much words matter.
And due to her incredible hard work.
Tireless determination.
And a strong team around her.
She thrived.

But, now I’m worried with your new, seems rather like backsliding plans.
She won’t.
I filled out your survey.
And you claim you hear “US”.
But, stats can say whatever you bend them to say.
And I don’t believe you heard us clearly.

You’re willing to cut programs that hold so much potential.
And it feels like you’re not seeing the value, us parents are.
In our child.
In what is or could work better.

Every single morning my daughter asks.
“Mom, is it a Mr Carter day?”
And she’s crushed every day it’s not.
Mr Carter is an exceptional School–To-Community-Teacher who has made such an impact on my daughter’s development.
Imagine her regression next year when she doesn’t get that meaningful interaction or modified work.

Teachers are beyond swamped as is.
A “Resource Room” to house all the kids, you’re not sure what to do with, isn’t a solution.
And that email you presented with the hope that more EA’s come into play.
Just isn’t a reality.
Let me be clear, I am all for more EA support in any capacity.
They are critical in the school system.
But, we can barely get EA’s to fill current vacant positions in the Board.

What makes you think we’ll even pull the resources to fill your proposed ones too?

Why not give our current Programs & Positions a few more years to help grow what we already have established.

Why not house a town-hall-type meeting where discussions can be had instead of questionnaires filled out.

Why not continue to step forward, not backwards leading change bravely.

All “US” parents of kids like Pip.
Kids who are falling through the gaps.
Kids who may need a resource room.

We need to really look together at what next year looks like.
We want to be part of a school board that makes things better.
Love an exhausted mom of a kid in your district.
Well 3 to be exact.
And while this affects HER.
It actually affects them all.
Inclusion means belonging for everyone.

So, today on World Autism Day.
Let’s spark the conversation.
Let’s open up ideas.
Let’s include those in our community that Programs like the Autism ones you’re closing, depend on.
Let’s make changes.
But together.
For the better of our students.
And our staff.

In this together,
Love Pip’s mom...