down syndrome

17 petitions

Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Pennsylvania Governor, Pennsylvania State House, Pennsylvania State Senate, Philadelphia Board Of Education, Department of Education, Governor Tom Wolf, Mayor Jim Kenney, Lisa M Deeley, Commissioner Al Schmidt, Department of Revenue, Representative Dwight Evans, Representative Pam Delissio, Christopher M Rabb, Art Haywood

Philly Funding For Special Needs Education And Therapy Is Failing It’s Children.

Hi!  My name is Amanda. I am the mother of a 3 year old girl, Addison. Last year, Addison was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and also has many delays in speech & other areas of development. When Addison turned 3 last year, she began receiving services through our counties early intervention program, Elwyn. Shortly after, she began a preschool, which is an approved school, meaning she can receive these therapy services for her disability through the funding provided to Elwyn. It has been almost a year of her attending- and her progress is incredible! Her therapists, teachers, staff, and other parents are amazing people, advocates, and genuinely love the school & the kids.  Sadly, we received word that her school, Blossom, is most likely going to close at the end of the year. Due to funding issues, transitions and renovations created to try and preserve the school, they were left with no choice. They are trying to keep the school by working with another agency, but for now, it isn’t looking promising. Where we live, there are 3 special education schools in our close area, that work with Elwyn. Her current school is one of them. With the rate of autism being 1 in 59 now, schools and special education services are struggling meeting the demands of the vital therapy and services so many young children need. The current school Addy is at is the ONLY preschool in this area that is reverse mainstream. Meaning, kids with and without disabilities are in the same learning environment. It’s a wonderful way of learning- from both perspectives. To lose this, we are losing a piece of what brings us together.  Sadly, one driving force is funding. Philadelphia schools have ONLY received a 1.3% increase in funding for special education services. This is estimated to cover about 1,500 children. That’s it. Many children and their families DEPEND on a school to provide the special education, therapy, and a safe and understanding environment for these children to learn. Signing this petition can help us to raise a voice & awareness for a budget that is required to benefit early intervention & special education preschool services in Philadelphia! My daugther, with autism, and other kids with down syndrome, developmental delays, speech disorders, physical disabilities benefit from these services. Their families know they are receiving services that will LITERALLY benefit their future lives in their educational journey and beyond. So, WHY is funding so scarcely there? Why has the Philadelphia soda tax revenue not fully supported the Philadelphia educational programming as promised? Only 24.9% of the 45.2 MILLION dollar revenue from the soda tax that has been implemented went to preschools in the 2018 fiscal year. Why are these children, who need these unique and special services, losing their school options, losing vital therapies & feeling there is no where else to turn. The schools that are open, have waitlists, the therapies are becoming lower and lower. This is a crisis. This should never be allowed, or have been able to get to this point. It seems we have multiple areas where funding comes in, but why is Philadelphia suffering so greatly in the respect of special education services? Not only with preschool, but grade schools! In 2013, Philadelphia voted to close TWENTY THREE SCHOOLS. Please, please, please help be a voice to the many, many exceptional children who cannot speak for themselves. Help us to save Blossom school by demanding better funding and budgets for special education preschools & early intervention services for children ages birth to five. We need you! Educational budgets Soda Tax Spending Philadelphia school loss

Amanda Bonacci
552 supporters
Started 3 months ago

Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate

Fair Pay for People with Disabilities: Pass the TIME Act

My name is Kayla McKeon. As the first registered federal lobbyist with Down syndrome, I need your help to show Congress it’s time to pass the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act, H.R. 1377, a bill which will make it illegal for employers to pay individuals with disabilities anything less than a minimum wage. It’s a little known fact that the majority of people with disabilities in our nation are paid below the federal minimum wage - sometimes as little as 30 cents an hour. There is no other class of people that employers can legally pay so little.People with disabilities are ready, willing and able to work but struggle to gain economic self-sufficiency due to the antiquated laws that hold us back. Now is the time to claim our civil right to earn a fair and equal wage! The National Down Syndrome Society, the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, has identified subminimum wage as one of the issues that we need and can work quickly to change. Passing the TIME Act will amend Section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act that allows employers to pay individuals with disabilities below minimum wage. Passing the TIME Act will be a huge step forward for individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities. I love being the first registered lobbyist with Down syndrome because I get to work with representatives and senators to help make our lives better. I have always believed if they can see my face or others with a personal story, they will remember us when they are voting. I want them to remember me and how I am capable of doing this job and deserve to be paid fair and equal wages. My friends deserve the same - they are capable and deserve to be paid accordingly, that is why I am working so hard to pass the TIME Act. Join me in my fight for a fair and equal wage for all people with disabilities. Please sign this petition to show your support and ask your elected representative to cosponsor the TIME Act, H.R. 1377.

National Down Syndrome Society
85,745 supporters
Update posted 5 months ago

Petition to Michelle Gallo, President of the United States, Illinois Governor, Steve Diveley

Don’t allow School District 41 and Hadley Junior High segregate our daughter AGAIN

Some of you may remember last year when we created this petition to stop School District 41 from segregating our daughter with Down Syndrome from her typical peers. With the help of this petition and the thousands of supporters who signed and shared their own personal stories, we were able to get the district to overturn their decision in April 2015. They agreed to "let" our daughter attend her neighborhood school and be taught with her general education peers. The school year started off well, but we began to see a similar trend. Our daughter was not receiving the support she needed to succeed. She was basically being set up to fail. The curriculum was not being modified as it should be, leading to frustration and behavior issues. We found several experts to assist the school team, but the district refused to enlist anyone's help. At the end of 2015, we were finally able to get the school district to have an outside behavior therapy agency evaluate our daughter and the staff. She offered some great strategies for the staff to aid them in redirecting our daughter. She even offered to help the staff modify the curriculum for the next 4 weeks to see if that would help diminish the negative behaviors. The special education director refused her help. But the real surprise at this meeting occurred when the special education director stated that, despite Hiba making wonderful friends and reaching all her academic goals, the district intends on placing her back in a segregated self-contained classroom next year in middle school. She cited behavior concerns as their reason to separate Hiba from her peers. Needless to say, we are not in agreement with this placement, and will go back to fighting for our daughter's legal rights to be taught in the least restrictive environment alongside her typical peers with proper accommodations and supports. We need your help again to make this a reality for Hiba. If she is placed in a self-contained classroom with 3 other kids with various disabilities, we know she will just regress and all the progress she has made this year, the beautiful friendships she has made, and the academic accomplishments she has achieved will be lost. We cannot let that happen. It is important to note that there is another child with Down Syndrome who has been fully included in this same school district, first in elementary school and now at the same middle school Hiba is going to next year. We don't understand why the district is including this child, but refuses to include our daughter. It just shows that our daughter is being discriminated against. Please sign and share this petition with everyone you know so Hadley Middle School in Glen Ellyn knows it is not OK to discriminate against a child just because of her having Down Syndrome. Below is the original petition we started last year: "The first thing you might notice about our daughter Hiba is that she has Down syndrome. But to those who know her, Hiba is a beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate 9 year old. She loves math and her favorite show is “Doc McStuffins.” If you ask Hiba what she wants to be when she grows up, she will tell you "a doctor." This is not surprising considering how much she loves helping people. As her parents, we see a child with all the potential of any other child. Unfortunately, her school system has kept Hiba segregated from other students and it has taken its toll on her education and spirit. All they seem to see is a child with Down syndrome. Down syndrome does not define our daughter. We are asking Glen Ellyn School District 41 to allow Hiba her legal right to be fully integrated and allowed to learn alongside “typical” students at Churchill Elementary. For the past 5 years, Hiba’s education has been spent in isolated, 1-on-1 settings. It has been painful to watch Hiba not be responsive to this education approach. She has become depressed, withdrawn, and as a result, hasn’t performed well in her studies. Hiba knows she is being treated differently and separated from the “normal” kids. Districts across the US have diversified the classroom to include both children with disabilities and those considered “typical” for the past few decades. Education research and organizations like the National Down Syndrome Society endorse full inclusion in education settings. This approach would allow Hiba to be fully integrated into the general education classroom with her “typical” peers the entire school day. She would be learning the same things, but with a modified lesson plan, technology support, and 1:1 aide in the classroom.  This plan would be developed by a well-known inclusion specialist. We know this is the best approach for Hiba. Educational inclusion won’t just benefit Hiba. When children with disabilities are educated alongside their “typical” peers, research shows academic and social benefits for everyone. True acceptance of diversity begins in the school environment. It is then carried out in the home, workplace, and community. Glen Ellyn School District 41 insists this is not the best approach for Hiba. They point to how she has behaved and performed in the isolated classroom. School officials can’t see these are symptoms of being segregated and exactly why Hiba belongs in a classroom with her "typical" peers. This is why we started the petition. We need you to help Hiba get in a classroom setting where she will thrive. Your voice can make all the difference. Our dream is for Hiba to be afforded all the same opportunities as everyone else so she can achieve her full potential and be a kind, active member of society. Please sign and share our petition calling on Glen Ellyn School District 41 to allow Hiba to be fully included and allowed to learn alongside “typical” students at Churchill Elementary."

Saadia Qureshi
18,202 supporters