Sunday, October 04, 2009


I crossed paths with a Texan today, who was looking to relocate to the NY/NJ area to find better schools for her autistic teenage son. It disturbed me that I had no good answers for her; and it was somewhat heartbreaking to hear of the tribulations she needed to go through to even get a district to give information, let alone, let her view their school.

It struck me driving home, how much we have in common with the Okies during the Great Depression of the 1930's. For those of you unfamiliar, people from Oklahoma during the period, we fleeing a decade-long drought in search of a new home and work. They were met in California with contempt...and sometimes violence.

We escaped from our OK in 2005, that was less than a 100 mile migration. Many many parent I've heard move in the same way; many much much farther, with little more than innuendo of a 'better place' where the educational streets are paved with gold. I'm not sure how to solve it; one of my clones would surely set up a website where parents could rate and ask about school districts and their abilities and willingness to work with special needs children. But there will always be those 'true Californians' who will try and stop all these 'special needs Okies'. We need a better way.

Meanwhile, as a true Okie myself, all I can do is help any overstuffed minivan passing my way with an 'autism awareness' bumper sticker to get to a better place...

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