Publication Date: 2004-01-11
Daniel has some very clear views about inclusion of kids into the regular classroom--and he's just 11 years old.
January 5, 2003
(Daniel's Letter to President Bush)
(Thanks to Daniel for sharing his letter to President Bush!)
January 5, 2004
Dear President Bush,
My name is Daniel Alperstein, and I am an 11 year old boy. I do not have a disability, but I have a brother who does and a friend who does.
I think that you should not pass H.R.1350 because I think special needs children should get as much education as possible. I spent New Years with a kid with autism, and he only then spoke his first independent words. It shows that when he is around other kids his age, he can start doing things like regular kids. So if H.R.1350 separates Nicholas (my friend) from other kids his age, he will stop talking and acting like a normal child. Most of the time he can only talk if his mother tells him what to say, but when he was around me and my family, he said his first independent words and even started acting like us, and even eating the things that we eat. From being around other kids, Nicholas has chosen to play drums, play piano, ski and play marimba in the school band. If we take Nicholas away from his peers, he probably would stop doing all those things and go back to not really being able to do much.
Obviously being around regular kids in school has helped Nicholas a lot, but it also helps regular kids like me. At first, I thought that Nicholas could barely do anything and couldn't really talk or play instruments or do anything. I didn't even think that he could understand what I was saying. But spending New Years with him taught me that from being around normal kids, he could actually do all those things.
Kids like me need to know that kids like Nicholas ARE like every other kid except for the disability. A lot of kids think that special needs children are just plain weird, if you know what I mean. I think that special needs children should be in regular classes with regular children so that other children will learn that special needs children are just like them. Regular children need to learn that children with disabilities are children with disabilities, not disabled children. That means that they are just like regular children except they have a disability, not a totally different species because they have a disability.
Please make sure kids like Nicholas can stay in school with regular children and don't pass H.R.1350.