You don't know me. We have never met. Our paths have never crossed -- until recently -- when I read about your "proposed" budget cuts to Early Intervention. My heart sunk. I couldn't catch my breath. Tears streamed down my face.
And since we have never met, you can't possibly be aware that I am the mother of an amazing two year old, Ceci. You don't know that she has a smile that can light up the room. And a belly laugh that is unbelievably contagious. You don't know that she loves puppies and ice cream and dance parties. That she gives the best and the biggest hugs. Or that she is the strongest and most determined person I have ever met.
You also don't know that she has hypotonia and a gross motor delay. That she recieves Physical Therapy services through Early Intervention. That without these services, without our amazing physical therapist, we would be lost. SHE would be lost. And that fact terrifies me.
Early Intervention gives our family hope, support, and guidance. Early Intervention gives my daughter a CHANCE:
A chance to walk and explore the world around her.
A chance to be included -- to run with her friends on the playground as their laughter
dances around them.
A chance to do silly dances with her older sister and giggle until happy tears run down
both of their faces.
A chance to reach her potential, and in doing so, experience all the beauty life has to
And although we don't know eachother, I DO know some things:
I know that if you make cuts to this program, my daughter will no longer recieve the services that have been so instrumental in helping her learn to crawl and walk and run and jump.
I know that without these valuable services, my daughter will slowly and surely fall further behind her peers. And SHE has worked so hard to get where she is -- harder than you could ever begin to imagine. How dare you threaten to take that away.
I know that my daughter will not be the only child that will be affected -- hurt -- by these cuts. There are many other "Cecis" out there -- children who need Early Intervention services and who deserve a chance.
I also know that there are other moms like me out there too -- moms who love their children with every fiber of their being and want the very best for them.
And let me tell you a funny thing about moms: when you make one of us mad, you have ignited the fury of the masses. And NOTHING is scarier than a bunch of pissed off moms.
Governor Rauner, in closing, I realize that I may have misspoke earlier. Ceci may be determined, but I AM the most determined person I know. I'm an avid letter writer, and I've got nothing but time.
If you make these "proposed" budget cuts to Early Intervention, I can guarantee you that you will be hearing a lot more from "yours truly"... Ali Cummins.
Photo courtesy of ALH Photography