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Parents of Disabled Child Get 'A' for Effort

March 10, 1992

Thank you for the excellent article on Sydney's and the Taylors' fight to attend a regular classroom (Dianne Klein column, Feb. 6). Congratulations to her parents for having the courage to fight the system.

Project Independence was established in 1977 as a pilot program to serve eight people. We were told that people with developmental disabilities such as Down's syndrome couldn't live in their own apartments or function outside of sheltered workshops. We too refused to recognize reality and chose instead to dream that everyone, regardless of disability, could have a place in our community and deserved the chance to try. Nearly 15 years later, that dream is rapidly becoming the new reality. Today, Project Independence provides training and support to more than 300 adults with developmental disabilities who live in their own apartments, work real jobs for real pay and have active, meaningful lives.

Education is more than learning the three Rs. It is the opportunity to learn to relate to one another and the world around us. Segregation denies that opportunity not only to Sydney but also to non-disabled children. Someday, perhaps, we will learn that people are more than a label or a disability and find that each of us have gifts just waiting to be discovered.

Andrea Erickson, Costa Mesa

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