May 23, 2013 7:24 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

State's Autism Supervisor eliminated, Parents speak out

Four year old Courtney loves everything about the playground...From the slide...To the swing.

And Courtney's mother loves the progress her Autistic daughter is making.

"She's forming her own sentences and, I can't tell you how huge that is for a mother. And I just can't imagine other parents not getting that opportunity. And I think if we lose these people they are trying to lay-off, they're going to miss out," said Courtney's mother Lacey Bourque.

She's concerned about her daughter's progression without an Autistic Supervisor. Parents of Autistic children are upset about recent lay-offs in Louisiana's Department of Education. Fifty-six positions have been cut, one being the state's Autistic Supervisor.

A bill to eliminate that position and others is being heard in the Senate Education Committee. Many parents of Autistic children want the bill defeated.

"It's nice to be able to have someone there to ask questions, and if they get rid of her we don't know...We have no other resources to turn to right now," Bourque said.

Louisiana's state chapter on Autism is encouraging parents to show up to the legislature the next time this bill comes up.

"They need to dig deeper in this bill, because it may look like everything is going to be fine, but when you get down to the bottom of it, it's devastating to any parent that has a special needs child," said Suzie Hargroder, a mother whose child is Autistic.

The bill would get rid of positions, but would create a district office for specific jobs, including special needs.

The State Department of Education says over the last five years, the department's budget has been cut by 28 percent.

A spokesperson says "Cuts are always unfortunate, but they are necessary if we are going to continue to fund our schools."





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