I’m somewhat active in the special needs movement (I find the subject more of an overstatement to be honest) in this state. In the last few years as I’ve been more exposed to the insiders and power players, I’ve found out many of these people are aging Baby Boomers who had kids ether in the state’s institution for the developmentally disabled or didn’t and help fight to close it. That institution was the Laconia State School that opened in the turn of the 20th Century and closed in 1991. (for now on, I will refrain from using “LSS” or “Laconia State School” such place in my opinion has escalated to a cliche – especially to the younger generation.)
Which leads to me where I feel there is a disconnect to the special interests groups who have “fought” the system (i.e. being very aggressive – more aggressive than I can ever be) and won by having the place close down. Meaning a new evil would loom within a couple of years.
While I feel the group that closed Laconia, a large generation of people with Down’s, Autism, etc would be born beginning around 1982-86 and indefinitely from 1987 onwards. For some of the 82-86 (basically pre-boom, but much more than people born earlier) they had a decent system, but when the system got oppressive with many more (about the time I was born) this is where the “autism boom”, “tsunami”, etc would begin.
Many students in the State of New Hampshire was placed out of district during their middle school and high school age. For whatever reason the system was ether not tolerant (not just the peers or classmates) but the professionals themselves. They could handle an LD because they can socialize and verbalize just fine, they had zero tolerance of dealing with anyone with severe disabilities,
I have to repeat myself again, back around the late 1990s to even the mid 00s, there was absolutely limited resources – especially in the southern part of this state (again south of Interstates 89 and 393.) The largest communities had very limited information or books or even resources for the love of gawd. The Leach Library (located in Londonderry, where I once lived) had nothing. Zippo. Nadda. Zilch in the bulletin boards, the community flier table, or even a section in the library itself. They had more fictional dramas than non fiction, “real world” books. And the library had enough shelving to grow, but the fiscal “nickel and dimers” have made the library go backwards – but that’s outside the scope of this site.
That observation is as late as 2010, when I moved.
Resources (or the lack thereof) was not the other problem. While Laconia was shut down, it should not be a surprise that children were not treated in the most progressive way as possible. School age that is. One of my programs, the Seacoast Learning Collaborative (or SLC) was one of most aggressive programs for “restraint and seclusion”. What SLC did was basically over-restrained students. In some cases some of the restraints (even if they were properly trained) were just escalating the problems instead of deescalating. While most schools had “in school suspensions”, this would be the “seclusion.” I wasn’t in an alternative school. I didn’t break laws, but for whatever reason having meltdowns in middle school should’ve been treated 100% the same exact way to a “normal” person, so on many days I was sent into our own ISS, in the time out room. Guess when I would go out? I’d get forced out if another student would need to go in there.
(From what I know, a vast majority of the staff left, while another teacher I knew works at an SAU closer to where I live now (as of late 00s) and one of the aides was featured in the pseudo-version of Chronicle produced by the Hearst O&O, WMUR-TV in 2009.)
In short, the generation that experienced Laconia seemed to be short-sided of other issues that would shape the first generation (basically early 80s to early 90s) of autistics.
The next problem impacting my state is the cultural gap. Most of New Hampshire (despite what you get on the Presidential returns) is still pretty conservative. We’re talking like Reagan Republicans or some even stuck in the 1950s way of doing things. Even the most liberal people I would think are pretentious, in terms of tolerance and acceptance. (I have a lot of experiences, so I don’t make statements unless I know for sure I can feel confident saying.)
I live in a very conservative town. During even election years, the local Republicans order them to “Vote the Gang of 7”, since 7 represent my town for state’s House of Representatives in the General Court system. The republicans are sadly not RINOs (or Republicans in Name Only, i.e. old fashioned democracy) and they stick to a flight plan, and if you follow the flight plan of limited government, don’t “Tax and Spend” and stay true to your own words” put it into auto pilot, the state will prosper basically for all the “normal” families non critically disabled people or people who have the money anyways.
Unless you’re autistic and you have a single parent, with low income, living with no siblings, and limited friends, then you’re bleep out of luck.
Conservatives are really sick minded people. They choose a playbook over reality. They will refuse to listen to their constituents because my group (to them) is a “special interest” (yes there IS A STIGMA to being a “special interest” and I am not a moonbat lib like my peers in those same groups, and I’m no Tea Party type – even getting slandered by exes telling me I’m some “conservative” i.e. hard right type!)
They do feel-me-good politics. We cut Medicaid, and We are Proud to do! They really think having Gram falling off the cliff is a political scare tactic! It is not! I have fallen off the cliff on my 21st birthday, and I have tons of witnesses to back me up! But no, happy politics is to just shut the voices of really hopeless people with bloody hearts. And even if we do a bloody heart testimony during the biennial budget season, some will listen – the difference is they will often reverse the “wait list.”
Again, make flight plan of politics when New Hampshire was just farming, put into auto pilot, and the state’s politics and culture will set us back to 2 generations. Is this what the toothless, bushy faced men, whiney girl politicians want? (and people think the stereotypes of autistics are anti social, I think the former stereotypes of the NHGOP would be worse!)
Another threat is the ever so growing number of carpetbaggers of the Tea Party, the libertarians or the ones label themselves as “Free Staters” No I’m not talking about Scott Brown, whose a true RINO. I’m talking about people from other parts of the country moving to this state for the sole reason that it’s one of the most free states of the union. They don’t care about 4 seasons, they don’t care about our natural beauty, they don’t care about the region, all they give a damn about is politics. Isn’t that “narrow minded”, or even “racist” to move to a state for just one purpose? The Free Staters have also accelerated the politics outside the Concord Zip code.
I used to like politics when it was to a certain group and class of people. Once it got democratized after the 2008 Elections, the problem is we see the world in Red and Blue states, attack one group of people as “Tax and Spend Liberals” without any citing sources and the other groups hate “for profits” because “they want to make money” without understanding basic sense of business and operations – and those groups are controlling the narrative for special needs in the future.
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As I tried to remain objective (with some emotional frustrations with the politics in the 603 area code), I feel like a Hopeless Autistic. If the Free Staters and people keep reminding Laconia almost in a droning fashion, nothing will get done and expect on or close to year 2020, where many families or individuals or siblings will start to feel “hopeless”.
Please don’t get me to say “I told you so”