Lu Etta Loeber: Yes on 51 | SteamboatToday.com

Lu Etta Loeber: Yes on 51

— I must take issue with your Oct. 29 editorial recommending a “no” vote on Amendment 51, which would provide services for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

An autism spectrum disorder is one of many developmental disabilities, but ASD is the fastest growing disability among children, surpassing childhood diabetes. If you don’t know someone with ASD and its related disability, you will soon. One out of every 150 children – and even more startling, one out of every 94 boys – are diagnosed with an ASD each year. Here in Northwest Colorado, the families we serve substantiate these statistics.

You suggest waiting until 2009 for the state to find a way to cut other services to fund these services. This is not realistic when the Legislature faces, as you pointed out, “incredible budgetary challenges.” ASD is a life-long disorder. The fact is, the state can pay for vital services now, or pay many times over later when our individuals lose or fail to gain the skills enabling them to be contributing members of our state and our county.

Amendment 51 will cost us, as citizens, very little in the short term and make a huge difference to the families that need our help. Under this amendment, in 2009 and 2010, the amount collected on a $10 purchase would be 2 cents.

The toll that this disorder takes on families emotionally and financially is not measurable. I ask this community to vote “yes” on Amendment 51.

Lu Etta Loeber

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Executive director,

Yampa Valley Autism Program