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05/27/11

Dear Mr. Cerna:

As a person with visual problems and other disabilities, I am very conserned that the needs of children with disabilities are not a focus of early learning and K-12 education.

When I was a child, in the 70's, I and my sister were evaluated from early childhood. I have copies of letters dealing with eye exams, etc., for first grade. This helped us keep up and excel in school. in fact, every child was evaluated before beginning school for visual, hearing, and other things that impede learning.

The Leave No Child Behind law downplays this PROACTIVE evaluation drastically. Emphasis is placed on "remedial" or after the fact help, for students that are "falling behind". "Remedial" infers the child is stupid or the teacher failed somehow.On the other hande,le proper accommidations from the Kindergarden or before shows the child is smart. In addition, No CHILD LEFT BEHIND does not fund accommidations, so, many schools, including those in Washington State, cut funds for these services first, saying: "we need to benefit the most children," etc. Or they go to court to avoid providing these services.

My own neice in Texas was put in this position last year. Neither her parents or school not been tested her hearing and vision. my neice is in third grade. My family has an heritary syndrome.

To prevent this happening to other children, it is imparative that money be focused on early childhood diagnosis and treatment of vision, hearing, and other disabilities. That way more children will succeed in school. I hope the Gates Foundation is funding this area of early education.

Sincerely,
Kathaline Hansen

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