Maine’s legislators have an opportunity to change lives by voting for LD 1984, a bill eliminating waiting lists for adults with disabilities to receive assistance.

I have three children, two of whom have autism and receive special education services. My daughter, Allison, will be 17 this summer – the age at which many students with disabilities start the transition from public school to adult services. Several people I know have gone through this arduous process. This transition is often described as “falling off the cliff of no services,” because when students with disabilities become adults, available services often decline, and these individuals are frequently left with nothing. No therapies, services, social programs, employment opportunities, behavioral health, medical care – nothing. Young adults sit home without assistance because funding is not available. They sit on waiting lists hoping something will open up, sometimes waiting for years.

Due to Allison’s hard work, she’s progressed in communication, social, independence, and employment skills. However, like many individuals with developmental disabilities, Allison can regress and even lose skills previously mastered if she goes even a short time without receiving support.

With assistance, people with developmental disabilities can achieve employment, greater independence, and a high quality of life. I request our legislators’ support for LD 1984 so that my daughter, the many currently on waitlists, and those who’ll need services in the future, will receive the assistance they need without interruption. Let’s provide them with the best possible future. No more “falling off the cliff” after high school graduation!

Jennifer Brooking

Cape Elizabeth

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