State budget cuts taking a toll on Houston kids with special needs

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HOUSTON – Kids with special needs are facing a whole new set of challenges in the wake of state budget cuts.

According to a report by ‘Texans Care for Children, over 2,500 Gulf Coast babies and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays have missed out on special services called ‘Early Childhood Intervention.

Tenesha Fields, son, Matthew was born prematurely and suffered a stroke at birth which presents many developmental challenges.

“He has occupational therapy twice a week, physical therapy once a week, speech therapy once a week, and a nutritionist,” Fields said. “And he also has play therapy through the program.”

She says ECI has been a miracle for her son.

“Now since he’s been in this program, he’s walking with a walker, he can walk with a…holding onto something by his self,” Fields said. “He’s taken steps on his own.”

But with budget cuts, she doesn’t know what she’s going to do now.

“That is so devastating because I don’t know where I would be with Matthew if they weren’t there,” Fields said. “The program started helping me at when he was 6 months old.”

Another mom, Laurie Foster said here twin boys have food allergies and other challenges that they deal with everyday.

“It’s been super hard! I mean, the expense alone having to buy soy-free, dairy-free, formula,” Foster insisted.

The ECI program helps her family get help from nutritionists and even speech therapists, but with budget cuts those services could change dramatically.

“We’ll have to re evaluate which programs, which services we’ll keep on,” Foster said.

“This program is very important. I mean, there’s other parents that need the program,” Fields suggested. “There’s no reason why a budget cut for children….I mean, when there could be budget cuts for other things but for children that need the assistance this program is very important.”


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