Developmentally disabled children need our support

It is discouraging to read of neighborhood opposition to a residential home in the Town of Tonawanda that will be used to serve developmentally disabled children. Thanks to Bruce Andriatch for the enlightened and compassionate viewpoint expressed in his Oct. 9 column. Rather than dwelling on the negative aspects of this situation, it offers an opportunity to highlight the pressing needs of the developmentally disabled population in our community.
Until you have walked in the shoes of a parent of a developmentally disabled child, as I have, you have no idea of the overwhelming need for housing and services for this large and special population of people who cannot advocate or care for themselves. Our sweet and loving daughter, Elena, is 25 and thanks to incredible organizations like People Inc. and many others, she has enjoyed a robust quality of life. At a time when her age peers are attending graduate school, getting jobs and preparing for marriage, our angel revels in the simple joys of life and spreads love and compassion wherever she goes. She is not atypical, nor are the other five girls in her group home whose neighbors in Getzville welcomed them with open arms.
Elena is just one example of thousands of individuals in our community whose families face the unrelenting burden of caring for loved ones who will never “grow up.” The needs have never been greater, yet the funding and support from the public sector have never been so threatened.
Bill Collins