Tax Break for Parents and Guardians of Special Needs Children

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We, the Undersigned, are parents, guardians, friends or family members of special needs children. Every year during tax preparation time, we find that there are no tax breaks for the inordinate amount of money we spend on our childrens needs. Parents of healthy children get tax breaks for college tuition, yet no one is required to attend. The parents of special needs children, who may or may not ever be able to attend college, do not get tax breaks at all.

Parents pay thousands of dollars yearly in educational and therapeutic bills which the school districts and/or insurance do not pick up. NCLB and IDEA may try to force the districts to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education for our children, but the districts are understaffed and underfunded. They find ways around them or try to fool uneducated, unsuspecting parents so that the districts dont have to spend money. Rural and poorer school districts just dont have the tax base to support these programs in addition to NCLBs unfunded mandate.

Even if the districts can afford them, many schools will not use programs or therapies they do not consider educationally proven. Yet many of these programs, such as ABA and Fast ForWord, have had much success outside of the educational world. There is a great deal of misinformation about many of these programs. That many of this countrys educators and doctors are uneducated about programs and therapies for educating children with a disorder as epidemic as autism is unconscionable, yet it is reality.

Because of these factors, parents are literally on their own, and spend exorbitant amounts of money on these programs and therapies in order that their children can attempt to live in society one day. Many of these programs are cost-prohibitive and most are not considered to be medical expenses. Having a tax break will also give money back to the parents, which they can then spend in the economy.

We believe there should be both Federal and State tax breaks for parents who pay these extra costs. We are not paying for these programs and therapies because we enjoy it our children need them, and we are trying to make sure that our children reach their full potential. Not being able to live productive lives only ends up costing all taxpayers more in the long run, especially when our children have to live off the government. The investment now will reap rewards later in many ways.

With this petition, we ask our Senators and Representatives to sponsor a bill allowing parents and guardians of special needs children to deduct their educational and therapeutic costs from their State and Federal income tax returns.