The Life of Ryan Dalit in the USA
At age 4 Ryan was receiving treatment for his severe language deficit at The Callier School for Speech and hearing in Dallas Texas. When testing revealed he had mild IDD he was thrown out of the school with no provisions for further treatment. Ryan then started Kindergarten in the Fort Worth ISD. Ryan was placed in a class of 26 students and in his IEP hearing we asked for a whole class assistant to help his teacher administer his IEP but this was denied. When Ryan was in the second grade most of his time was spent in special education classes and he was receiving Speech Therapy. In the fifth grade I found out his special education teachers were being used to tutor neurotypical kids for the " Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Test" which Ryan did not take. Ryan was being taught by other kids or left with a coloring book. We were heartbroken. We removed Ryan from school and placed him in a new private school for kids with IDD in Arlington Texas. Ryan still needed Speech Therapy so we asked the local school district to provide him with Speech Therapy. Under recent changes in Texas Education policy they stated they could not provide direct services and denied him an IEP. I filed a formal complaint with the US Secretary of Education, Pastranack, under the IDEA. Since Ryan was denied an IEP this was a decrease in his rights under the IDEA and a violation of the IDEA. In a 5 page legal rebuttal I received back from the US Department of Education their lawyers stated it was Congress's intent to deny my son the right to speech services in a private school setting. I later found out that the ISD we applied to got $4500 in federal funds for just identifying Ryan in their district but Ryan got nothing. Our health insurance would not pay for his Speech Therapy as they said that was the school's responsibility and we could not afford therapy and private school together. Ryan was on the Texas HCS waiver wait list for 18 years while Texas was in total violation of the Olmstead mandate for a "reasonably rapidly moving Medicaid waiver wait list". I testified in every Texas legislative session of those 18 year but it just got worse. In my last testimony I told the legislators that Texas now has 107,000 people with IDD on the HCS wait list and based on the last 10 year performance of the waitlist , people just getting on the list, can expect to wait 97 years for a new HCS slot! The legislators all acted shocked but nothing changed as they only allocated 600 new slots a year for the next two years. I tried for over 8 years to get Ryan into federal court to address this violation of his civil rights under Olmstead. This was the first time I realized Ryan has no 1st amendment civil right to address his grievance in court. Disability Rights Texas, Inc., our P&A, refused to help Ryan about 8 times. I also found out that all other legal pro bono organizations do not do 'IDD". Ryan's worst social rejection actually came from the CEO of the Texas Civil Rights Project who totally, face to face, "ghosted" him because she knew he had IDD and we were looking for help. I was actually told by someone in a national pro bono legal help organization that they were afraid their donors would think IDD issues were a waste of their money. Since the last election Ryan's disenfranchisement was complete. I have helped Ryan vote since he was 18. Now under Texas voter suppression law I can be charged with a felony if I jester at the ballot. Just before this recent election the Texas AG formed a voter fraud committee with a "report your neighbor hotline". Not only that he published instructions to voters to be on the lookout for people assisting other voters! So when I was trying to help Ryan vote I was elbow to elbow with other voters and Ryan cannot read or understand complex language. I was terrified to point at who I knew Ryan wanted to vote for. Ryan was totally lost on the ballot and voting at random. I was devastated and felt guilty because I did not help him. So when all of IDD advocacy and academics refuse to even discuss a very important issue relating to Ryan's civil rights, his disenfranchisement is complete, he is "Dalit" in the USA.