Child with Down syndrome has been a privilegeRecent...


October 29, 1997

Child with Down syndrome has been a privilege

Recent articles concerning the Hagerstown couple's lawsuit on behalf of their son have prompted me to respond. I am the mother of three children ages 12 through 18, and an experienced health professional.

Raising our daughter, a child with Down syndrome (not a ''Down syndrome child''), has been a privilege, not a burden. When she has needed services not available at school we have sought them out, just as we took her to preschool, dance and piano lessons, camps and church activities. This is no different from our commitments to baseball, Boy Scouts, and music lessons for her brothers.

She attends our neighborhood high school, is a confident and independent young lady, not scorned by peers, and is well-accepted by her brothers' friends.

The Shulls seem to be suffering from the currently popular lTC ''victim mentality,'' an attitude determined to sap all joy. Raising a child with Down syndrome has not ruined our lives! Our marriage is stable, our children well-adjusted, our careers intact, our friends many. We need no respite from our daughter.

Your readers should know that there are tremendous resources available to families, including parent support groups, adoption services, and the National Down Syndrome Congress.

Denise J. McKinney


Billing department deserves credit

I was gratified to see a reference to the success of this office in The Sun's Oct. 26 reprint of the Time article, ''Where Does the Money Go?'' Erik Larson writes, ''The [third party billing] office is vigorously seeking reimbursement and has managed to recoup $13.3 million in just . . . 10 months.''

I was, however, troubled that the same paragraph referred to the billing department's supervisor's resistance to seeking reimbursement. This implied that one and the same individual was responsible for both past failure and present success. This is not true. The individuals who stymied Medicaid recovery are gone.

As many players have been cited by name in the article, I wish you would acknowledge the current director of third party billing activities, Lin Leslie. Ms. Leslie was for years a lone voice crying for a commitment of resources and effort to make Medicaid recovery a reality for Baltimore. It was only in late 1995 that she was finally given a green light to have a go at it, with something of a threat that her neck was on the block if she failed.

Since then, we have brought in $37 million to support children's health and special education initiatives in Baltimore. Baltimore's story may be a checkered affair, but Lin Leslie's visionary push to improve things for our children must clearly be credited as an unqualified success.

Benjamin Feldman


The writer is the Baltimore public schools' technical coordinator for third party billing.

Where are the fans at Ravens games?

The scene at Memorial Stadium during the Steelers game was an embarrassing statement about Baltimore's fans. Why are thousands of season ticket holders selling their tickets for games like this?

Every game, I'm one of the few fans in my section (U39) cheering loudly for the Ravens. The majority of spectators nearby are either quietly watching or rooting for the other team. Is Baltimore no longer an NFL city?

Norman Yow

Fairfax, Va.

Praising the rich, ignoring the poor

Nothing in Peter A. Jay's mean-spirited opinion piece Oct. 23 (''Coca-Cola, Daddy Warbucks and other millionaires'') says to me he cares a whit about social and economic justice.

He sees nothing wrong in a system that enables Bill Gates, the Waltons, the Goizuetas to rake in unlimited billions while one-third of Baltimore's children grow up in poverty.

Conservatives are typically cowards. They extol the powerful while lecturing the powerless, the voiceless, the underpaid, the homeless about ''family values'' and responsibilities.

Mr. Jay quotes W. S. Gilbert. I shall quote Justice Louis Brandeis: ''We can have democracy or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few -- we cannot have both.''

The fact that we have more people in prisons and more children in poverty than any other country speaks to us.

Instead of praising billionaires, it would be nice if Mr. Jay would praise a $6-an-hour grocery truck driver who is trying to support a family or a young mother (deserted by her husband) with two small children, trying to find a decent job, decent affordable day care, decent affordable housing, decent affordable health care.

Peter Jay, George Will, Mona Charen, Cal Thomas and William Kristol should stop lecturing us about how the rich started from nothing and ''made it.''

All we working-class stiffs want is a decent job so we can live with dignity.

Gerald Ben Shargel


Thanks for praising volunteers' works

The Sun's Oct. 20 article ''Fire Museum's volunteer crew'' is commendable for acknowledging the charitable deeds performed by our community's public service workers that are ++ usually ignored.

For 26 years the Fire Museum of Maryland has entertained and instructed crowds of people, and for the duration of its existence, volunteers have been responsible for its maintenance and decorative appeal. These behind-the-scenes workers are recognized annually at a banquet, but every single visitor to the Fire Museum benefits from their perseverance and dedication in taking excellent care of this educational and recreational facility.

These volunteers should be praised for all they have done for the community and encouraged to pursue their tasks with pride in their service to the city of Baltimore.

Erica M. Zilioli


Stock market nothing but legalized gambling

Bill Atkinson did a good job with the Oct. 19 article, ''A decade after the crash.'' He could have added that the stock market is legalized gambling, just like dog and horse racing, cock and dog fights, lotteries, etc.

B. J. Small


Pub Date: 10/29/97

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