Letters to the Editor: 3/7/19


School Could Serve a Need

Dear Editor:

This is in response the story about the listing of the Ross Lower School on Butter Lane (Sag Harbor Express, February 21).

If you don’t use it, you lose it. This is especially true for those children and teenagers with autism, the latter of which who have already, or, are about to “age out” of the school system. A full 50 percent of those on the autism spectrum are so beset with sensory distortions — physical, visual, auditory and speech problems that they need a regime of occupational therapy (OT) so that their brains’ and bodies’ nerve cells get ongoing stimulation to keep connected to one another, and, from withering away on the vine so to speak.

Those who age out without any proper programs afterwards tend to regress. They need to continue a regime of OT to enhance and reinforce the connections between the axons and dendrites to keep their nerve cells firing away. For example there are therapies for visual and auditory integration; proprioceptive therapies — simple examples of this are jumping on a trampoline, or riding on a horse, or swimming. Or, vestibular stimulation like swinging on various types of swings and in hammocks.  These all lead to an individual learning to “self-regulate” their disregulated sensory systems that are either over-stimulated or under-stimulated. Not to mention the isolation that being aged out of the system brings.

A supportive campus tailored to these individuals’ needs would be a welcome addition to this underserved community. Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data, the rate of autism in 1970 was 1 in 10,000. By 2018 it was 1 in 36. As you can see, there’s a great need.


Julie Penny