New Nolen center not right for autistic kids

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I am a parent of a severely autistic child. He attends a very special school in Shelby County called the Linda Nolen Learning Center.

Shelby County Schools is stating that they are going to move the LNLC to the Bradford location in Pelham.

They try to make it sound like a wonderful idea. The plan to put Thompson Middle School&8217;s 6th-grade for two years at the Nolen location, while they build a new middle school.

It seems like they are moving the special needs kids to the backwoods in order to relieve the over crowding that they have in the middle school.

I do not know why they don&8217;t use the existing building on U.S. 31 known as the SCISC building to expand the middle school instead of using it for offices. The SCISC used to be a middle school years ago and is equipped with what it would take to reopen it as a middle school.

I have emailed my concern to the school board and two of their members have responded.

I think that it would be a great disaster to move the children with autism. Many of the kids with autism have been at the center for many years. Some have been there for 8, 10 and even 12 years.

The change could and would set many of the children back, cause regression, and be catastrophic to many of those that are severely autistic.

In addition, the location that is being proposed is potentially dangerous for children with autism. There are many wooded locations surrounding the area.

My child and many children with autism are considered runners and exhibit the behavior of running away.

A child would be placed in a great deal of danger if lost and especially if they were lost in a wooded area.

Nancy Owen