A Live Controversy

Welcome. By establishing this site, the authors of A Live Controversy have placed for your perusal a great number of the letters and reports that were not provided in our book. Moreover, we have included within the site video clips of our son, Mark Hartmann, as he grew-up and navigated through the public school system as a fully included student with autism. We have also placed a photo album, primarily of Mark, on the site for your viewing. Our goal in doing all of this is to promote discussion of our experiences as it concerns Mark in the classroom as well as to provide parents and educators with a case study that they can use in working through their own educational challenges for the betterment of the child involved.

As the parents of a young man with autism, the authors have a profound appreciation for the circumstances that families confront throughout our great nation as they seek an appropriate education for their child with a severe disability within the Least Restricted Environment. Enlightened educators become the keystone for these families as they work through all of the issues involved to develop an educational program that is right for the individual child. From our perspective, acceptable outcomes for the child, both from the parents’ viewpoint as well as society’s perspective, must be the measure of a winning educational program.

Concerning outcomes, the authors fully support the development of appropriate community services for people with disabilities. Our view is that this is not limited to education, but transcends into adulthood and includes transition programs, job training programs, making state-of-the-art communication methods available, as well as the promotion of full access, respect and dignity for everyone with a disability. Furthermore, we are adamant that parents and community leaders should vow not to separate people with disabilities from their roots, their communities ... nor agree to give serious drugs to children with disabilities to control their behaviors. As members of our societies, all of us must honor and respect the basic human rights that are inherent in the human spirit and strive to understand the dignity, freedom, and yearning for independence that drives that spirit. This is the least that we can do for those who cannot do for themselves.