I am opposed to closing Montana Developmental Center. I know from experience that M.D.C. works to stabilize and treat people with serious disabilities and behavioral issues.

My granddaughter was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome at age 2. She has impaired cognitive skills and physical limitations and was diagnosed bipolar. She is 19 years old with many challenges. My daughter kept her home until the overall effects on the family became overwhelming. My granddaughter threatened suicide, and had tremendous anxiety and angry outbursts. She was on five to six medications. By age 16, she had spent time at Acadia, the Texas Neuro Rehab Center, the Cottonwood Treatment Center in Utah, a group home in Billings and a group home in Terry. None met her needs; it added to her anxiety and behavioral issues.

My granddaughter resided at the Montana Development Center for 1 and ½ years and made significant progress. M.D.C. monitored and managed her medications, reducing them to two a day. M.D.C. staff worked with her and she made great progress in managing her anxieties and adapting better social skills. She was more focused and carried on a more sensible conversation, an indication of how she grew and advanced at M.D.C.

My granddaughter currently resides at a Montana group home. She has her first job, first checking account and as normal an adult life as she can have.

Montana's special needs children and adults deserve the best opportunities available. We should not be cutting services provided at Montana Developmental Center, we should be increasing them.

-- Gail Beckham, Box 2155, Colstrip