I read with dismay the unrealistic and dreadful proposal by New York State and the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in "Historic shift for disabled workers" [News, July 4].

Officials plan to close workshops for the disabled. While the effort to "mainstream" those who are capable of being employed is commendable, it is hardhearted not to recognize the great limitations, both physical and mental, of most of the workers.

My sister is one of them. She's blind and could not possibly be on her own. Many others use wheelchairs or have severe mental limitations. To close those facilities would rob them of safe environments to do some work that does not exist in the mainstream. For most, the workshop is "the most integrated or typical setting possible."

If the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities thinks it's a civil rights issue, pay them minimum wage.

Robert Walderman, Levittown

There have been many logical and justified outcries against closing sheltered workshops ["Outcry over closing sheltered workshops," Letters, July 9].

Closing all the sheltered workshops makes no sense, and behavioral differences can be measured. Therefore, a continuum of alternative placements should be made available to people with handicapping conditions.

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A one-size-fits-all policy should be unacceptable. However, this is a country where a 21-year-old with Down syndrome is called "normal," and is the recipient of a free college education. By law, children with disabilities are entitled to a free education until age 21.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act is severely flawed, and large sections of it should be rewritten.

Jane Goldblatt, East Northport

Editor's note: The writer is a retired teacher.