Daylight Savings Time And Down Syndrome – My Open Letter
I write to you today regarding a most challenging and urgent subject. I am a disabled veteran with five children, one, a special needs child. Contrary to the most popular beliefs that daylight savings time is an easy adjustment, I can assure you from everyday experience it wreaks havoc in our home. Children in general and particularly special needs children need strict routines to function properly. And frankly, any disruption to that routine is calamitous.
If there were any real proof that daylight savings time were an essential practice to the safety, security or the practicality of our existence, then I would certainly hold it to be my civic duty to impose its unduly hardships on my family and me.
As I’m certain you know, the purpose of DST was to save energy and lower usage. However, the facts have not borne out any substantial reduction in usage or increase in savings. In fact, you may well know that recent studies have cast significant doubt that there is any benefit to us as citizens or the power grid as an entity.
But there is, in fact, significant disadvantages. It takes children multiple weeks to recover from the adjustments in changing the clock. It’s the equivalent of having jet lag for these weeks and then just as our bodies are accustomed to these adverse changes we’re forced to reverse DST in the fall causing just as disruptive an effect. In fact, in a recent article in Business Insider cited a 2007 study that indicated we never actually adapt to DST.
Not to mention the physical disruptions DST causes:
“A 2014 study showed that our body’s natural rhythms can be disrupted by the change. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is important in our metabolic activity, immunity, and sleep — it reaches its lowest levels in the middle of the night and peaks in the early morning.” – Business Insider
There are also multiple studies on the adverse health effects of working against our natural clocks by changing our digital ones.
“The Monday and Tuesday after daylight saving time in the spring have also been associated with a 10% increase in heart attacks, according to a 2012 study at the University of Alabama Birmingham.” – CNN
Not to mention some reports of increased traffic accidents and fatalities the Monday and Tuesday after springing forward an hour.
As an experienced parent of typical and special needs children, I can honestly report that this ritual of clock changing is hurting our kids and it needs to stop. It is incredibly difficult to get a child to adjust and even more so for a special needs child whose very existence depends on precisely structured routines.
As a citizen of the Republic of Texas, I think that we should end this absurd ritual, which was started in 1918 and is far past its necessity.
I am pleading with you to draft legislation for the upcoming session that will put an end to this destructive practice. And I am willing to testify before the legislature if needed.
I have had very little success in contacting my representatives and getting any response, but I hope your office is different.