The notorious autism hate letter that targeted an Ontario family and their autistic child has sparked horror and outrage around the world. As the father of a 17 year old son with severe autistic disorder, profound developmental delays and tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures I recoiled when I heard the news of this hateful act and I believe I have some understanding of how the family felt and hope they are handling it as well as possible. I suspect that the person or persons responsible for this act are now fearful that they may become publicly identified. Why the person felt it necessary to commit such an act is a mystery to me. I am happy to see that people around the world have responded with condemnation of the letter.
At the same time I am disappointed with the lack of reaction to the decision by the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario to write off an autistic child with "global developmental delay" by removing him from an early intervention program. Call it what you want, justify it as you please, but the decision of the CHEO will have a real impact on the child with severe challenges by removing him at a critically important point in his life from the only solidly evidence based intervention for persons with autism and intellectual disability, "global" or not.
Many have speculated about the mental health status of the author of the notorious autism hate letter. The harmful CHEO decision though was made by people whose mental health status is not in doubt, people who know what harm they have done to a child very much in need of their help, people who obviously lack compassion and concern for the well being of the autistic child with "global developmental delay" that they do not want darkening the "outcomes" profile, or assessments, of the services they offer.
A hate letter and a refusal to help. Both are harmful. Neither can be justified.