Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2 Harmful Acts: Autism Hate Letter And CHEO Removing Autistic Child With GDD From Early Intervention Program

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.


Unknown said...

I completely agree with you in respect to the shameful actions of CHEO with respect to the way they treat children on the severe end of the spectrum. You have nailed it. It is all about their research interests and acheiving a certain "success" rate, which they define as a child being able to attend school without special education. Yup, it is all about saving the province money. Not about helping disabled children have better lives.

Unknown said...

You nailed it with respect to CHEO. This is all about research interests and "success rates" which are narrowly defined as a child who goes on to school without needing special education. This is about saving money for the province and not improving the quality of life of children with severe autism. They do not want children who they have tagged with the label GDD in their program.
By the way, great blog!

Astrid said...

I am saddened by the CHEO decision too. It'snot like severely autistic children do not need services. I guess they too this action to make sur eoutcomes are good on average, even though outcomes should be based on relative progress.

As for the hate letter, I do not want to speculate about hte writer's mental health. It's irrelevant, after all. This letter is hateful and it's not like the family would be any less affecte if the writer had had mental health problems.