Julie Green: The Other Side of the Coin


Autism Isn't Just My Problem, Doug Ford. It's Yours, Too

Keep Special Needs Kids Out Of My Backyard

doug ford autism

If it's not one Ford brother, it's the other. Seriously it's like a tag team of cringe. Doug is currently grabbing headlines while his more famous brother—disgraced mayor Rob—visits rehab via cottage country.

When the city councillor isn't busy defending his brother, he's bemoaning the existence of an Etobicoke residential centre for people with development disabilities. Ford is appealing to have the Griffin Centre relocated. As in, Not in my backyard, thanks...

"You can't destroy a community like this. People have worked 30 years for their home..." said Ford. "My heart goes out to kids with autism. But no one told me they’d be leaving the house."

Unfortunately his 'Not My Problem' attitude is telling and not uncommon. 

This brand of thinking leads not only to precious funding and job cuts, it in itself leads to the destruction of communities and the hardening of hearts.

If developmental services are in crisis, then it's not just my problem, it's society's problem. So claims Donna Thomson, author of The Four Walls of My Freedom and advocate for her son Nicholas, who has cerebral palsy.

Toronto Mayoral candidate John Tory nailed it when he said that Doug's comments hail from another age—one in which people with disabilities were best kept out of sight and out of mind:

"Today, we know what is best for us and best for [people with disabilities] is to include them in every possible way—at school and in our community," wrote Tory. "For Doug Ford to express surprise that kids with autism would 'be leaving the house' is incredibly out of touch and insensitive."

Conditions like autism are pervasive. There will come a time in the not-so-distant future when everyone—yes, even the Fords—will be directly affected by a developmental disorder. What will happen when someone Doug loves gets diagnosed and struggles to gain support? Heaven forbid. 

My heart goes out to Doug Ford—and his incorrigible brother for that matter. No one told me they would open their mouths. And here I am, still waiting for something nice to come out.

Got autism? Better have deep pockets. 

Image credit: Flickr | HiMY SYeD