I have lived with cerebral palsy all my life, use a wheelchair, and had the priceless support from my family and community around me as a young boy. That’s why the recent story of Brenda Millson and her grandson Max extremely disappoints me and has me very, very concerned. Max is 13 years old and has autism. Ms. Millson had an anonymous letter delivered to her in Newcastle, Ont. suggesting the family either leave the neighborhood or Max … well, you read the letter below.
This type of behavior is sad, on so many levels. It is also darn right scary for people with disabilities to have people who have such attitudes. Horrifying, in fact. And it lends itself to ask countless questions: what would cause someone to do this; do we need more public awareness campaigns, starting with government and the non-profit organizations representing disability, challenging and remember to include people with disabilities; do we need to provide better support systems to include people with disabilities in communities, creating even more understanding; do we take a deep look at ourselves and re-examine our own beliefs; do we …?
I feel terrible for Max and his family. In an ever-increasing population it is indeed a shame we, as a society, have not embraced one another more—despite our abilities and disabilities. I am hopeful, though, this is an isolated incident will create discussion and education. In the end, the community around Max will support him and give him everything he need to succeed. I have faith it people. I speak from experience.
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