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Old 05-01-2013, 01:06 PM   #1
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Autism. Enough to 'abandon' your child?

'Brutal decision': Couple gives up son with autism to government | CTV News


An Ottawa couple has given up their 19-year-old son with autism to the province, saying they were forced to make the 'absolutely brutal' decision because they can no longer provide the necessary care.

Amanda Telford speaks with CTV News about the decision to leave their son at a government office for adults with disabilities to keep him safe.

Telford, a social worker, said that her son has no sense of danger and is prone to wander in and out of the house. On Monday, he found pills that were securely stored and swallowed 14 of them.

On Tuesday, Amanda Telford walked with her son to the Ottawa office of Developmental Services Ontario -- the office responsible for connecting adults with disabilities with support services.

“You need more than what we can give you right?” she asked her son while walking to the office. “And you know we love you.”

She said the decision was a last resort, as services for adults with developmental disabilities are stretched to the limit and so are the aging parents, like her, who look after them.

“I did everything within the system I could think of to do and I really felt I had no other recourse,” she said.

“It was an absolutely brutal decision,” Telford added.

The decision prompted social services to call police. Telford said they consider Phillip to be abandoned.

The office where Phillip Telford was left said in an email that it was working to make sure there was a “safe solution for the short term for both the young man and his family.”

Amanda Telford said while there is no clear indication what will happen in the long term, she remains hopeful a plan will be found.

“There does appear to be a glimmer of hope at the end of all of this,” she said.

Organizations that work with families like the Telfords say it’s something they see regularly, when many families see autism support services disappear when their children turn 18.

“It happens on almost a daily basis,” Miriam Fry, executive director of the Families Matter Co-operative, said.

“Offspring are being left in (hospital) emergency rooms. Offspring are being left in government offices. There have been cases of murder-suicides. It is definitely a crisis.”

Conservative MP Mike Lake said there has to be resources in place as youth with autism grow into adults. Lake’s son Jaden, 17, has autism.

“When you get to be 18 or 19 years old … there has to be a transition plan as families move into adulthood,” he said.

The Ontario ombudsman is expected to release later this year the results of an investigation into services for adults with autism and other developmental disabilities that was launched last November.

The probe was launched after multiple families complained their loved ones were at risk of being sent to homeless shelters because there was nowhere to care for them. The ombudsman has received reports of more than 700 similar cases.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:29 PM   #2
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Hard to judge unless you are in that position.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:41 PM   #3
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I obviously don't agree with how the parents handled the situation, but I certainly sympathize them.

Sigh...

In some ways, I see parallels between people sending their aging parents to old folks home, and what is happening here. With aging (and usually ailing) parents, I can see how a couple really couldn't afford to spend the time and money to provide the level of care that the aging parents may need, and thus we arrange to have the aging parent live in an old folks / long term care home, where on-site medical staff can at least provide a minimal level of care for them while the couple works and carries on with their lives. There is some amount of government support for this because everybody gets old. But the autism support stops when a kid turns 18 or 19, and not every parent is in the position to look after their autistic child aferwards...

Sigh...
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:10 PM   #4
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I have a foster child with autism, his mom gave gaurdianship to the government because she couldn't provide sufficient care for him. It must be a brutally hard decision, one that none of us could remotely understand unless faced with the situation.

In some cases the child(or adult in this one) will find a great new home and be much happier and healthier than living with the family. However, often times they get bounced around from different group homes or are left with little support.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:14 PM   #5
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I don't think there can be a "yes" or "no" kinda answer to this question. Everyone is different in terms of how much they can handle an issue/problem and the level of 'how much' is subjective for everyone. For me, I wouldn't choose this route if I had a mentally disabled child but that's just me. Like the poster above, I sympathize the parents.

Just because they gave up their right to their son, does not mean they love their child any less than the day he was born. Instead, they chose to leave him in the professional and educated hands of good samaritans who dedicate their life to caring for this group of individuals. It probably wasn't an easy decision, but in their minds it was the right decision and who are we to tell them they are wrong? There are so many factors that probably played out before they made the decision..but I can tell you it probably took them years to make the final "alright I'm going to do this." YOu don't just give up your child after 1 day of thought.

Do you know how hard it is to leave your child? and worse, in the care of strangers? Hell, my mom wouldn't even let us get babysat when we were kids because she would miss us from the time she left to the time she arrives home. Remember the first time in Kindergarten? Chances are, your mom probably cried as she dropped you off thinking "OMG..my baby is all grown up." If you didn't make her stay outside the door (which is what my mom had to do once out of 3 kids), she would probably stand by the door the whole day to see if you were alright and make sure you're not getting bullied.

Now I'm not a parent, but I am parental figure to my niece who lives in my house and I can tell you help raising a child is TOUGH but it doesn't make me love her any less. She throws tantrums, she cries, she laughs, she breaks stuff, she says things she shouldn't sometimes etc etc...but that's because she's 5 and we're teaching her everyday how to be the best person she can be when she is all grown up. As parents/parental figures, you ALWAYS want the best for your child no matter the issue. We have to make sacrifices and choices that aren't always the easiest but in the end..it's always about the child. That's what being a parent is all about.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:42 PM   #6
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I worked with a girl whos older brother had severe autism. He ended up passing away while I worked with her.

Her parents made a ton of sacrifices. I mean, they had money so they weren't scraping by, but they couldn't travel. The mother couldn't work. It changed their entire lives.

When his son died, her father basically said that he is horribly gutted by the loss of his son, but happy in a way to have his life back.

Harsh, harsh words...but true.

These families cannot be left on their own. You can't lock a parent into a lifetime of child care. It's just not fair.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:46 PM   #7
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Euthanasia should be an option for kids born with major debilitating diseases. IMO
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:54 PM   #8
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so you want to give parents the option to euthanise any special needs kids up till they are adult? or beyond?

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Euthanasia should be an option for kids born with major debilitating diseases. IMO
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:58 PM   #9
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And we are against:
1. Institutionalizing people. (Riverview etc)
2. Allowing people to congregate in DTES so mental health care can be more efficiently dispensed.

and do it on the same budget?

We mind as well add we want skittle pooping unicorns too.

I am not saying you are wrong, but all options are horrible options and it seems that we are paralysed to pick any of it.


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I worked with a girl whos older brother had severe autism. He ended up passing away while I worked with her.

Her parents made a ton of sacrifices. I mean, they had money so they weren't scraping by, but they couldn't travel. The mother couldn't work. It changed their entire lives.

When his son died, her father basically said that he is horribly gutted by the loss of his son, but happy in a way to have his life back.

Harsh, harsh words...but true.

These families cannot be left on their own. You can't lock a parent into a lifetime of child care. It's just not fair.

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Old 05-01-2013, 06:05 PM   #10
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Euthanasia should be an option for kids born with major debilitating diseases. IMO
There aren't many "major debilitating diseases", in any case, Autism definitely isn't one of them.. Off the top of my head, I can't really think of a major debilitating disease.

I worked with a special needs day camp for a few years and as soon as the kid turns 19, he is kicked out of the camp. It's very brutal actually.
They aren't really even given any transition training or anything, the govt just stops funding them and they're left to fend for themselves.

Having a child with a special need is one of the hardest things to deal with ever. The parents of these children are so strong and amazing. I don't think I could go through what they do.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:11 PM   #11
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There aren't any major debilitating diseases with our modern unlimited (front end) free healthcare can't fix. eg People with Down syndrome used to die early around 20s in the last century but they live past 60s or longer now.

Not to mention the fact that like it or not genetically influenced problems then to crop up when the parents (either male or female) are older. When people have kids in their teens, their offsprings have a lower statistically chance to have potentially genetically originated problems. Autism spectrum is definitely one of those.

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There aren't many "major debilitating diseases", in any case, Autism definitely isn't one of them.. Off the top of my head, I can't really think of a major debilitating disease.

I worked with a special needs day camp for a few years and as soon as the kid turns 19, he is kicked out of the camp. It's very brutal actually.
They aren't really even given any transition training or anything, the govt just stops funding them and they're left to fend for themselves.

Having a child with a special need is one of the hardest things to deal with ever. The parents of these children are so strong and amazing. I don't think I could go through what they do.

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Old 05-01-2013, 07:05 PM   #12
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I think some families have no choice for a variety of reason, which is sad but we can't judge. I'd say close to 90% of RSers do not have children and can't even fathom the toll it takes on a person to struggle to raise a child with severe developmental disabilities. I don't think love has anything to do with it. I find it sad that these poor people are in the news....they don't need this on top of what they are going through.

The province needs a better plan in regards to funding, programs, and help for families with developmental disabilities but unfortunately these issues are consistently push aside and are often to first to have money taken away.

Anyone remember the Community Living BC controversies within the last 2 years?? Housing closed, jobs lost, funding removed all while the people who run CLBC are raking in the money.

Not to mention as of recently:

B.C. plans to slash funding for adults with disabilities - Local - Times Colonist

Parents will get to the point where they have no choice but to surrender the adult children to the system as they will be too old and frail to deal with severely disabled children.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:16 PM   #13
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Per the commends, apparently the mom is a social worker herself.

Must be even harder for the family.

'Exhausted' parents leave autistic son at government office - Ottawa - CBC News
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:20 PM   #14
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The way I look at it, if you can't take care of the child, giving them to someone who can is the best choice compared to giving them a shitty life and probably not a very long one. Responsible adults are responsible.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:23 PM   #15
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This couple is going to catch a LOT of shit from the wrong kind of people, but if this decision is what's best for the child, then it's the right one bottom line.
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Euthanasia should be an option for kids born with major debilitating diseases. IMO

Just because someone is autistic (mentally handicapped, down syndrome, or even being schizo etc) doesn't mean they're doomed. In fact, there was a show on recently about Autism; One story which was about this autistic young man that is doing amazing things with his life despite his condition.

He is a little bit older, probably in his mid 20s that just started his own..company or something...it was related to numbers (Autistic individuals LOVE numbers) IIRC and he was able to hold a full conversation for the interview.

People with autism are usually really shy, don't like to converse and are very socially awkward. However, this guy just took it upon himself to learn how to be more outgoing, to learn how to interact with others, learned all these types of thing because when he was young..he knew what he had and took it upon himself to be the best that he can be. HE said growing up it was tough being "that guy" because it literally freaked the hell out of him but all it took was perserverance and courage. When I watched the show, I couldn't even tell he had autism.

There are so many people (not saying the quoted member is one of these people or anything) who undermind mentally disabled individuals because of the circumstances. They aren't freaks who dont know anything. There are plenty of people who are super bright but unfortunately has a disability.

Take a look at this video as well. Another amazing story of a young woman who is autistic that is SUPER bright.


If this happened to me, the only reason where I would ever consider putting down a child is maybe if the child was born a vegetable, deaf and blind (I do believe this is called 'locked in syndrome') and had a confirmed ZERO chance of surviving. OR if the fetus was tested positive that the child will be born with a disability (Down syndrome etc etc)...which all in all, is abortion.

Side note: women over 35 (maybe even 30 now) are tested to see if their baby will suffer from down syndrome during weeks 15-20. This is not something new nor made up.
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:54 PM   #17
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Side note: women over 35 (maybe even 30 now) are tested to see if their baby will suffer from down syndrome during weeks 15-20. This is not something new nor made up.
All women now have blood tests to determine whether their children will be born with Spina bifida and Down syndrome during weeks 12-15. This may be new, but it's done no matter what age (afaik).
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:13 PM   #18
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If the people allowed their child to end up on the streets without appropriate action taken, like so many people with mental illness, only then is it fair to be really called abandonment. They are taking steps to at least get him the help he needs. I can't imagine how tough it must be.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:51 PM   #19
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I wouldn't really call it abandonment. I'd be thankful that we live in a country that gives families this option. think about what would happen to this kid in other countries.....

I have a child, and lucky me, she has no dissabilities, and thank ceiling cat for that. I couldn't imagine raising a child with autism, and these parents did it for 19 years! If they think it's best for the 'child' to be given to the province, then that unfortunately must be the best option for the kid.

I hope the family doesn't receive any more bad media attention for this
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:50 AM   #20
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Not to sound callous but am I in the minority if I would have given it up in the beginning?

Personally, if it was me with autism, especially a severe degree of it, I'd rather not live. Being mindless but having a functioning body is not living at all (philosophers have argued that what separates us from animals is our consciousness yet in this case we aren't even left with the instincts of animals to survive independently) and I'd rather my family not have to sacrifice their lives and be burdened with taking care of me.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:58 AM   #21
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Not to sound callous but am I in the minority if I would have given it up in the beginning?

Personally, if it was me with autism, especially a severe degree of it, I'd rather not live. Being mindless but having a functioning body is not living at all and I'd rather my family not have to sacrifice their lives and be burdened with taking care of me.

Your an idiot. Not all people with severe autism are mindless and have a functional body. Do your research before you make such an ignorant comment.
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:03 AM   #22
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^Stuck making decisions at the level of a 12 year old isn't exactly what I call having a mind

Although I understand that the law values the sanctity of life, my preference is for myself only. It's not something I'm trying to impose on others.
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:06 AM   #23
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Not to sound callous but am I in the minority if I would have given it up in the beginning?

Personally, if it was me with autism, especially a severe degree of it, I'd rather not live. Being mindless but having a functioning body is not living at all (philosophers have argued that what separates us from animals is our consciousness yet in this case we aren't even left with the instincts of animals to survive independently) and I'd rather my family not have to sacrifice their lives and be burdened with taking care of me.
You clearly have no fucking clue what autism is, and the varying degrees of it. I have a friend who's son has a form of it, and he's far from "better off dead." He's a happy healthy young guy who can't manage to speak. He runs, jumps, climbs, smiles and laughs with the best of them, and understands things. He just can't communicate. You don't sound callous, you just sound uneducated.
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:10 AM   #24
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^Point taken. I can see how that sounds insensitive and my apologies to those I have offended (it is these incidents that will help me to formulate a better opinion on things in the future). You are right I am not familiar with the degrees of it although I am aware of Asperger's syndrome.

However, i'm mainly basing my current understanding of autism on the severe degree exhibited by the individual in this article and video alone.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:38 AM   #25
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Not to sound callous but am I in the minority if I would have given it up in the beginning?

Personally, if it was me with autism, especially a severe degree of it, I'd rather not live. Being mindless but having a functioning body is not living at all (philosophers have argued that what separates us from animals is our consciousness yet in this case we aren't even left with the instincts of animals to survive independently) and I'd rather my family not have to sacrifice their lives and be burdened with taking care of me.
This is why we can never be held to make the "right" decision in a matter of who is worthy of life, and who is not.

How do you possibly make a line in the sand that this person is too far gone to have a quote, "productive" life? And who determines "productivity"? Maybe you hear voices, and think the earth is about to eat you...but you collect bottles and divert them from the landfill. Sure, in the scheme of things, its not a noble profession, but newsflash, neither is 90% of the useless shit most of us do for a living.

If we can't stand for the people that need us the most, then we stand for nothing!

Those that follow my posts would know I'm a fairly conservative person in terms of my thoughts on government size, and spending.

But I'm also logical.

If you have a person that is determined to be at a 12 year old level...then what sense does it have to age this person out of the system at 18?

What wonderful miracle of life development do you think is going to occur suddenly that this person will become self-sufficient?
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