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LETTERS: Minister’s ‘crying’ gesture showed lack of empathy for children with autism

Editor:

There was a recent exchange in the legislature between Nicholas Simons, minister of social development and poverty reduction, and Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford, where the minister mocked Mr. Halford who was speaking about children and youth in B.C. who have an autism diagnosis.

Instead of showing any knowledge or compassion on the subject, Min. Simons’ response was a derisive crying gesture, as if to say “cry me a river.”

As the parent of a teenager with autism and an intellectual disability I was more than offended by this immature, hurtful display and I wonder how the constituents of Simons’ Powell River riding feel about this?

Rather than keep a successful program that has been operating for 20 years, the NDP government is taking away individualized funding for children with autism and replacing it with a “one-size-fits-all” program that is doomed to fail all disability groups.

Kids with autism are mere collateral damage to the likes of Min. Simons.

By all means, the government should be addressing the needs of all neuro-diverse children in the province and Min. Simons and his NDP colleagues should be engaging in meaningful consultation with the autism community rather than showing a lack of empathy for vulnerable children who cannot speak for themselves.

Louise Witt, Surrey

Letter to the EditorProvincial Government