At Surrey Place we are committed to ensuring people living with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have every opportunity to live full and inclusive lives.
We provide evidence-based treatment to children and youth diagnosed with ASD, in Toronto. In the wake of the tragic event that occurred on Monday April 23rd in Toronto, it is natural for all of us to ask “Why did this happen – how did this happen – what would lead someone to do something so horrific?”
Rationalizing the actions of the individual somehow makes us believe that it’s easier to comprehend the why, how and what. However, in the days since the tragic event many in the media and former classmates of the individual have suggested that the suspect has autism. The reporting has been about the individual’s lack of social interaction and repetitive behaviours.
We ask that those reporting on this tragic event and people in our communities to pause, to take some time to understand what ASD is and not associate living with ASD as a motive to committing senseless acts of violence. People living with ASD face many challenges with communication and social interaction and the reporting and misinformation about ASD has damaging and lasting consequences for our clients, families and caregivers.
Surrey Place wants members of the community and the media to understand that there is no evidence linking ASD with violent crimes. We want to remind people that not too long ago, on March 14th, a young man living with autism, who was sitting down inside a Mississauga bus station was viciously attacked and the victim was taken to hospital. Children, youth and adults living with ASD are typically more likely to experience violence against them than to be violent towards others. They are forced to try to acclimate to a world that may not support their unique strengths.
Our staff, families and caregivers of children, youth and adults living with ASD want nothing more than people to support our goal in making our communities safe and inclusive for everyone. We want people to remember that impairment in social interaction, and/or communication does not imply the individual is violent.