A Guelph mother and psychologist says hatred against people with disabilities, and autism in particular, is more pervasive than people would like to think.
Her comments come after the family of a 13-year-old boy in Newcastle, Ont., received an anonymous letter urging them to either leave the neighbourhood or have the boy euthanized.
Alicia Hendley says her family has received emails she says are "almost as repugnant" following a parenting column penned by her husband, that included references to her 5-year-old autistic son Max.
"The most extreme one was within the last couple of months where the person was arguing for eugenics for autistic children. The email said that they hoped that autism was genetic, that they find a test for it, and they force women not to carry autistic children," Hendley told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris on Wednesday.
"To quote the email, the person said 'Were I the doctor delivering the notice to you that your child was autistic I would have had it put to sleep before telling you and considered it a service to society at large.' "
She adds those letters are rare but says the sentiment is more common than people would like to believe.
"I do think that it's a very thin minority of people in society that likely have this view of special needs people but I do think it's out there. I don't think it's just this one letter that this family received."
Listen to the full interview, including why Hendley believes special needs is the next civil rights issue, below.