The Vital Importance of Accommodations: Everyone Deserves a Chance

  • August 19, 2019
  • BakerLaw

The following are comments written by Dr. Donna Ouchterlony, M.D., who has practiced in the field of Neurorehabilitation for over 30 years, and who acted as an expert in the case described below.

I was in practice for 50 years and for most of that time I was rehabilitating people with multiple disabilities. I have treated thousands of brain injured patients.

One of the many things I learned from them was how much they could accomplish if they were supported and how little if they were denied help.

I remember a young woman in her early 20s who was involved in a severe MVA. She was in a coma for one month. After a lengthy period of hospital rehabilitation she returned home. It was very important to her to go to University so with the help of her therapists and the support of the University she took courses. She required extra time and other accommodations but she eventually completed the degree. She also greatly benefitted from socializing with her peers in this manner.

I remember a young soldier who suffered blast injuries in the Afghanistan war. All he ever wanted was to be a soldier to serve his country. After working with him for some time alongside his psychologist he decided he would go back to school and become a lawyer because they also fight for people. The military establishment denied his funding for University because they didn’t think he could do it even though he had been accepted by the University. Fortunately friends of the St Michaels Head Injury Clinic, including two prominent law firms helped provide the funding he needed. When they asked me if I thought he could complete a tough law degree I replied I wasn’t sure but I was sure he deserved the chance. He is a practicing lawyer today due to the support of the University, his family support, professional support and donor support.

He told me that friends of his who had fought with him who did not receive support had killed themselves.

Most successful people have had support and nurturing, sometimes we forget that everyone was not so fortunate.

How much more important is it to have this support and nurturing if we have a disability?

Bakerlaw is currently advocating for a client dealing with similar issues as indicated in Dr. Ouchterlony’s comments. You can read the HRTO decision here (link) and the Reconsideration decision here (link). This matter is currently proceeding to Judicial Review.

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