McMaster University

McMaster University

Happy couple Chris and Jacqui are sending an important message

Re: A happy beginning; He has challenges, but family — old and new — give young man plenty to smile about (Column, May 13)

Our warm congratulations to Chris Krija and his bride Jaqui DeBoer.

The researchers at CanChild have found that many youth with disabilities do not reach the "milestones" such as finishing education, starting a career, leaving home and forming a couple.

That means youth with disabilities are more disadvantaged than they need to be. It's time now for a change in outcomes for all youth, those with and without disabilities — towards participation, engagement and contribution to community life.

What youth with disabilities need is a positive approach to their development through participation in meaningful activities at home, at school and in the community. Commitment to include children and youth in everyday activities, for example at school or in part-time employment or volunteer work and recreational activities, will lessen isolation and build friendships and partnerships.

That is perhaps the most powerful message of Chris's story: the family and the community creating the supports and the opportunities to allow Chris and Jaqui to build their future.

I sincerely hope we will hear more happy news from Chris and Jaqui in the years to come.

Jan Willem Gorter, CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, McMaster University


Boy's 'very rare' illness a struggle for family (Hamilton Spectator, April 18, 2011)


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