Bench Press - Vol 40-3 autism, homeopathy and custody.

Posted By: Teresa Mitchell

Two small boys with severe and profound autism spectrum disorder were at the centre of a custody dispute between their parents. The children have seen a myriad of medical and health care professionals. The father began giving the boys a series of homeopathic treatments after consulting with homeopathic practitioners. In addition, he took the children to a podiatrist, osteopath, and wanted to pursue speech therapy and listening therapy. The mother testified that these treatments seemed to be making the boys worse, and testified that she believed he was seeking a cure for autism rather than finding a method to manage it. The judge commented: "The father's behaviour and attitude are unfortunate as it is clear that he loves the children and the children love him....Although it is understandable that the father wishes to investigate services and possible therapies for the children, such services need to be discussed and co-ordinated with the children's teacher, medical doctors and other professionals involved in the children's lives and of course discussed with the mother. The father...has not done so and has no insight that he should do so". Justice Zisman ordered sole custody for the mother, with access for the father, but under strict conditions. Among other restrictions, she ordered that he not give the children any homeopathic remedies without the mother's prior written consent, or take the children for any treatment, therapy, appointment or consultation with any person providing any type of medical, homeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy, podiatry, occupational therapy, speech therapy or any other type of therapy with out the prior written consent of the mother.

Ciutcu v Dragan, 2015 ONCJ 659 (CanLII)

Well-drafted Waivers.

Robbie Levita suffered a severe break to his leg while playing hockey in an adult recreational, non-contact league. He sued the league and the player who hit him during the game. The judge found both the defendant player and the league not liable for the plaintiff's injuries. Interestingly, he ruled that even if the league had been found negligent for not providing a safe environment for play, its waiver was a complete defence to claims against it. He found that the waiver was unambiguous about risk and specifically listed the risks and dangers it covered, such as collision with the boards, being struck by sticks or pucks, or...

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