Anne Marie Fantin has always worried about what type of jobs her son would be able to get once he was finished with school. Eric, who is disabled, has found his calling in lawn care and his mom is doing what she can to help back him up reports The Windsor Star.

Eric, who turns 18 in July, just started his own lawn care business and Anne Marie, a registered nurse, plans to change careers and take horticulture classes at St. Clair College in the fall so she can help his business grow. The Leamington single mom isn’t stopping there. With a kick start from Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley’s challenge to hire more people with disabilities, Anne Marie wants to make it easier for other parents and other people with disabilities.

Myths include thinking people with disabilities will be absent more, won’t work as hard, will be more prone to on-the-job injuries or cost more to accommodate. But staff at Community Living Windsor say studies have shown that’s not true.

“The general public thinks when it comes to barriers with any kind of disability, the barrier lies with the person who has a disability. That’s not true. The barrier lies with us,” said Melodie Cook, operations director with Community Living Windsor which provides support for about 500 people with an intellectual disability and their families.

Anne Marie Fantin hopes her son’s business will grow to where he can hire workers and inspire others with disabilities. She wants to challenge local employers and find six businesses willing to hire people with intellectual difficulties.

“It’s time to look at people as people, not at the disability.”

Photo by Jason Riedy