I can’t be the only person who sometimes feels the world is a minefield for anyone who is not a white, middle class or above, straight, neurotypical, cisgender, male, typically abled person with a resolved and “good” citizenship status.
Or maybe I am just an oversensitive rabble rouser.
In any case, when I got this "special" handout after a medical appointment for my son:
...I felt aaaaaaalllllll the feelings.
It’s hard to even respond effectively or “unemotionally” to these things that blindside you when you are just trying to get your kid’s toe looked at. (Or read a book, or go to a grocery store…I mean, you know what I mean: Unfortunately, discrimination and ignorance can pop up just about anywhere.)
Here’s what I sent to the whole office, including individual doctors:
Dear [Medical Professional/Office],
Please see the attached partial shot of [G]’s handout (from a visit for an infected toe) from last week.
While there is much that I could say about this — whether from a moral, legal, ethical, neurological, medical, and/or personal perspective — I will limit myself to this:
Imagine how you would feel as a human being (never mind as a CHILD) to see your way of being (the way you were born) casually maligned as a “problem” on a random medical take-home handout.
While an individual’s spectrum status may arguably be relevant in some medical situations, an ingrown toenail is probably not one of them. In addition, your terminology is outdated. And your framing of this neurological difference — which in fact also brings many gifts — as a “problem” is quite simply cruel.
Knowing your office and Dr. ____ (clearly a caring person), I have to assume this is an oversight. I ask on behalf of my family and all others with differences that you stop this practice and any others that may marginalize or denigrate your patients, however unintentionally.
[Full Spectrum Mama], Ph.D.
The Full Spectrums do have 99 problems (if you get my slightly inappropriate reference) — probably more like 999 — but “Asperger’s disorder” is not one.
Full Spectrum Mama
Update: The doctor called and left a message apologizing and claiming oversight. I called back and left her a message saying I trust nothing like this will happen again to anyone in her office.
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