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  • Posted September 24, 2018

Give Professionals A Chance

Do you find yourself asking your dentist, doctor or “insert other professional here” if they have specific experience with your child’s disability? I was this parent, and what I’ve found is I don’t always have to be. Yes, there will be specific incidents when treatment required is directly related to the disability; however more often it’s not.

What IS required is a physician with great bedside manner who will really listen (IMHO and experience). Yes, as parents we want our children to get the best possible care, and I was dreading my son’s dentist and orthodontist appt’s. But what I found was professionals who treated him as a person (not a person with a disability), and this is exactly what I want for him.

I’m afraid we’re artificially limiting our options by vowing to “only” work with those who have experience. How do we expect physicians (or anyone else) to get the experience. Take the time to educate the professional. Again – this is not meant as a blanket statement; for example, a therapist with a background and knowledge of specific disabilities would be my first choice. But I don’t necessarily feel the same way about a pediatrician or optometrist (depends on the nature of the disability).

I acknowledge I have specialized in working with families with disabilities and I do make this distinction when talking to potential clients. However, if you have a Planner/Advisor and it’s a great relationship; you can (and should) help them understand what’s different in your situation – you’re planning for multiple generations. I don’t have a “secret formula”, other than my ability to relate with families in similar positions to mine.

I believe the same is true for many other professions. Yes, it’s “easier” to work with someone who “gets” you (at least to me); but given most of us have finite resources and are coping with daily stress, why add unnecessarily to the mix? Rather than set a hard and fast rule, keep an open mind (and a healthy dose of caution, not  paranoia). It will not only help your child, it could pave the road for many families behind you.