Today is autism awareness day. Some will wear blue some, will wear rainbow colors, ribbons, or puzzle pieces. I know lately this has become a controversial topic.
I do see both sides and honestly, I just want people who need more support to receive it, I want more awareness and then more acceptance.
I have always showed my support for autism awareness, I have donated and raised funds for various autism charities. It wasn’t until tonight that I realized or understood how important autism awareness really is.
My youngest son Joey, spiked a fever of 105 tonight and we ended up in the Local emergency room. Joey is not a fan of the doctor (what kid really is) he becomes anxious when a stranger talks to him or try’s to touch him. The triage nurse was wonderful recognized Joey was having anxiety and let me give him medicine, take his temp etc. I hadn’t even thought about mentioning he has autism.
We waited in the ER for over four hours and when it was time to go to a room Joey got very upset crying and pointing to leave, signing all done. Anything to let us know he did not want to go in a room. Once we got settled the doctor came in and asked me to take Joey’s clothes off. Well Joey lost it complete meltdown.
Joey typically has trouble transitioning with outfit changes so I was not surprised that this was very stressful for him. When the doctor came back and saw Joey still screaming, I said he’s on the spectrum and removing his clothes is a tough transition.
The doctor asked me what being on the spectrum was….
Really? I thought… I think I sat a bit stunned for a few seconds and I made eye contact with a nurse who gave me a look and we simultaneously said it means he has autism. The doctor nodded and begin examining a screaming little boy while the nurses held him down.
I typically find no need to announce that my boys have autism. I will mention it when I feel it’s necessary. Maybe it’s just me, I thought saying he’s on the spectrum was a rather common way of saying someone has autism. I also might be naive to think that most doctors are aware of autism and some of the challenges it may have on patients they treat.
I feel as if this doctor was kind of stunned and a bit nervous when I told him what being on the spectrum meant.
In our situation it really had no impact on our treatment or overall experience. The doctor quickly concluded Joey had a double ear infection gave him antibiotics and a plan to keep his temp down. We were in and out of the exam room in 20 mins and on our way home.
I just hope the doctor looks back on our visit tonight and tries to educate himself on autism. I hope he learns or at least thinks about ways he could make a patient with autism more relaxed in the future.
I’m not trying to bash any doctors, I’m sure that many are very aware and do know how to handle and treat patients on the spectrum. This was just eye-opening to me. maybe I’m lucky to be surrounded by so many people who do seem to try to understand how my boys see the world and are accepting of them for who they are.
It’s also possible I caught the doctor on a bad night and he’s looking back kicking himself for his response and lack of common sense.
This is why autism awareness and acceptance are so important. If even our doctors aren’t aware then who is?
I hope today and all of April is a chance for people to learn more about what autism is and how everyone on it has different challenges, strengths, and weaknesses just like any so-called typical person does. so, spread the word in any way you feel comfortable doing!