Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Don't Sell My Son Short!

I read an article today that brought back to light the fact that parents of children with autism must never give up. We must advocate for our children, we must fight for them to have the things that other people take for granted. Including, but not limited to basic health care.
It's a sad reality that in this day and age when it's all about choices,  and alternatives, I had to go to THREE orthodontists to find one, that only after telling him that he had been my niece's orthodontist, and that he should not sell my son short because he did not know me (yes, he too did tell me that he thought GP "would not respond well to this treatment", as if anyone "responds well" to people yanking on their teeth, hello!?) He stopped short of telling me "He looks great with those fangs!" but was ready to escort me out before I gave him "the speech"and reiterated that my son does not stand alone, I stand with him and I KNOW that he can and will do, what he is taught to do. I told him that I had braces and that that orthodontic treatment is not rocket science. Oh, yes I did. I told him that my son brushes his teeth on his own, and he is SIXTEEN years old, and has never had a cavity... and THAT alone, should tell him how seriously we take dental health in my house. I told him that he was selling my son short and yes, I stopped just one sentence away from telling him, "You are discriminating against my son because he has autism!"After twenty minutes he said he would  consider the treatment and meet with me again in three months.... at which time he finally agreed to take him on as a patient. You'd think I was asking for charity, asking for free health care, or special considerations. I asked for none of the above. I asked him to stop prejudging my son... and he did, and for that I am grateful. I still see the reservations in his eyes when we go for follow ups but it's not a popularity contest, it's dental care. 
GP hates his "new look", but he no longer has fangs...AKA crowding. 
I wondered then (when I was arguing my case for treatment), and I wonder now, how many parents of typical children actually have to convince a doctor/ optometrist/orthodontist/etc. to provide basic care for their  child. I bet that not too many. Something as basic as braces, I mean, really? I took GP to two optometrists who told me he didn't need glasses.. and the kid is blind as a bat! REALLY? 
It was the THIRD optometrists who finally said, "It's not an autism tick, he needs glasses!" and just like that, he no longer squints... hello?
Yes, special needs children have "basic" health care problems, but did you know that autism is a "pre-existing condition", like heart disease, when we change health care providers?  Holy cow, I almost flipped when I was told that we might not be covered for some services because of GP's "preexisting condition". He has autism, not heart disease... but what if it was heart disease??? I could be in this Mom's shoes. Karen Corby has a story to tell, and you just have to have strolled in the special needs healthcare path to see that this could happen to any of us who have children (young men, as they are growing older by the minute!) with special needs. 
In this day and age, I am sickened to think that this could happen to my son; but I know it could, because I've already told more than a handful of healthcare providers, "Don't sell my son short!", and they always do. 


Cat Haven Craft House said...

Unbelievable! And by the way, GP looks great in his braces!!! God bless you both!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. We're just starting our journey since my 3-year old granddaughter was recently diagnosed with autism.

Paula said...

This is so sad to read. I am a dental hygienist and I have to say that we are taught (at least where I went to school) how to manage the different requirements of special needs patients---and many need no treatment out of the ordinary, while some 'non-special needs' patients require considerably more management. Some of my best patients have been special need individuals and I wouldn't change those experiences for anything in the world. Kudos to you for the great job you are doing as a parent!

Sandie @ crazy'boutquilts said...

I agree with Paula! it is a shame that you have to fight so hard for your son when it is just basic human care, but I do understand the struggle. BTW he does look wonderful in his new glasses and braces.

Dawn Heese said...

It is hard to believe that they would consider not treating someone because they are autistic. A pre existing condition? Really?

Sheila said...

BRAVO my friend, BRAVO! All I can say is that I'm proud of you for speaking as you have and standing by your son and being the great parent you are. I'm appalled at these "professionals" and their mind set and they really should be a shamed at their behavior.
GP is a handsome young man and blessed to have you as his mother!

teresa said...

Bravo!! lucha por los derechos de todos, porque todos hemos de ser iguales y diferentes.

andsewon said...

Oh my word! You go Mama Bear. This is ridiculous. Everyone needs the basics of care no matter what the special needs! Will ask my step daughter if she has had this issue with Tyler.

Jeanne said...

I understand your frustration. Our youngest son was born blind and that changed me as a person. I had to become an advocate and fighter for him. I'm glad the orthodonist gave GP a chance.

Betsy said...

Brenda he us growing up into a handsome young man.

Jenny said...

This really ticks me off.

What the heck has happened to professionalism in the world?

Your son looks great! Love his new glasses!

And the braces.

How do you compliment braces?


They are nice and shiny?



Just being silly.

But I am seriously sorry you both had to go through this.

Til said...

Thank you for posting this...I am Mom to TWO Beautiful girls with Autism, Developmental Delays, Cognitive impairment....I get it ALL THE TIME...and like you I stop them from their chatter of ignorance and EDUCATE them....These are human beings that need and deserve the same treatment as anyone else that walks through their door. Keep advocating, keep educating.....and your Prince is Very handsome!!! and tell him his teeth look AWESOME!

Til said...

Opps reread my post when I said

...and like you I stop them from their chatter of ignorance and EDUCATE them....I am referring to the people that think they don't need equal healthcare and provisions...not my girls! lol

Til said...

oH P.S. I wanted to let you know, I take my girls to an Ophthalmologist instead of an Optomotrist...the reason being the Ophthalmologist can see health issues from looking in the eyes. Very important with special needs Peeps. Good luck!!! Thank you for sharing.

Brenda said...

The first person to tell me that my son had "an autism related tick" was the ophthalmologist! Oh yes he did!!! He is one of the most recognized ophthalmologists in NH, and I had to wait four months for my son's appointment. He took one look at my son's flapping hand (stimming caused by anxiety), and deemed his squinting "a tick". No he has no "tick", he no longer squints, now that he has glasses and he can see, DUH! Don't even get me started with "specialists"!

Nanbon44 said...

otway to go, you tell em,
Tell GP he is so handsome and he makes the braces look good.

KaHolly said...

As a former teacher of children on the spectrum, I salute you. I had no idea that some ins. companies
consider autism to be a 'pre-existing condition'. That's a pretty sick way to deny you coverage to save them the almighty dollar. Glad you know how to advocate for your children. I lost my job because I supported my parents in their quest for appropriate educational situations for their children, and I'd do it again. ~karen

Anonymous said...

Your son has never had a cavity? Well, I guess that simply proves how serious he is in taking good care of his teeth. And I know that he wouldn't be able to do that without your guidance. You should be proud of yourself because you know how to raise a child with autism very well. :) He looks good with his dental braces. Is he still wearing it?
Jairo Chavez @ Spring Branch Dental Care