Thursday, 3 August 2017

The other day Lovely Husband and I had a meeting with a care team of a relative in hospital. As a person on the autism spectrum hospitals are a sensory nightmare especially with the lights and noise. Through the love and generosity of a relative I've been gifted noise cancelling headphones. We entered the hospital and within a minute I'd donned my headphones and made our way to the ward. The meeting began with two staff members - an occupational therapist and physiotherapist - and I felt fine and included. Actually, at that point inclusion wasn't even contemplated. Another physiotherapist then joined us, I smiled and greeted him, he looked at me with some expression I could not read and then proceeded to conduct his whole conversation to my husband with no eye contact with me. I wondered if I should explain myself and then thought why should I have to? I let him continue uninterrupted. Towards the end of his speech, and where polite to do, I interceded with an intelligent comment and he looked at me with complete surprise as if in amazement that I could think such thoughts.

I'm still struggling to process this 'thing' that happened.

I haven't posted on my blog for ages, to be honest it all became too much as I tried to come to terms with my autism and the anxiety and depression that follows a state of overwhelm. My husband suggested I use my blog to air my thoughts so here I am. And I'll be back.

Ignoring these situations doesn't promote the education of the ignorant. Perhaps after the meeting the male staff member had a light bulb moment and feels bad about his behaviour. I don't want him to feel like that, I'd just like to think he'd learnt something from it and moved on.

4 comments:

  1. I think whoever it is, however many people are in the room, if you are there for a meeting each person should be included in the conversation.

    Julie xxxxx

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  2. Hello, I tried to look for an email address, we have met I used to work in Daisy Chain Minehead if you remember back to 2012.....

    Julie xxxxx

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  3. Hi Julie, yes I remember you 😃 🙋

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  4. Hi Tracey!
    Welcome back to the blogosphere. I missed your posts while you were gone. It looks like you have been processing many profound things.
    What you experienced was discrimination due to 'ableism' and pre-conceived notions held by many able-bodied people that includes fear of people who are different, and the idea that disability somehow automatically means lack of intelligence which, as we realise, is definitely NOT TRUE.

    The fact that the person totally ignored you and did not include you in the conversation about your relative, is grounds for a complaint.

    If you do not make the organisation aware of the inappropriateness of the behaviour, then how are they even going to address it? This sort of thing is rarely noticed by those not living with disability because it 'isn't on their radar'.

    Perhaps you or your husband can write a letter to the leader of the care team about the fact that it is your relative and you are an essential contact person so that rude person needs to improve their communication towards you.

    Sadly, many of my friends with disabilities find the most hurtful discrimination occurs when it comes from people who should know better such as health care professionals whom you would think would have more contact with disabilities than the average layperson.

    Anyway, it is up to you to do what you feel comfortable with. It is not your responsibility to be everyone's 'teachable moment' but if you need to continue communication with this team, they need to know how to best communicate with you.

    Good luck and well done for being brave and finding ways to cope with stressful and difficult situations.

    Many welcoming hugs, old friend! xx

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