I found out about an opportunity recently that I knew I wanted to be a part of. The College of Human Medicine at the university located nearby were looking for parents to share their experiences with second-year medical students about having a child with Autism.
I think the main purpose was to give them some insight about how to treat their future patients. Yesterday morning, two other moms and I sat at a table in a lecture hall with about 100 or so medical students in front of us. One of the moms had been on the parent "panel" before twice, the other mom was like me, she had never done it before. It was a teeny bit intimidating and I was little nervous when I first started talking, but I soon got over the jitters :)
After we got done sharing our experiences, the medical students could ask us questions. They read about Autism and other related disorders in books, but to hear from parents on the "front lines" is something all together different for them.
Looking out across the room while I spoke about Dominic and our family was a very moving thing for me. I have to say, the whole experience was one that I will carry with me for a long time to come. We only had a little less than an hour and after we were done talking, the medical students all clapped for us. I wasn't expecting that reaction - I guess that means they appreciated us coming :)
As we left the lecture hall, one of the medical students came up to the three of us and told us that her brother has Autism. She shared a lot of her own experiences with us :) It was pretty cool to talk to her. She will make a terrific doctor, so sweet and compassionate. I'm glad that I participated in this "unique" opportunity and I hope to do it again soon!!
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