A little love…
Recently, during a training session in our office, I had a revelation – how far a little love can go.
A little back story: I’ve always been guarded against referring to a patient by their diagnosis (ie. that “8 year old CE” – or “that TBI”). My mantra continually is “patients are people first – who happen to need our help”. These folks come to Vision Therapy not as a set of dysfunctioning eyeballs, but as real people with real names and real life problems. They don’t deserve to be referred to as a generic diagnosis, no matter how contentious they or their family can be. Imagine going to your proctologist or gynocologist and being referred to by your anatomy. Think of the possibilities!! Few of us would enjoy overhearing that conversation from the waiting area. I’m guessing our opinions of the office (no matter how good the medical care) would sway quickly to the negative. Why?? A lack of respect and love.
Back to the training session: Eric comes for treatment in our office and on this day, we were discussing his progress. He is 8 years old, non-verbal and severly autistic – yet highly intelligent. An average session with Eric consists of about 1/3 VT and 2/3’s running and screaming through the office trying to avoid whatever challenge is before him; harrowing for any therapist, to say the least. Rather than get frustrated as some have, I’ve implored our therapists to just “love” Eric a little. Not necessarily to get their knees and hug him everytime he comes in, rather, treat him like a little brother. Call him by name, speak to him as if he were able to respond, show him through actions that he is important and he does belong, and to show him that no matter what he brings to the table on any given day, we will not only meet him at his level but we support him all the way. Basically, love him a little.
A very wise man once said “Before they care how much you know, they have to know how much you care”. Care enough to use a patient’s first name when discussing their case, whether in private or not. Show them a little love and respect by remembering they are people first – both with your words and your actions. If we can maintain this mindset for all the Eric’s of the world, we can’t lose!