“We work with plenty of autistic kids!” is not the same as “We know how to serve autistic children.”

The dentist told me this after I asked for a referral to a service provider who knows how to serve autistic children.

This was after she stated that since our 4-year-old was getting bigger and stronger, so for his next appointment, he would need to be strapped down.

This was after a stressful 5-minute cleaning where two hygienists and I tried to support and secure Zachary so that the dentist could clean his teeth.

Was there a struggle? Yes.

Was it brief? Yes.

Should he be strapped down? Hell to the NO!

I asked her why she didn’t ease him and engaged him in the process. To let him check out the chair and equipment. Let him hear the sounds of the tools and try to foster some level of trust or connection.

The dentist’s office can be scary, even for neurotypical kids (and adults); imagine what it’s like for an autistic child with heightened sensory sensitivity!

Her response was, “That’s what works for him?”


It took me conjuring up all my EQ strength not to snap on this woman.

Just because parents send you their autistic children doesn’t mean you are competent to serve them and serve them well.

Every autistic child is unique and will have different challenges, like any one of us.

To be a great service provider, it would behoove you to continue learning how to work with and meet the needs of the people you serve.

I have no problem advocating for my children; however, before assuming you’ve come up with a solution, be curious and ask questions.

It’s giving low emotional intelligence.

This incident reminds me how some leaders take this same approach.

They believe that because of their title and basic skills, they know how to lead.

They focus on a quick outcome, not necessarily the best one.

They act before they ask.

They need to practice the pause, become self-aware, and assess the situation from a different perspective.

In their quest for short-term results, they miss opportunities to connect with their team members to learn what each member needs to bring their best and be their best.

This momma is still regulating herself and processing.