We Don’t Take Kids With Autism

So something really weird happened the other day…

I called a dentist to schedule an appointment for my son and the conversation went like this…

Me: “Hi my name’s Amber and I was wondering if I could schedule an initial consult for my son? He’s 5 years old and I should mention he has autism.”

Receptionist: “We don’t take kids with autism.”

Me: “ummmmmmm….what do you mean you don’t take kids with autism?”

Receptionist: “Cause of their autism medicine, we don’t deal with that here.”

Me: “Ummmmmm… What’s autism medicine?”

Receptionist: “The medicine autistic kids take.”

Me:”There isn’t a generic drug for autism. Are you serious right now?”

Receptionist: “Yes ma’am.”

But before I could even respond, her manager grabbed the phone and started to apologize profusely.

She kept telling me they weren’t a pediatric dentist office and that I should find a pediatric dentist to go to instead of them. But I was confused why she would say that when their office only sees children under the age of 13?

I was referred to this particular dentist by an agency (Dental Professional of Wisconsin) from our Medicaid’s HMO Provider. The woman who referred me (from dental professionals) to the dentist office said I needed to see a general dentist first before getting a referral to a pediatric specialist. And that I should go to this dentist specifically because they only saw patients ages 1-13.

So, I’m wondering:

Where the heck did the receptionist get her information from?

But more importantly:

Was that even legal? Can you refuse to serve a child or adult just because they have autism? Isn’t that discrimination?

This office was a dentist office refered to me by our Medicaid insurance and Medicaid is issued by the government for people with disabilities so… I’m thinking this is a little more than just an ignorant receptionist.

This felt deliberate.

What do you guys think? Has anything like this ever happened to you before?

Have you ever seen discrimination like this?

Editor’s Note: This question was sent to me by a mother who wishes to stay anonymous.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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