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DEI: Caring for Patients With Autism
Take time to treat unique needs with compassionate understanding.
Steven J. Waisbren, MD
Publish Date: May 17, 2022   |  Tags:   Diversity Equity Inclusion Patient Experience
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PROUD MOMENT Dr. Waisbren with his son Ari, with the trophy he won for captaining his ice hockey team to the Walleye Chop Hockey Tournament in Blaine, Minn.

My son is 29 years old and living with autism. It’s been challenging as a parent to raise him in a world that doesn’t always understand or accommodate his unique needs. Frustrations with the local education system inspired my wife and I to open Lionsgate Academy, a charter school in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area for teenagers on the autistic spectrum. My personal experience as a father as well as my career as a surgeon led me to consider the medical care individuals living with autism receive, and I realized there is very little known about how to optimize the surgical experience for neurodivergent patients. It requires plenty of planning and focusing on making each phase of care as comfortable as possible for the patient, the family and the caregivers.

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