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Can you become a medical doctor and specialize in working with children and adults with special needs?

I have a brother with ASD, so I know how visits to the doctor can be vastly different if he is seeing a doctor that has experience being around someone with special needs versus seeing a doctor that does not have that background. As a result, I was wondering if there is such a thing as specializing in special needs as an MD? I don’t know very much about the different specialities for MDs, but if there is a specialty in working with people with special needs, I would be interested in learning more about this profession. If anyone has any personal experience/resources to direct me to, that’d be amazing! :)
#medicine #doctor #disability #specialneeds

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Alycia’s Answer

Asya, yes you can!

Although there isn't a specialty that specifically specializes in patients with special needs, there are definitely specialties you could choose who statistically interact with more patients with neuro-developmental, cognitive, or even mental health disorders. The first specialty that comes to mind is becoming an MD specializing in Psychiatry! They are able to prescribe medication to a variety of patients with mental illnesses, and plan personalized therapy treatments for them.
If your heart truly wants to work with people of all ages with special needs, I would look into other professions that specifically train you for a special needs demographic. I also have brother with autism; he is low-functioning and non-verbal. Accompanying my parents to his many behavioral therapy sessions really taught me how expansive the medical field can be (I honestly thought doctors and nurses were the only people who could be in healthcare until high school). I was able to find out about speech therapy, occupational therapy, and so much more because of my brother.

Good luck Asya; what ever you choose to do, know that any profession is a respectable one that can alter the lives of many!
Thank you comment icon I was literally in that same position, Alycia! I had no idea that there were so many healthcare jobs aside from nursing and becoming an MD until about a year ago😭. I’ve never looked into becoming an MD specializing in psychiatry, but I’ll definitely be doing some research on that! As of now, I’m really interested in speech pathology because my brother is also non-verbal, and I believe that it would be an extremely rewarding profession! Thank you so much for your detailed response! I truly appreciate it :) Asya
Thank you comment icon Of course Asya! And speech pathology is an amazing profession to go into. I have an acquaintance who was given a full-ride scholarship for a Masters degree in Speech Pathology (she also had a younger brother who was non-verbal). Good luck! Alycia E.
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David’s Answer

You could become a pediatric geneticist, developmental pediatrician or work in a university setting (academic medicine) where many of these subspeciality clinics are housed.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, David! I will definitely look more into developmental pediatrics! I greatly appreciate your response :) Asya
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