Aug 15, 2016
15
2
Status
Non-Student
I'm not sure where I fall on the "autistic spectrum", since I had a speech delay and didn't speak until I was five according to my mother. I was always told I had "Asperger's Syndrome" but growing up in the early 1990's when it was such a new diagnosis, there wasn't really much anyone could do. If there was something, my parents couldn't afford it. My main issue was obsessions, or "special interests" if you want the actual lingo. They never bothered me, they bothered everyone else. My obsessions were always veterinary medicine or animal related somehow.

Anyway, will the fact I am autistic hold me back from being a vet somehow? People tell me I can sue for discrimination if I truly had an issue; but I still see African Americans and homosexuals held back from things because of their race or orientation despite the fact it's supposedly illegal to discriminate people for those reasons.
 

LadyOtheFarm

Embryos and Genomes
5+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2014
4,593
4,404
Over the Rainbow
Status
Non-Student
I'm not sure where I fall on the "autistic spectrum", since I had a speech delay and didn't speak until I was five according to my mother. I was always told I had "Asperger's Syndrome" but growing up in the early 1990's when it was such a new diagnosis, there wasn't really much anyone could do. If there was something, my parents couldn't afford it. My main issue was obsessions, or "special interests" if you want the actual lingo. They never bothered me, they bothered everyone else. My obsessions were always veterinary medicine or animal related somehow.

Anyway, will the fact I am autistic hold me back from being a vet somehow? People tell me I can sue for discrimination if I truly had an issue; but I still see African Americans and homosexuals held back from things because of their race or orientation despite the fact it's supposedly illegal to discriminate people for those reasons.
Not the right question.

Have you volunteered or worked in the veterinary field enough to know that this is what YOU want to do? Can YOU learn in a classroom setting and maintain that knowledge enough to not only diagnose the creature in front of you, but also explain those results to an owner?

Can YOU see yourself working in a clinic, hospital, lab, government inspections.... blah, blah, blah and do YOU WANT to be there?

I don't care what diagnosis you have. What are YOU capable of? What do YOU want to do? Are you willing to work hard and work with others to make all the things that make you unique a benefit, instead of an obstacle?

Suing would be if someone said "you cannot because of a label." If told, "it would be tough, I don't think you can hack it", you need to decide whether you are capable and ready to take on the challenge. I know people from all over the spectrum. All are different. They each know what they are capable of. What do you feel about yourself and have you explored the field enough to actually know?
 
OP
P
Aug 15, 2016
15
2
Status
Non-Student
Not the right question.

Have you volunteered or worked in the veterinary field enough to know that this is what YOU want to do? Can YOU learn in a classroom setting and maintain that knowledge enough to not only diagnose the creature in front of you, but also explain those results to an owner?

Can YOU see yourself working in a clinic, hospital, lab, government inspections.... blah, blah, blah and do YOU WANT to be there?

I don't care what diagnosis you have. What are YOU capable of? What do YOU want to do? Are you willing to work hard and work with others to make all the things that make you unique a benefit, instead of an obstacle?

Suing would be if someone said "you cannot because of a label." If told, "it would be tough, I don't think you can hack it", you need to decide whether you are capable and ready to take on the challenge. I know people from all over the spectrum. All are different. They each know what they are capable of. What do you feel about yourself and have you explored the field enough to actually know?
Not yet, I'm looking into shadowing a vet. I was always considered high functioning.
So like, will you be discriminated against blatantly? Probably not. The question is more, will the limitations of your individual case allow you to properly perform your job as a veterinarian, whatever that may be?
Not yet, I'm still looking for a vet to shadow. I don't really expect to get discriminated against, but then I am used to it because in the town I grew up in was VERY racist, homophobic, closet sexist (many people were opposed to hitting a woman, but still believed her place was in the kitchen), ablest and generally xenophobic.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LadyOtheFarm

Bottle of Bear

Warning: Harmful if swallowed
2+ Year Member
Jun 20, 2016
2,910
6,798
GPS not enabled
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Autism isn't anything new, I'm sure some veterinarians in the last 100+ years had it even if it wasn't diagnosed as such. They didn't let it hold them back, neither should you.
 

LadyOtheFarm

Embryos and Genomes
5+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2014
4,593
4,404
Over the Rainbow
Status
Non-Student
Although Dr. Temple Grandin is not a veterinarian, she is a professor of animal science at CSU. You should look her up.
She's very smart and accomplished a ton in the realm of animal handling (especially cattle).

As a professor, she advises a bunch of students, including a large group of students with educational challenges (ADHD, Autism Spectrum, various physical and mental handicaps...) and her take is along the lines of: if you want it, you can do it. Get help if you need it. Do not be too proud. Take advice. Learn how YOU see the world and use it to your advantage. There is no excuse for failure.
(She might be harsher than my view...)

I kinda love her. I don't always agree with her, but her approach to the world is very similar to my internal monologue and so I love talking to her...
 

vetmedhead

I hope my heart goes first!
2+ Year Member
Dec 5, 2015
10,339
28,737
in bed
Status
Veterinary Student
Took a class taught by Temple during my first year of undergrad. She is a really cool lady and had a great perspective on succeeding because of who you are rather than in spite of who you are. She really gave me a lot to think about in terms of how I wanted to represent myself as a practitioner and a person.
 
  • Like
Reactions: katashark

vetmedhead

I hope my heart goes first!
2+ Year Member
Dec 5, 2015
10,339
28,737
in bed
Status
Veterinary Student
Oh, but in regards to OP's question: people can absolutely be veterinarians with any of a variety of backgrounds/histories/experiences/problems. The only deciding factor is whether you feel (and can demonstrate to yourself and others) that you can handle the work and the profession itself.
 

Elkhart

SDN Gold Donor
Gold Donor
2+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2015
1,875
3,126
Status
Non-Student
So like, will you be discriminated against blatantly? Probably not. The question is more, will the limitations of your individual case allow you to properly perform your job as a veterinarian, whatever that may be?
This.

OP, my brother is also high-functioning (enough so that he lives alone and did manage to get his own job at a retail store and has held it for two years) autistic but I am pretty confident that there is no way he would be able to perform a vet's duties. He has some severe socialization issues (he works overnights in stocking to minimize customer contact), he freezes up and feels physically ill under pressure, and he does not understand nor retain complex information, eg. a lot of what he would learn in vet school, well.

That isn't to say that YOU can't. But you really, really, really need to get some actual veterinary experience to learn not only if it is something that you want, but something that you'll be able to handle. In terms of actual discrimination, like the others have said, there should be no problems and in fact there are probably a fair share of vets who are autistic to some degree but simply weren't diagnosed.

This all comes back down to gaining experience. You can't know how much your particular case is going to hinder you, if at all, until you get out there and actually work in a veterinary setting. More than anything, though, you need to make sure that it is truly what you want.
 
Last edited: