Self Advocacy – communicating sexual history to medical professionals

I am a huge believer in nothing about us without us.   I want more stories of empowered people with communication impairments getting on with their every day realities – and being heard!  Privacy is paramount though and most of the stories that I am privy to cannot be shared publicly.

Recently an adult who uses AAC asked me to share a success story anonymously on her behalf.  This is her story not mine.

She was experiencing extreme pain and suspected a flare up of endometriosis.   She has had many previous experiences of not being listened to and suspected that she would find communicating with the emergency department to be challenging. 

She found some symbols that related to what was going on (you can check them out over at the Central MN Sexual Assault Center’s website - ) and

 created a powerful visual board using pen, paper, scissors, and a glue stick.

Visual support to communicate medical concerns and sexual history

With this custom visual board, she walked into the emergency department, handed over the paper, and was immediately responded to.   Plus, she could trust that they were now aware of her relevant sexual history.

We still don’t have perfect treatments for endometriosis pain -  but we can empower each other and ourselves to speak our truth firmly and clearly.  

What are you going to do this month to empower people to stay safe, report violations, and seek support?