After years of silence, a Toronto doctor speaks out about her own disability

Dr. Paige Church, a developmental pediatrician in the spina bifida program at Holland Bloorview, recently spoke out about her experience of being a doctor with a disability.

Her courage and openness about having spina bifida has sparked engaging conversations among health care professionals and parents.

In the past, Dr. Church made efforts to hide her disability for fear it might be seen as a weakness. But with time and self-reflection, Dr. Church now chooses to tell her story to enhance her work with kids who have spina bifida, while opening a dialogue about social injustices connected to disability.

Dr. Paige Church

We need to start being more individualized and not textbook in conversations with parents whose child may have a disabling condition, explains Dr. Church.

Exploring each family’s structure, values and perspectives can help health professionals convey the essential information and resources needed for clients and families. Sharing her story has led Dr. Church to discover new ways to help counsel parents, and provide personal insights and advice to young clients.

By being more open and forthcoming in her practice, Dr. Church also hopes to minimize the stigma kids and youth are experiencing. Her willingness to share her story provides an added element of comfort and strength for many of the families and clients she treats.

Read more about Dr. Church’s story.