PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -A Valley pediatrician returned to Arizona to share his personal story of success.
Dr. Michael Goodman was a Pediatric Hospitalist at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
On Wednesday, Feb. 21st, he returned to talk to children about accepting others and owning your differences.
“I’m just trying to teach acceptance for some people who might look different, may sound different or may act different but realize those people are still people as well and they should be treated as such. They’re capable of very good things and it’s not a death sentence for them.”
Goodman has a condition that affects the development of bones and tissues in the face called “Treacher Collins syndrome.” He says he faced bullying and depression as a child because of how he looks.
In 2017, a movie adaptation of the book “Wonder” about a child with Treacher Collins syndrome came out, inspiring Goodman to share his own struggles with the disease.
“I have experienced 75% of the social struggles Auggie dealt with, plus attempted suicide twice my senior year of high school; in addition to a family not allowing me to take care of their child as a physician, due to my appearance and my speech,” Goodman wrote in a Facebook post.
Goodman said that he loves talking to children because they are very into it and he thinks the reaction to his talks shows that people want to see someone who has been given difficulties in life overcome their obstacles and succeed.
“It’s been really well received, I’ve had a lot of thank you letters,” he said. “I’ve had evidence of bullying behavior changing in schools after I talk to the school. I got letters saying that ‘I was being teased before you talked, I’m not being teased anymore’ and it can’t get any better than that”
Although the book focuses on physical differences he believes the message can apply to any type of difference but a positive attitude can help anyone overcome their differences.
“You might have a bad day or bad week, but that doesn’t define you as a person,” said Goodman. “It’s all in your attitude on how you want to approach things. You can think ‘God, I’m having a bad day and it’s going to keep spiraling downhill,’ or you can say ‘oh my day started off bad but that doesn’t mean the rest of the day has to be like that, I can change how I’m feeling about the day.’”
When Phoenix Children’s Hospital announced that Goodman would be holding his “We Are All Auggie Pullman” talk, tickets sold out within a day.