A family's story

An Apple A Day

“Keeps the doctor away”….or so they say. Yesterday we had Tate’s 6-year-old well visit. I finally got there after two rescheduled appointments. Because of our rescheduling, we didn’t get our preferred pediatrician…the doctor who is well aware of Tate’s developmental delays and Autism diagnosis. Also, because we didn’t get our preferred ped, we didn’t get the PA who knows us.

The PA called Tate’s name, and we walked in. As we walked towards the scale & measuring stick, she instructed Tate to take off his shoes. He did, but then sat on the floor. I reminded him that she had to weigh him and measure how tall he’s gotten. He stepped on the scale, as I prompted him to keep his hands on his tummy (so as to NOT play with the scale buttons). He weighed 45.8 pounds and was 43 and some fraction inches tall.

We were ushered into the smallest exam room..oh, yay. The PA started the inquisition Q&A. First, I was asked if I had any concerns. I stated that I am concerned about his sleep & his growth–both of which are affected by his med, Vyvanse, for his ADHD. I quickly added that he is also autistic. If I wasn’t mistaken, there was a sigh of exasperation..but I may have imagined it.

We continued with her list of questions. Yes, he likes school. No, he doesn’t eat a varied diet (hence my worries about his growth). Yes, he drinks tap water.

We got to a point where she asked Tate “do you feel good about yourself?” He stared blankly. “Tate, when you look in the mirror, do you like what you see?” I calmly mentioned that he seems to have decent self-esteem. She quipped that she wanted him to answer. I told her that wasn’t likely going to happen, as he is autistic, with receptive speech delay, and really doesn’t understand her question. Suddenly, Tate busted out with, “un-der-wear, STINK-bugs”. I looked at her with satisfaction, but she wouldn’t meet my glance. Hrmph!

She asked Tate about school, again. He said it was stinky.  He was clearly done with the convo. She then asked me/him about his friends. Did he like his friends/do they play well together. For effing real?! What part of “Tate is autistic” was she not understanding?!  Trying to keep my cool, I explained that social situations and relationships are a big struggle for Tate, because he is autisitic, and social situations are the areas in which he lags most.

She seemed utterly inconvenienced by the time she left the room. Whatever. I made a mental note to (a) blog about this and (b) write to the ped office about better educating staff about Autism.

Our experience with the ped was satisfactory. While no expert in autism, he did seem to have a base-level understanding of it. He didn’t make me feel like I was wasting his time, and he answered my concerns in a way that satisfied me. He did suggest enrolling Tate in some activities with typically developing children, to further his social skills. (One step ahead of you, bub.) But, he also praised our parenting and said we were doing the right things. (A little flattery can’t hurt, right?)

So, we made it out of there…and Tate got his sucker, which was his M.O. I am still shaking my head over the whole PA thing….just another example of how much more training regular pediatricians and their staff need on the topic of autism.

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Comments on: "An Apple A Day" (4)

  1. I sooo completely relate to this post! The thing is though that this happens to us with most of the nurses who take the initial information at the pediatrician’s office. It reminds me of a strange encounter we had with a male nurse who was all tattoos and gruff. He kept talking to my son without my son responding and I finally said that he was autistic. It turned out he already knew that and it was me that was mis-reading his attitude. He has turned out to be one of the most caring and awesome nurses at the whole office! But he is a rare find. I’ve had a lot of the same frustration hearing those horrible sighs too. I agree completely that there needs to be more education of health care providers. They can be downright rude. I hope you find your own good PA or nurse soon.

    • Thanks, Karen. Our usual PA is wonderful. I am sure some of it was that this PA didn’t know us…but it was definitely an prime example where further or better education could have spared us a few exasperating moments!

  2. Mom2MissK said:

    Underwear stink-bugs?! Your kid is a freaking genius! I cannot even tell you how many so-called medical professionals could have benefitted frrom Tate’s “diagnosis.”

    I can just imagine Little Miss in the same situation – she probably would have been reduced to sobbing “I can’t know!”

    Yup. Underwear stink-bugs on ALL of them! Well, except for my brother (and extremely dedicatated And very autism aware RN) and that guy Karen mentioned. Under wear stink-bugs!

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