Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

The Filing Cabinet

with 6 comments

When we first noticed signs of autism in Pudding, we panicked.  We were three weeks away from moving to an isolated Spanish-speaking country that offered very limited support to children with developmental delays.  I knew that we needed a diagnosis quickly, but these things don’t happen quickly.  Then we discovered a new Developmental Pediatrician had just joined another branch at our pediatric group practice.  She already had a waiting list of a few months.  I badgered the reception staff for her email address, explaining that had one of their pediatricians not been so dismissive of my concerns, I’d have more time to get Pudding thoroughly evaluated.  I wrote and begged Dr. P to see us.  She agreed the very next week.  Though Pudding was subsequently diagnosed through a multidisciplinary team at a hospital center, she was, and remains, our first point of call, and has gently guided us through the last year and a half.

I remember our first appointment with Dr. P.  She had a large filing cabinet that held a handful of files, but was mostly filled with toys and assessment tools.  She was the first professional who seemed to actually care about our child, and how we were doing as a family.  At each visit, I noticed a few more files in the cabinet.  Yet each time, she treated Pudding as an individual, the only one under her care.  She would email to check on her.   She took the time to ask me how I was doing.

When Pudding seemed unhappy and overloaded in her first school, she was the one we turned to to talk about the options, and what she felt would work best for Pudding.  I noticed the filing cabinet was full now.  The toys and assessment tools were spewing out into the consultation room.   So many more children now, just like Pudding.  So many families under the care of this treasure of a doctor.

Around the time Cubby was assessed by Early Intervention, I arranged an appointment for Cubby too.  Eight months was the waiting time.  And this time we waited.  In those eight months, he has continued to grow and develop.  While there are motor delays, sensory issues, and repetitive behaviors, I have also watched him grow into a talkative toddler.  I held onto the intake packet, wondering if I should fill out the forms, or call and cancel the appointment.  How do I reduce my son to a few pieces of paper, when he seems to change every day?  Does he really belong there?  He doesn’t have the communicative difficulties that his sister does.  Perhaps we should wait, give him the luxury of time that we didn’t have with Pudding.  Dr. P’s filing cabinet is so full, perhaps another child needs to be in there more than Cubby does.  I went forwards and backwards on this issue, until I realized that if I were to cancel, we’d wait at least another eight months.  In six months, we’ll have left the country.  While there are, I’m sure, perfectly good doctors where we’re heading, there won’t be Dr. P.

We met with her today, parents only, to discuss our concerns.  We were greeted like old friends.  We chatted about Pudding, and the family, and our impending move.  She agreed that Cubby’s anxiety, transition difficulties, motor delays and problems with modulation were problems that could lead to him becoming more withdrawn and isolated.  She asserted that she needed to take a look at him.  Next week she will assess him.  I find him impossible to classify, but I trust in her.  I don’t yet know if he is going to end up being another file in that overflowing cabinet.  But I do know that, like his sister and all the other kids in there, whatever happens he will be more than just another file to her.  Even if Dr. P needs to get another cabinet to hold all her charges, each one so much more than their paperwork could possibly describe.

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

January 20, 2011 at 6:59 am

6 Responses

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  1. I’m so glad you have a doctor that you can trust. That is so important. And I agree with you, get the eval now with a team you know (at least for that baseline) instead of waiting and doing the “what if” game. Better safe than sorry. The early bird catches the worm. And all those other cliches we know so well.
    Your kids are lucky to have you on their side working so vigilantly for them.

    akbutler

    January 20, 2011 at 7:45 am

  2. This makes all the difference 🙂

    Casdok

    January 20, 2011 at 8:33 am

    • It really does. We’re so lucky to have such a great doctor. At least for this first part of their lives.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      January 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm

  3. Ok…I am in love with Dr P!
    here’s hoping that the Dr you find in South Africa is all this and more.

    fiona2107

    January 20, 2011 at 7:10 pm

  4. I wish Dr P could be cloned!!

    joeysmommy

    April 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm


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