It’s amazing– with as many doctors as there are out there, it’s really hard to find a GREAT one. There are plenty of good ones, don’t get me wrong…in fact, I just pulled Scout away from a perfectly good doctor who I adored. He was funny and kind, wore a Superman ring and never made me feel rushed in any way. He was, however, also the doctor to tell me when I started to question that maybe something was not quite right with Scout around the age of five that I needed to wait until 2nd grade or so to really look into things. That Scout was probably just super-smart and that was why he seemed a bit disconnected. Scout’s Asperger symptoms have always been very mild, this is true. But luckily I trusted my Mommy Instincts and had him go through the testing, and well… you know the outcome! I was a bit disappointed in my doc that he missed this, but I also realized that even though all doctors these days more than likely know quite a bit about the spectrum, they definitely are not all specializing in it. Part of me wondered, IS there such a thing as a doctor that specializes in kids on the spectrum? That can talk to you about diet, that is up on all of the latest findings?
About a year ago Scout did some Occupational Therapy, or OT, at a great place called Therapy For Me. Overall he was doing quite well but certain things were tough for him and we thought it might help to have someone other than Mom or Dad work through the finer things in life like how to tie a shoe or pump a swing. In voicing my frustrations with wanting a care person who really GOT it, some of the people there mentioned Dr. Allison Golnik…someone who specializes in kids on the spectrum. Ding ding ding ding ding! They said it was hard to get in with her and that she normally had quite a waiting list…but you can bet that as soon as I got home I picked up that phone and got us right on there. To make a long story short, every couple of months or so I would call to see if we were close to the top of the list. No go. After a few times I gave up nagging them, figuring they would call me when the time came.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago… the web site I work on, the fabulous MomsLikeMe.com, was having a guest to answer questions about autistm. Guess who it was?? Dr. Golnik! After posting to her that I had been on her waiting list she sent me a personal message apologizing to me that I had waited so long and told me to call again. Turns out they had computer problems at some point and lost the entire list….and got me right in!!!!!! Things happen for a reason, folks, I truly believe it. Now here is an interesting thing. I ended up seeing a partner of Dr. Golnik’s instead, Dr. Nimi Singh. It turns out Dr. Golnik concentrates more on the younger kids, Dr. Singh specializes in adolescents. I figured since Scout is nine and will be a teen before I know it, it’s probably a good idea to go that route. I just noticed today that Dr. Singh won the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Magazine‘s award for best doctor in the Twin Cities for adolescents! Not bad!!!!!!
So what makes these docs and this practice so different from our other one, you may ask? Right from the bat I was sent tons of paperwork to fill out before I even got in there. These were the same kinds of questionnaires that I dealt with when Scout was first diagnosed. Asking how he deals with certain situations, how he sleeps, how he eats, etc etc etc. Sure, it’s a pain to fill out all of this stuff yet again (as I mentioned in a previous post!) but I was more than glad to do so. The fact that they were asking meant they wanted to know everything they could about my son in order to treat him the best way they knew how.
In my consultation Dr. Singh was asking Scout what two things he would change about himself if he could. (he answered his concentration for one, which I thought was very interesting…!) Then she asked me. We talked a lot about food, about the whole gluten-free thing and all of the supplements he was on. My last doc kind of poo-poo’d the whole diet thing, saying it worked for some people but not for many. I’m still on the fence about how militant we need to be with it all, but that’s for another post! Let me just say that I am thrilled with this new doctor! She is willing to write a letter to the teacher to make sure certain things are getting done. She is having someone contact me that will be able to give me any resource I need for different things that are available to me whether it be tutoring, occupational therapy, social groups, what-have-you. I was even given a questionnaire to fill out to see if we are also dealing with ADHD. ! Finally, another person in my back pocket that I can go to with questions, another valuable resource at my fingertips. Scout Says:
I really liked her. She was nice and kind and she gave me a new book!
I’ve always had this feeling that as parents we are dealing with this alone. It is up to us to think of the questions to ask, to spend countless hours on the internet, to sort through the many celebrity books on the subject, trying to get some answers. It’s up to us to make sure the school is doing all it can for our children. It’s up to us to try to stay afloat in the autism quagmire, to keep up with any new nugget of information that may show itself in publications or on the news on any given day. And of course that is our job as parents, to be our child’s advocate. But it’s also really nice to have someone else on your side to take up some of that slack. With a sigh of relief, I thank my lucky stars I have found this new doctor.