Dev ped appointment - what a joke! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-02-2010, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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So we waited 5 months for this appointment and I spent over an hour preparing for it last night. DH and I snapped at each other all the way there. And it turned out to be a giant waste of time.

We were having DS (almost 3) evaluated for SPD/ASD. I specifically told them that I wanted a sensory and autism evaluation. I was apparently incredibly naive to think that a dev ped actually works that way. I can't believe I didn't go the OT route first.

So, I have been having bad anxiety. I basically shut down when he asked us about our concerns. I couldn't remember anything. For everything that I DID manage to talk about, DH just said "yes, but..." The main thing DH is worried about is anxiety, so that got mentioned a lot. After listening to us for about 10 minutes, this dr. did a quick questionaire about his social skills, etc., asked a few very basic questions about his medical history, and then stacked blocks with DS and asked him to throw a ball and follow a few simple directions. DS did fine, but was chewing his fingers to death through the whole thing. I could tell he was pretty nervous.

Then this guy proceeded to talk at us for about 20 minutes. He proclaimed that DS does not have ASD. Great. You spent 15 minutes with him and stacked some blocks. I don't think he has it either, but it would be nice if you were a bit more thorough. Then he proceeded to talk about how he doesn't like labeling kids for basically what he considers "normal" problems, and proceeded to talk about what a crock SPD is. It basically doesn't exist. He doesn't see how anything like brushing therapy could ever help anyone. Oh, and OTs are just in it for the money.

Then he addressed the anxiety. DS showed almost no anxiety behaviors while we were there, so he went entirely off of our word. He said therapy for anxiety is too slow for kids this age, and it doesn't work because they can't actually talk about their feelings. He suggests Prozac. That's right. After 30 minutes with us, he wants to medicate DS. But don't worry! It's totally cool for kids this age, and he's never seen anyone need it long term. And if we try that and it helps, but it doesn't help him sleep, he can give us a sleep aid for him too!

At this point, DH was starting to side with me because there is a lot of history of mental health problems in his family, including him, and he has always said that he thinks you should try everything else first before medication. Besides, with some development DS has had lately, he's been able to deal with his emotions a bit better, so he doesn't see what meds will do that we can't work on ourselves.

This doc also says that herbs don't work, that they're not studied enough to even try. He said that preschool was the answer for social anxiety because "if other kids make him think that it's not cool to meltdown, he won't do it anymore".

I don't even know what to think. I am so angry about this appointment. That guy basically invalidated everything I have been saying for the last 6 months. DH, who has previously not really followed me on this, agreed with me and said he would make the appointment for the OT so we can "get someone who can really help us." I can't believe that doctors like this are even still in practice. After a 45 minute appoint, DS could have ANYTHING, and he just wants to do trial and error with meds to find out what it is. No fing way.

I was hoping this would give me some answers, but it looks like we are right back to square one. I went the completely wrong route with this, and you can bet I'll be doing my research before I see an OT to make sure I get someone who is versed in this stuff. And I will be telling my ped, who recommended this guy, what I thought of him. I really like my ped, so I don't know what happened there.

Thanks for letting me get this out. I am so frustrated with this process. I'm glad I have somewhere to fall back and regroup.
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#2 of 10 Old 02-02-2010, 03:49 PM
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I'm sorry to hear this.

As a little glimmer of light, I think the fact that your DH is now in alignment with you is a huge step forward. Maybe that was the purpose of this.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#3 of 10 Old 02-02-2010, 04:17 PM
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I'm sorry the doc wasn't more helpful. I kind of felt like that when we had ds evaluated for anxiety last summer - the doc concluded that ds didn't have ASD, but didn't really address the anxiety or the social awkwardness. Sigh.

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#4 of 10 Old 02-02-2010, 05:02 PM
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I'm so very sorry. We had the exact *opposite* experience w/our dev ped appt. Anxiety and SPD go hand in hand (obviously, you can have one w/o the other, too), but it is common.

There are better people out there--keep looking!

We've found the age 3 to 4 to be a huge time for development in these areas, so yes, time alone can help, but OT and such can really make it easier and provide longer term help and solutions.

It is good that now your hubby may be more on board w/you--there's a purpose for everything!

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#5 of 10 Old 02-02-2010, 08:33 PM
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my DD had major sensory processing issues when she was younger (thank goddess she's starting to grow out of that). We never took her to anyone for assessment, I just worked around the issues, and supported her through it.
that dev ped sounds like a total whacko, at least you know better than just to blindly medicate your kid, and lucky you found out at the beginning what kind of Dr this guy is, rather than months down the line.
No doubt your regular ped has never seen this guy as a patient, and has no real idea what he's actually like. you'd be surprised; often Drs recommend other specialists based on very little clinical experience with them. Just that they are listed in the local register of specialists, or they played golf together one time or they heard their name mentioned (and lots of patients will rave about their Dr no matter what treatment they get - ever notice just how many people insist that *their* Dr is the *best*?).
But definitely let your ped know what this guy was like for real.
you'll get through this

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#6 of 10 Old 02-03-2010, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by InMediasRes View Post

This doc also says that herbs don't work, that they're not studied enough to even try. He said that preschool was the answer for social anxiety because "if other kids make him think that it's not cool to meltdown, he won't do it anymore".
My Best friend's daughter was diagnosed with General Anxiety, border line selective mutism in 2007. She had been doing pre-school 1 day a week, she had been involved in outside activities. It didn't help. What helped was actually getting her into Counseling.

In Kinder she did not talk to her teacher once till Christmas, then nothing again till almost the end of the school year. She talked to 1 or 2 kids in her class and that was it.
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#7 of 10 Old 02-03-2010, 11:05 AM
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Sorry it was such a horrible experience. Around here, most dev pediatricians aren't really schooled in autism spectrum disorders or even SPD's.

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#8 of 10 Old 02-03-2010, 12:12 PM
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We had almost the identical exp w/the closest thing we could get to a dev pediatrician --so I *completely* understand your frustration. We wanted to have this doc on board as part of the "team" w/our naturopath (which he doesn't "believe" in alt care, etc). I ranted for a few days over his "approach" & his lack of diagnostic ability and discounting any mom knowledge/research --ack!

Anyway, could you take your 3 yo to EI to get evaluated for their Early Childhood/Sp Ed (EC/SE) program? It's great because it's funded through taxes & you get a full evaluation done by OT, PT, ST, behaviorist, etc & they run through a *gamut* of "tests" including paperwork that you fill out. I have been impressed by the care that my 3 yo is receiving (he has OCD, SPD & severe anxiety). I kick myself for not getting my two older children these services when they were younger & qualified for them --it's been extremely hard to find affordable/quality/knowledgeable care. It truly is worth a call to your local Early Intervention (EI) program, so they could advise some steps to take for eval. Good luck to you & your family!

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#9 of 10 Old 02-03-2010, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, mamas, for all the replies.

It took me a little while to come down from the appointment, but I feel almost better about it. We were in limbo waiting for it to happen, and now it has, and it wasn't good, but it's over. I don't have to think about it anymore. We're on to the next thing - an OT eval from someone who's experienced in sensory disorders, and some play therapy for anxiety. But right now I'm going to take a little break from making any pursuits and just enjoy my kids.

To PP who mentioned selective mutism, that was another thing this guy said he didn't believe in.

Mama jewel, he has been evaluated by EI, and he doesn't qualify for services. In our state, they do a speech and development evaluation with an SLP, and if he doesn't qualify, you go the private route. The lady who did his eval told me she thought I should look into a sensory consult with an OT, and they have very experienced ones on staff at the special school near us.

I have a few friends who are social workers or work in child welfare and were appaled that this guy thinks that play therapy doesn't do anything. He was old, so I don't really know what I expected....maybe for him to be up on current research? That was too high a hope, I thnk.

Better luck next time, I guess.
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#10 of 10 Old 02-03-2010, 12:51 PM
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Well, for one thing, SPD is not a DSM diagnosis, and is a relatively young field of knowledge, within the past thirty years. So, while it may be a totally valid thing, it is not always recognized. I guess what I mean mostly is that you need to pick a specialist who is trained it this field. It is very prudent to know what the practitioner's background is.

I think an OT eval would be very useful for you, and having ot therapy and maybe directed playgroups.
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