Little Man has had the same psychiatrist since he was diagnosed on the spectrum over three years ago. He has served a purpose, but neither Little Man nor I have ever really connected with this doctor. Appointments felt rushed. And it seemed the doctor just wanted to throw medication after medication at my child. I didn’t feel I could really talk to him, nor that he really heard me (except for the one time I told him LM was melting down during our appointment because we’d waited for over half an hour. We never waited again).
About a year ago, our school nurse – God love that woman! – suggested a psychiatrist a few other students at our school go to and rave about. I’ve had that number sitting on my desk since then, and the to-do item of “schedule appointment with new psych for Little Man” has literally sat on the wall over my head for a year. When I sat down last month and forced myself to get on the phone for a few hours one afternoon to actually work through all those nagging to-do’s, I scheduled that appointment. I was surprised we weren’t waiting months to see her.
Our appointment was yesterday. I was nervous and hopeful. I prepped Little Man we would have to arrive half an hour before the scheduled appointment to do paperwork. I brought my iPad, my phone, headphones, a snack and some juice, hoping to keep him entertained and somewhat calm. Paperwork finished, our appointment time came and went. Spouse arrived right on time. And then we waited. We waited for almost 40 minutes before being called back. Little Man started to get anxious and restless. His breathing accelerated. Spouse wasn’t happy at all about the wait – he usually gives a 10-15 minute window and then wants to leave. This didn’t seem to be a positive sign. I could feel my hope slipping away.
We were finally called back, and I liked the doctor right away. We were with her for almost 45 minutes. She’s awesome. She endured an ongoing argument between us over medicating for the ADHD and moods. She’s a no BS type of person it seems, and she explained why and how the medicine helps, a little more about what ADHD is, and then laid a plan out. We talked about what services Little Man is receiving. She was surprised our school is able to provide everything with the cuts the education budget has taken over the years. She suggested a social skills group and then proceeded to announce they actually have one at that office!!!! I’ve been looking for a social skills group (that wasn’t over an hour away) for two years. She also said he could probably use even more time with a speech therapist, which we will look into soon. Of course, we are switching care to her.
The biggest win of the day was the fact Little Man engaged. He answered her questions without being prompted. He gave input when asked about the medications he takes, and how he feels about taking them. He talked about who he sees at school, when, and what they do. When asked afterwards, he said he likes her. This is what we’ve been looking for, hoping for.
She gave me hope. She gave us direction, which is something I’ve truly been searching for since diagnosis day. We’ve found where we need to be for the foreseeable future. I am so relieved. For once, I feel we are getting him the help he needs. Doesn’t hurt she also helped us work through some discussions we’ve been having for the last few years. We’re on the right path now. I can feel it. That doesn’t take away the fact he’s autistic. It doesn’t make it go away. But it definitely makes it feel we’re not alone. We have the right help. Can you see my smiling from where you are?