One would think that a prominent Children’s Hosptial, who has specialists in area’s like developmental disabilities and an Autism center, that the staff throughout the facility would have a passing familiarity with Autism. Especially a division that promotes itself as a place work on issues of picky eating, texture issues, and like, would be use to seeing children with Autism. Yeah, well apparently not so much.
So the back story. A few weeks ago, PT had his yearly checkup with the peditrician. Shortly before that, I found out that there is this thing called “Feeding Therapy”. I discovered this from an Autism Mom Blog called “Autism with a side of fries”. She is an excellent writer with a great sense of snark and humor. Anyway I was reading her Facebook page and she was talking about taking her son to feeding therapy. So I asked PT’s pediatrician about it. Of course she recommended our local children’s hospital, which is nationally known. So we did the hoops and jumps, got the insurance approval, and schedule the evaluation. I should also tell you that to get this service and help, you don’t just get seen by one person, you get seen by no less than 4 people. We had an “interdisciplinary team” that consisted of a Licensed Social Worker who handles the behavior portion, a speech therapist that handles problems with swallowing and choking, a occupational therapist who handles things like oral sensitivities and texture issues, and a nutritionist who deals with what to eat. And, we had a great experience with the almost all of the team. Except the nutrionist.
So let’s talk about the nutritionist… She was an older woman, who came in to our appointment late, missed half of the interview and exuded judge-y-ness from the moment she walked into the door. She asked the vitamins he was taking, and talked to us about how to get more fruits and veggies in to his diet. Proceeded to tell me there was no hope for PT because there was “no good modeling” going on in our house. Because, you know, K, the mother, who eats just about anything, apparently doesn’t exist since she wasn’t there. I realize I have food issues. I don’t want my kid to end up with the same issues I have, and damn it, she’s not helping. She talks about making him smoothies since of course he must love milkshakes. I does like to order them but I have noticed he doesn’t really drink a whole lot of it. She talked about some material she printed off from myplate.gov but she really didn’t have much help because “I can’t make eat vegetables he doesn’t like.” and she, “really didn’t think they could be of much help here.”
Meanwhile as she is trying to say this, she is being shhh’ed by the occupational therapist, because the other three have come up with something else. She then says to the person shhhh-ing her, “well you asked for me to be here.” Then stood up, gave me the papers she printed off, and sort of stormed out of the room.
With that back story, now I am going to rant a bit. I should probably cut the nutritionist some slack, I mean she did come in late, and maybe she didn’t hear the part about the Autism diagnosis and the ADHD combined type diagnosis. Maybe she missed the discussion of stimming behaviors like chewing holes in his favorite lovie. BUT MY GOD, take your damn negativity elsewhere, or consult with the rest of the team before you decide that nothing can be done! She had some good ideas, but I have concerns about those ideas and I raised, in the most non-confrontational way I could, my concerns. When I was dealing with this woman here is what I wanted to say:
Do you have a clue about autism. Do you understand that autistic children at all levels of function have some sort of texture issue? And not all of it is in the hands or the skin? If you don’t want to be here or can’t offer anything constructive then you are free to leave the session OR we will happily pack our things and go, and I will make an appointment with the Children’s Institue. Also, you even think about billing for this session because thanks to you, if I walk out that door, services were not rendered, we did not receive them, and I will fight any bill or any attempt to bill the insurance company. And yes, no shit sherlock… I can’t make him eat the either, I am guess there is a reason behind it and would like some help in figuring where I, as a parent have screwed up my child, but apparently you don’t think it is possible to help him, so I guess he is doomed for life. Finally, don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you!
I have to say the other staff we met with are great, we have a some really good suggestions, some we can’t implement just yet because of behavior plans in school that need to be reviewed first. We got a recommendation for either group (held at a location kind of a problem because of traffic in the afternoons and because of distance) or individual feeding therapy (the second choice but closer to home and not as much of a traffic nightmare). But this one person really ruined the visit for me and really needed to rant about her.
I will try to keep you updated on what happens as things progress!