Monday, May 01, 2006

Scheduling with a Pediatric Neurologist: A Nightmare on So Many Levels

I've mentioned before that #1 Son has some "tics" and is currently in a special preschool where he gets physical and occupational therapy. (That's right, folks. My son rides the Special Bus.)

He's an astoundingly smart, outgoing kid. He's articulate, age 4.5, he's writing, very close to reading, adding small numbers. And he's nice and polite, too.

The problem is that he's got problems with his fine and gross motor skills and motor planning. He has a hard time holding a pencil, and he tires easily when he's running or climbing things. But he's great at building towers of blocks and he loves to draw things like snakes and spaceships.

He also has problems that, while less inhibitive than the motor skills problems, confound his therapists. He flaps his arms when he's excited. He walks on his toes a lot of the time. He has low muscle tone. These, to me, are quirky things, but they're also some of the visible manifestations of autism -- although my guess is that my son isn't on the spectrum.

So he has these problems, which we've only identified in the last six months or so. (He's always flapped his arms, but we had no reason to think he wouldn't outgrow it.)

Now, as we draw to the end of the school year, his special preschool (which is part of the public school system) is recommending that he wait to start Kindergarten.

#1 Son does have an August birthday, so holding off on Kindergarten a year wouldn't be unheard of. Lots of parents do it. But I do have some concerns about going this route:
  • He's already writing, adding, and ready to read. Is it fair to condemn him to another year of colors and shapes?
  • Public school = free. Another year of daycare = $10,000. I hate to bring that up, but I do have #2 and #3, both of whom will be in daycare. It's a little financially dehabilitating, quite honestly.
  • Will another year of special preschool really help? Or would a year of kindergarten with PT and OT be just as (or more) effective?

In answer to the third question, I've been attemtping to schedule an appointment with a pediatric developmental specialist.

For three months now, I've been attempting to schedule this appointment.

The peds. dev. specialist I've been trying to get him into at the big regional hospital my insurance company prefers (and I love) is so popular, I can't even get a return phone call. If they ever do call me back, I'll have to wait six months for his appointment.

So I tried the big, regional hospital around the corner, which both my insurance company prefer slightly less. Here's how that went:

  1. Dialed, got auto-attendant
  2. Option 2 asked me to leave a message (ha! cos I've had such luck with that at the other hospital!) or hold for an attendant. I hold
  3. Six minutes later, I ask for the doctor suggested by my insurance company suggested, who is a pediatric development specialist.
  4. I'm informed that this doctor hasn't been with the practice for four years, and I'm referred to another doctor.
  5. Doctor #2 is one I've been asked to avoid by my friend, and anyway, she has no appointments available until AUGUST
  6. The attendant recommends a pediatric neurologist -- who isn't on my plan
  7. The attendant recommends another pediatric neurologist -- who *is* on my plan
  8. I hold for about ten minutes while she finds an available appointment
  9. I make an appointment for early June
  10. I smile as the attendant passively dismisses my request to be put on a cancellation list

As if having an asthmatic child with "preschool disabled" classification wasn't enough. Sheesh!

1 comment:

Baby Jacob said...

sorry to post again.. but oh my gosh!! he sounds just like my husband was as a kid... if you've never heard of it, look up tourette's syndrome.. i wonder if that's what your son has.. i know a bit about it, my husband has it!