Friday, February 11, 2011

Autism is NOT an illness

This is something I never thought I would face. I assumed that the world around us was at least knowledgeable to know that Autism is a developmental disorder. I especially never thought that I would encounter this with medical professionals.

This all started a couple of months back. It doesn't seem that long, but I guess ,in a sleep-deprived state, one tends to lose track of time. My boy isn't sleeping. By "isn't sleeping" I mean were getting a few hours a night with no nap about 99.5% of the time. He gets to sleep just fine. He cannot stay that way for long. I have tried everything, save for a weighted blanket which I will be hopefully making this weekend.

So today, I put in a call to his pediatrician hoping that they could give us a little something to get his body reset. It was a last resort because I don't WANT to medicate him, but this is beginning to affect his quality of life. He will barely participate in therapy because of being so cranky. He walks around angry with the world all day long. He is just exhausted. So is everyone else in the house. Its starting to take it's toll on everyone.

After waiting on hold for an ungodly amount of time, we finally reached the appointments line. The conversation goes a little like this.......

Receptionist: Thank you for calling JCC. Who are we making an appointment for?

Me: Henry V....

Receptionist: And what does he need to be seen for today?

Me: He is having some sleep issues, which I know are common with Autism, so I would like to talk with Dr. E** to see if we can come up with a solution. I don't mind having to wait a bit for an appointment because I only want him to see her.

Receptionist: Hold *phone transfers*

New Receptionist: Thank you for calling JCC. Who are we making an appointment for today?

Me: Which clinic is this?

New Receptionist: The sick clinic.

Me: My son isn't sick. He does have Autism and we are having some issues that I would like to speak with his doctor about.

New Receptionist: If its dealing with his Autism, then he is sick. He has to be seen at the sick clinic.

Me: *at this point I am a little bit taken aback* You're kidding me right? He ISN'T sick.

New Receptionist: YES he is. He has Autism. He has to be seen at our sick clinic or not at all.

Me:  What about the risk of him catching the flu or this awful stomach bug going around? I caught it 2 weeks ago from being in your office (yes, my insurance assigned me to a pediatrician...whole 'nother story there).

New Receptionist: Thats a risk you'll have to take if you want to see the doctor regarding sleep issues.

Me: No it isn't. Have his records for me within 48 hours and charge his account out of your office because we will be finding a new doctor.


This is the same office that ordered a skull x-ray instead of a MRI like the pediatric neurosurgeon suggested we have done at 2 years. Within 30 minutes, he had a new doctor and hopefully tomorrow, making an appointment won't be so hard. I will switch again and again until we get what we need.

Really though. Who in their right mind calls a kid sick simply because they have Autism? IT IS NOT AN ILLNESS. I honestly wonder by the tone of this woman's voice, if she thought she could catch it from him!

I ended all of this in tears, with a sweet boy who was actually napping for the first time in months. His tudor (which I hope to write about this weekend) had managed to get him to fall asleep because even though therapy is 3 hours, he was so exhausted that she wasn't getting anywhere with him anyway. Can she just move in with us?

This is not something that parents should have to deal with. Not in this day in time.