It’s been over a month since my last post here. Holidays happened, both pagan and not, birthdays happened, and time got crazy. The stress of the season, usually pretty intense for neurotypical people, was borderline overwhelming for the Spawn and, for the first time in two years, he missed one of his speech therapy sessions not due to illness but due to a meltdown as we got ready to leave for the session.
This incident brought something to light I have not had to think of in a while: Doctors, therapists…sometimes they are not going to understand what is going on with a neuroatypical kid. They know textbooks, studies done by fellow NT folks who view the world, and the NAs in it, through NT lenses and are shocked and amazed and disbelieving of the realities of the NT world. It’s easy to get into the feeling of “Safe space” when you are with a doctor or therapist whom you trust and your child trusts and has given great care to your child thus far, which means it’s also easy to be blindsided by sudden displays of ignorance or intolerance.
I called Spawn’s therapist to let her know we wouldn’t be making it. The receptionist asked why and I explained he was having a meltdown and what it was. Silence. “Hello?” She sighed loudly and said “If you’d spank him, this mess wouldn’t happen.” Uh, what? First, why suggest how to parent to any parent, second, WHAT? I took a deep breath and reiterated the problem and she sighed again and said “That’s not a valid reason. Just shove him in the car and get to your appointment.” I hung up, too angry to respond. An hour later, I received an email notice that we were considered a “no show” as I had not called to cancel.
Yes, I called to complain about her attitude and behavior.
No, they weren’t helpful.
“Meltdowns are just an excuse,” the manager said. His therapist said “Well, he’s usually so happy. He’s just having a bratty day and you should have brought him!”
No, listen, meltdowns aren’t a temper tantrum. The term “meltdown” is so apt, it’s scary. And you can read all about it in ASD literature and studies. Do you mean to tell me that a team of medical professionals and paraprofessionals is going to disregard the problems of a swath of society because it does not fit their personal, neurotypical experience of working with people on the spectrum?
Yes, yes they are.
So what does this mean? It means we go in to his next appointment with hand outs from medical journals, from parent organizations, and articles written by NA people. It means we request and require a meeting with the involved parties to discuss their actions and why they are mistaken about NA behavior.
It also means that I had a splash of cold water in my face to remind me that advocating for my child while he is still too young to advocate for himself is 24/7, both in the Pagan community and the medical one.
Next column: oobleck, gack, and making messes for sensory fun