Saturday, April 11, 2009

Parker’s Visit with the Developmental Pediatrician

Parker’s visit with the developmental pediatrician turned out to be Parker’s visit with the developmental pediatrician, the pediatric psychiatrist, and an occupational therapist. We were there from 9am until noon.

Before we left the waiting room, the developmental pediatrician, Dr. Harvey took a picture of Parker’s eyes with a special camera that looked to be older than me. It is used for vision screening. When the picture came out Parker’s pupils showed up white instead of black. Dr. Harvey said, “Oh no!” He looked at me funny and said, “This is not good.” He tried the test again, with the same results. He said that that camera is only a screening tool and that he is not an ophthalmologist, but that is appears that Parker may be severely farsighted (can see well far away but not so well close up). He bet me a six pack of root beer that Parker will need glasses.

So, right away that put a stop to any cognitive testing because those tests involve giving Parker toys and tools and measuring how he manipulates and works with them. Those tests can not be done until he either has (and has adjusted to having) corrective lenses or until he passes a vision test given by an ophthalmologist.

The other tests could still be done, so we were able to complete most of what we went there to do. Our primary concern for Parker was autism. He has (in small amounts) several indicators of autism. The pediatric psychiatrist, Dr. Wilson evaluated Parker using a different screening tool than his regular pediatrician used a few weeks ago. This one was more specific and thorough. Based on his observation and interaction with Parker and the results of that screening tool he does not believe that Parker has autism. Praise the Lord for that!

Dr. Wilson said that Parker’s social interaction which is the core of autism was actually pretty well developed. He is not in “his own world”, makes good eye contact, enjoys playing and being around other children and seeks their interaction. He said that that is the hallmark of autism, the inhibition of social connections. He also said that Parker is pointing for what he wants (at times) which for some reason is another core trait of autism that he lacks. The scale put him directly between zero concern for autism and very little concern for autism. What a relief!

I had a lot of questions for Dr. Wilson. If he doesn’t have autism, why did he push his wagon in a circle for 45min last weekend? Why does he tip toe around the house echolating (repeating the same sound over and over)? Why does he flap his arms? Why does he cry so much? Why is he so delayed? So far there are no answers to those questions. So we are to continue to examine Parker.

Dr. Harvey, the developmental pediatrician saw Parker last. Parker had started crying by then. Most of you know that Parker cries quite a bit. He cried for about an hour and a half while we were there. It was very unnerving and we had no idea (as I usually don’t) why he was crying! If I knew, I could fix it, but we don’t know! Thus, more evaluations! Finally though, two pediatric specialists have seen the unexplained, prolonged crying first hand. I have been trying to communicate this problem to doctors and specialists for 19 months now and finally someone is recognizing that is a problem and that it does need attention. Praise the Lord for that too.

Dr. Harvey is primarily concerned with Parker’s hypotonia/gross motor delays, his speech delays, and the unexplained, prolonged crying. He is sending us to UNC Chapel Hill to see a pediatric neurologist to have the MRI, EEG and any other tests the doctor there sees a need to have done. He also wants to have Parker’s blood tested for metabolic and genetic disorders. I asked him is there is a specific disorder that he is looking for or if there was any disorder that from his interactions with Parker that he thinks Parker may have. He said no and that if there were he would tell me.

So, Parker probably does not have autism. We have to dig around a bit more to determine if he has some other disorder or to find a cause for the delays.

I feel great. I’m so thankful that it’s probably not autism. I have to say “probably” because I was so prepared to receive a diagnosis of autism and rather convinced that he may have it that it’s hard to let go of it. I’m sure that sounds strange! Whatever it is (if it’s anything) Parker seems to be getting better and better instead of worse which is wonderful. I am so relieved, like a weight has been lifted.

It was terribly difficult to walk into that office today. I have never been more frightened or dreaded anything more. I knew that there I would have to face my greatest fear that something could be very wrong with my son. I was praying and asking the Lord to help me and give me the courage to go. In His great love for me, He reminded me of a verse I’d read not so long ago:

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

I can’t ask for any more than that. It means so much. Thanks Lord!

1 comment:

  1. That is great news! I hope you can get answers to all of your questions soon!