The Child: Cute as a Button. Runs around the office pulling all the duckies off the shelves, opening every drawer to find what’s in it, and screaming when she doesn’t get her way
The Doctor: An eccentric geneticist. A self-defined “quake” who has decorated her entire office in duckies to accentuate the point. She arrives to see the patient with a basket-full of goodies, which rival Mary Poppins bag. Writes every detail of question and answer session with mom, as well as medical information obtained, and observation of the child.
The Mom: Presents a calm astute persona while stress and turmoil are boiling up under the skin. Sings, “Put on a Happy Face” under her breath.
The Book: Thicker than the Bible, with descriptions and characteristics of every genetically diagnosis, except Fetal Valproate Syndrome
Doctor’s Goodie Bag
Stethoscope – First time it hasn’t taken 2 nurses to hold the child down when listening to her heart
Reflex Hammer – the child laughed when the doctor told her the giraffe wanted to “kiss her knees”
Flashlight – for counting nasty, crooked, out of place and backwards teeth – The child showed the doctor her amazing talent of roaring like a tiger
Stickers- to make child very,very happy
Dr (to Child): Lets see your fingers. Can I tickle your toes? (to Mom) Yep – Fetal Valproate Syndrome, see how long they are and how they overlap?
Dr: Is she always this active?
Dr: She will most likely be labeled ADHD, but I’m not ready to make that diagnosis yet. There’s nothing you can do about it at this stage of life anyway.
Mom thinking: She’s two – that’s normal – she is NOT HYPER.
Mom (to child): Let’s put your shoes on.
Child: Nooooooooooooooooo! (throws huge fit)
Dr: She most likely has sensory integration issues.
Mom: What can we do about it?
Dr: Nothing. Next year at your appointment I can recommend her to a behavioral specialist. But we can’t do that until she is 3.
Dr: What’s this under her chin?
Mom: A birthmark. It has changed some since she was born. It now has texture as well as color.
Dr: I believe it’s nevus sebaceous. It’s nothing to worry about, but it should be removed. I’ll give you the name of a pediatric dermatologist.
Mom thinks: just what she needs another specialist, and another surgery.
Dr: Lets look it up in the Big Black Book. Fetal Valproate Syndrome. See here are pictures of kids who look just like her: eyes too wide apart, forehead too large, upper lip too thin.
Mom thinks: A syndrome which creates beautiful children
Dr: Just what I thought. Nothing in here. Nothing about possible behavior effects. Nothing about related medical effects. Nothing about learning challenges. The syndrome is too new. That’s why I write everything down. Someday the information I compile about this child will be compared with the information other geneticists write down about other children, and they will be added to this here book.
Mom thinks: Good thing future children will benefit from my child’s behavior problems.
Dr: With my recommendation, she should qualify to go to preschool next year.
Mom: I’ve homeschooled my other kids. I plan to homeschool her as well, unless there are resources available that she needs and I can’t provide for her.
Dr (contemplates for a minute before responding): I think the best thing for this child would be to be homeschooled while receiving private therapy. Most teachers are trained and able to handle academic challenges in children, but not as well trained in dealing with behavioral problem. This child will benefit most from having one on one attention and using behavior modification Technics. You are doing the right thing.
Mom thinks: Wow – this is the first time I’ve heard a doctor say this. This makes me feel good. I like this doctor.
Dr: She looks good and healthy, and we’ll deal with the behavioral problems in the future. See you next year.
Mom thinks: I hate the term “behavioral problems.” When referring to “unreasonable phobias” “night terrors” “sensory issues” and “overly-active” (notice I didn’t say “hyperactive”) -shouldn’t there be a term other then “behavioral problems?” Something, kinder, gentler – something that doesn’t make my child sound like “Chucky” and me sound like I have the parenting skills of Casey Anthony.