Many families with neurotypical children take their child to monthly or yearly doctor check-ups with a pediatrician.
They walk in the door and may wait in the waiting room for a little while. The child will go play with some toys or just stay occupied mostly.
They'll go to the room and start checking off the milestone sheet. I'd imagine if their child is developmentally on track, that answering these questions goes pretty quickly and no concerns cross their mind.
Their child goes to get weighed and the nurse measures their height with little interruptions. The doctor asks the usual questions and the parent doesn't have many questions.
The child tolerates the doctor listening to their heartbeat, checking their reflexes, usually listens to the doctor and follows along. The doctor says, "She/He is healthy! You're on your way!"
An Autistic or child with a rare syndrome's check-up appointment is the complete opposite experience.
I know this....because I've experienced NOT typical doctor appointments for the past 7 years. My first two children have a rare genetic syndrome which entails developmental delays, epilepsy, vision issues, Autism, etc.
Simple check-ups have always given me extreme anxiety. I don't look forward to answering the questionnaires. I'm not able to simply go through and check out the questions like a walk in the park.
I have memories of crying and pleading for doctors to listen to my concerns. I explain over and over again what my child cannot do or why they are not "typical".
By the end of the appointment, I feel like I've run a marathon and I just want to run away. I've spent time keeping my child from having an epic meltdown from waiting too long, preventing her from running out of the room, and consoling sensory overloads.
All to hear the doctor say...."I'm sorry, you're child is NOT meeting her milestones." It hits me every time like a ton of bricks.
Well....NOT TODAY SATAN....
Today was a FIRST TYPICAL doctor's appointment for me.
My 3 year old daughter Briella is neurotypical and has been hitting all her milestones up until this point.
We've been to several check-up appointments but I didn't really acknowledge the difference until today. I guess I was secretly scared that she may just start not hitting her milestones or regress at any time.
We had a "typical" appointment today. We walked right into the room. She waited patiently, and followed all the directions. I didn't have to run after her. She didn't try to escape.
I filled out the questionnaire in record time! It was a breeze!
The doctor said, "Your daughter is healthy and doing well!"
I texted my family and my husband with joy and gratefulness.
God has given me a glimmer of hope. It's not just because she is typical. She is a beautiful daughter of God, who he has entrusted to take care of her sisters and protect them for years to come.