Therapy 101- Going public

Many have asked me about Nadine—how did I know that she was delayed in her development, what did I do, and what’s next. The answers are all found here. However, we ventured to a new milestone last week!

You see, Nadine has been going for private Speech Therapy and Physiotherapy. It’s not cheap, but it was the quickest way to start the early intervention and various sessions to help her. However, for the longest time, I’ve been wanting to bring her to get a full diagnostic assessment done by a medical doctor.

Nadine 1

Her current assessment is by the Speech Therapist. There’s nothing wrong with that, except I figured since I’m at it, I should go to a Developmental Paediatrician to get an assessment too. However, getting such assessments is expensive. A full diagnostic test can go up to S$1,400.

Thus, we have been delaying this for the longest of time. Of course a cheaper alternative is to go KK Hospital or NUH. But I hear of long waiting times, and different doctors for each visit, and how going to a government centre meant information on the child would be shared with the schools, and may potentially cause a stigma.

But, not doing anything about it is worse!

After talking to the husband and some very good friends, we concluded we should just go for the KK Hospital option, WHILE maintaining her private therapy sessions. We figured, there’s clearly a problem with Nadine’s development, there’s no further stigma if the school knows about it. In fact, I WANT THEM TO KNOW about it, so that she is given grace or extra time for work if necessary.

So we took our first step: VISIT THE POLYCLINIC

After a long wait (1 hour to register, another half hour to see the nurse in charge, and another half hour to see the doctor), we received the referral letter to KK Hospital’s Department of Child Development.

The appointment was scheduled 25 days later, and we were excited. We were prepared for long waits, so when the appointment date came.

This was what happened:

  • Registration (2 min)
  • Wait (5 min)
  • Met the nurse to answer a comprehensive set of questions on what’s wrong, why we are there, and what we observed (15-20 min)
  • Wait (10 min)
  • Met the Psychologist to answer another series of similar questions on what’s wrong, why we are there, and what we observed (30 min)
  • Wait (15 min)
  • Met the Doctor who asked yes another series of questions, but more pointed ones focusing on developmental issues. Did a mini medical examination on Nadine as well.
  • Referred to a Child Developmental specialist, earliest appointment is in 6 weeks.

I’m ok with the waiting, and the long queue for appointments. I did a post on this not to complain but to make an interesting observation about visiting a doctor about Child Development.

The Parent takes on a totally different role from normal. Gone are the “Look at my child, He can do all these, and all that, and he can say all these and all that….”

At a Child Development clinic, the parent has to be somewhat a symbol of negativity. “My child can’t do this, my child can’t say that…” One big reason is because we only have one shot at convincing the doctor that something is wrong. As Murphy says, the child does not show his inadequacies in that one session. Close to 90% of what the doctor can initially diagnose is based on the parent’s description. It really depends on what examples you remember to bring up, what illustration you can give, what little actions or behaviour that caught your attention.

Answering the same set of questions that day, plus me blogging about Nadine, and me talking about it to friends, made me very comfortable discussing Nadine’s development. I’ve no issues explaining what she cannot do, or what she struggles with. I’ve made enough observations to know what her peers can do and cannot do, and I think I have been fair in making constructive comparisons. (I’m no Tiger Mama!)

If the description is positive sounding, the doctor can easily go, nothing wrong, come back 6 months later and assure the parent that, give the child some time, he will catch up with his peers after a while.

However, this is not a Flu or Cold that the child has. We can’t turn back time to do therapy. The window for intervention is just so small: Up to age 7. I cannot afford to waste any time just because I only choose to see the good in the child. Bluntly put, I rather she has an overdose on therapy then miss the window and play catch-up forever.

Now that we are on the way for a full assessment on Nadine. The doctor said she has to have an assessment done individually by the Speech Therapist, Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist. I’m happy and comforted that I am more in the know of what’s wrong. We are continuing with the private sessions. Eventually more decisions need to be made on what help she needs. Until then, we are waiting for the nurse to call. You see, the appointment book is too full, they are trying to slot her in! The waiting game continues…

This is part of a series I’ve started – Ther­apy 101, to doc­u­ment Nadine’s devel­op­men­tal strug­gles and vic­to­ries, and to jour­nal my own learn­ing expe­ri­ences as she goes through hers.

Therapy 101

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