Saturday, 28 June 2014

Who's on your team?

Complex children require the support of many professionals and as a parent it can seem like you are working on a never ending puzzle trying to figure out who does what and whom would be best to support the needs of your child.

For our family we started with our family doctor when building our team as he referred us to a pediatrician.  This pediatrician was a great doctor and worked okay at first but with constant issues with her staff not passing on messages or allowing appointments we soon determined this relationship wasn't in our children's best issue.  When looking for a replacement pediatrician we asked around in our community and with peers parenting children with similar challenges.  Having a pediatrician with excellent office staff makes it so much easier when trying to meet your child's needs.

Once set up with a pediatrician we were referred to other medical specialists depending on the nature of our child's conditions.  One thing that we have found very helpful is building a "team approach" with the medical professionals.  We ensure that all the medical doctors know who the children are seeing, what testing is being done and any findings they have regarding the child.  We also ask the medical specialist to copy one another on any letters, reports or testing.  Having the doctors working together is a tremendous support especially for complex children that they are still trying to completely diagnosis.

Therapist support is another challenge, when the children are young, if they have delays, early intervention will follow them.  Where we live this includes infant development (until 3 years), speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.  As the children get older (school age) the therapy can be provided by the province, school system or privately.  Parents quite often have to advocate strongly to get these supports for their child and search out methods to pay for these supports.

There are also other therapies available for example hippo (horse therapy), music therapy, aqua therapy, chiropractic therapy, massage therapy, vision therapy, applied behavioural analysis therapy, behavioural therapy, etc.  We discuss with our medical team the various forms of therapy we have each child participating in and what is being worked on.  We also provide copies of reports from the therapists to the medical team.  By providing the therapists findings this gives the medical doctors another view of the challenges your child is presenting which can aid in supporting your child.

To determine what may benefit your child you should have a discussion with your medical team.  Research what is available and the benefits of the various therapies.  Talk to the professionals offering the various therapies and see if what they offer meets your child's needs and your goals.  As the parent it is our job to support our child in the best way we can.  This may mean seeking support from various professionals to help along the way.

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