If you have a child with an intellectual disability such as Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, or Pervasive Development Disorder then chances are you have a psychiatrist in your life. They are responsible for putting mood altering substances into your child. Often times this is very necessary, and is done for good reason. The problem that occurs is that often times the psychiatrist is making their determination based on ten to fifteen minutes of face time. With fewer and fewer providers accepting Medicaid, it is just a fact of life that they are stretched so thin. They are the experts when it comes to pharmacology, but you are the expert when it comes to your child.
Here are a few things to remember when you are going to see the psychiatrist. The first thing that is inevitably going to happen is that they are going to talk to you rather than your child. They may talk briefly to your child, but 90% of their determination of treatment will come from what you have to say. You should be prepared for this ahead of time. Write down your concerns. Possibly in short bullet points and give it to the doctor when you walk into their office. You want these issues thought out ahead of time for two reasons. The first is that you want plenty of time to think about these before you get into the office. You don't want to say "Oh he seems agitated lately", only to think about it later and realize he hasn't been sleeping well. He could be agitated because he hasn't been sleeping. The doctor may prescribe a med to control the agitation, that doesn't address the sleeping. You want the time to think thing through. The second reason is that you want all of your concerns addressed. If you hand the doctor a short concise bullet pointed note, then you have a much better chance of succeeding in this. Don't make it long and drawn out. Remember the psychiatrist is well intentioned and wants the best for your child, but is limited on time.
The last thing you should do before you leave the psychiatrist's office is ask them how they would prefer you communicate with them in between visits. I have found that a lot of doctors would appreciate a short email from time to time. Emphasis on the word short. The psychiatrist is a part of your child's team, but they are often the outsider. Find out from them how, and how much they would like to be informed on your child.
These tips will take you a long way when it comes to your visits with the psychiatrist. Everyone wants whats best for your child, you just have to assert a little. To ensure that your child gets the best care possible.
More information and resources about Autism Spectrum Disorders can be found at my website http://www.autismspectrumresources.blogspot.com.
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