Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Building a Good Relationship With Your Child’s Primary Doctor

The relationship between parents and their child’s doctor is unique. The pediatrician has a very important role in our life. They may be the one who tells us that our child has a special health care need or disability. Or they may be the one who explains the disability to us after someone else tells us the news.

I have talked to hundreds of mothers who, at some point, have been frustrated or disappointed by their child’s pediatrician. This disappointment may come from several sources: it could be part of the grieving process; it could be because the parent doesn’t feel heard; or it may be there just isn’t the needed communication with the doctor and his office. 

What can we do to strengthen and improve a relationship that may not be working well? As with any relationship, we must work on improving our communication skills. 

Are we good listeners? It all starts by making sure that we are listening carefully to what our doctor is telling us. We may not like what we hear, but we must listen. It might help to have someone go with you to take notes

Are we good at communicating facts instead of feelings or emotions? This is difficult because, when it comes to our children, we cannot help from being emotional. If we communicate effectively and get right to the point, we should be successful. You can find additional tips on this website under "How to Talk to Your Child’s Doctor."

It also helps to prepare our questions, information, and documents to discuss with our doctor before our visit. A good document system may also help. This does not have to be something sophisticated; you can get a couple of boxes and label them “Medical,” “Educational,” “Therapies,” and “Other”.

As we gather documents for each of these areas, we can place the documents where they belong and have them available as we prepare for our appointments and or meetings. This system will also help us keep our sanity! You can learn about organizing medical records on this website.

At the end of the appointment, it might help to summarize what was decided and who is doing what in order to move things forward.

I hope these tips help you have a more effective relationship with your child’s pediatrician and all of the professionals that help you and your child—whether it is a teacher, a therapist, or even a family member.

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