My son has been going to doctor appointments routinely since he was about 3 months old, and now that he’s 4 years old, he’s tired of them. The second that we step into a doctor’s office, he shuts down. He doesn’t want to be there and knows that fussing won’t get him anywhere, so he simply shuts down and doesn’t respond.
We are stuck telling his doctor every wonderful thing he’s doing in therapy and at home … but my son? Totally checked out.
The crazy part about it is that the second we leave, he’s back to his normal self.
We had one appointment where my son was in a good mood, and for a second, totally forgot that he was going to the doctor. We walked in and he immediately started playing with toys and crawling around the room and being himself! The doctor walked in and was almost shocked at the level of activity. Finally, he was seeing what we saw and didn’t have to take our word for it.
That appointment was wonderful. We talked about mobility, potential—all sorts of stuff. It was as if the doctor was meeting our son for the very first time.
So that’s when I realized that how my son presents himself at appointments can make all the difference in the world in how he’s treated. It’s important for me to make sure he’s on his game when we go in, or at least that I’m representing him well in every appointment. I don’t know if your kids are the same way, but here’s what we do:
I’m hopeful that our son will get to a point that he’s comfortable showing his full self in front of doctors. But in the meantime, we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that he’s got what he needs to feel comfortable.
There are some good tips and helpful information in the How to Talk to Your Doctor section of this website.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.