Our journey at Dare2Care Pediatrics
Dressed in English style button up coat and hat, this young, vibrant little girl sat on the orange-colored chair with her tablet in hand, in her own world. Her mother came in search of a pediatrician who could help more extensively with her little girl’s needs. Mom had an expression of fatigue worn on her face, yet she smiled and hope shined through her eyes. As I chatted with mom about her daughter’s talents and struggles, I noticed from the corner of my eye an occasional glance up from the tablet and repetition of the words we spoke. As we discussed her need for consistency, her extreme sensitivity to textures, her reluctance to wear socks and shoes, her difficulty with interactive play and her erratic speech occurrences, slowly…the tablet drew less attention from the girl’s eyes. Her little hands, with fingers outstretched, grabbed the stethoscope from my neck pulling me towards her with immense strength. “Heart check” she exclaimed! With sudden excitement, she placed my hand with stethoscope on her chest and looked directly into my eyes for only a moment. But when we progressed to looking in her ears, no matter how gentle, she was sensitive and apprehensive. After resisting and then being held, she decisively put her coat and hat back on and walked out the door before her mother was done speaking. Saying “Go home”, she recognized this moment as complete.
During our discussion, her mother expressed several concerns. She explained she had a sense that her daughter was brilliant and intelligent. However, she recognized the issues her daughter faced in communication, adaptation. She desired for her daughter’s intelligence to gain an outlet of expression. This is where many parents and providers share common goals. We desire the best for our youth.
Over my 10 years of practice, I have always loved children and I have tried my best and put forth all I have. However, I realized I must continually strive to further my education and knowledge and reach out to subspecialists, therapists, and counselors. The occupation of a child is discovery through play. As a pediatrician, it is my responsibility to understand this deeply and help families, parents, and children alike, to forge new relationships and conquer new frontiers. This can only be accomplished from a team approach. This vision of total child health has been present for many years. We are so excited to make the idea a reality through collaboration with therapists, counselors, nutritionists, and teachers. Dare2Care Pediatrics promises to serve as a constant source of communication, coordination, and facilitation for families. Our goal is that every child who enters our medical home leaves a little better off in some way.
That day many possible diagnoses were introduced into our discussion including autism, sensory processing disorder, and language disorder. We discussed these to some extent, but more importantly, we came up with a practical plan of early intervention. We initiated speech and occupational therapy and play and music therapy and she attends weekly sessions. My colleagues communicate her progress with me and I regularly meet with mom to discuss ongoing concerns and celebrate milestones. With each monthly visit, she is gaining confidence. The last time she came in her bright pink overcoat she undressed, sat on the table, looked at her tablet briefly, put it down and said to me directly, “Doctor, heart check.” When we moved to her ears, she liked the imaginary kisses and tickles and did not pull back. She finished and donned her socks and shoes independently, gave me a hug and then said “go home.” This is a perfect example of why I love coming to work every day…Play is the way!!!