Friday, September 23, 2011

A Few Suggestions

After four trips to three different doctor’s offices this past week, I have decided that most doctors’ offices are seriously in need of a redesign. And, they need to consult with us parents of children with special needs when doing the redesign.

For example, just separating one large room into two by using a row of chairs does not a sick and not-sick waiting area make. If you truly want to separate the children who are sick from the non-sick, two separate rooms, each with their own door, are needed.

If you wish to supply toys for the children while they wait, you need to follow daycare toy rules – wash them every evening in a bleach water solution – don’t include any soft toys like stuffed animals – and definitely consider that there may be children with vision and hearing impairments, autism, and other sensory issues. Also keep in mind that there may be children from infants to teens. My teen daughter really has no interest in your shape sorter toy.

It’s very nice if the office has automatic entry door (although most don’t), but what about all the other doors? Those of us with children in wheelchairs or walkers still have to perform acrobatics to get your exam room doors open or your bathroom doors open. And yes, most of you now have accessible bathrooms, but please consider that some childhood wheelchairs are huge, and that sometimes two adults are required to accompany a child to the restroom. Please make sure there is enough room for all the people and all the equipment.

If you supply books and magazine, please understand that many of our children with special needs love to tear paper. If you have a particular book or magazine that you cherish, don’t put it in the waiting room or the exam room. And about those exam rooms – I have yet to find one big enough to accommodate my child, her chair, her equipment, me, and another adult. As soon as I walk into the exam room, I turn into a furniture mover.

Also, I understand that many of the exams doctors perform require that a child lie on an exam table. But I can no longer lift my 14 year old daughter onto the table. If you really need her up there, we’ve got to come up with another idea, or at least 4 strong people.

I love my daughter’s doctors. They are some of the nicest, most caring people I have ever met, and I know they have my daughter’s best interest and optimum health at heart. But let’s not forget the practical side to caring for children with special needs…