Wednesday, July 1, 2015

She gave me her voice and changed my life




I wrote a blog awhile back titled "Moms of children with Autism should be called Big Bad Mama Grizzly Bears."

And I am often referred to as an East Coast Mama Grizzly...I'm proud of it, I gladly accept the title. 

I was shy, non confrontational, I was the push over, and a people pleaser. I didn't know any other way to be. I didn't want to argue or fight or have any conflict with anyone and most times my kindness was taken advantage of and it became a weakness. 

Let me tell you, when you become a Mother your life changes. You turn into that Mama Grizzly protecting her cub, it waits inside you and when your cubs are born, you too are reborn. 

My daughter Zoey had an evaluation last June when she was 19 months old...we were strongly urged to get a diagnosis because at 19 months, Zoey had the communication skills of a 6-8 month old. 

I went into action and I called and called until finally someone was willing to give me an appointment so that we could get the diagnosis that we were so strongly urged to get. 

I was met with extreme opposition and just plain old rudeness. I was told that there would be a year wait, now I knew that Early Intervention was vital and that if we waited a year, Zoey would be 3 and she would miss out on so much...I couldn't wait, I wouldn't wait.

The receptionist rudely said, “So do you want me to pull the referral?”
I was speechless, only sobs came out. I managed to utter, ” I don’t understand, her doctor put a RUSH/STAT/ASAP on the referral, I don’t understand,” as I sobbed and pled.
 
Not once did I hear an, “I’m sorry… I understand your fear.” No, I again heard, “So… do you want me to pull the referral?” I sobbed. “Yeah, I guess… I don’t know what to do… I can’t wait, she can’t wait… I guess I have to call somewhere else.” I hung up.
 
There’s no bigger hurt than trying to fight for your child and to be shut down.
Well… that’s where Mama Bear kicked in. I called the hospital back after I composed myself and I asked for a supervisor… I was going to be heard.
I got a department head on the phone. This was our conversation.
 
Me: I’m putting you on notice. The way that woman treated me was uncaring, without compassion, rude, and she made me feel like my child was nothing. I’m telling you right now, my child means something; she is something. For a hospital that prides itself on the care of children, you failed when it came to mine. I’m putting you on notice. I will go on every single autism blog and website, and I will tell them and the autism community that you do not care about children with autism.
 
Department Head: I’m so sorry you were treated that way… your child means something to me. Do I have your permission to log a formal complaint?”
I said yes. I finished my day with no hopes of anything, just the satisfaction that I stuck up and was my child’s voice.
The next day I got a phone call from the hospital. We had an appointment and her diagnosis 17 days later.
I stood up for my daughter, I stood up for myself, I stood up for us! I was her voice, she gave me her voice. Without out me standing up for us, Zoey would have waited a year and we would not have the Amazing progress and results that we do now. Early Intervention was vital for my child. 
She gave me strength, courage, and her voice, and given the chance I'd do it all over again. I stood up for my child and got her diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, SPD, OCD, and Global Developmental Delay before she turned 2 years old, and instead of waiting a year for services, she has been getting services for over a year! 
Don’t ever give up. Find your inner Grizzly… be your child’s advocate and his or her voice. This is why I’m proud to say I’m a Big, Bad Mama Grizzly Bear!

© 2015 Melissa Cote 

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