The Best Autism Doctors has been a popular story on this website. My point was that patients need a competent clinician, and that ‘BEST’ is not necessarily relevant, necessary, or attainable for each child. Considering these issues will help a parent make a more informed decision.
‘Good’ doctors thoroughly address your specific problems, so their knowledge and abilities are of upmost importance. Patients expect a clean, well-run office, with friendly, competent, respectful staff and up-to-date equipment.
We want caring clinicians who give us the time to explain our problems and really listen. Patience is key. We expect calls to be returned, especially regarding test results – with kind, compassionate responses. We want to be able to refer this professional to others.
The qualities that make an effective doctor for patients with ASD and ADHD should also include the following:
Adequate observation by the treating physician. Remember, if you’ve seen one child with autism… Personnel trained to recognize ASD may not necessarily consider metabolic or gastrointestinal conditions, so collaboration with the doctor is paramount.
Up-to-date labs, individualized for each patient, with regular testing should be performed. A recent study demonstrated that traditional specialists “… fail to order tests that should be routinely performed and often order tests that are not routinely indicated yet are neither benign nor inexpensive. Recommended molecular genetic tests are often not ordered.”
Doctors who successfully treat patients with ASD have an extensive education, experience, and devote the time to rigorous continuing education. For parents wishing to go to the ‘best’ autism doctors, membership in the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs should be prerequisite, until some better medical society comes along.
Especially regarding the expenses associated with an autism diagnosis, supplements need to be made available at a fair price. There are thousands of products that claim better toleration, improved absorption, fewer side effects, etc. Your ‘good’ clinician is best suited to make the correct choice. Also, there should be a willingness to explore alternative preparations that make sense.
Interventions that are tailored, not only to a patient’s symptoms, but reflect underlying, treatable problems. As one protocol fails to demonstrate effectiveness, the approach should be altered – sometimes frequently. Professional explanations, appropriate literature, and use of web information goes a long way to reducing the confusion of this difficult developmental diagnosis.
Close follow-up of the clinical course, response to treatment, and childhood development can fashion an improved outcome. Therefore, some method of reasonable response time to emails, phone calls, etc. is an important feature.
‘Good’ doctors show a willingness to collaborate with the traditional therapies and therapists. An experienced staff, who frequently are well-versed in autism, can be a great resource regarding such advice. Parents frequently have questions about issues, from academic environments to alternative treatments.
Regarding the use of supplements and medications, “starting slow and going low,” offers the best opportunity for the parents – the patient’s expert – to report positive and negative results. Complex and/or confusing protocols may lead to more negative results than necessary. Parents should understand specific directions, with as few changes as possible prior to instituting another shift.
‘Good’ autism doctors advise about the efficient use of resources. There are a myriad of interventions, from affordable and readily available vitamins, to expensive hardware and complicated procedures. Due to a paucity of repeatable research, the doctor who studies all possibilities, and understands a family’s resources, can give the best advice. Also, referral and willingness to collaborate with appropriate medical sub-specialists will streamline the process of recovery.
Indeed, even the BEST autism doctor may not be able to assist a severely affected patient. Understanding and effectively treating speech apraxia, repetitive thoughts and behaviors (scripting and stimming), and aggression may be beyond our science, at this time.
This does not mean that parents should not continue to search for better treatments, but that a reasonable workup by a competent, caring clinician who persists in exploring ongoing problems may provide the most effective treatment available.
Becoming a good doctor for this mysterious diagnosis is not so much,
“Thinking outside the box.”
Successful results occur when professionals
Connect the dots • — • — •
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