A while back I (think I) posted that we were going to find a therapist for Doodlebug and see about finding a social skills group for him to attend. I FINALLY found a therapist on our network who came recommended - one therapist out of more than 20 names that I was given, but never mind, I'm sure insurance companies totally know who's best - and we got an appointment for January. I didn't want to wait that long, but what do you do? Say no, hunt for another doctor who might not come with anyone's seal of approval, find out he or she is crappy, and then wind up calling the first one back anyway? I figured I'd take my chances. We also got added to the cancellation list, just in case something opened up. I figured it was a 50/50 chance of being called early. Even odds.
Yesterday I got The Call. With the weather moving in (or so I suspect was the reason for the sudden slew of openings), they had slots available. One of them was at 9 a.m. The weather wasn't supposed to move in till midday - in fact, it's 1:43, and it started snowing/sleeting/freezing raining in earnest about 44 minutes ago, give or take 30 seconds, (I know this because the kids and I were about to head out the door for Doodlebug's swim team practice and I looked out and saw the ice solidifying on our back patio and thought, "OH, WELL, OF COURSE." And then I tried to drive to swim, anyway, and slid a couple of times and had the freezing rain coat my windshield in its icy grip and said eff that and turned around and came back home, where I intend to remain until the temperature is above freezing again) so I figured a 9 o'clock appointment was a safe bet.
I'm so glad we went. The gentleman in question is soft-spoken and older, and he seems more competent than the therapist we visited when Doodlebug was 5 and 6. He seems to understand children who struggle with Doodlebug's particular alphabet soup of issues, and he appears to know what to do with them. He spoke to Doodlebug at least as much as to me, and his first questions weren't about his infancy or past treatments; rather, he wanted to know about Doodlebug himself - what he liked to do, who his friends were, what activities he was involved in. He would have asked about school, but the kids were lugging books and papers when we arrived, so it became obvious fairly quickly that we were homeschoolers. It didn't faze him that Doodlebug stared out the window the entire time he was talking or that Doodlebug stumbled over words and phrases and went off on random tangents.
The office itself was the most comfortable therapist's office I've ever been in. It's kind of like a Goldilocks sort of thing - our first therapist's office was too big, the second too small. This one was just right. It had a big window with nothing in front of it. There were Legos and stuffed animals and games and sensory toys and plenty of small items to fidget with, and there were also two recliners and a loveseat in addition to the doctor's own small wheeled desk that he rolled out to talk to us. I saw a foot massager and a heating pad and art supplies.
I think the best thing, though, was the atmosphere. I felt comfortable. There was no judgment. There was no tension or any sense that we were on a schedule (though, of course, we were). Initial visits can often have that awkwardness that simply comes from meeting someone for the first time, but I didn't feel that, either.
Time will tell, obviously, whether this therapist does anything good for Doodlebug or not, but I am hopeful. And that is something I've needed for a long, long time.