In the post and in comments below, I complained that the doctor who first diagnosed Brad wasn't helpful. She examined him in an hour. She produced a form letter at the end, the entirety of which reads as follows, verbatim but redacted:
To whom it may concern:I asked her to prognosticate in the general sense, or to reassure me that he would be verbal, since he had good gestural communication. She demurred. She said something like: "sometimes I privately predict a child is mildly affected and it turns out to be more severe, and vice versa, and therefore I don't make predictions." She then drew a line, with typical at one end and classically autistic at the other end. She put a point near the typical end, and said that with services, she was hopeful he would migrate over to typical. This is exactly how that exam went down.
Bradley X (DOB 01/22/2006) is followed in PAC clinic at HOSPITAL. He has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Please refer him for Autism Specialty Services though the Department of Public Health. As is recommended by the National Research Council (2007) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (2007), he requires a minimum of 25 hours a week of individualized instruction to address the core deficits of autism, social communication, and play. I recommend instruction based in ABA, Floortime, or a combination.
So I left with the impression that without Floortime or ABA, there was a chance he might not acquire speech.
There were a number of red flags here, which I picked up on at the time and which provided a basis for my skepticism:
1) There was no wait for this appointment.
2) It lasted for just an hour.
3) The dx and prescription for treatment were produced and printed in a matter of seconds.
4) She qualified her dx by saying: "I might be wrong."
5) She didn't administer CARS or ADOS.
Back to the issue of acquisition of speech: I did what any parent would do under the circumstances - I opinion shopped. I asked Brad's SLP if she thought Brad would acquire speech. She looked at me like I had two heads. "Will he?" she asked. "He is acquiring speech. Now." She didn't hesitate to say with certainty that Brad would be a verbal child. Now why couldn't the Developmental Pediatrician, an MD, do the same? Another red flag.
Although I was skeptical, I felt the need to do the diligence. I met with an ABA provider, and gave the therapy serious consideration. I decided against it for a number of reasons but it wasn't an easy decision. After finding a provider that would administer Floortime, I signed Brad up for 6 hours per week of that therapy.
When I returned for a routine follow up 3 months later, Brad was significantly more verbal. Ironically, I had fantasies of the doctor undiagnosing him then and there. I couldn't have been more wrong: she barely observed him, and was intent on getting me to increase his number of hours of services. Quantity, not quality, was her focus.