autism assistance dog for conor

helping conor in a furry and cuddly way

Into every life a little rain must fall, but this is ridiculous..

Everyone with a special needs child spends a lot of time on the phone arguing with insurance companies. No one is exempt from this annoying fact of life. So why am I telling a story about my insurance company (BCBS TX–and I hope you read this post)? Because it has passed annoying and into the ridiculous.

Yesterday I get a form denying a claim for my son Conor. Ok, been there, done that. The kicker is that the supervising medical director who denied my autistic son’s treatment was an OB/GYN. I feel that when my son was delivered and entered this world, his relationship with OB/GYN’s would be over. Period.

So I call BCBS, and as soon as I get their first line of defense on the phone, I tell her that the conversation we are about to have is only going to make me mad, so why doesn’t she just forward me on to her supervisor. “Well, I would like to try to help first”, she replied. Ok. So I launch into my unbottled anger that an OB/GYN is making decisions on my SON’s autism treatment. I don’t know what type of training this OB/GYN has in the way of autism, but I’m damn sure it is not much to nil. I further explained that I think it is utterly unacceptable to have an OB/GYN make ANY type of decision for my SON at all. Daughter maybe if I had one and not for autism, but not my son. And, this doctor should have absolutely no authorization to determine what my son needs in the way of therapy for autism. (caveat: unless he or she knows something the rest of the world doesn’t and has a cure. I would need fact based evidence on that though).

I got more and more worked up as I explained all this to the now slightly frightened/annoyed person on the other end. I did mention that I warned her that I would only get more worked up and that she should have put me through to the supervisor from the start.

Then I had the same conversation with the next line of defense in BCBS’s arsenal of people who try to make sure you get as few benefits as possible. By now I was loaded for bear and asked if he could explain how this scenario made any sense. I asked very nicely (I thought) what arse made an OB/GYN the medical director in charge of making decisions on autism treatment?? He was unable to provide a suitable reply and told me I was welcome to appeal the decision by mail. The brush off. A technique they use that only makes me more mad.

So far my plan is to call them everyday and have the same discussion and hopefully annoy someone to death. Maybe more than someone. I believe nothing will come out of that but it should be a cathartic experience and a way to make me feel better. I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a lot of calls to get to that point though.

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Ouch! That’s going to sting in the morning

Conor, Jack and I went to one of those jump houses (lot’s of blow up things to jump and slide on for those of you out of the loop).  I won’t name names as we like going to this one a lot and have always had fun and support even when Conor is having one of his bad “autism” days. So, we are there at a time it is not too busy, and Conor goes and jumps on one of the “under 3 year old” inflatables. Now, I know that he shouldn’t have done that, but there were no kids in the place younger than 3, and all the other kids of varying ages above 3 were in it at one point or another and no one was upset about the situation. Except the older woman who is an employee who very randomly, and seldomly, walked around shouting at the kids not to run, get off this or that, etc.. She really had a calling as a drill sergeant if she hadn’t already been one. She even had the haircut. Of course, Conor is alone on the under 3 yr jumpy house on one of her rare walk-throughs when she sees him and starts yelling at him to get out, as he is clearly over 3. He ignores her and continues jumping. I had been watching and rushed over to take him out when she gets even more upset at him and yells more loudly (and not so nicely) for him to get out. She was incensed that he was ignoring her. I called to Conor, and she told me he wasn’t listening and was going to be asked to leave. I had to throw out the “A-bomb” at that point and told her he’s autistic and can’t talk much, not to mention couldn’t hear above the screams of the other kids and the noise the inflatable things make. She immediately apologised and said that there were a lot of kids with autism that came to the place. I don’t what she was trying to convey to me at that point. I felt if she had been around all these other kids with autism that maybe she should give the benefit of the doubt to a child who is not responding appropriatley. 

Conor got out of the jumpy thing when I asked and went to find something else to play on. The woman followed me briefly saying that there really were a lot of kids with autism who go there and I just said that I had to keep an eye on him so that he didn’t break any rules. Meanwhile, the under 3yr jumpy house filled up with clearly over 6yr olds as we spoke.

So, I don’t know how or if she will remember that incident, but I hope she does. Parents with kids of different abilities remember them. And, just because a child doesn’t look like he has any issues doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t. It’s difficult to have a child so cute (my own bias there) and then have people project certain behaviours that he should accomodate, and when he doesn’t, blame goes to him and to the parent. I suppose sometimes that is true. But sometimes folks should take a step back and consider there is more going on than just bad parenting or bad behaviour. 

Needless to say, I hope the woman who yelled at Conor (ugh! still hurts) woke up in the morning and thought about the situation. If it was no more than a flitting moment in her life with nothing gained, than that’s sad and a missed opportunity on her part. A goal for everyone should be to have a little understanding for those you don’t understand. 

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My son’s Autistic, what’s your excuse?

Unfortunately some stories merit their own category, hence the title. Eventually I find some humor in these stories, but sometimes I just need to vent. Case in point: I take the boys to the library, a place I consider a “safe zone” since I can manage both Conor and Jack, even when things get rough. One day Conor decided to run around the Rec Room, which is a big area and not in use that day. There were two ladies in the corner talking. I asked Conor to come with me and he started having a tantrum. I used my usual calming method: deep pressure hug and have him count to ten (as many times as necessary). Jack kept egging him on, which made things worse. Then one of the ladies shouted at them “Boys, I’m a teacher and you better be quiet and behave!”. That just made things worse. Conor had a full on tantrum, Jack started crying and I was mad as all get out. I explained that Conor was autistic and she replied she wasn’t really a teacher, but she did that to kids to scare them so they got in line.

This was the time I wish I was quick with the witty replies. But no. I can think of many now, but couldn’t at that moment. I was on the verge of tears and having my own meltdown.

I picked Conor up (no easy task considering how big he is and when he is screaming and thrashing about), told Jack to follow me, and hurried to the exit. Then the lady came over to me, and I don’t know what she was going to say, but I glared at her and just angrily said “don’t even” and walked away.

So, I don’t know what the moral here is, or where the humor is for that matter, but I do know that woman gave teachers everywhere a bad name. Our teachers have been nothing but kind and helpful, and my kids have put them through a lot! I also learned that people are not as autism aware as I thought they were and perhaps not as autism-accepting. I also was reminded there are idiots everywhere, even at the library.

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