I went to see our GP yesterday on behalf of little Barney. As far as I am aware each GP appointment is allocated 10 minutes. I was in her room for 40 minutes and when I came out, boy did the next patient give me some evil looks!
But in all fairness, it wasn’t may fault. I explained to the GP about Barney’s anxiety and his sleep problems. She wanted to read the letter of diagnosis from the psychiatrist. So she went off to look for it. She was gone for 20 minutes! It turned out they hadn’t received a letter; it must have been lost in the post. So then she had to phone Lurgan Children’s Hospital to ask for another letter, and to get the letter read out to her on the phone. If I’d known I could have taken my copy.
Anyway, she spent a further 10 minutes on the phone to the psychiatrist’s secretary explaining about Barney and the help he requires. She was so thorough – asking what help was coming his way, how long it would take, whether he would be getting one on one help etc. The psychiatrist was to phone her back in the afternoon, but the GP was going home as she is only part time. So she gave him her mobile phone number, and told me that she’d only be pottering around the house anyway.
That afternoon she phoned me from her home to tell me that she’d been talking to the psychiatrist from the autism team and they had sorted out a prescription for Barney for some Melatonin. She said that Barney had not been referred for one on one help, but after she told the psychiatrist about his elevating anxiety levels he had decided to refer him. It will take about 13 weeks to be seen, but then he will get up to 6 one on one sessions with an autism specialist of some sort. She also said that as parents we will be contacted very soon by a place in Newry that offer parental support to children with autism. So that’s a relief. It is still a waiting game, but at least we know that we are waiting for something!
I was so impressed with the GP. She went out of her way to help, even though she had other patients waiting, and she was then off work. She dealt with it in her free time and even phoned a prescription through to the chemist and made sure Melatonin was in stock. If only all GP’s were this dedicated to their patients! (I have met a few less enthusiastic ones in the past!)
So Barney had his first dose of Melatonin last night and guess what? He was asleep within 40 minutes, and slept through Rosie’s crying! I am hoping that it wasn’t just a coincidence. Time will tell. Melatonin is not a sleeping tablet or anything like that. It is a hormone that is made in the body, which regulates the human body clock and tells us the difference between day and night. Many autistic children seem to be low in Melatonin and they think that this is why they have awful trouble getting to sleep at night. Here’s a snippet from the link about about Melatonin…
Sleep Problems in Children with Neuro-Psychiatric Disorders
There have been a number of well-designed studies and case reports on the use of melatonin in children with neuro-psychiatric disorders that result in sleep difficulties, such as autism, psychiatric disorders, visual impairment, or epilepsy. The studies conducted so far suggest that melatonin can shorten the time to fall asleep and lengthen sleep duration
I have also received a few emails from a lovely fella who works at the charity ‘AutismNI’ (formerly PAPA). He has been really helpful and understanding. He is putting our names down for the next lot of courses for parents of autistic children. He is also getting a volunteer to phone me; all volunteers are parents who have been through the same thing and know the system. He is sending us a free book to read with the kids as well.