Monday, 7 November 2011

Eye tests and ASD

We have noticed Little Man has been sitting closer and closer to the TV recently. Now living with an IT/Gadget geek we don't have a small TV, so there was no reason why he should be almost sitting in it.
I am so blind I get free eye test and have worn glasses since the age of 4. T'husband has also started wearing glasses in the last few years. So it comes as no surprise to me that one if not both boys will eventually need glasses. So I duly booked the appointment with Boots opticians. I decided to have mine first so Little Man could see what was going on.  At 7 Little Man was expected to read the chart even though I told the optician he is struggling in school.

Little Man was a little unsure of the glasses they use but kept them on, but by the time the optician had fiddled with these, Little Man had had enough and was not going to sit still, was not going to stop twiddling the sides of the glasses on his face and was definitely not going to even attempt the letters. I was furious with the Optician though, he clearly did not have much experience with children and did not listen to me. After only 2 attempts he said he couldn' possibly do Little Man's sight test as he was being so naughty and could we please rebook to see the manager and have drops put in his eyes so they wouldn't need to use the glasses or the reading charts. Our old optician in our old town was fab at Boots Opticians and always used pictures with Little Man and games.

Anyhow I re-booked for a few days later for 2pm and told school he wouldn't be back due to blurry vision. He happily sat in the chair and the manager seemed a lot more clued up about children and sight tests. However she then tried the eye drops.

Little Man took one look at something approaching his eye and flipped. He got himself backwards in the chair screaming and shouting his eyes were burning and it hurt (nothing had actually gone in his eyes). The poor woman didn't know what to do.  He was so distressed and shouting 'that woman is hurting me, take me away mummy, take me home'.  When we eventually calmed Little Man down and left the room at the back of Boots, lots of people turned to see us exit the room so it is obvious most of the shop heard about the poor manager hurting Little Man! Going back to school was not an option due to Little Man's distress so we went for a hot chocolate and muffin until pick up time for Mini Man.

The next step was a referral to the hospital who are experienced in putting drops in children's eyes. The morning arrived (not without a little trepidation on my part), and we trotted off to the department. After waiting half an hour, we were shown into a tiny, long room and Little Man sat and chatted with the optician. She gave him a choice of either bright green or red glasses to put on - they looked like sun glasses which she was then able to blank one eye out of, and asked him to look at both letters and pictures. She concluded with little fuss that Little Man did need glasses and asked us to wait in a different corridor so the nurse could stick some drops in his eyes and then they could work out his prescription.

Another half hour wait and we were shown into a room. Little Man was asked to hop up onto a bed and I could see he immediately put his defenses up. Two nurses came in and I had a quiet word and said he would be difficult as soon as he realised what they were going to do and perhaps they could do both eyes at the same time and very quickly before he realised what was going on.  In principle this should of worked but one of the nurses decided to make a big deal of opening the vial about 5 inches from Little Man's nose and when he asked if she was going to put them in his eyes she said 'of course we are, just wait a moment'.

Que Little Man fighting to get past me and off the bed, and then screaming blue murder, thrashing around and trying to bite me. One nurse at least tried to aim in the right direction when she got the chance, the other stood back looking shocked (the one who had told him what they were going to do). As the nurses are not allowed to restrain a patient, this was deemed another disastrous appointment and after about 20 minutes of them trying to explain what it was and how it wouldn't hurt and would he try, they gave up. I think we were in that room for about 45 minutes. When we opened the door all these people sat in the corridor lent forwards in their chair to watch me carrying a sobbing, heaving Little Man out in my arms. now for 7 Little Man is very tall and thin and when one old man said very loudly to his wife that he was expecting a toddler to come out of the room, it took me all my remaining energy not to stop and give him a piece of my mind.

After discussion with t'husband we decided that to allow him to wake up with blurry vision could in itself be very frightening so we spent the next few weeks talking about putting them in, showing him pictures and practicing with water in the bath. In the end he agreed to be brave (in exchange for a treat - his idea) and we agreed.

The morning of the appointment we were prepared for problems despite Little Man agreeing. We got him laid on our bed, one on either side of him and used our knees to hold his arms down gently, said 1,2 3 and both aimed at the same time before he realised what was going on. He did get very distressed for about 30 minutes after and sat with his back to us but thankfully calmed down by himself and we got to the hospital and got the appointment over and done with in no time. And yes he does need glasses and is now the proud owner of some bight shiny blue ones and has taken to them like a duck to water.

I must admit I am not looking forwards to his next appointment!!


BNM said...

Oh hun, am sorry things were so bad. You would think that explaining to opticians that child has problems would be enough.
Maybe you could try to find a optician which specialises in children?
Hope he's better next time!
I can always send Bel up!


Theramblingpages said...

Thanks BNM! I think next time they may just do a sight test so fingers crossed!

Jazzy said...

Oh your poor boy! How upsetting for him. Showing pictures etc is such a good idea. We did Social Stories with our WiiBoy when he was younger. really helped with those horrible trips. He gags when the dentist puts a mirror in his mouth and completely freaked when he proceeded to just 'paint' his teeth! You can just imagine how he reacted the couple of times he needed an MCUG (tube up the willy!) Poor kid. Your heart breaks for them. Social stories definitley giving them an age appropriate idea of how long it'll take?? Count to 10 or something!

Hope it goes easier next time...if there is a next time!

xx Jazzy

Glasgow_mummy said...

My toddler (26 months) needs glasses to correct his squint. They think he's squinting because he's long sighted. Anyway, we've been once to the hospital & had the drops put in, but he then refused to go back into the waiting room. We did eventually get him into the optician's room but didn't get him to sit in the chair. I'm due back in December to try again and see if we can figure out his prescription. I've bought a few children's books on glasses to read to him in the run up to the appointment but any tips you might have would be great. Didn't think to practice putting in drops...might give that a go.