Who Can You Trust? It Might Not Be Who You Think

Everyone needs to be able to trust in other’s expertise, especially when it comes to our children and loved ones. A common complaint I hear over and over again from parents of children with special needs ranging from mild speech disorders to autism spectrum disorders is they were told by their pediatrician, “Don’t worry, he will grow out of it”.

One mother of twins, a boy and a girl, was told “boys develop slower than girls”… Her son has since been diagnosed with Autism. The diagnosis came after she followed her own instinct and took her son to see an “expert” in the field.

As a speech and feeding therapist, families seek me out for my expertise. They trust what I say and do because I have years of experience in the field. However, when I am asked questions regarding sleeping or potty training I will always refer to an expert that knows more than me.

What are you an expert in? Taxes? Computers? Neurosurgery? Education? Can anyone learn to do what you do by spending twenty minutes on the Internet?

Living in a time when there is a world of info at our fingertips it is very tempting to try to become an expert in everything. In my opinion the internet helps us be more informed, know the right questions to ask and find the right experts to help us.

We need to be careful not to think we know more than we do.

I once saw a speech therapist send an e-mail to a listserve asking “how to work with swallowing”. She had just taken on two swallowing clients. Talk about dangerous! I can’t imagine someone working with swallowing without being properly trained. I’d like to say I’m stunned by this but I’m not. Unfortunately there are many people who will take any client they can get.

Another time I had a conversation with the mother of one of the kids I see. He has always had significant tooth decay regardless of his oral-hygiene, which is very good by the way. Anyway, being an expert in the area of feeding disorders, I suspected reflux was the culprit. So I suggested the child be assessed by either a pediatric Gastroenterologist or a pediatric ENT to determine if this was the case.

Having worked with feeding disorders for so long I have become an expert in “suspecting” reflux; however a medical doctor must do the diagnosing. The child’s pediatrician told his mother that I was “Crazy” and that “he definitely does not have reflux”.

Mom went to the ENT anyway.

The ENT diagnosed the child as having active reflux. And then said it is “100% causing his tooth decay”.

If his mother had not sought out an expert her son may have continued to have serious tooth decay for years to come. Luckily this… was caught before his adult teeth came in.

We all need to “trust” at times and that can be difficult, especially with stories like those above. But sometimes you have to.

So if you think something is wrong trust your gut, get informed and find an expert.

You may find that you were worried about nothing. Or, you may find that that you were right all along and that you did not waste valuable time ignoring the problem.

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Isa Marrs

Isa Marrs is a board-certified speech-language pathologist who specializes in articulation, pragmatic language and feeding disorders in children. Read More