DC has worn glasses since he was 4 or 5 years old. Originally only for distance but he quickly took to wearing them all of the time.
I was a little bit apprehensive when it occurred to me that it was time to start taking him to have his eyes examined. He was not verbal at all and was not very cooperative with doctors. His pediatrician would strategically place wastepaper pails around the examining room when DC was due to come in for an appointment because he would work himself up to vomiting – everywhere – every time.
Even now, though so much more agreeable, I do still have to bring reinforcements – his Dad and Doug, when he has to have a shot The 4 of us go marching into the examination room along with a nurse and the doctor. As hard as we try, we can not hold onto this boy. The doctor really just ends up chasing him around the room in the hopes of getting a lucky shot.
I will always remember a little girl that was in DC’s Birth to 3 class. She was just a tiny little thing, with the strongest, thickest glasses I have ever seen. She, like DC was non-verbal. Even with those thick, thick glasses, the teachers had to get right up in her face so she could see them. I remember one day, walking into DC’s classroom to visit (I worked 5 minutes away and visited often) and there she was without the glasses! Her mother explained that she had changed eye doctors just recently and the new doctor had determined that she did not need glasses at all, she never did! So needless to say, I really wasn’t looking forward to having DC’s eyes examined.
Yes, he could sign the letters on the eye chart but if he was not in the mood to cooperate that day – how would we know if what he was signing was actually what he was seeing? Before we even get to that point, how could I explain to him that we wanted him to sign the letters he was being shown?
I finally thought I found a doctor that understood the situation and brought DC to his first appointment. The doctor did say that his vision was not 20/20 and he would probably need glasses eventually. It would be helpful but not 100% necessary at this time. He did suggest that I may want to do it now so he had the chance to get used to them. That is what I did.
It really did not take that long for him to get used to the glasses and his teacher reported that he was much more focused in the classroom. I must say, he is and has always been very good with his glasses. He has not lost or broken any pair he’s had over the years (knocking wood).
After a couple of years and after a few screw-ups, we switched to another doctor in the practice.
This worked out well for awhile, but eventually, after so many issues that you might think were a work of fiction if I wrote them down- we left that practice altogether and not very quietly.
The last few times DC needed a new prescription and while we were still going to the doctor mentioned above, I opted to just change the lenses in his frames. Some changes are not all that difficult for him , but when it comes to glasses, shoes or switching seasonal coats and jackets, he has a hard time. It was becoming apparent that these frames were not going to last very much longer, so it was time to find a new doctor and get new frames, whether he needed a new prescription or not.
We found a new eye doctor that came highly recommended by my brother and sister-in-law. It was just amazing how smoothly this appointment went. I did not even have to explain to the doctor that given the choice of two options, he will almost always choose the last one, just because it is the last thing he heard. We were in and out in less than an hour, where as if we had gone to his previous doctor, this exam would have taken two very long visits and then the follow up visits to correct what they had done incorrectly.
Our previous doctor had an optical shop on site. This new doctor did not, so off we went to a department store where plenty of other people I knew bought their glasses. We started the process of trying on different frames. As expected, DC was anxious. He yelled “No!” to each and every pair that he tried on. Now it is never really clear if he just does not like the frames or if he is saying “no” because the sample frames just have regular glass in them and he can’t see. I have tried to explain this to him many times, but I am really not sure that he understands.
I do not know if he was just tired of trying on frames or if he actually liked the pair that he had on his face at that moment, but he finally said “Yes”! The girl who was helping us was so very excited – “He said ‘yes’!” . Once she said that out loud, he went back to “No”. I had a “yes” for a minute, I wasn’t going to let it go that easily. I asked him to look in the mirror. He did. A customer that must have been listening to this whole exchange (how could one miss it?) told him that he looked very handsome in those glasses. He was sold.
We sat down to place our order. At this point DC had enough and it was time for a panicked sprint to the restroom with me running behind yelling for him to slow down, as he raced to the other end of the store. He does this when he becomes overwhelmed. It is also his way of trying to get out of doing something he doesn’t want to do. I assumed I was in for the long haul as much of my life is spent standing outside the men’s room or yelling into the men’s room. To my surprise, he calmed down relatively quickly for him, but I am certain the girl waiting to finish our order was probably thinking we had skipped out on her. We finally made it back to complete the order and were told his glasses would be ready in less than a week.
I got the call 4 days later that his glasses were ready to be picked up. I didn’t want to wait until the weekend to go as his glasses were on their last legs, so I asked Mrs. H to take him after he got home from his program.
I was home from work by the time they arrived home. DC walked in wearing his old glasses carrying the new glasses in the case. He didn’t realize that now that he had the new glasses, he was actually supposed to wear them. I don’t really know what he thought he was supposed to do with them, but wearing them was not on the list.
I asked to see them. I asked him to put them on and explained to him that his old glasses were ready to fall apart and he should start wearing the new ones. He put them on and I put his old glasses in the case and stored them away just in case we ever needed a temporary pair. He was fine for a little while, but later came into the kitchen looking around very determined to find something. I asked what he was looking for and he replied “Glasses”. He was looking for his old glasses. He still did not understand that he was supposed to be wearing the new ones.
I really was beginning to think that this was going to be more difficult than I originally thought. I explained again that his old glasses were going to fall apart and this is why I bought him new glasses. He has to wear the new ones. He should be able to see much better wearing the new pair too.
Just like that, he left the kitchen and never asked for the old glasses again. I was impressed. This had to be the easiest transition to anything we’ve ever experienced.
First he chose frames that were dramatically different from the old frames and then after only an hour or two, let the old pair go and never looked back.
Isn’t it funny? You just never know what’s going to be smooth and what will require long, extended effort!
I know. I really thought it was going to be a big deal. He is very attached to his glasses.
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I think the hit and miss nature of knowing what transition will be easy and what will be hard can be very challenging.
My son wears glasses, too, and hates the part at the eye doctor where they blow a puff of air into his eyes. It takes a very long time to talk him into doing it. Thank goodness they are very patient!
That’s the part I hate the most. If I didn’t know it was coming I’d be able to keep my eye open 🙂 .If they don’t tell him it’s coming he’s good about it – for a “kid” that remembers everything, he doesn’t seem to remember that part each time. I guess that’s a good thing.
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I got a knot of anxiety in my stomach reading about the puff of air into the eye. 🙂 I honestly don’t think my son would go thru with it no matter how patient everyone was.
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Ohmygosh – I can’t imagine having to get my (ASD) sons eyes checked and then get him fitted for a prescription and glasses etc. It would be so tricky figuring out what’s right and what’s working and when he’s saying the real thing vs a script etc. Nice job to DC for getting through this transition so easily.
That was exactly my concern when he was younger. How would I know? Fortunately we haven’t had many problems over the years – with his side of the exam – the other doctors were a whole different story. 🙂
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