Dr. Mielke’s goal for the Developmental Spectrums clinic is to provide the kinds of services and medical expertise that she wishes had existed in the bay area when her own son was first diagnosed on the autistic spectrum.
Dr. Mielke not only knows about treating autism from extensive studying, attending specialized conferences, and experience with her patients – she also lives it “24/7” at home. She says, “I never ask my patients to do anything with their kids that I haven’t been able to do myself.” Her personal experience is invaluable in not only understanding what families are going through, but in being able to help decipher the sometimes baffling symptoms that autistic children have.
This document is meant to help you get an understanding of what is involved in being treated at Developmental Spectrums.
What is the general sequence of events?
A general description follows here; it includes information about becoming a new patient, your first appointment with Dr. Mielke, testing and follow-up appointments. More detailed information is given to parents when an appointment is made and the treatment process is initiated. Additional information is also available in the “Patient Resources” section of this web site.
Becoming a New Patient
When you call for an appointment; the New Patient Coordinator will ask you basic identifying information, as well as questions about your child’s medical history. After the appointment is scheduled and the new patient deposit is collected, you will receive a new patient questionnaire by email; these forms are required one week prior to your new patient appointment, along with any recent reports to be reviewed.
Before the first appointment, it is strongly recommended that parents read at least one of these three books: Children with Starving Brains by Jacquelyn McCandless; Healing the New Childhood Epidemics by Kenneth Bock; and Changing the Course of Autism by Bryan Jepson and others.
Keeping your child happy during the first appointment
If your child has a favorite toy, snack or electronic device, please bring it along. We ask that if you bring snacks, please refrain from bringing chips, popcorn and crackers. There will be toys in the practitioner’s office for your child to play with during the appointment. If your child is really hyper and unable to play with toys or watch a video, you may need to bring along an extra adult to help watch the child while the practitioner talks with the parents. There is a park just a block away if it is necessary to take the child outside for a while. Normally, the practitioner will be observing your child’s behavior in the playroom while gathering information from you.
The First Appointment
Please arrive to your appointment 15 minutes early. The Unit Coordinator will check you in and provide you with forms to sign.
During the appointment, medical recommendations will be made for your child based on the information provided in your new patient questionnaire. Be prepared to take notes, as the practitioner will be giving treatment advice from the very start.
At the end of the first appointment, you will be given a complete list of the initial supplements your child will need. These may be obtained at our office directly at the time of your appointment, or can be purchased individually from the manufacturers, or sometimes at other supplement retailers. We always want the medical tests complete before you start the new supplements, so that we can get a medical baseline for your child.
Both parents need to be present for this first appointment if possible. The more prepared the parents are in advance, the easier it will be to understand what the treatments are, and why we are doing them.
“If you don’t look for it, you won’t find it.”
The samples for some of the tests, such as urine, stool and hair, will be collected by you at home, and shipped off directly to the lab. For the blood tests, we schedule an appointment to come to the Developmental Spectrums lab for the blood draw. Most of blood tests ordered are “test kits”, which outside laboratories do not draw. Our phlebotomists are experienced at drawing blood on our sometimes difficult kids with ASDs, and are familiar with the complicated processing requirements of our tests.
Please let the new patient coordinator know if sedation is necessary for the blood draw; this will have to be arranged ahead of time. The initial tests require several tubes of blood. If a child weighs less than 40 pounds, we divide the labs into two blood draws. Be aware that, collectively, a typical set of initial tests can cost over $2000, some of which may be covered by insurance, but usually not all.
After the lab samples are drawn and shipped off, you will be starting the new supplements, and you will be working on your child’s diet, sometimes eliminating foods containing gluten and casein that may be causing reactions in them, and trying to get them to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Often, by the second appointment, the child has already made a great deal of progress just by these initial interventions alone.
The Second Appointment
After we get the lab result back – which takes about four weeks – you will have your one hour initial follow up appointment. At that time, she will review all the results with you, and give you a very detailed overview of what is going on with your child medically. It is a good idea to tape record this session, and again to take lots of notes, because it is easy to get overwhelmed by all of the information. Based on your child’s individual lab results, the practitioner will recommend additional supplements and medications that may be necessary to treat them.
Only after your child is strong and healthy enough from correcting nutritional deficiencies, viral infections, and GI problems, among other things, will we discuss the subjects of detoxification, hyperbaric oxygen treatments, and other interventions which are usually necessary for the maximal recovery of a child on the autistic spectrum. Each child’s treatment plan is individualized for his or her particular needs.
Follow-up appointments after that are approximately every 2-3 months, or can be more often depending on need, and some of them can be done over the phone if that is more convenient. Overall, most patients experience significant gradual improvement in their autism symptoms when their medical issues are addressed. The child is healthier and happier, and functions mentally at a higher level, acquiring new skills at a much faster rate.
There is no greater gift than to see a child recover from the jaws of autism to the greatest extent possible, and that is the gift that we hope to give to you.