Let me begin with an observation on the latter. Developmental pediatricians in the Philippines are a rare breed. Or that’s what I noticed. From society and organization websites, to forums, to word-of-mouth, to my own experience, they seem to be outnumbered by people who need their expertise. A parent of a child with developmental delays has to wait weeks or months to see one developmental pediatrician.
Only thirty are listed on the Philippine Society of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Twenty-five in one Filipino autism blog, and that is not purely DevPeds. A child psychologist, child psychiatrist, and pediatric neurologist are mixed in the list, although they certainly are a big help too.
At my son’s speech therapy and psychology center I hear the same account from other parents – securing a time slot with a DevPed is hard. They are all fully booked throughout what could turn into a year. You may be lucky if someone withdraws but that rarely happens.
I’m playing this by ear: I guess the picture is different in the west where for every special problem there always seems to be a corresponding expert. The perk of advance knowledge. Advance research. Wealth.
Back then I never heard of DevPeds or children with developmental issues were just undiagnosed. Recalling those years in the grades there were indeed a few who could have benefited from relative specialists. There was this practice among elementary school teachers, of assigning a child who knows well ahead to tutor a classmate who is behind lessons. Poor Christina. She would shed tears of frustration as she struggled with simple phrases. And poor me. I would frown in exasperation as I sat with her wondering why she crawled through sentences.
Dyslexic? I hope at least now Christina doesn’t mind being in glamorous company. There are more than rare of them, like some listed on dyslexia the gift site list.
Among actors and entertainers: Whoopi Goldberg and Keanu Reeves
Among inventors and scientists: Alexander Graham Bell and Pierre Currie
Among artists and designers: Leonardo da Vinci and Tommy Hilfiger
Among athletes and political leaders: Muhammad Ali and John F. Kennedy
Among entrepreneurs and business leaders: Richard Branson and Ted Turner
Among writers and journalists: Agatha Christie and Byron Pitts
Here’s looking forward to third world DevPeds becoming as less and less rare as dyslexics around the rest of the world are famous contributing members of global society.