Nearly four months ago my wife scheduled an appointment with the Spectrum Transformation Group located in Midlothian, VA for an official ASD diagnosis. When my wife made the appointment she told the person that she spoke to that I already had a pre-diagnosis from screening that I had gone over with my normal therapist. I waited nearly four months, and cut a trip to Texas to visit with my parents short to be lied to, emotionally trampled on and talked down to like I was mentally deficient when I didn’t answer a “therapist’s” questions the way she thought I should answer them.
When my wife made the appointment with the Spectrum Transformation Group in Midlothian she had made it clear that I needed the testing for an official diagnosis and that was the only thing that we were seeking at the time. This appointment was made in July we were told that the appointment was for testing. While the extremely long wait was frustrating, we felt that it would give us a starting place so we would know what options that we had available for me as far a game plan for treatment. We were told that the process would take about three hours to complete, so we made arrangements for my wife and I to be dropped off and our transportation to return in three hours. I had the first appointment in the morning and showed up about half an hour early because not being on time for an appointment begins to throw my entire day off.
While I was waiting for my appointment, the woman that I would end up seeing entered the building, greeted the receptionist and went into the back of the building. I waited patiently for my appointment, which was at 10 am, the time came and passed. While I was waiting, I could hear the employees in the back laughing and joking with each other. It was nearly 10:10 am before the woman that I saw came to get me. She was ten minutes late when she had already arrived and had no previous clients to see prior to me. Had I been fifteen minutes late I would have been charged a $150.00 missed appointment fee, as I had been scheduled for testing which was supposed to be a multi-hour appointment.
The first thing the woman asked me was what did I do to make me think that I had autism. My response to her was that I wasn’t sure exactly what I did, because I didn’t pay attention to them. I then told her that if she wanted to know exact details, that she would be better off talking to my wife because she knew more about it than I did. I had always thought that I was just odd or perhaps even crazy. The woman then proceeded to ask me questions that my wife had already answered during a nearly hour-long telephone screening prior to my appointment. When I didn’t know the answer to a question or how to explain myself she seemed to get annoyed with me. Each one of her questions was followed by automatic uh-huhs like she was a robot and I was inputting code to receive a repeated two-syllable response. It was at this point that I began to shut down. I felt like this woman thought I was a waste of her time, especially when she began to obsess over the fact that I have severe social anxiety and depression. She went on to belittle my regular therapist for “not having done something” about my panic attacks and depression. The way I read this was she thought I needed to be medicated and nothing more.
I was done, and I wanted to leave but finally after thirty minutes of ignoring anything that I said she decided to pull my wife into the session to talk; my wife and my four-year-old niece were in the waiting room. At first the woman tried to get me to leave my niece alone in the waiting room, when I refused to leave a four-year-old child alone she was hesitant to resume the session, but finally did when I told her that I didn’t care if my niece was in the room or not. Her tone of voice towards my niece was more accepting and kind than her attitude towards me.
My wife was finally able to articulate my problems to the woman who then went on to tell us that this was just a screening to see if I needed to be tested for autism. When my wife told her that I have already been through screenings she once more began to insult my therapist by saying that because he had already put me through a screening and said I needed to be tested for an official diagnosis didn’t mean that I really needed to be tested or that I even had ASD. My wife told her that we had been scheduled for testing not for a screening and the woman replied “Well that just isn’t how things work here.” When my wife and I got up to leave, the woman said that if I really wanted to be tested she supposed they could do it.
We left the office after spending less than an hour in a so-called screening, an appointment that we had been told would take at least three hours, took less than one and was more of an insult and lie than anything else. Needless to say my wife was extremely upset at how I had been treated and the fact that we had been lied to. She began to call other ASD groups in the area to find a new doctor to do testing and left a review on the Spectrum Transformation Group’s Facebook page talking about how we had been treated and how she felt it was very unprofessional.
Within two or three hours, the owner of STG called my wife wanting her to remove her review that she had placed on their Facebook page. My wife went over what had happened in detail with the owner, the owner professed to want us to give them another chance, but when my wife stated that I wasn’t comfortable dealing with the same woman again she was told that the only other person that could do the testing was the owner (the person she was talking to on the phone) and that her caseload was full and that if I wanted testing it would have to be the same woman I saw. Again my wife was asked to remove her negative review from their Facebook page, and my wife responded with “we’ll see”, as she wanted to talk to me first about going back.
Shortly after the conversation between my wife and the owner of STG their Facebook reviews were completely disabled. Rather than allow the negative review on their page which explained what we had experienced they completely disabled all their reviews. They never gave my wife a chance to speak to me about the phone call from the owner; my wife had even tried to edit the review to mention that she had been contacted.
So now after waiting for four months for what was supposed to be testing and an official diagnosis, we’re back at square one. Since the refused to allow anyone to see my wife’s review, I felt it was important that I wrote my own so that other people wouldn’t waste their time or money with this group where each client is just a plus sign in a bank account and nothing more.