Lee “Chris” Crocker, Physician Assistant, Pediatrics
Chris is a very special member of our family and I wouldn’t want to take the journey of raising my special needs child with anyone else.
Beth M. regularly drives her son Stephen all the way from Pflugerville to ARC Southwest to see Physician Assistant, Lee “Chris” Crocker in the ARC Pediatrics Department. Stephen, who is 13 years old, has been seeing “Uncle Chris” since he was a newborn. “Chris is a very special member of our family,” Beth says, “and I wouldn’t want to take the journey of raising my special needs child with anyone else.”
Beth, who has been an ARC patient for thirty years, has a long history with “Dr. Chris.” “Let me put it this way,” she says, “I used to go to his office and see the artwork of Chris’s little biddy daughters. They are now grown women.”
“Chris is caring, compassionate, and thorough. He always answers all of my questions and makes me feel important.” Beth says. “He is an awesome match for me.”
When Beth was in graduate school studying psychology, she began to have physical symptoms brought on by a past trauma. She asked Chris to treat her physical symptoms while she worked on her emotional issues. “Chris is very accepting. I always felt safe confiding in him about what I was going through and some of it was really ugly stuff. He has a good heart and a good ear,” Beth says.
When Chris announced that he was going to change his practice to pediatrics, Beth was sad. “We made a pact that he would care for my future children. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know how important it would be. I didn’t know that I would have a child with special needs.”
Stephen had his very first newborn check-up with Chris and has been with him ever since. As Stephen grew, something “wasn’t quite right” but Beth was not prepared to deal with it right away. Chris never pushed Beth past her “comfort zone.” He was patient and supportive and waited for Beth to decide when Stephen should be tested.
Stephen is on the autism spectrum and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sensory issues. Beth appreciates that Chris always takes extra time and energy to give Stephen what he needs. “If Stephen is having one of his ‘drama days,’ Chris knows how to bring him back to center,” she says.
Over the years, Chris has built a trusting relationship with Stephen, who adores him. Whether Chris is treating Stephen for broken bones, strep throat, or the usual childhood well-checks and immunizations, he always takes the time to explain exactly what he is doing. This has helped make Stephen comfortable with medical procedures.
Chris also takes extra time to continuously reinforce safety precautions with Stephen, telling him to wear his bike helmet and to be wary of strangers. “Kids with autism have no fear,” Beth explains. “Stephen really needs to be told these things over and over.”
“It takes a special person to care for Stephen,” Beth says. “When you find someone who can relate to a special child you stick with them.”
Because Chris’s practice is limited to pediatrics, he can see Stephen until he is sixteen years old. Beth has already started to prepare Stephen for the transition to an ARC Family Medicine doctor. “I have my own terrific ARC doctor, Dr. Mark Zook. I take Stephen to my appointments so he can get to know Dr. Zook. They have started to form a relationship.”
Beth intends to continue using Austin Regional Clinic for her medical needs. “I have received excellent care at ARC,” she says. “Over the years I have even switched my health plan to keep my ARC doctors.”