Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Or would a better title be "Better Living Through Pharmacology"? Because I did it. Isaac took his first pill 4 weeks ago. And dammit to h*ll, the little green pills seem to be working. I am not sure if I am relieved or disappointed. I can say this - the guilt I felt for the first two weeks has faded as I have watched my 9 year old boy return to me. After being suspended from school twice in one week (I know that sounds harsh, but I actually don't disagree with it - more on that later), I opened up the bottle and broke one of those little bastards in half. I explained to him what we were doing and exactly why, and talked to him about how it might make him feel. And he took it. Minor miracle in itself - it was his first pill. Ever. And maybe it was a sign that even he felt things were getting out of control. Earlier that day, he had said to me that he wished he had "not been born this way", which no parent ever EVER wants to hear their child say. And what else could I say, but that I was glad he was the way he was. In every way (cue Lady Gaga song). It was an extremely small dose. Maybe too small for his height and weight. We upped it a tad per the Doc in week 3, to a more appropriate dosage. Week one was still tough, but it takes a bit. Week two was better. Week three and four? Oh, heaven. And I really mean that. He has been...happier. Smiling. Flexible. Less obsessive. Stays calmer in anxious situations. He still gets anxious, but he just handles it better. He even did his standardized testing, which all of you parents of kids 3rd grade and up know about. Testing is not Isaac's thing. Testing leads to massive melt downs. And he did it. And did WELL. He's connecting with friends again. But what we have noticed more is that his mind seems calmer, and he is finding joy in things he enjoyed before, like reading. I feel as if my smiling son is back. Very happy. Now, for full disclosure, I will add we made other changes as well during this time, that I am sure have added to the change we see. First, we took a brain break. We turned off the video games, limited most screen time, and started doing far more activities outside. We also changed his routine at school. His class is a CB (read "contained") classroom, and the start of the day was always "free time", while some kids transitioned to their main stream classes or ate their breakfasts at their desks. He is autistic. Free time is not always a good start. Now, he has tasks; some days he does work sheets at his desk, some days he sits quietly reading a few chapters of his book. Either way, there is direction to his start, and he knows exactly what is expected of him. This is how the mainstream classes are run in his school. Shouldn't every class be like this? We have also taken away a big part of the reward system in class. No stars for good behavior - we now tell him that certain behavior is simply expected of him. That's it. Finally, we stopped seeing the Behaviorist. Oh, "taking a break" is a better way of saying it. I still consult with her once a week, and Olivia sees her every Friday. But the shit hit the fan when we started seeing her, and I believe that she will be helpful eventually, but the sessions really stirred up the debris and we can't have that during school time. At the end of the day, I know I can't escape the fact that I drug my own child. And I know that at any point, it might stop working and we will have to re-address this. But it is hard to deny the smile on his face as he comes home from another good day, and I find that I can live with that just fine.