Saturday, August 7, 2010

Medication or no Medication

At the beginning of the summer I thought that taking Shane off of his medication was a good thing, but now that he has been off his medication for quite a while I am beginning to see that maybe I was mistaken.

Here's a little background.... Shane had a really tough time when he was in kindergarten, (he did not yet meet the requirements for an IEP) the teacher and I did not see eye to eye, and Shane was not impressed with her lack of consistency and follow thru. Part way through his kindergarten year we visited a developmental pediatrician -- she felt like we did-- that Shane needed more structure, and that if things weren't being managed in a consistent way-- at home, at school, at church...etc then his behavior was going to be combative,disruptive, and aggressive-- almost violent. Some of the things he was saying were really dis concerning also-- I just want to die, that teacher should be dead.--  We ended up after much discussion, putting him on the lowest dose of Risperdol. It took a few weeks to really see a difference, but Shane finally seemed to be able to pull out of a meltdown. It was like the medication took the rough edges off of Shane's worse behaviors.  

Shane made some great progress last year, he wasn't as combative and aggressive -- I really thought that this was because he had teachers that saw him as he is... a very smart kid, who just happened to have SPD.  

Just the other day, Jessica had been gone for the day on a play date, and Jerry and Shane had been to the BMX track... I was going to go  with them... and take some pictures but Shane wanted alone time with Jerry..  So, I stayed home. --- After the boys got home I was in the house talking with Jerry I popped my head outside to check on Shane... I hear a HUGE screeching sound... Shane was running his matchbox car all over and around the KIA.... there were many, many scratches all the way around the KIA.  
(About two days ago I had re-reminded Shane that he is not to touch my KIA... with Anything... he has in the past tried to "wash" it with a scrubby sponge from the kitchen ! ACk!)  I am not picky about my car-- it goes without a wash VERY often... however Shane knows not to touch it and he completely disregarded my rule.

Then, just last night Shane had a tough time being upright (off the floor) and calm while in the Fabric Store-- I attempted to get him outside to see if I could get him to work out of his meltdown-- I was unsuccessful.-- He ended the meltdown by telling me that he just didn't want a mommy anymore and that I could just go and die.
Although I knew his words were just --- part of the meltdown -- it was enough for me to realize that maybe the medication does have a purpose for Shane, and our family.

After Shane had calmed down I sat down to talk with him, I explained about how he used to use medicine and now he was having a much harder time being..."good"-- I asked him if his body felt different-- I asked him to tell me what he thought-- He really wasn't able to express himself-- I told Shane that Jerry, Jessica and I take medication-- he nodded his head and then said, "But mom,  your medicine is for your body not for your behavior."  I went on to explain that his medicine just helps his brain work better-- and that the medicine that Jerry, Jessica and I take is to help parts of our bodies work better.  Finally, I asked him if he wanted to try taking the medication again-- and he seemed to agree.

I know that things at home during the summer are WAY different than when he is at school-- but I also know that I am seeing a change in Shane that makes me scared of him.... It's like his emotions, and his behaviors are untamed--.  

Jerry and I talked and I will call on Monday to see if we can get Shane back on his medication-- If we wait too much longer, then he could start school with  these un-manageable behaviors. I don't want to put his new, lovely, sweet teacher in the position of defense-- I would like the teacher to feel like Shane is... a sweet,smart lovable boy that ~ just happens to have SPD.

I would love some feedback from my followers and commenters.... :)


Texjoyce said...

We too are going back to the pediatrician before school starts. We are going to put our daughter on Strattera to help with her melt downs and her inability to concentrate.

Caitlin Wray said...

Oh Stacey, that is just such a difficult situation. I really think the issue of medication is one of, if not the most, difficult one we face with kids who have these kinds of challenges.

My two pieces of advice would be these: personally, I am very averse to hard core meds - I'm not anti-meds, which would mean I don't believe in them at all, I do believe there are cases where they are needed. But I do think it's best to exhaust all other resources first. For us, that meant naturopathic supplements which made a huge difference to Simon - at least, in the context of life outside school (since we homeschooled last year). Whether they will be enough to help him through regular school is another question.

Second, go with your gut and trust your instincts, while you may still have fears and reservations about what your instinctive response is, it is still likely the right one for the moment. As far as the teacher is concerned, keep in mind that your job is not to make HER job easier. You may need to brace her for Shane's challenges and for the fact that they may be at a peak when transitioning back into the school year. A good teacher will be willing to do what it takes to help him adjust and will also tell you if it's just not working, in which case meds may be inevitable.

Because you are a very thoughtful and involved mom, you can't really make a wrong decision, because whatever decision you make will be based on the best information you could find :) Keep us posted!


Anonymous said...

You know I'll always pitch in my 2 cents my friend..LOL! I think it is a good idea that you took him off for the summer for a number of reasons. One is that no meds is always a bit healthier and it's good for him to not have any more than he needs to have while developing. That's what we did with my son for a couple of years too plus you don't know how they behave without until you try it. I would say that you are making the right choice to get him back on a couple of weeks or so before school starts so he can readjust. Try again next year in the summer without again. He may be able to handle it next year without meds when school starts. Love you Stace! Me

Gavin Bollard said...

My eldest son is on Ritalin and he needs it. Without the ritalin, he loses focus. Of course, since no parent wants their child on medication, we tend to give him at least one day per week (and most school holidays) without it.

His unmedicated behavior is still atrocious and on the odd occasion that we forget his tablet, we always get a call from the school. They can easily tell from his behavior.

My son does occasionally say that he wants to kill himself etc. but now I can tell that it is a manipulative statement rather than an actual intention. We've discussed this with him in detail. It's not a nice thing for him to say but it still comes out nevertheless - and it's guaranteed to "shock", which is why he uses it.

As for meltdowns. It may be different for Shane but with my son, I know that I can't get involved. I need to get him somewhere safe (or preferably move people/items to make his current area safe). Then leave him alone. Try to give him zero sensory input - no talking, no looking, no touching etc.. and he'll calm down much quicker.

BTW: Risperdal is usually for schizophrenia. It's used very occasionally for bipolar. I'm surprised that it's been prescribed in this case.

Kristi said...

We have still not entered into the ned route with Noah yet.Steve and I continue to talk about it, and are curious to see what this school year holds. I think it is wise how you explained it to Shane and I think you are smart to incorporate the entire family's needs into the discussion, not just Shane's.