Our oldest son was the first child diagnosed with any sort of behavioral disorder by a doctor. He is impulsive, defiant, loves to test boundaries, and pushes our buttons. At the same time, he’s thoughtful, creative, imaginative, kind, and loving. I think this is why kids are born cute. It’s a self defense mechanism for when they do things that make us as parents spin our heads around and spew pea soup. I won’t go through the whole diagnosis story again, but suffice it to say, we finally ended up on Asperger’s/high functioning autism, and with the right IEP and therapies, things have been much better. This child has not, thus far because I’m always reevaluating, needed medication. Therapy alone has helped.
Enter child number two. Our younger son was preemie. He was a difficult baby. He is also impulsive, defiant, stubborn, and tests boundaries. Then on the other hand is is sweet, loving, cuddly, easygoing, imaginative, and a good problem solver. The difference? While our older child was pretty energetic, our younger child is like the Energizer Bunny on meth. As he entered the preschool years, it was evident that age appropriate activities like playing a whole game of the dreaded Candyland were impossible, and that shouldn’t be the case. All we were really looking for was five minutes of concentration on one task.
This time, we knew we needed to consider medication. Our child wasn’t able to concentrate on tasks long enough for us to even try to teach him. If this was the case at home, how could we ever think of trying to send him to school? Now, as the first trial of medication worked, but wasn’t the success we needed and we are weaning off of them, we are definitely seeing we made the right choice. We are seeing all of those old behaviors come back. We are seeing the sensory seeking behaviors and stimming skyrocket. We are seeing regression in some harder life skills tasks because he just doesn’t have the patience nor attention span to work on them right now.
I do know one thing. I’m glad that we approach what our children need individually. They are different people with different personalities and needs, and we treat them as such. I’m glad we were realistic about the medication issue. I’m glad we are trying to figure this all out now, before our youngest is ready to start Kindergarten next Fall because he desperately wants to ride the bus and go to school like his brother. We are in a position now to set him up for the best possible learning experience as he starts his school career next year, and we are making the most of what time we have left.
*We’re not the only parents struggling with this issue. Rhea has also been struggling with the decision to medicate her son with ADHD or not.