contemplating meds

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2004
contemplating meds
6
Fri, 09-14-2012 - 11:55pm

Mt darling son is 6 years old in first grade.  He was diagnosed with mild ADHD by a private psychologist when he'd just turned 5.  When he was tested by the school psychologist last year, he was found to be gifted.  He's now seeing a therapist who thinks his shirt chewing behavior when he is anxious or excited may be a symptom of a sensory processing disorder, particularly oral hyposensitivity.  He has lots of friends and is very social and happy.  He has a hard time sitting still and keeping quiet in class, but generally loves school and his teachers.  He's very eager to please, very analytical for a 6 yo, and so affectionate and sweet.  Spoken like a Mom, I know...

His dad (we are divorced and both remarried and share custody) feels strongly that it is time to put him on medication for ADHD, that we have waited long enough for him to grow out of this.  I am very conflicted about this, for lots of reasons, and the conflicting information I have found as I try to research this has not eased my mind at all.  Of course, I want him to excel at school and realize his potential...but I also do not want to give him anything that is going to change his wonderful personality, or that he will become dependent upon.  I am trying to gather my thoughts for his pediatrician appointment Tuesday.  His dad does not paln to attend, but basically wants me to tell the pediatrician we want a prescription.  I'm not at all sure about that...

So, coming here to ask you all what your experiences have been with medication, and what questions to ask his pediatrician.  My fears are (and I'll admit to being ignorant on this subject which is why I'm here) that he will be zombie-like, that the bright light he is will somehow be dimmed, and that we'll be giving him the message that drugs are the answer.  I simply don't feel good about it, but at the same time I don't want to strain the relationship between myself and his dad, which has been decent lately.  It has been extremely difficult getting to that point with him.  With 2 households, it is difficult to remain consistent with behavioral modification, and quite frankly I don't think his dad has the patience for it. 

Please share your thoughts and experiences, and what questions I should pose to his doctor. 

Thanks in advance...I am new to this board but have always appreciated the honest perspectives and opinions on other IVill boards. 

 

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 4:23pm
I'm glad you are feeling better about the situation. It helped us a lot (especially my husband who is very analytical) to hear the science behind ADHD and also to understand the benefits of medications. Having a supportive teacher makes a world of difference also, so kudos to her! I love it when you have one that is willing to work with you on the issue.

Parenting is so tough! I'm glad I was here for you :smileyhappy:

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2004
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 10:26am

Thank you for sharing your experiences.  This is all new for me, so I really appreciate it.

His pediatrician, who I like and trust very much, made me feel better about things.  He prescribed a small dose of Metetate, which I sprinkle into his breakfast yogurt.  Yesterday was the first day.  My son had a great day at school according to his teacher, and came home saying "that pill really worked."  Also, his GIEP meeting was yesterday so I think that the new challenges and one on one attention he will get through the gifted program will also help.  We have been blessed with a wonderful 1st grade teacher, who sends him down to  the gym to run laps in the morning with a couple of other boys, started using a squishy seat in the second week of school, and gives him other sensory breaks when she sees he needs it.  I've sent in a "chewy necklace" (basically twisted up aquarium tubing) to give him an alternative to chewing his shirt at school.  (at home if we see that happening we give him sour gum or candy and that works too, but it's not a good option at school.) 

Dr. said he does not need to take it on the weekends, but said we probably should give it to him this weekend so that we can see ourselves how the medication effects him.  After that it will be a school-only thing.  He said we can stop anytime.  All of that made me feel better...also hearing that from him that this is a brain chemistry issue and not a parenting issue helped.  I don't know that I am totally at peace with this yet, but getting there.

I also have an 8yo stepson who lives with us who is on the Spectrum (PDD/NOS) so we work very hard with him, and many strategies we've learned in working with him and BSC's seem to apply to my younger son as well.  Who knew parenting would be so much work?  I was the fourth of 5 kids...my little brother and I were almost feral.  :smileywink:  I guess we can only hope we live long enough to see the day that they thank us for all the struggles we went through to help them.  Thank you again, Melissa, for taking the time to reply.   

 

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Tue, 09-18-2012 - 1:17pm

Forgot to add, as far as questions for the doctor, I would just tell him all of your fears for the most part, and ask about side effects for the med he suggests.  You should also discuss ways to deal with the side effects.  For example, if it has a side effect of weight loss due to appetite suppression, than ask for ideas on how to boost his caloric intake or get him to eat meals. 

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Tue, 09-18-2012 - 11:27am
That's the tough part of ADHD, and something my son went through. We didn't start meds until 5th grade (my husband was against medicating until that point) and he did fall behind. It really can hurt their self esteem, which is what made my husband finally agree to meds.

There are options you can try in the classroom to help him settle down such as wiggle seats or letting him chew gum in class (although most teachers will be against that one). Our school has wiggle seats available in most of the classrooms, it allows the child to get some movement without being disruptive, thus allowing them to settle down and focus. The seats they use are like this: http://www.amazon.com/Isokinetics-Brand-Exercise-Balance-Cushion/dp/B000WQ4Z94%3FSubscriptionId%3D19BAZMZQFZJ6G2QYGCG2%26tag%3Dsquid1143640-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3DB000WQ4Z94

I will say that my son has gotten better in some areas as he's matured, but it's also gotten harder since the classwork is harder. While I don't have to hound him all morning to get ready for school, still have to go over a checklist to make sure that he's done everything (wash face, brush teeth, deodorant, etc.) and we still have to be totally on top of his progress at school. He really struggles with organization and it's something that we'll continue to work on until he gets it. He's now a freshmen in high school and I almost cried last night when he showed me that he actually used his planner and wrote down assignments that were due in it. It sounds silly, but that's a huge step for him. While I still get frustrated, you do reach a point where you just accept that they will need more of your assistance than your average child.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2004
Tue, 09-18-2012 - 1:13am

It is my ex-husband (I believe at the urging of his wife) who wants to start this now.  I think he will naturally settle down and focus as he grows, especially with a behavior modification plan in place.  He is, however, having a difficult time focusing at school and staying on task, and his teacher worries that even though he is very bright (genius IQ) he runs the risk of falling behind, which only leads to more frustration for him.  He seems to have an especially hard time settling back in after recess.  So maybe it is time...

It helps to hear that you've had good results, and I really appreciate your reply.  I'll let you know what results from Doctor's appointment tomorrow. 

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Mon, 09-17-2012 - 3:42pm

These are great questions, and ones that I think we all contemplated before starting meds. Meds shouldn't change who your son really is, just give him the tools to be the best he can be. If they make him be a zombie or really alter his personality than you need to try a different one, not all meds will work for every child. For my son who is ADHD, inattentive, the meds give him the ability to focus on the task at hand, and also make him a bit more grounded. He is still the same boy he is off the meds, just a bit easier to deal with. Is there a reason that you want to start meds now as opposed to waiting until he is older?