Medication for my 4 yr old boy...

Avatar for sheila3xblessed
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Medication for my 4 yr old boy...
10
Tue, 08-12-2003 - 8:49pm
I would appreciate you sharing your experience regarding medication for young children to help with behavior that is far too aggressive, active, violent, etc. My middle son just turned 4 yrs old yesterday. The past 2 3/4 yrs, but especially this past year, has been pretty much hell for the entire family because of his behavior. His behavior is definately getting worse as he gets older. He is very easily overwhelmed and frustrated, has a very hot, violent temper, is very aggressive towards both adults and children, has a hard time following even simple directions, and literally bounces off the walls all day every day. Running, climbing, jumping, throwing, kicking, hitting, slamming, destroying, etc. He has damaged or destroyed so many things in our house because of his very active, rough, tough behavior, and most of it wasn't done on purpose. He is also very sensitive to noise levels and textures (such as his clothing).

I am a very patient, sensitive, understanding person, but even I am past the end of my rope with him. I've read all the books by all the experts, but nothing is helping much. I love him with all my heart. He can be a very sweet, kind, loving, giving, funny little boy. And oh, those big brown eyes! But 90% of every day is just impossible. We are literally almost homebound because of his behavior. My 6 yr old is tired of hearing that no, we can't do this or do that because of his brother. Of course I don't tell him that the reason we can't do things is because of his brother, but he knows that's the reason. And that's creating hard feelings and more problems.

Enough is enough. His preschool teachers, our friends and family, and now also his Dr. all think he is one of those kids who truly may need to be on medication. I don't like drugs. I even gave birth to all 3 of my boys without the use of any drugs. But I think my son may really need it. So the question is what drug to try. I would love to hear your experiences and advice.


Thanks,

Sheila, mommy to boys ages 6, 4, 14 months

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2003
Wed, 08-13-2003 - 2:49am
Hi there,

My son is 6 and sounds exactly like your 4 year old. His behavior has been pretty out of control since he was 18 months and since he was our oldest we didn't know that it wasn't "normal". We are also not into giving meds to our kids but it has gotten to the point where I can't leave him for 2 seconds with our dogs or our 2 year old b/c I just know that he'll snap at any moment and hit one of them. We have done family therapy, dietary changes, had him tested for food alergies, homeopathic medicine, naturopathic medicine, all without positive results. He has been asked not to return to extra-cirricular (sp?) activities b/c he fights so much with the other kids and staff. Anyway, long story short, we have had him to a psychologist and psychiatrist in the past week and have decided that meds along with lots of therapy are what we need to do. We are hoping that this time around with his therapy his meds will help him so that he can learn from his psychologist how to control his hyperactivity and the myriad of other behavior problems that he has so that he will not have to be on meds forever. I'm sure everyone is telling you that he will grow out of it, that's what we kept thinking, but it has just been getting worse as time goes on. Good luck to you and your family.

Rachel
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Wed, 08-13-2003 - 2:17pm
Sheila,

I was reading your posts and thought I'd share with you one of my sons issues. My son, who is ADD and CAPD also has sensory integration dysfunction. Although he doesn't, a lot of kids with SI issues hate, or rather HATE, loud noises and certain textures. Because of their frustration, they can be rather explosive. Have you ever had your son evaluated for SI by an Occupational Therapist(very similar to a physical therapist)? If he has SI and you get him a "sensory diet", (builds up his tolerance for things like noise and texture), it could make him (and the rest of your family) a lot happier. There is an SI board here on Parentsoup you may want to check out. I got a referral from my pediatrician, but you can also have your child evaluated for free by the school system. Either via the public preschool or the public elementary school.

Our principal recommended it to us because our son had such a hard time coloring. It has just done so much for my son!

HTH,

Sio

Avatar for kathy_in_ga
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 08-13-2003 - 5:19pm
Hi. My son has been a handful since he was very young. We were asked to leave our first daycare, wich was a private in home one, when he was 16 months old. We had many problems with him, aggression being the biggest. When he turned 4 he was diagnosed as severe ADHD. We got a 2nd opinion, then put him in Ritalin. Ritalin didn't agree with him very well. It worked for a week or so then he would become more aggressive, we'd up the dose and the same thing would happen. We added a moodstabilizer, Depakote, which activated him. He rolled around the classroom all day. He was changed to Adderall, which helped a bit. He wasn't as aggressive, but other symptoms were not helped. We went to a child psychiatrist had lots of testing done, went over family history and found out my son probably had bipolar disorder along with his ADHD. We have a very strong family history of bipolar disorder in both mine & hubbys families. My son was so miserable & I could see that he was. No child that age should be that unhappy.

I was asked these questions once when I was upset about having to medicate my son. Think about the quality of his life. Is he getting yelled at all day long? Is he happy doing what he does & feeling like he feels? Would you with hold asthma medications from your child if he needed them? Or allergy medications? What horrible thing do you fear hapening if you did decide to medicate? It has no thing to do with you as a parent. Trying to help your child is the best thing a parent can do for that child.

Good luck in what ever you do. Read all you can. A good book that helped my family was "The Explosive Child" By Ross Greene. Helped reduce the stress at home.

Avatar for sheila3xblessed
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 08-13-2003 - 5:34pm
Thanks Rachel. Good luck to your son and your family too.
Avatar for sheila3xblessed
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 08-13-2003 - 5:36pm
Thanks Sio. I've long suspected that he has SI, but I didn't know what to do about it. I'll plan to have him evaluated when the school year starts. Thanks.
Avatar for sheila3xblessed
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 08-13-2003 - 5:42pm
Thanks Kathy. Funny you mentioned the book "The Explosive Child". I found that book several months ago and it described my son perfectly. It was such a relief to know that SOMEONE understood the situation.

I'm reluctant to try meds because of the possible side effects. And I'm afraid it might make things even worse. But I'm starting to see that he just NEEDS it, just like a child needs medication for other health problems, and it's time to give it a try.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 08-14-2003 - 6:44pm
Sheila

My son goes to a private school, and I had no idea he would even be eligible for SI via the school system, so I just talked to my doctor about finding an OT. he was no help, but said if I found one, he'd write the referral. So I called our local pediatric neuropsychologist. she was very happy to refer me to our current OT. I am guessing by the flag next to your name that you are in the USA. So I'll tell you what I'd of done, if I'd only had a brain at the time. I would have taken Liam to the local school system. They even evaluate at the preschool level. I would have done a parent referral, and had him evaluated for free. They should have an OT on staff as well as be able to have your son evaluated for ADHD. And, the sooner you have him evaluated, the sooner you get that IEP. They call it something different at the preschool level. It doesn't mater if you go via the school or the local psychologist, the referral can take quite a while. So if your son isn't in K yet, and you can do a lot of it this year, I would. It will be stuff he doesn't have to be pulled out of class to do when he should be in the class learning and on the playground socializing. Also, if there are services he needs, you will have a plan to build on once he gets into K. This is just what I wish I had done.

Having said all that, we are still at the private school, we still are paying out the nose for private evaluation, and we still file on our insurance for the OT and audiologist. My DH asks why we do this all the time. And I just say it's because he likes his school.

Sio

Avatar for rose9595
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2003
Thu, 08-14-2003 - 7:02pm
I'm usually on the Asperger's Board, but I felt I had to respond to your post. We put our son on Depakote when he was 4 years old for the behaviors you described. We were told that it would decrease the intensity of his tantrums and increase the length of his "fuse" before he had a meltdown. After 4 weeks on the meds we DID see this happening.

It was SO VERY HARD to make this decision. It was my "ace in the hole." We always said, well, if our daily life got to a point that it was unbearable and we just had nothing else to try, we would put him on meds. It DID get very bad and it was so devastating to us to admit that we had "given up." The scariest part was when the meds didn't seem to be working. I was panicking. Meds were our last hope and it wasn't working! It took about 4 weeks to see (through behavior charting) that yes, his tantrums were less frequent (and less intense).

The important thing about meds for us now is the question "what challenge needs to be addressed so that he can ACCESS THE SUPPORTS that we have in place for him at home and school." By supports, I mean the visual aids, the 1-2-3-Magic system, reinforcement charts,social stories and sensory diet.

He has, just this summer (he is almost 8 now), gone off the Depakote and is med-free. The funny thing is, for us, that once we made the big decision to medicate, we are much more open to hearing about other medications.

If your psych prescribes Depakote, there will be blood lab work needed. Our son got through these blood tests because we used a prescription cream called EMLA that anethestized his inner arm. Our son was also concerned that he wouldn't have enough blood left in his body, so we talked about how your blood replenishes itself.

There is a powerful intervention that is geared toward people on the autistic spectrum, but can be useful for ADD folks as well. It is called Relationship Development Intervention or (RDI). We are using this program with our son with positive results in that we are enjoying each other more and he is making great gains in self-regulation and coordinating with others. Here is the website:

www.connectionscenter.com

Good luck to you.

Avatar for sheila3xblessed
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 08-14-2003 - 11:52pm
Hi Sio,

Thanks for your post. Just wanted to let you know, even though your son attends a private school, he can still get therapy through your public school system, simply because you live in the district and pay taxes for the public schools. I know because my oldest son needed speech therapy. He will be in first grade. This past year he went to a private school for kindergarten, but got speech therapy for free through the public school. So check into that for your son.

I didn't know that the public schools also did therapy for ADHD kids and SI kids, so I'll have to ask about that when the school year starts again. Good grief, then I'll have two kids in therapy--my oldest for speech, and my second son for ADHD, SI, or who knows what. Kind of embarrassing, but I guess I can't take it personally.

Avatar for sheila3xblessed
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 08-14-2003 - 11:55pm
Thank you! I'll check it out. I'm glad your son is doing better!