Friday, April 15, 2011

A Difficult Decision

I haven't updated in a while. It's mostly been more of the same. Joseph is doing well in school. He's making  slow but certain progress. The iPad has been a tremendous boon. I'm going to be writing about how they're using the iPad in his classroom at school, but this will require some research to do it justice.

One new thing, that tangentially (at the moment) involves Joseph is his sister's ADHD diagnosis we received on Wednesday. It was expected, but what we didn't expect is how much Kristy and I have moved away from our insistence on trying non-medical interventions first. I've always been a big critic of prescribing medications to children to treat long-term psychiatric symptoms. But the psychologist who evaluated her said that therapy would not be helpful yet. And my kids have ADHD because I have ADHD, it's neurological, like my depression, which I spent years in denial about, which kept me from getting medicated. See the thought pattern here?

So we've decided to try medication for Maria to control her impulsive and oppositional behavior. If it doesn't work, we'll just stop. If it DOES work, then we'll know that the medication is what she needs to help her be successful in school and in life.

How this effects Joseph, if it works for Maria, we're going to try it with Joseph too. He's talking more and more, but we frequently can't understand him because he's talking so fast and the words run together. He won't stay focused on an activity that isn't of his choosing (which is also a symptom of ADHD) and with an unofficial diagnosis for his father, and an official diagnosis for his sister, I think it's safe to say we understand what the problem is. So we need to get him calmed down so we can make better, faster progress.

Kristy was previously even more set against meds, particularly stimulant meds. After Wednesday though, she was as ready as I was to put Maria on them. The behavior chart at school has been helping, but improvement has leveled off and sometimes slips. It's not getting any better.

I know the potential problems in later life associated with the stimulant meds, but I really feel that without the meds they do not have the chance to succeed, no matter what else we do for them. This gives them that chance.


  1. I would definitely be interested in reading more about her progress and what you are seeing as a result of the meds. Thanks for keeping us posted!

  2. I like your thought process. If medication can help it, it's obviously a medical problem. Kinda like medicating hypertension. Interesting to follow the results.

    Been a while, reggae buddy! Since the last time, my wife and I have combined into one giant super mega blog:

  3. I've been torn about kids on meds for a long time. For the most part, I don't think they should be done (2yo diagnosed with bipolar and put on MAJOR brain chemistry changing meds? It's been done!), but some kids just need them. At least for awhile. Thomas is unofficially ADHD. He's been in therapy and his therapist said that's what she thought. We had the option to get it official, but I decided to hold off. What's the point unless we wanted meds as well? And with Thomas, he's fine with school work, and well, fine in school behavior wise, so no meds. Period. When that changes, we'll reevaluate. So far we are very VERY lucky.

    I don't know Maria's story in full, so I won't pass judgment. Period. But I do trust that you are doing what you honestly feel to be best for your daughter/family, and hey, that's all anyone can do. And who knows, maybe in a few years when she is old enough for therapy (she is awfully young for it to be effective) you MIGHT be able to take her off her meds. Then again, maybe not. *shrug* It's about allowing her to reach her full potential. In the end, that's what matters.

    As a side note, as someone who has had to teach a young person to swallow a pill, start with grains of rice and use a cup with a straw. Once she gets that down, move up to something slightly larger that she won't choke on. It doesn't take much work (maybe a little nerves on her part) and it's easy peasy to teach in the end.

    Good luck!