Our latest big decision in the parenting arena: to medicate or not to medicate.
Oh man, people tend to feel really strongly about this, even though it's not their kid and they don't have a clue what life with autism entails.
Reactions from those people have ranged from "Why would you consider meds?" (because of ASD related behaviors...) to "You know, you should make sure you have tried everything else first..."
I've spent the last 3 years avoiding them.
We've done ABA. We've had BIP's (behavior intervention plans). We have tried *everything*.
And you know... anyone who's met my son will tell you, he's doing amazing. He's a phenomenal little kid. He's sweet, smart, ornery and probably the funniest human being alive.
But these mood switches... wowza. He's like a freaking light switch, happy to furious in 1.25 milliseconds. He's mostly just into screeching, but occasionally we'll see him revert to clearing tables in a very dramatic fashion, or (this makes me cringe) even trying to swat his friends.
It has improved dramatically. He used to be uncontrollably aggressive. He is not anymore.
I see this as a sign that our interventions were very good - he learned to control what he could, and he tries so hard. But I think there comes a point when you have to say, "He needs help, and I can't give it to him." I'm having to accept that doesn't make me inadequate as a mother, that there may be things beyond therapies that I have to consider.
I put it off this long because I never, ever wanted to consider meds because they would make *my* life easier. I can deal with JT. I can deal with his explosiveness, his meltdowns, his 'flips'. It has come to the point, though, that those involved with him in the educational/therapy arena have noted that his behavior is the only thing holding him back from mainstreaming.
How sad would it be if my pride as a mother got in the way of his academic and social life?
The truth is, I asked around - his therapists, etc - to see what they thought... hoping they would say, "No, Kate. He's doing so great, he'll just grow out of this, too! No worries!" Instead, they felt the same way... "He's grown so much, but it appears he needs a little more help." They said that they felt medication would probably be a huge benefit for JT.
I just hate that the moment a parent suggests medication might help, they're demonized. I love my son. I want the best life for him.
Until the 'magic pill' comes along, I will combine therapies with whatever we decide with a doctor would best help JT.
I caught this quote today on an affirmation card, and it really hit home:
"What other people think of me is none of my business."
I need to post that card on my fridge, and use it as my mantra.