About three weeks ago, JT started spiraling.
By spiraling, I mean aggressive, angry, sad, and just plain mean. Screaming at us, even reverting to biting and hitting when he didn't get his way (which was completely unpredictable, by the way).
Our insurance was kicking back in June 1, and I knew we were reaching crisis point. I called who I always call: a psychiatrist. For him this time :)
I found an amazing place. I was a little nervous when looking at their webpage... it made it sound like the old 'refrigerator mother' way of thinking. But, with other psychiatrists only taking pre-pay - oooh, and offering to print you the paperwork to get reimbursed for the $300-odd up front you have to pay (hello, I'm already paying 'up front' for insurance at $267 a week - yes, a week - I can't afford to pay you, too), I had little choice but to go with them. Plus, the guy was SUPER helpful, spending tons of time with my insurance company to ensure they would cover it, that I felt good about the decision.
About a week before the appointment, it reached the breaking point. He was screaming at himself mid-meltdown to "JUST CALM DOWN!!! CALM. DOWN. NOW!!!" Then a few days later, he got in trouble and was sent to his room. He screamed at me, then two minutes later, like a light switch, started sobbing uncontrollably in the fetal position on his floor. "Please help me mommy. Help me PLEASE. Mommy, help." over and over. I knew then that this was the right choice.
Thursday was our appointment. We met Jamie Rogers, our PMHFNP-BC, Ph.D. She is AMAZING. I was so nervous. JT was not behaving (obviously, he hadn't been for two weeks). But she was fantastic. Sweet, knowledgeable (20 years experience with ASD kids!), interested in my baby and just all-around great at what she does. She gave us phone numbers, email addresses and everything in case we need help before our next appointment. Just fantastic.
We (The Hubs and I and Jamie) felt JT would benefit from risperdal or abilify. Both are used to treat the aggression and irritability associated with ASD. We chose risperdal based on JT's age, the generic availability and it has fewer side effects.
Jamie told us we would see a difference in 30 minutes, but it may take 2 days to build up.
Boy was that right.
I can't even fully describe the difference in JT. Most importantly, HE IS HAPPY. He has had some small angry moments, but they're so within the 'normal' range it's crazy. Absolutely zero meltdowns. No aggression. No scratching. No screaming at us.
His teacher described it as "JT without the anxiety". I 100% agree.
His sister is thrilled. They have been playing together - real games - not just chase and running around - all day long. He's being nice to her, really loving on her and interested in her. He's even following all her 'rules' in made-up games, and I could just see her beaming.
I was terrified that I was screwing with my kid. I felt like somehow giving him meds was a failure on my part. Like I should have been able to do it myself. But he's not messed up. He's just happy. Still hoppy, flappy, ornery and loud. But happy. And it's obvious it wasn't what we were doing, it's just he needed something to help him along.
We haven't seen that in a while. It's so great to see his beautiful smile again.