An Unmedicated Kid Living in an Adderall World
Post By Sarah @ The Sadder But Wiser Girl
I talk about Princess Difficult quite often in my blog The Sadder But Wiser girl because she's home most of the time and she is a constant source of funny blog material. The Professor, AKA my son and her brother, also lives in our house. He is just harder to write about than she is. He is one unique individual. He is so unique that I just don't understand him. I fully expect the parent-child disconnect on some level because he is a boy and I grew up with one sister and mostly girl cousins around me. He lives in his own world. There has to be some sort of barrier around him because it seems that most of the information that gets through is garbled. He can repeat back to you what you just said to him, but most of the time it's like it went directly from his ear to his mouth without stopping to be processed.
The Professor is ADD and also has some major sensory issues and other as of yet to be explained things going on there. Kindergarten was an absolute nightmare. At the end of his kindergarten year he finally was evaluated and was put on an IEP. An IEP for anyone who is not familiar with such things is short for an Individualized Education Plan. His particular one focuses on his ADD and his behaviors. My son has Attention Deficit Disorder so badly that he doesn't exist on the same plane as the rest of us.
It all went down like this: We went to the doctor's office, the doctor asked 5,000 questions that we had already answered on the form we had to fill out. Then he shooed me out and let my son take a test on a computer. Afterwards I was called back in, and what I got from the doctor was that he could be ADD, and that my next step was to consult with our pediatrician. I left the office thinking “Fabulous, I wasted personal time from work to let him play a video game.”
The following week we met with his pediatrician. She has been his doctor since infancy, and she has had some pretty unique experiences with him. He was hospitalized for a week for dehydration from a horrible stomach virus the previous year. She just happened to be the doctor on call. She's one of those rare doctors that will call you at home to ask you a question when reading over his records.
I wasn't prepared for what happened next. She informed me that the report that came from the evaluation said that he was off the charts ADD, needed to be medicated, and may need an one on one associate because his behaviors were so severe.
HUH? She seemed surprised that I was surprised. Did I miss something here? Did she consult with the wrong doctor? Oh, and he was possibly on the spectrum, but we would have to do much more testing. This wasn't going to happen, because our insurance would only foot the bill for the one test.
The ADD and Asperger's possibility, not surprising. Everything else, yes.
And then she pulled out her prescription pad and wrote him a prescription. I took it and walked out. I never filled it. This was not without debate. Evil Genius said no. Absolutely no. There had to be other alternatives to it.
The week after that we had his IEP meeting. I don't think they were thrilled, but understood why we chose not to put him on medication. They created an IEP for him with a plan that included working on following directions, behavior modification strategies, etc. He is in the regular classroom, but makes frequent visits to the resource room to work with that teacher on his behavior. He receives a sheet every day outlining his behavior and whether he was able to follow directions.
First grade started out great, then went downhill as the year went on. Still much better than kindergarten though. Now we're in second grade and on the downward slope to the end of the school year. Also on the downward slope behavior wise. Same poop, different grade.
Yet he is a GREAT kid. He's cute as can be. He is super intelligent, reads well above grade level, loves science and math. He's bright, and curious, and inquisitive. He's funny. Anymore he's a fairly good brother to his little sister, which is good because he needs to work on his tolerance of other kids. I'm happy when other people compliment me on what a fun kid he is, because I don't think the people at school necessarily get to see that side of him.
What’s going on at school? He’s distracted to a fault. He’s anxious. He has Obsessive Compulsive tendencies. He has sensory issues. He repeats words over and over or whispers them to himself. He gets angry easily. He shouts out in class and refuses to do things like complete his assignments. And he has social issues. When other kids try to be friendly with him, he does something inappropriate like hitting or yelling at them because he thinks they are "bothering him." He can tell you exactly what was wrong with what he did, but he can't apply it to himself. He loses control and hits or pushes another kid, and he can tell you why it happened and what he should have done, but is more upset about getting in trouble than he is about the fact that he hurt his friend.
Now don’t get me wrong-he does have good days. But it’s impossible to predict how a day will go and if anything will set him off. He can go a week or two having few to no incidents. Then he’ll go a month with tons of outbursts and physical aggression.
I feel like apologizing over and over to his teacher for having to do so much work when it comes to my kid. I feel like I should apologize to my husband for having this to deal with when he's been at work for 10 hours that day. I feel like I should apologize to him, for failing him as a parent. I hesitate to call him special needs, because he is so high functioning. I also don't feel like I have really earned the label of special needs parent, because I know what parents of children that I worked with in special education have gone through. He is relatively easy outside of school. He has always slept well, a little too well in some respects. He spends most of his time at home with his nose buried in a book, or rolling around on the couch, which is a little annoying but otherwise harmless.
It seems like the one consensus everyone seems to have is to medicate, medicate, medicate. Give little Johnny a pill so he’ll behave. Give Sally some medicine so she can concentrate. What’s the right answer here? My husband vehemently says no. I just want to do what’s right for my son, as well as give his poor teachers a break. Homeschooling? Not an option, at least not one that I WANT to consider.
I love my son to pieces, but having these issues makes it so hard to be a parent. Do you have a child who has issues in school? On an IEP? Does your kid have trouble relating to anyone his or her age? Have you medicated your child-why or why not?
Sarah The Sadder But Wiser Girl usually feels more funny than this. Currently she is trying to make a comeback as a functional member of society, one who likes wine and chocolate but loathes doing the dishes. When she’s not tearing her hair out about her kids or solving mysteries involving feces she’s at home in her yoga pants, writing her blog that can be found at http://sadderbutwiser.wordpress.com .