Like every other parent on this earth I want the best for my children. Frequently I look to other parents or consult the professional world for advice when I am not one hundred percent sure.
Medicating a child, especially at four, was not something that I ever dreamed of having to do. But I was faced with that decision. Kyle's "behavior" became apparent between the ages of two and three. At three I mentioned to Kyle's pediatrician my concern, referring to these behaviors as "ADHD-like". Basically he was off the wall, constantly running around in circles uncontainable. His health and behaviors prior to toddlerhood were "normal" I assume. He suffered from GERD for the first thirteen months of his life and had extreme colic. Nights on end my mother and I would have to stand and rock him to keep him asleep. As soon as he was set down, or even if you sat in a rocking chair, he would scream until you stood up and rocked him. The car was another way to get him to sleep without crying. I remember one time driving four hours round trip, not even stepping out off the car, just to get him to relax. Anyway, back to Kyle's third year checkup.
Milestones up to this point were always on target, rolling over, crawling, walking, talking etcetera. He was ahead with things like his colors and shapes. He knew all of them before he was two, including colors like gold and silver and shapes like ovals and octagons. The only thing that was of concern to me at this point was his hyperactivity. The pediatrician dismissed my concerns assuring me that everything was fine and that they don't look into things like ADHD until there are problems at school. I am sure he also was figuring that this was my first child and that I was getting over concerned about normal childhood behaviors. Yes, this was my first child and I wasn't sure, that is why I saught the advice from the pediatrician, but I was not the only one that was concerned about Kyle's behavior.
Needless to say, things didn't improve by his four year checkup. Things got worse. This time I wouldn't leave the pediatrician's office without getting a referral.
In prior discussion with the pediatrician he expressed his beliefs that he didn't like medicating children for ADHD related conditions. I agreed. I would much rather be able to deal with the struggles with behavioral approaches and education. Medication to me was a tool used to help minimize the symptoms of the "disorder" while trying to teach the child appropriate behaviors. Looking back now, had I been more educated in ASD or had my other children first, there were many other behaviors that Kyle had that were not typical that should have sent a red flag flying for an ASD evaluation. Too late, there isn't any way to go back in time.
At four Kyle was diagnosed with moderate to severe ADHD and ODD. Medication and behavioral therapy was the recommended treatment. Finally, I felt like we had this under control. We could get some things under control before Kyle went to school. My biggest fear was that Kyle was going to go to school and have problems. My biggest fear came true.
At the follow-up appointment with the pediatrician he sat me down and told me that I needed to adjust to the fact that Kyle was going to need to be on medication for a very long time, maybe into adulthood as well. After reading the psychologist's report and reviewing all of the tests the pediatrician realized that there was something going on beyond the normal realms of childhood.
We went through every form of medication, nothing seemed to be the perfect fit. Even with the Asperger's diagnosis the ADHD diagnosis is still there and needs to be worked with as well. Again, we are going through all of the medication to try and find the "best fit" for Kyle. Sometimes I feel as if he is being experimented on. Sometimes, when I know something is not working the doctors want to try it a little longer just to see. Well, most recently he has been on Adderall and Risperdal. These haven't been working either. Even after talking with his teacher the medication isn't working at school either. Why take medication if there aren't any positive effects? Risperdal as well carries some major side effects.
So, temporarily or permanently, Kyle is off of all medications. Maybe we will see a difference and realize that the medication was working or maybe we will find out that no medication is going to help.