Autism. Isn't this something I swore I'd never do?
Well, we have finally gone down the medication route.
We have become more and more convinced that Bright Eyes' anxiety is getting in the way of his autism remediation. We think he would learn more, and learn more quickly if he wasn't so anxious. So we have gone looking for a solution to the anxiety - and we are trying medication at the moment.
I never wanted to be a mother who gave her children drugs. But then again, I never wanted to be the mother who cooked 3 different meals every night, or who spent money on therapy stuff. I'm swallowing my pride and trying it out.
We drove all the way to northern Sydney to see a doctor who has some expertise in this area yesterday. It was a huge trip. I was a bit concerned that after Bright Eyes' great day on Monday the doctor might not believe what I was talking about when I mentioned hysterics and panics and tantrums. So for once I was quite happy when Bright Eyes threw a waiting room hissy fit. The consultation took place in the waiting room and then in the car park as we tried to work around Bright Eyes and his growing contempt for the doctor's rooms.
In the end, poor AP was lumped with keeping two little boys happy and sane (Max thankfully dropped off the sleep) while I spent the time talking to the doctor.
He took an extensive family history, talked about the behaviours that hamper Bright Eyes, his school needs and our family life together. It was a good time and I felt he understood and respected our difficulties.
He suggested two medications and sent me home with them, so we began the new regime today. Luckily we don't have to wrestle with the 'swallowing pills' issue, as one medication can be drunk in juice and the other is a capsule that we can empty onto a sandwich.
I'm not going to name the medications here because I don't want spam on my blog, but also to minimise other people's reactions. In time, depending on the results, I may spill the beans.
So: Day 1
I noticed slightly more focus and attention. If Bright Eyes normally has about a 10% attention span, today I think he increased to about 20%. He also seemed a little bit slower than usual. I don't mean that in a bad way. Normally he presents as highly hyperactive and flits from one thing to another. His flitting was slightly less and he seemed less on edge.
He got to K's house without having a full-blown tantrum. He was edging that way, but I managed to pull him back and suggest a game for getting into the car (and out again). Another day, he might not have been convinced? It's hard to say.
At school he was fairly normal. No major changes, although he did participate in a Simon Says game for the very first time, and (drum roll please), he turned to his long-suffering teacher's aide and said, out of the blue, "I like you. You're a good helper." (She chased me after school to ask if I'd been training him to say that. Absolutely not!)
After school, again he seemed slightly more attentive, slightly less on-edge and a little bit more thought-through. He came out with a DVD that he wanted to watch after dinner, but which unfortunately is the wrong region for our players. Usually I keep it hidden because he gets quite upset when he realises he can't watch it. Today when he was told that he couldn't watch it, he said, "Oh, that's disappointing," but was fine with it.
I'm keeping notes and will be seeing if changes increase. I'm not committed to drugs for their own sake, but I am committed to finding solutions and if I see a good improvement, I'll pursue it.
As a postscript, during our pre-doctor stop at a Sydney park yesterday, it was delightful to see Bright Eyes make temporary friends with two little boys aged about 4. I heard him say to one, "What's your name? Where do you live?" Bright Eyes was in charge of the game of course - he was in a Tintin zone - but the three of them were charging through the 'jungle' and jumping off the rocks (to another mother's horror --- oops) so enthusiastically that our Max started to cry because he wanted his brother back to play with him. It's kind of nice when it's not only the autistic child that gets left out. Not really, but you know what I mean.