Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Medication Merry Go Round.
A few months ago I posted my anxieties and concerns about using medication for J's ADHD. In my experience of J he is active, loud, always on the go and keen to amuse others. In the school's experience J was very similar but was able to be kept "on task" with the one to one support of a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) during school hours. They also put in place regular "comfort breaks" where J can just walk around for 5 minutes to use up some energy and gave him the use of blue tack and other fidget accessories when he needed to sit still. Despite these things (and there is nothing wrong with being active, loud and always on the go") J's ADHD seemed to me and his school perfectly manageable without needing medication. J IS very active but not "climbing the walls" - well not at school anyway. Of course J has days where he appears "extra autistic" and the the ADHD can become more problematic simply because reaching into J's headspace at those times is much harder. Thankfully those times are not a daily occurrance and so therefore medication did not seem a necessity to me.
Yesterday we saw the Consultant Paediatrician who was wonderful with J, she made him a paper frog which could be "hopped" across the room with a bit of practice and watched J as he flitted from one thing to another with scacely any level of concentration. We discussed medication and I said that J appeared manageable in school and outside without it. The Consultant looked at J again and asked about reading and other academic progress which I said was all assessed as "below average" despite effort being assessed as "very good" and "excellent".
The Consultant then said that in her opinion J would benefit from medication as she felt he was a bright child who was currently not achieving his potential simply because his brain was functioning in such an erratic manner when it came to concentration. In her opinion medication could make a huge difference to J and help his level of concentration so much.
When I mentioned that J wanted to learn the Clarinet she more or less laughed and mentioned that "two wrong notes and the instrument goes across the room". I have to say she has a point as I can well picture exactly that happening.
So - I have agreed to a month of medication which is given once a day and wears off after 8 hours. If it does not help it can just be stopped - the body apparently does not become dependant on this drug (we'll see). I am under no illusions that this will be a magic pill, I know it doesn't work like that but I am prepared to give it a go and see how things work.
I agreed to the medication before but didn't give it after a week or so as I saw no difference and J didn't want to take it. The Paediatrician says the previous dose was very low - too low to see any difference. This time although J starts on the low dose it increases (doubles) after 7 days and a week later goes up again for a further two weeks after which I will evaluate with the school to see if any difference has been noted.
Another issue is that J just refuses point blank to take the medication so I am having to break the capsule open and hide the contents in his breakfast which just does not feel right to me. I am J's security - the one person he trusts most in the world and it feels very deceitful to be making him take this medication in such an underhand way. On the other hand if he was diabetic and refusing medication I might need to be equally sneaky. Both diabetes and ADHD affect life chances and opportunities albeit in different ways and just because we cannot test for ADHD in any visible way does not mean it isn't there. So in addition to peanut butter on toast for breakfast this morning J also had a chocolate mousse with a hidden ingredient. Tomorrow it will be yoghurt and if a different child emerges in 1 months time I will eat humble pie and admit my prejudices against medication were wrong. Watch this space........