Medicating our children is something that my husband and I take with the greatest caution. Especially when we are looking at a medication that Christian or Olivia would be on long-term. We have only medicated after lengthily discussion and research.

Last November, we made the difficult decision to start Christian on Catapres, hoping to help him with attention and focus at school. We had some luck it. At least, at first. We tweaked the dosage and form of delivery, but the meds were making him unpredictably moody. We lost him to inconsolable bouts of tears that would last for a half-hour and the only thing we could do to help Christian was to quietly hold him while he cried it out. However, at a lower dose in the evenings, the Catapres was proving helpful as a fall-asleep aide. That still holds true. Every evening at dinner, I slip him his Catapres and he is willing to go to bed by 9pm. (On nights when he hasn’t received the meds, he is still (literally) bouncing off the walls at midnight.) This medication has become an important part of our daily routine.

We were asked to reconsider medication to help Christian with focus and attention at school again this year. This school year has been a great struggle for him, his teachers, and his assistants. We were cautious, especially knowing how many changes we were dealing with at the start of this school year, but each day that passed his reports coming home would sting my heart. Christian could not focus or attend to much of anything. He would hit and kick and spit. He was eloping (running away) from classrooms and the playground. He was having issues that we hadn’t heard about for two years. It was time to help him. To re-research medications that could possibly help him have positive days at school.

I was scared and Brian was hesitant, but since we are both former elementary school teachers, we tried to remind ourselves how tremendously important it was for our ADHD students to have their medications before they started school each day. Without their meds, the day was nearly impossible. Was this same thing true for Christian? By not medicating him, were we missing an important part of assisting him???

So, we prayed and researched and talked to other ASD parents. We came to the conclusion that we would try a new med with Christian. We knew which one we wanted to try. I emailed our doctor (so that she had the time to research the medication) and set up an appointment for the following week.

When Christian and I visited Dr. S, she was totally onboard. We chose the med, Risperidone, in liquid form. We would start Christian at a very low dose and slowly work our way up the dosing ladder. Christian only takes the Risperidone in the morning and continues to take the Catapres with his supper every evening. We also added a nasal spray (once in the morning and once at night) for the seasonal allergies that we thought he had been dealing with along with the new pet allergies that he seemed to be suffering from.

Our verdict — the nasal spray seems to be reducing congestion and also Christian’s need for constant head pressure. He was always seeking out things to forcibly push his forehead/nose onto or seeking out the adults around him to squeeze the sides of his head, bridge of his nose, forehead, etc. This is happening less and less. Wonderful! However, there is a weird side effect that we have noticed with Christian and this medication — lack of sleep when he has an evening dose. Yeah. With the evening dose, he is up for the day by 2am. This mama is too tired to do that daily or every other day. We have just figured out this strange connection and will no longer be giving the evening dose.

As for the Risperidone — it took a few days to figure out the best delivery. In the coveted root beer. Straight into the mouth. Sprayed onto his morning toast. Since the dose is SO small and I know it will not be left behind, I have decided on the last one. It’s working. (For now.) We started Christian at a super low dose and stayed on that for 5 days. It didn’t seem to be having much effect, so I bumped it up to the next dosage that our doctor thought that we should try. One day later, we had an AWESOME report come home about Christian’s day. The next day was great, too. And then yesterday was fantastic. (You can read about it here.) Today was divine. We are excited about the way this med has started. We pray that it will continue to be a benefit in Christian’s school life!

 

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