Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Never-Ending Battle

Yesterday, Gus was presented with an award at school: the Principal's Award for Outstanding Effort (he also got Academic Achievement). I say presented because when his name was called, he bypassed the principal, grabbed the microphone and shouted to the entire school, "Hey! Is this thing on?"

I've been chastised by at least one friend who took exception to the fact that I made him apologize to the principal. She felt that it was normal kid behavior and that the school has unrealistic expectations of kids, particularly the ones with special needs, and that it was funny. A few people thought it was funny, and at a certain level it was.

It also provided a little more ammunition to the school to push for medication.

I'm starting to think I'm fighting a losing battle here. He has no impulse control, and the boy tries - his efforts are Herculean some days. He cried at least twice yesterday because he knew that he shouldn't have done it, but he'd already been having a rough time and he just could not hold it together.

Part of me wishes that they would just get off his back. In a sense, my friend has a point - kids do things like that. But at the same time, the inability to control his impulses can get him into some serious trouble, possibly even danger. For example, he has walked into people's houses (and I don't necessarily mean people that he knows well) - just saw the door opened through the screen and waltzed in. That's a dangerous thing for a kid his age, but imagine the consequence if her was, say fifteen, and did that. He could get arrested, that's IF the person didn't have a gun and decide to shoot first and ask questions later.

At any rate, the counselor jumped at the opportunity (I had requested to talk with her because I'm concerned about how his self-esteem is slipping because he can never seem to meet the high expectations, which may be unreasonably high) and she talked to me about trying meds. She suggested that we look into Strattera and doesn't feel that Ritalin works well for kids on the autism spectrum. I said I'd look into it. I mean, should I wait until they threaten to kick him out of school because they can't handle his behavior?

I haven't done extensive research on Strattera, but it seems that is not a stimulant (a plus) but has also been associated with liver problems and suicidal thoughts.

If anyone has experience with this or any other medications, your thoughts would be appreciated. This is a horribly difficult decision that I'd rather not make, but I don't think I will be able to dodge it much longer, not if I want to keep my child in public school.


  1. They can't throw him out of school - they are legally obligated to give him an education. Of course they can try to make your life miserable, but they cannot actually throw him out.

    I thought it was funny myself, in a "kids will do those things" sort of way, but certainly when you look at it as a pattern of behavior that is risky and that he cries because he can't control, it is not so amusing.

    High expectations are good when it is a case of "Let's all see how we can make this possible for you" as opposed to "You missed the boat again,kid."

    One thing with all these drugs that can lead to suicidal behavior in kids is that you have to keep a really close eye on it. Another thing to keep a really close eye on - just what you need.

    I can say that for ADHD they say excercise can really help, and It probably does. Not that you need one more thing to do, but have you ever tried a program of, say, an hour's exercise a day with him? Not easy, but perhaps worth a trial? Jumping rope like Rocky is supposed to be fantastic, cheap, and done in one spot where you can be watched...

  2. We actually keep a trampoline in the house for him to jump on, but he rarely uses it, even if I tell him to. We've been trying to find an activity for him, but he gets home so late from school and he's so exhausted that it's really difficult to drag him off to another thing. And I work on weekends. Maybe once I'm unemplyed on weekends that can be fixed.


Welcome & I look forward to reading what you have to say. If you'd like to follow the conversation, please subscribe to the post comments. Have a great day!