Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Taking the pharmaceutical plunge

Last week I brought Bud for cognitive testing, and the process was a real eye-opener for me. I learned some things about his cognitive challenges - there are concepts like "except for" and "all of the" that he just doesn't get. (When the tester laid out five toys and said "Hand me everything but the car," Bud cheerfully picked up the car and handed it over.) More than that, though, I got real insight into Bud's attention deficit and genuine inability to focus. As soon as he was faced with a task or question to which he did not have an instant answer, he disengaged. It was impossible to gauge his comprehension or problem-solving ability because he couldn't focus long enough on the matter at hand to even attempt to solve the problem.

It seems to me that there are multiple issues here (or, as the doctor said "Just because your ankle is sprained, doesn't mean you don't have a headache,") and if we want to give Bud a real chance to work on his cognitive challenges, then we need to help him focus long enough to have a fair shot. So, following several years of debating the issue, we've decided to do a trial run with Ritalin.

In some ways, I feel like I'm walking around wearing a scarlet R because there appears to be a real social stigma associated with medicating young children. (Do a google search of "Ritalin" if you don't believe me; my favorite hit was titled "Ritalin is Child Abuse.") At the same time, my husband's ADHD was not diagnosed until he was in his 40's - after a lifetime of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and alcoholism - and medication has made an enormous difference for him. If we can make Bud's road easier than his Dad's was, we have to try.

I'm picking up the prescription this afternoon, and we'll start him on it tomorrow. Here's hoping.


Gwuinifer said...

no one knows your child like you do. it would be TRULY irresponsible of you not to do what YOU think is best. its so hard not to let the stigma suffocate me, gosh- i know exactly what you mean. every time i want to pull out a label (like "autistic") to protect him from disapproving stares or chiding tongues; and everytime i assert that there's nothing at all wrong with him when comparisons are ill-made by mostly "well-meaning" folk (including my mom!) like, "i saw this one movie with a boy just like ethan, and they....ETC" don't they understand that i'm his mother? and that no matter how much they think they "care" they couldn't even begin to compare it? *sigh*

you love bud. and you, more than anyone else, need to KNOW that. you are concerned for him long term. they are short sighted. you know him and love him when he's up, and when he's down. they are shallow in their understanding of him, and their affection is conditional. don't be afraid to do what you think is the right thing. if you're concerned about ill-effects of the drug, read up on it! you're a smart cookie... *wink* try to combat what deleterious effects you can through nutrition or supplementation, and observe to see if the positive effects are worth negative ones. in the end, you're the only one who CAN know if it was the right thing.

i'm proud of you.

Gwuinifer said...

PS: once again, you're DESCRIBING ethan in your post. bud just seems a little older. how old is bud again? ethan will be three tomorrow. that whole dropping-it-immediately-if-he-doesn't-immediately-grasp-it thing: exactly!! i wish you lived near here. it'd be great to have someone to hang out with who actually understood... *grin*

MOM-NOS said...

THANK YOU! That is exactly the sort of pep talk I need it. It's the stuff I know, but it's the foundation that gets rattled when I'm faced with situations like this and I realize that ultimately this is all up to me. My husband is great and loves Bud to death, but defers to me on all things Bud. It is an awesome responsibility.