A few business matters to attend to: I am seriously hoping to get my blogged 'suped up' (is that how you spell that?) and looking fabulous in the next month or so. If you are reading this and feel so inclined to lend your artistic talents to this endeavor, this girl would appreciate it. I haven't a clue as to how to do fantabulous things like html code, flash dance, cookies, or whatever else you need to make a web page look nice. (now I'm hungry) SOOOO...message or email me if you are interested.
Also, if you have feedback regarding how the site looks, the flow of it all, and what have you, please let me know. I want this to be an easy read, but want it to look 'offish' as well.
Well, I think everyone can agree on one thing- that we can all breathe a deep sigh of relief that the election cycle is over. (at least, of course, until the Senate and House do their campaigns in a little less than a year and a half) One issue that I would like to see coming up in debates and campaigning is the issue of autism and how it is affecting so many of us. I love that Jon Stewart hosted the "Night of Too Many Stars" benefit because it is going directly to fund programs that help our children- things like occupational therapy, speech, ABA therapy, and others. These are the only proven "cures" for autism and they are just so expensive for the average family. I am also hoping that the insurance business will catch up with the astounding numbers of diagnoses and cover extra things like ABA that have so much research to back up their work.
|If you did not get to see this Youtube of Katy Perry singing with the little girl diagnosed with autism, bring your tissues and watch. It will melt your heart!!!|
But, for now, I am going to take a breather from anything political. I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted!!
But, as we are on the topic of insurance and such, let's dive right in to medication. Just the word sends shivers up your spine, doesn't it? The dreaded decision: to medicate or not medicate, that is the question. (I would have totally paid attention in Lit class if Shakespeare had started Hamlet with that little gem!)
But, seriously, I know many of you are staring that decision right in the face as we speak. And, it is a big deal. I do understand how hard it is. And, I will share my story.
When Liam started early intervention preschool here in Tennessee, he had just turned three years old. Nearly everyday reports would come home of him hitting other children or becoming extremely aggressive with his teachers. Nothing is more upsetting than this. Truly. As I pointed out in another blog, none of us want to be THAT parent and our kid to be THAT kid. But, so it is that with the frustration these little guys feel, there comes some serious backlash.
Most children have that inner compass that will give them the "hey, maybe that reaction was a bit much!" Or, they just have a longer fuse. But, children with autism (and sometimes ADHD) were not born with a fuse. It doesn't even exist. So, it does not matter that your child is that sweet little blond girl with a pink dress and curls playing quietly to herself.
She's going to be hurt because she was in the vicinity of a nuclear explosion from my kid.
We did not get the official diagnosis for Liam until he was almost 5 years old. So around 4 1/2 was when we decided to see a neurologist in town that prescribed meds for him. I was a nervous wreck in that office. I did not want my child to be on the front of TIME magazine as the stoned out child with PROZAC NATION written across his face. And, it didn't help that this particular doctor handled our case with the bedside manner of a physician from the front lines of the Cold War. She saw 20 kids a day that were medicated so our decision, and the wringing of hands, was a time waster, and she had better things to do. But, according to everyone, she was the rock star of the doctors and well-respected, so we went with it.
|Funny, Liam was not as happy as this child when I was giving him medicine.|
The next thing I know, we are measuring anti-depressants in medicine droppers and figuring out new and exciting ways to shove this down Liam's throat. I can remember making concoctions of juices (of which he became totally turned off), hiding medicine in foods, and even putting some of it in chocolate syrup. This road was not easy. Nothing seemed to work for him.
We would try one and it would make him so ramped up that he would grind his teeth while he was talking. We would try another and it would make him so drowsy that it made me sad to watch him try to function. We tried so many things on her various 'shelves' and tiers of medicines.
I will not lie, it felt very cruel. But on another level, his behavior was so erratic and unpredictable that he was not only going to hurt someone else, but himself as well. I hated making my child this little guinea pig, but I felt in my gut it was the right thing to do to keep our sanity.
I cannot remember the sequence of events, but somehow we stumbled upon Vyvanse, which is the ADHD medicine a lot of children have had success with. Once we started this, we began to notice marked change in Liam for the better. He was calm, but not without a personality. His teachers were impressed and he started being able to function without so much impulsivity. I can remember crying tears of joy when I got a note home saying how great things were going at school. If you are anything like me, when you see the number to the school come up on caller ID, your stomach drops. Those calls were coming in less and less.
I won't go on and on. You get it. And, this is not an ad for Vyvanse. That was one tool of many that we have tried on this road to, well, I was going to say recovery, but I think the better phrase is, this road.
I do not pretend to know all the various circumstances you have going on in your life, your marriage, your career, all of it. But, I do know that there is a lot of unnecessary shame and guilt that people feel when they do medicate their child. I know it. I felt it too. But, I can tell you this. Liam began being able to learn and socialize because he was able to control the uncontrollable. He began to be able to sit with his classmates in school and not be taken out of the room every time he got 'a little heated'. He began to ask for breaks instead of slapping someone across the face.
The medication gave us a level playing field. It was NOT a cure-all or a miracle. But, it did give us some much-needed rest. And, let me tell you, a lot of you aren't getting much rest right now.
I did not take my decision lightly. It was with a lot of questions, research, and a ton of prayer. I did not know what the outcome would be, but I had to trust the others who had been before me.
Other families may disagree with me. I have been looked at like I am a traitor to the autism community because I do not do all the enzymes and diets and whatever else is out there. My situation is unique, and I have had to make tough choices amongst a ton of shaming looks and "suggestions".
|This guy has great taste! (and a great smile, I might add!)|
Your situation is unique to you. But, I would ask you to not do something out of shame and guilt. Medicating your child does not add up to you being a bad or negligent parent. For us, it gave Liam a fighting chance to be all that he could be. And, one day, he may decide for himself that he wants to be off of it.
Until that day, medicine is just a part of our daily routine- like brushing your teeth or making your bed. His comes in a bottle, and mine comes in a little glass of wine and dark chocolate.