Monday, January 11, 2016

To Medicate or not to Medicate

Imagine your child screaming for the majority of his life. Not screaming because he wanted something you wouldn't give him, not screaming because he was a brat. Screaming because the world was just too much. Imagine then, your child not being able to tell you what part of that world was too much. Imagine not knowing how to make your child happy. Imagine if you had another child that lived this life of listening to screaming all of the time. You would feel pretty helpless wouldn't you?

Now imagine if you have tried everything and nothing worked. You would spend every dime you had to make your child happy. You don't want your child to be a football player. You don't care if he ever goes to college. You don't care if he ever ties his shoes, you just want happiness.

For years we have tried every "natural" intervention under the sun with my son and we made sure our child had a lot of exercise. We didn't want to be one of those parents that drugged our child. I didn't want people to look down on me and say what a horrible parent I was. I have read all of the judgy posts on facebook. I am in all of the alternative health circles. It is clear from all of the above that if you decide to give your child a prescription drug, you are looking for the easy way out. You are treating the symptoms, not the problem. So for 7 years we have done therapy and tried every alternative treatment suggested and hoped (and even prayed). Nothing worked.

So two months ago we visited our very conservative doctor. He finally said it is was time to bring out the big guns. He said it was obvious our son suffered from Anxiety in addition to Autism. This was confirmed by a visit to the Psychologist. We reluctantly put him on medication. He has been on the meds for a little over a month and the world has changed quite drastically in our house.

There is no more OCD. There is a lot of smiling and laughing. My son got his hair cut with scissors for the first time. He got an excellent report from school in behavior for the first time. He is dressing himself. He doesn't cry for hours when he comes home from school. There is no more screaming...

But, this weekend I cried. I cried because we waited all of this time to give my son medicine because of what others thought. I cried because I can even imagine the turmoil my son has suffered inside his body for the last 7 years. I cried because I know that other parents feel judged and are in the same boat.

I write this very personal post not to air my dirty laundry, but to let others know that everyone's path is not the same. What works for one does not work for all. Please don't judge others for the decisions they make for their family because you really do not know the struggle they face everyday.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Recognizing the Special in my Son with Special Needs

As I was dropping off my son at school this morning, one of B's therapists stopped by my car door to let me know she was leaving next week to take another job. She said she wanted to stay in touch and offered to watch B anytime. She said that although she is going to miss all of the kids she worked with, that B really touched her heart and she couldn't imagine never seeing him again.

I sat there astonished. As a parent of a child with severe special needs, people are never begging to watch or spend time with your child. It is an inconvenience to most. B is no longer a cute toddler. He is a full size kid that still acts like a toddler. He is a handful most of the time.

I know she has seen B at his absolute worst and she still loves him and accepts him for who he is. As tears welled in my eyes, I told her that I would absolutely find a way for them to hang out.

This week has been one of those weeks that Autism has gotten to me. I was told by another Autism mom several years ago that it gets easier. For my family, it hasn't. There are months where all we are doing is managing weird behavior after weird behavior. The never ending demands make you lose sight of how wonderful your child is.

Today, B's therapist reminded me how special my son is. I can't thank her enough for making me stop thinking about the behaviors for a moment and remember how valuable he is and that I am lucky to be his mom.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Autism Awareness and Acceptance in the Month of April

I both love and loath the month of April. In Texas, it is a time of beauty as we welcome our state flower, the bluebonnet, as well as many other beautiful wildflowers blooming across our highways and country roads. It is also Autism Awareness month.

Why do I loath Autism Awareness month? Unfortunately, I see that it isn't something that brings Autism communities together, but rather divides us. Autism is one of the few conditions that I have seen where the charities actually dislike each other. Some are fighting for acceptance, some want awareness, some have other agendas all together. It can be seen all over Facebook and it is very negative and I wish it would stop.

I think that the controversy of why our children have autism is part of the problem. Lets put aside if our children were born this way or if they are vaccine injured and just strive to make people aware that our children are humans too. They want to be loved and cared for as much as the next person.

Look beyond the stims and behaviors and see what these children are...just children. My child is a challenge. Most days he is a toddler in an 8 year old body, but I often see how certain typical children act and I am thankful that my child isn't hateful to others or mean. I am thankful that he is not spoiled by the identity that society wants to put on him. I am thankful he still wants kisses and hugs from me. I am thankful he still finds the wonder in nature and animals. Something can be said for that simplicity.

So I am choosing to make Autism Awareness Month a celebration of my darling child. I am deciding to put aside the worries of what will be and embrace the now. I am going to try to be more patient because if I want the outside world to accept my child then that needs to start with me. The only agenda I will have this month will be spread to the world what an amazing child I have.

I encourage other moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and neighbors to do the same for the children in your life touched by Autism. Lets show the world the greatness and potential we see in those children's eyes. Then we won't need those competing autism charities to spread the word for us, we can do it ourselves.