Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Music to my Ears

Nick is improving before my very eyes—or ears, rather. A couple of years ago he would be a nervous wreck going off to school, and he had the need to ask the same questions over and over to both me and to his teacher—he would perseverate. He was in 5th grade when it all came collapsing in. He was found sitting under his desk, yes, under. The teacher called me in for an emergency meeting to tell me what had happened, and I had requested Dr. C to join us. Our school system was very fortunate to have a PhD of Psychology (Dr. C), who specialized in autism, working for our school district—a blessing because he helped me with both my kids and was very talented in working with autistic kids and their behaviors, and I trusted his instincts. He told me that he was certain that Nick needed medication for his anxiety. I, at that time, was still very much against medications if other therapies could work, but in this case, he clearly needed the help.

Upon finding Nick a good psychiatrist and a good therapist (two different people), his psychiatrist is someone who is only following his medication (and someone who I and the other therapist suspect of having Asperger’s Syndrome, himself—interesting!).

The aforementioned therapist is a woman who has specialized in helping children and adults with autism spectrum disorders and has been in her field for many years.

It was advised by both of these professionals that Nick should go on medication to help him with his anxiety and perseveration proclivity. We put him on Fluvoxamine (or Luvox), suggested by the psychiatrist and the therapist agreed that it was a drug known to work well for kids on the spectrum.

As I once mentioned, in a previous post (s), that it had worked remarkably well for him, he even asked me: “Why does this make me feel better, I don’t want to feel better because now I have to got back to gym.” (Note: he didn't have to attend gym while we were searching for the therapists and meds because it made him more anxious.) Interesting psychology here, though—and smart boy. No, my kids are not sport enthusiasts beyond swimming and trampoline jumping.

I blame myself because I, too, hated gym growing up. I mean who the heck invented dodgeball? Or the sports-enthusiasts mentality that sports matter more than friendship does and if you don’t catch the high flying ball while standing in center field, then You Suck!

So before meds, Nick would tell me that he hated gym at least three times while just walking to his bus (van) in the morning, and, now, he’ll tell me maybe once that he hates gym or school if he happens to think about it—this morning and yesterday morning he didn’t say either one. Hmm, I knew something was different!!

His conversational skills have also improved, significantly. He used to go on and on about a certain topic until I would tell him that he needed to talk about something else—anything else. I mean he would just say the same thing over and over again (perseverate) and not let-up. I remember how I would just want to scream, but I wouldn’t; instead, I would try to tell him that it was time to talk about something else as calmly as possible w/o making him feel more self-conscious than he was. It was funny because, before the meds, the therapist told me that I was being henpecked all day long. I laughed. Not just a regular laugh, but more like a hysterical-like laugh because she was right! Ah, people who understand and truly get it!! Love therapy, just LOVE IT!!

But, today, he hardly ever goes on and on about a topic or asks me the same questions over and over—at least not at the same time.

So is it the drugs?—even though he is only on 50 mg per day, a very low dose, and has grown at least 5 inches and has gained at least 20 pounds since he started the meds. Or is it the school that he attends? Or is it just the fact that he is growing up? Time will tell in a year: after he starts high school and after we take him completely off the meds to see for ourselves.

So stay tuned …


Mama Mara said...

Wow! Drugs rock! And so do you.

I am eager to see what you deduce about this sudden improvement. 'Cause I am one sick-and-tired-of-being-henpecked mother, and something tells me I'm going to learn some good stuff from you!

(My word verification today is "rhong", which I would define as "really, really wrong". New word!)

Christina Shaver said...

Your information today couldn't have had better timing for me. I spent 1/2 an hour in the bathroom being physically assaulted by my four year old for holding the line with him in getting ready for the day (peeing, washing hands, brushing teeth, washing face).

I was pretty calm during most of it and noticed the kid sounded like a broken record. In a rut, saying over and over again that he wanted his spatula back. (I took away his cooking utensils -- his idea of toys -- in an effort to get him to comply.) I don't know how many times he said he wanted them back -- a hundred? And as I watched him, I realized he was stuck. He couldn't get his mind off the utensils. I didn't even know there was a word for that kind of thing!

AND... he does it ALL the time. He gets stuck on things he wants when he's in trouble, and you just can't reach him.

Anyway, I'm going to talk with his psychiatrist about the drug you mentioned and see if he has any ideas about it.


Holly Nappi Collins said...

Ha, thanks Mara!!

Christina, I hope this is a possibility to help him.

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

Yes, medication can be so helpful. Nigel has experienced such relief from his OCD symptoms, and his other behavioral issues have mostly evened out. Glad to hear that Nick has also had a positive response to his medication.

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