10 November, 2010

Is There a Pill for This?

I've been working on a post for The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism on why we chose to give Jake medication to address his ADHD symptoms, and how to go about it if you think your child might benefit.

The thing is, as I keep working on the post, and I've been opening it and writing, deleting, and writing again, every day for over a month, I find that it is really not my best work. The language is stilted. There is no flow. I can't seem to get the words out, or clarify my message.

Last night was a restless one for Descartes and I. I could tell at about 4:30am that neither of us was sleeping. But just in case I was wrong, I let the silence surround us, as I am NOT wont to do. Silence is so heavy for me. It forces me to think for myself, instead of bouncing my ideas off of other people, gauging their reactions. It forces me to be my own company, which makes me think about what I like and do NOT like about myself...and then how I want to change those things, which inevitably leads me to thinking about how I need to do more for my family, for my friends, for my work. I form to-do lists at 5am that I will accomplish TO-DAY! for the projects I dedicate my mind to.

So this morning in the darkness I tried to work through what was bothering me about writing what would appear to be a simple post about the medications I give my son, why we do it, and how to do it. I think I am worried about the judgment. People, myself included, are so quick to judge others. It's how we determine friend or foe, helpful or harried. We make snap decisions about people all the time. If we have grace, or empathy, or something other than outright narcissism, we might consider why another person is behaving in a certain manner, and hold our harshest judgments, or our condemnation, but sometimes we just judge and move on.

People, individuals I know, and talk show pundits, and magazines and teachers have judged my family and our choice to give Jake medication, and it is painful to think that others might view me as the type of parent who would cause my child harm. What's worse is that I judge myself. I know we've made the right decisions.. I know that we have, but a part of me questions the ethics of giving a non-verbal 10 year old medications, which alters his mood. He can't tell me when he has cotton mouth. He can't tell me if it is making him feel anxious, or if he's not eating because the medications remove his appetite, or he ate a big snack at school. And I have found myself thinking that many children are mis- or over- diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, when all they really need is some more stimulating way of teaching to keep their attention focused on learning.. or maybe they just need to have P.E. in school again to run some energy off some of those antsy legs.

But I don't want to share that part with parents who are trying to figure out if pharmacological intervention might help their child. I only want to tell them the good parts, about my son's overnight ability to sit in a chair, or go to brunch with his grandparents again. The way he can make it through a five hour flight to Hawaii, and dinner. I want parents to be unaware of those harsh judgments, so they can get to the point of helping their children, because in spite of those naysayers who tell us we have made up ADHD, some children will benefit from medications like this.

The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism is filled with fact-based information. Science. Truth. Honesty. It is already helping families and has opened communication with adults on the spectrum. I know that an honest account, of all my emotions, will be the post that reaches the most people. I just want to balance all of that negative- the negative in my own mind, and all of those harsh words around us, with all of the possible benefits, and somehow write all of it down, without being judged.

or, as I have often done in my every day, going-to-get-through-this way, I suppose I could just do what I need to do and let the critics say what they must before they move on... because they do eventually move on, and what always remains is the best decision I can make for my family at the time.
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