For as long as I can remember, the biggest challenge B has faced is his impulse control. Or, lack thereof. He'll just walk by someone or something, and need to hit or touch. He still runs out of buildings without me, and across busy streets and parking lots. The other day we momentarily lost him at an amusement park because he decided he wanted to go on a specific ride, and just took off running into the crowd. I have a scorch mark on my counter from when he wanted to see if a bottle cleaning brush would melt over a candle flame (while I was in the bathroom for 2 minutes, and he was four.)
In our meetings with neurologists and developmental peds, there has always been talk about medication, but until now it was never something I wanted to pursue. He wasn't really being affected by his own issues (feeling badly about himself, or doing poorly in school), so we went the therapy route, instead. We talked about strategies, and implemented tons of sensory input, in case that was the root of the problem. We figured as he got older, he would naturally mature out of some behaviors. Also, because B is a small kid, having him take medication known for zapping people's appetites wasn't something we wanted to do. The child barely eats as it is.
But, since his seizures began, things have gotten a lot worse. He's like a pinball. That's the best way I can describe the change in behavior. He is unable to regulate at all, and has started getting in trouble at school. A couple days ago we were at McDonald's, and B walked by a little kid and bopped a toy out of his hand. He didn't even seem to notice he did it, and immediately gave the toy back. That wasn't good enough for the child's mother, though, who laid into B, telling him he was a bully, and why would he be so mean to her son?
B just stood there, like a deer in headlights. I could see the tears welling up in his eyes, and the red shade of embarrassment creeping over his face. It was all I could do not to start screaming back at this woman, but I knew it would get me nowhere (sometimes you can just tell when it's not worth it to even attempt a conversation), so we gathered our things and left.
The look on B's face when this happened made me realize we need to try something else. I refuse to allow his self-esteem to take a blow, because the electrical activity in his brain is making him more impulsive. I refuse to allow his school experience to go downhill. I refuse to allow people to judge him as a bully, or bad kid. I never again want to see that look of sadness and shame on my child's face.
The fact is, we aren't new to medications. K has been on a few, trying to mitigate her constant anxiety, so it isn't like we are against them. We have always tried other things before turning to meds, but some things just can't be helped any other way. B has ADHD tendencies, anyway, and the onset of his seizures really made them worse. We were hoping once his seizure med built up in his system, some of the side effects of his seizures would ease up, but that hasn't happened. I've also learned recently that a lot of kids with Epilepsy display the same type of behaviors as B, and medication can really help.
So today we are meeting with the developmental ped, and asking for a prescription. I once had a doctor tell me that you should never medicate your child unless their issues are affecting them. Not if they are affecting you as a parent. Not if they are affecting a teacher. Only if they are affecting the child, which up until this point they weren't. I have really lived by those words, and feel we've gotten to the point where B is being affected, and where he's starting to feel bad about himself.
So here we are.
Sure, there's a part of me that wishes we could find a different way to help B, but we've tried everything else. And if this truly is being made worse by the seizure activity in his brain, then all the OT in the world won't make a difference. B doesn't deserve to be screamed at, and called a bully. He doesn't deserve to get in trouble at school because he can't control his body. He doesn't deserve for his seizures to make things worse. He deserves to be seen as the awesome kid he is, and hopefully with a little help, that will happen.
|That's a great kid, right there.|