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4.23.2011

Being 10 and out of control really sucks

It's always a gamble whether Kit is going to have a good day at school, or get in some trouble, or just be enough out of control that he disrupts the class. Since he first came into this school over a year ago, we've worked closely with the school support team to create a better path to learning for him. This winter we finally got a comprehensive assessment to comprehend the details of his - for lack of a better word - condition. Psychological, academic, social, and behavioral.

All along the school has been leaning towards prescription meds but we've been resistant. Buddy was ADD and a nightmare to deal with as a child. He took meds every day and we monitored and assessed and profiled. Kit is nothing like that. Sure he's out of control at times, he loses it, he behaves badly but much of that if from anxiety as much as anything and he also admits that he deliberately perpetrates some of it. His anxieties have been getting deeper so his behavior has become more erratic. In the end the child psychologist assessed that Kit had ADHD. Big surprise. I spent a good half hour drilling him about side effects, down sides, misdiagnosis and the whole nine yards to be sure that we understood what was being recommended and how it compared to our experiences with his dad so many years ago.

Kit was present throughout the whole psych profile interview, playing with some toys, sitting still, leaning into me, and always listening intently, though he never appears he is. He didn't say much. We were really on the fence about using meds, right up to the end. Finally, he walked past my chair, leaned in close and whispered, "Let me take the pills."

"Sold," I said to the doctor. If Kit could be positive about it, then we should try it. Especially since stimulants unlike, say, antidepressants clear out of your system in 6 hours. So if they don't work, you can stop immediately.

That was 3 days ago and it's been a bumpy ride. He's had serious mood swings, stomach ache, and headaches. Home from school today because vacation has started, I found him this morning completely despondent on the sofa, even crying. He was irritable and didn't want to talk about it. Really not himself. Even so, he still wanted to continue with the pills tomorrow.

"No," I said, after conferring with the doctor, "this is probably an overdose and we need to change it. We'll try a different one next week and see how it goes. For today, we'll stay close together, have a good day out and once this dose has worked through you, you'll feel like yourself. Just remember that as lousy as you feel, it will pass by tonight."

And it did. But still, at bedtime he said he wanted to try again. I explained "if you try and hammer a screw into a wall and keep hitting your thumb as it flies out of your hand, wouldn't it be better to get a nail for the job?"

That helped and he's willing to wait for a new prescription. But this kid is quite the hammer when he gets behind a job he decides needs to be done. He knows he has a problem and wants to help find a solution. That takes real guts and courage and I'm very proud of him.