I’ve avoided this for four years. But this week, the hubby and I face an important decision in our 5-year-old’s journey: medication.
We adopted our beloved T four years ago – feels like an extra year in there with this pandemic! – and shortly after, he received a prognosis of at-risk fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
Thanks to this prognosis, we became quickly well versed in early intervention services, such as speech therapy and behaviour therapy, which have made a world of difference on his development.
We could not be more proud of how far T has come.
But T continues to struggle with a few key challenges, which became apparent during lockdown the past three months: hyperactivity, attention deficit, impulsivity, and emotional regulation.
Since his prognosis from Surrey Place, a wonderful organization that works with individuals with intellectual and development disabilities, T has been monitored by a developmental pediatrician every six months.
We had a check in with Dr L this week. In attendance were T’s teacher, principal, and behaviour therapist.
We encouraged them to speak honestly.
Everyone was in agreement about T’s tremendous progress. But everyone was forthcoming about his challenges.
Prior to the appointment, the hubby and I and T’s teacher completed a SWAN assessment separately. It’s a tool used to assess possibilities for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
While ADHD and FASD are two different conditions, many FASD children receive ADHD diagnosis, because they exhibit the behaviour and associated challenges. This behaviour was blindingly obvious in T at an early age.
After the discussion, Dr L brought up whether or not the hubby and I wanted to consider medication for T.
I have been so torn about medication for several reasons.
I’m not a medical professional nor expert on medication. The following are simply my honest thoughts as I struggled and continue to struggle about this over the last four years.
- I worry about the side effects I’ve read about on online forums – such as sleep issues, loss of appetite, triggering emotional issues such as rages, anxiety, depression, etc.
- I worry about how medication will affect his long term health.
- I worry medication will make T into a zombie and we’ll lose his special and fun personality.
- T’s birth mother continues to struggle with addiction and I worry that medication will open up a gateway to drugs for him.
- There’s a part of me that feels that T has made so much progress, let’s give him a fighting chance and see how he will do in senior kindergarten without medication.
- Part of me feels that we’re taking the easy way out with medication, like we’re conceding defeat, raising and waving the white flag, and that we’re not even trying.
- I worry a lot that we are going to fuck things up big time for T by putting him on medication.
We want what is best for T and what will help him reach his life potential.
I will always say this: T is a child with great potential and challenging needs.
He is smart and bright, so so bright. An incredibly caring person. So tenacious, determined. Funny as hell.
As his parents, we want to remove barriers for him so he can maximize his time, learning and growth – and not waste time by all the distractions that lure his mile-a-second moving mind.
This is how we’ve always moved forward – what is in his best interests.
Dr L gave us a medicine decision tool and we told him we’d get back to him soon.
The hubby has been wanting to do this for a long time. I wanted to wait.
I know where we are headed. I just have to take a deep breath and take a leap of faith.
The great thing is that this is not a one way street and point of no return.
There are options. There are opportunities to course correct.
I just need to take a deep breath and proceed as I’ve always done in life… long before T came into the picture… and certainly now with T.
Believe that things always work out the way that they should in the end.