When I took Alex for his physical this summer I had a pretty long talk with the pediatrician about his year at school. I had brought along the comments from his report cards and IEP. Over and over: "Not handing in work", "Not completing work", "Not following directions", "Not paying attention". Nowhere does it say that he is not capable of the work or that he doesn't understand or that he is below grade level. To make a long story short, the doctor really wants him to try Ritalin. Gulp.
Alex was prescribed Ritalin a few years ago when he was about 7 and I never filled the prescription. I felt he was too young and was only in 1st grade. However, now he is almost 10 and will be in 4th. He really needs to be paying attention, completing work and handing things in. I am not a big fan of this type of medication and do feel that it is overprescribed. I am constantly amazed at work by how many patients (children and adults) are on Ritalin or some other ADHD medication. It really is staggering. However, Alex is a child who very clearly has ADHD symptoms quite severely. In fact, that was his diagnosis when we took him to Kennedy Krieger for an evaluation: Severe ADHD, not ASD. I am willing to try it to see if it helps. And I do have some previous experience. Our oldest son who is now 15 was diagnosed with ADHD at age 8. His symptoms were less severe than Alex's and his social functioning was much more mature. He was extremely hyperactive and unable to sit still. He is still like that but year round sports has helped. He was on medication in grades 4 and 5 and has functioned fairly well without it ever since. Still, he is the only person I know who paces while he reads. The meds did help him. His grades improved dramatically and he was able to play with his friends better. He would interrupt them and tire of whatever they were doing very quickly. The medication helped him "chill" a little and it was good thing for him socially.
So..we will see what happens. I know Ritalin won't help him socially (although it may help him pay more attention to his peers), it won't help his sometimes labored speech and reading and it won't help his sensory needs (which are still quite extensive- he is a sensory seeker). We have done years of therapy which has now come to an end. Maybe this is the next step for him.
Thoughts on Newtown
4 years ago