Sunday, February 3, 2013

ADHD, ODD and Aspergers, oh my!

I have talked some before about Jeriah's Aspergers and how he is doing such a fantastic job with school and social situattions, and learning and all that. And I have mentioned briefly about Cephas and his ADHD. Well, here's a little bit of an update about these two kiddos.

Jeriah is still doing an amazing job at school. He has adapted quite nicely to his school routine and to his work and expectations there. His grades at school are all at either meeting or exceeding district standards, which is amazing. At home, though, it's a different story. He has been really defiant and refuses to help out or cooperate or whatever. It's trying on a mama, let me tell you. There are some days and situations where my energy and abilities are long spent just a few hours after he wakes up. I need to schedule another appointment for him with our therapist. This mama needs some resources to deal with this very strong-willed child. He is amazingly smart and I adore him to pieces, but I'm at a point where I need some kind of resources and ideas for what to do now.

I had this same issue with Cephas at this age. It was so INCREDIBLY difficult because with Cephas, I had two younger children at this age, one of which was a baby. With Jeriah, I think it's almost worse though, because I also have Cephas at his current stage, which is taxing at this point, to say the least.

Cephas was diagnosed with ADHD last Spring ('12) and we didn't want to medicate initially. Plus, he had Midget Football, which took up a LOT of time and energy and everything else. It was something that was physically grueling for him and kept him busy enough that he was too exhausted on a regular basis to act out. And then football season ended. And then we started back in with some of the issues.

Two weeks ago, after about a month of really considering the options, we went ahead and met with someone in the psychology office who is in charge of prescribing medications. She put him on a low dose of one ADHD med for him to take that week. It's a short-acting medication and is only in his system for a very limited period of time. Then, the second week (this week), the dose was doubled and would last for twice as long. And it has done an AMAZING job for him at school. He has been able to focus and not even his best friend goofing around here and there has been much of a distraction issue while he is in school. But then, he gets home, the medication wears off and we have our hands FULL. I try to get him to do his chores and homework immediately after school while his meds are still possibly in effect, but if something comes up and we're delayed by an hour or so, the rest of the night is a complete struggle.

Anyhow, before I go into all of that, I should share about the visit that we had with his psychologist before we went to meet with the person in the office who makes the medication decisions. Anyhow, I was talking to the psychologist and told her that it often feels like in addition to his ADHD (which we have talked about and worked with at length) that it feels like he also has ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) and sometimes a touch of depression and with all of these things combined, it's like he has bi-polar or something.

She validated my feelings about all of that and showed my Cephas' graded assessments, in which his scores were 99.99% ADHD, 99.99% ODD, 99.99% Aggression (something or other) and I was like, Oh wow. Suddenly, it all seems to make sense. It's not just me losing my mind with this child (whom I love dearly, don't get me wrong!)

So, we met with the other person and started him on this medication. We have a meeting with both women coming up this next week and I cannot wait! There's potential that we will end up giving Cephas the low-dose med after school to get him through the evening and we may end up needing to give him another one to help him sleep as well. I don't know if I have ever mentioned this, but I really and truly dislike medications, but we are at the point where there's little other choice. We cannot have him un-medicated right now. But part of the problem that we are having right now is a side effect from the med of restlessness and insomnia. He's always had sleep issues and now on top of that, he has a medication that makes him more prone to it. So, in addition to the medication wearing off around the same time that he gets home from school, he's also not sleeping well at night and he is excessively tired, yet restless at the same time. It seems to be a vicious cycle.

These past few days in particular have been extremely challenging. I think that there has been three days in a row now that have me at my wit's end. The first two days that he was on the stronger dose, we didn't really have any major issues. However, I do think that by the third day, the sleep issue was really starting to catch up with him. All I know for sure is that I cannot wait until next week to meet with both ladies. I don't know if they are going to change his med, add on to it for the evening hours, or give him a sleeping aid of some sort. I almost want to try for the sleep aid first and see if that helps with the evening hours and the restlessness and insomnia issue first. But I don't know what route would be best to go.

It seems that he functions best when he is over-scheduled. You know, there was a big thing about kids being too over-scheduled and how they don't have downtime in our society, etc for quite a while a few years back. But Cephas seems to thrive and function the best when he is constantly on the go. However, I can't do it. Even if I don't have to do all of it, I'm still the one that has to take him here, there and everywhere else and it wears me out.

Right now, we have him involved in Swim Club. (Koren is also in Swim Club, while Oralee and Jeriah are in swim lessons.) Swim Club is quite physically demanding. Koren was complaining that they pushed him too hard, but Cephas kept pace with it really well. He has to do Swim Club before he can do Swim Team. I cannot wait for him to do Swim Team. He needs that intensity. Right now, Swim Club is twice a week. After this session is over, I plan on keeping Koren in Club and putting Cephas on the Team. Hopefully that will help matters as well. Then, this Spring, Cephas will also be playing soccer, Koren will be playing flag football, Oralee will be playing volleyball and Jeriah will be in soccer as well. It's such a demanding sports schedule, but given the similarities between Cephas and Jeriah at Jeriah's current age, I think it may be very beneficial to keep him busy as well. I've also toyed with the idea of having the boys do gymnastics, as Koren wants to and so does Jeriah. Oralee wants to do dance classes.

Anyone else exhausted just thinking about this? Because I am just from typing it and trying to keep it all straight. If I am sparse in posting over the next few weeks, this is why. I'm just trying to keep up with my ASD kiddos.

I also got into a huge disagreement with one of my best friends tonight. This is someone who hasn't been around for just over six months because he was deployed for a month, then he was home for about a month and has been gone for another three months. He doesn't spend all that much time with Cephas either. But as I was talking to him about just the ADHD, ODD, the meds and the current struggle, he made the mistake of telling me that Cephas doesn't have a disorder, that he's just twelve and developing his personality and such. This friend does not have children, does not work with children, rarely is even around children, much less any Spectrum children. Needless to say, we did not exactly see eye to eye about it and our discussion got heated and in the end, I unfriended him on Facebook. I told Bree about the conversation, as her son also has ADHD and ODD, although he's three years younger than Cephas is. But she understands what I'm going through with Cephas. And while she doesn't always understand completely what I'm going through with Jeriah, she's there and she's supportive and validates what it is that I'm feeling and going through with him. This other friend did the exact opposite. I also happened to be talking to Bree on Facebook and she was also getting riled up about this other friend's attitude.

This other friend gets home from his deployment tomorrow and I unfriended him tonight. Not exactly the best timing, but I was angry. Livid, really. I also wanted to talk to his wife tonight, before he gets home tomorrow, to let her know where I stood with her husband at this point in time. Let's just say, he really isn't scoring points with anyone at this point in time. His wife said that he was lucky this conversation took place while he is deployed and that it wasn't in front of her because she'd end up telling him a thing or two herself. I used to get along with him better than I did with her, but over the last few years, I have really lost a lot of respect for him. I hate to say that and to feel that way, but that's just the way that it is. I'm really grateful though, to have rediscovered such a good friend in his wife.

Okay, so this post was in large part an update and also a vent. Sometimes, it is so hard to balance all of this stress though. Thanks for reading through this. I'm exhausted and probably a little worked up yet. And to add to the stress, I also just found out today that Hubby is going to be back to work six to seven days each week. That is going to take yet another toll on me, because I'm going to lose him as a regular resource on Sundays. Wish me luck?