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5 Year Olds and Ritalin

14 March 2013
We started Sparrow on medication in January. It is not something we wanted to do, especially since we tried it last summer and he had a very bad reaction. But it was to the point where we didn't have any other options available. Counseling wasn't working, special diets weren't working, nothing was working. We have tried everything. We started on an anti-anxiety medication first and then after a month added in an ADHD medication last month.

The difference has been phenomenal. We have seen a marked improvement at home, but more important is the difference at school. In November, Sparrow could follow directions 20% of the time. He can now follow them 90% of the time. In November, he could transition from activities without tantrums 10% of the time. Now he transitions well 90% of the time. He used to play with peers his own age 30% of the time (he preferred to interact with adults so he could control the play) and now he's up to 70% of the time. The Ritalin has made such a difference. It is obvious to us that he feels better about himself and is much more confident in his abilities to behave. He no longer focuses on how "bad" he was during school. He no longer gets in trouble constantly. He doesn't have to go to the "safe area" (he used to spend lots of time away from other students because he would lash out physically.) Just prior to starting medication, we met with the school to form a Behavioral Plan for Sparrow. We authorized his teacher to physically restrain him if necessary. I am so thrilled to report that since he started medication, he has not had to be physically restrained.

He's still a challenge. He's been extremely mouthy and talks back a LOT over the last month. But he can sit still. He can focus! He can concentrate! I can't believe it.

Here's what cemented it for me. I signed Sparrow up for a talent agency a long time ago. I apply him to "gigs" every once in a while, but there is rarely anything available for his age group. Last week they had an opening for a boy age 4-6, so I applied him and he was chosen to do a photo shoot for a local business. Sparrow has never photographed well because he can't hold still, look at the camera and smile at the same time. So I was nervous about today. We talked a lot on the way to the business about listening and obeying the photographer and I just hoped for the best.

We get there and Sparrow was polite. He was kind. He was a model for a basketball company/place, and he shared the ball with the other kids and asked them nicely if they wanted to play with him (and didn't throw a fit when they said no.) He was able to smile happily and naturally at the photographer when asked. He was able to hold a pose for several minutes at a time, even with the distractions of 5 open basketball games playing around him and another child-model who kept sneaking away and getting into the photographer's bag to steal candy. (Seriously!) I couldn't believe it. I was so happy I could have cried. My little boy seemed normal today for the first time in a long time. He acted like a 5 year old instead of a 2 year old. I am so proud of him. I am so happy we started medication.

I am still concerned about the long term effects. I am also concerned about his anxiety. Last summer he had panic attacks when we went outside (every time we went outside, opened a window/door, or did anything outdoors ever) because of bugs/bees. I don't know how he'll react this year but we are starting to talk now about bugs and bees and how they are growing up and will visit us this summer and if we leave them alone they will leave us alone. So we'll see. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. But oh, the improvement.

For the photo shoot today, they had the 3 kids dress up in dorky basketball outfits. Sparrow's made me about die laughing. He looks just like Napoleon Dynamite! This was really the first time he's held a basketball (we are not sports oriented parents and he's already accident prone enough without having giant balls lying around the house.) He really liked bouncing the ball with me and I taught him the Spanish word for ball while we played. Now I'm thinking about enrolling him in a soccer or some kind of sports class this summer. I just put him in a ballet class for preschoolers which starts in April (we went to the Sleeping Beauty ballet at BYU a few weeks ago and he was entranced - he LOVED it. I was so bored I fell asleep.)

In terrifying news, on March 1 I took my English midterm. I was sick and had a fever of 100, but I suffered through. I emailed the teacher after the midterm and told her I was sorry and that I had studied but was so sick I couldn't work up to my normal standards. Today we got the midterms back. Except for me. My midterm did not come back. The teacher never got my midterm. What?! The testing center didn't give it to her. I am terrified. Did I not submit it right? Did it just get lost? I can prove that I took it - I mean, I can tell her what questions I remember from it; I know the exact time I took it; I sent the email to her... but what if it's gone forever? I know I didn't get a great grade on it but a 70% is better than a 0! I am nervous and I don't know what is going to happen (she's looking into it but what if it's gone?!)

I also sprained my thumb last Friday and can't do things like button up stuff, hold my violin, open zippers on my backpack... bah!

Here's a picture I grabbed of Sparrow today. I can't wait to see what kind of shots the photographer got (he said they should be ready in a week and I can use the pictures for whatever; he was taking them just for this basketball place and stock photography type stuff.)

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Doesn't that just make your day? I can't wait till he's old enough for me to use this picture as blackmail!

1 comments to 5 Year Olds and Ritalin:

Jamie Bates said...

I start my 5 year old on Ritalin tomorrow after going thru much what you did (google found this almost word for word) You don't know how much better this blog post made me feel!!!! Thank you and your little Sparrow.