Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Medication Question

At some point, many parents of kids on the spectrum are faced with the decision of whether or not to put their child on medication.

Our son has made a lot of progress but still has attention deficits and anxiety issues that may be hindering him from staying more focused at school. Can medication help?

Until now, we have taken the biomedical approach, using mostly natural supplements, and therapy, to try to make inroads in this regard. But one of the recommendations of the recent psychological testing that we had done is to consider medication.

Turning to drugs is contrary to my natural tendencies of avoiding the use of medication unless absolutely necessary. My personal belief is that drugs combat the symptoms but not the source of whatever problem you are treating. And so, I have been reluctant to turn to medication with my son.

I was hoping that the biomedical treatments would help address the core issues of my son’s disorders. I wanted to use a therapeutic approach to teach better behavior without the use of drugs.

But I see every day that my son continues to have attention deficits. When he does homework, he has difficulty staying on task. It is a challenge to get him to listen and follow directions.

And so, if an expert is suggesting that medication may help, we need to seriously consider it.

From what I understand, you can often tell fairly quickly whether or not a medication is having a positive or negative effect. So, a part of me thinks that it couldn’t hurt to try, just to see if it makes an impact.

Still, it feels like a big decision. And although it is not irreversible, it feels like we have come to a major fork in the road. We will ponder our choice carefully.


  1. I do understand your dilemma. At one point, when Alex was in school ( a couple of years ago), he was starting to be very distracted while there according to his teacher at the time.

    He was really not distracted...just not engaging in school out of profound boredom.

    For gifted move at a snail's pace...can be torturous. The natural response is to daydream...or to distract yourself in other ways. Their minds are so active...they crave stimuli...they don't get enough in school...and so...

    He is so much more engaged with his home schooling.

    He is encouraged to advance at his much more accelerated speed...
    no distractions.

    He became much more focused on his studies as a result of true interest
    in knowledge...unhindered. Alex loves home schooling.

    Even his Winter months unfocused periods have greatly decreased with home schooling.

    I realize that home schooling is not the answer for all.

    Sometimes medication is necessary.

    It is just that I see how alike Alex was to Kai when he was Kai's age that I say anything at all.

    Either way, I know you will carefully consider all of your options.

    Just my words of encouragement.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    In my son's case, I don't think that boredom is the primary issue. He seems to do well in the classes that he enjoys and is more likely to lose focus in those that he does not. But those are more likely to be the ones that are hard for him, not the ones that are too easy. Perhaps we need to instill more 'drive' in him as you talk about in your post today. Or, maybe he needs to conquer fears, as you spoke of yesterday. But right now his interest in learning seems limited to those areas related to numbers, which he excels in.

    Not sure if medication will impact that aspect, though if he is more focused, perhaps some things won't be as hard for him.


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