We have a 5-year-old son who is diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, autism, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder—in that order. Now we have yet another set of letters to add to the mix: ADHD. The doctor reassured me all of these go hand-in-hand, all are very similar. She gave us a prescription and said to check back in a week.
I mean, this is obviously not a huge surprise. After all, I made the appointment to discuss the possibility. But the prospect of actually medicating our 5-year-old does give me pause.
Is this diagnosis because I’m a bad or ineffective mother? Is it because our marriage is strained? Is it because he watches too much TV or because he refuses to eat fruits or vegetables or because we moved him from his house to an apartment a year and a half ago?
NO, NO, NO, and NO!
His doctor assures me that we’ve already been doing everything she would have recommended we try before medication—e.g., OT, cognitive therapy, daily outside play, regular sleep and waking times, etc. She said it’s time to add something to the mix to help him. And I know she’s right.
We have been watching his self-esteem plummet, injuries becoming more commonplace - including a broken arm - and the struggle for him to stay focused long enough to complete even small school assignments is so obvious. It’s painful to know he is trying and feeling like he’s failing at five years old.
If it’s hard for us to watch it, how hard is it for him to experience it? The frustration? The sadness? The anger?
If a small swallow of medication will help my child, I am onboard. Let’s try it!
Critics, including my own inner voice that tells me it’s all my fault, can just shush. We are doing the best we can, using our best resources, and loving our son.
Find information on medicating your child in the Diagnosis and Health section.
As a parent to a child with a disability, we often must learn little tricks to get things done. Each month one parent shares some of the tips and tricks she has learned along the way.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to find the profession that is our life’s work. I did.