Our son is a healthy 9-year-old. He is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. He also has two learning disabilities and sensory processing disorder. All of these cause anxiety.
He just had his yearly well-child check and a medical review. He’s hitting the physical milestones just fine. He’s solidly in the middle of the growth charts. But his medication isn’t working all that well. So we are being sent off to another specialist for new medications. He is being tested for asthma. I know I’m not the only mom who looks to the skies and says, “What else?!?!”
He is doing well in school, most days. But recently, some old issues have started to return, along with a few new ones. We’ve tried a lot of different medications for ADHD. Some have been complete nightmares. I’m nervous to try anything else. But I know if it will improve his life at all, we will.
I look at him and wonder how much of this “what’s wrong with me?” he keeps inside. I am certain there’s at least some amount of it. I watched his face while we talked about him. He wouldn’t participate in the conversation at the doctor’s office. What else does he think?
Does he also sense the wonder and amazement I have that he exists? Can he feel the love, admiration and joy that I find in being his mother? Do I do enough to show him that part of it all? Or am I too much about corrections and doctor’s appointments, therapies and medications and supplements and teacher’s meetings?
It’s a very fine line to walk. I want to help him without shredding his self-esteem. I know I’m not the only mom to feel like all I do is to indirectly tell him that there’s something wrong with him.
My challenge to myself is to send messages of acceptance, love and joy in him being who he is, just as he is right now. I need to make sure he knows much of him is just right. He deserves to know how grateful I am that he is.
After making the difficult decision to medicate your child, with time and on occasions, old symptoms return or new ones appear. Once again, you’re faced with what felt like an already-made decision - to medicate higher or more, or not.