Choosing medication was a good decision for Micah.
However, I have two sons with ADHD. Here’s the other half of the story.
Benji was diagnosed with high functioning Autism in October. Before the official diagnosis, we did a lot of tests, including tests for ADHD. We turned the forms into our doctor but they kind of got lost in the chaos of the Autism diagnosis and we decided to focus our attention on therapies to help Benji’s Autism challenges.
However, a few weeks ago, when we were in a therapy session, Benji’s counselor brought it up: “Have you considered that he might have ADHD?”
I nodded. “We did some tests for that but we never had a conversation. I would say he has ADHD–”
“–I would say so too.” She interjected, kindly.
“–but we kind of just let it lie.” I paused, thinking. “Micah’s on medication and it’s helping him.”
“I can’t make those decisions for you, but medication may help Benji, especially since some of his major frustrations come from not being able to communicate effectively.”
“Yeah, it’s like, when I talk to him, he has to process what I am saying. Then he has to think his response and then how to put that response into words. By the time he starts talking, sometimes he has forgotten what the original question was. It’s really frustrating for him.”
She agreed. “Talk to Dr. A. He’ll give you some advice.”
I thanked her but didn’t make the appointment for a few weeks. It was the same angst of “do we? don’t we?” all over again.
Medication was the right choice for Micah but it was a difficult decision. We did not make it flippantly or lightly. It wasn’t a cop out, or giving up on parenting. Medication doesn’t work like that.
The way ADHD medication works is to simulate the synaptic processes in the brain, the processes that are not firing in healthy patterns. It is a physical challenge that manifests itself through mental and behavioral avenues (The glory of the human body–it is all tied together).
But just because it works for Micah didn’t mean it would work for Benji. Different kid, different parenting, different solutions.
Aaron and I talked about it a lot. One of the reoccurring themes in our conversations about both Micah and Benji was this: We want to do what is best for our kids. We want to be good parents. If we actively deny our child something that could potential help them, does this make us bad parents?
But”Good” and “bad” aside: This decision ultimately wasn’t about US. It was about our son.
Ultimately though, I made the appointment.
I’m glad I did.
Dr. A. discussed the results of the initial ADHD behavior evaluation: “Yes, he definitely has ADHD.”
But, he did not recommend medication for Benji.
“Would it help his attention? Yes. But I don’t recommend this type of medication for kids with Autism because their brains and bodies work different. Anxiety is a big part of Benji’s every day experience. The medication would help him concentrate, and maybe even communicate, but it would up his anxiety. And then we would be in a worse place than where he is right now.”
It all made sense to me. I trust what Dr. A. said, as he is a developmental MD who is an expert in Autism, ADHD, and a many other challenges that kids face.
Even more than trusting an expert though, I trust my own observations about Benji.
I don’t want to do anything to compromise his growth.
So, here’s the bottom line. I have identical twins who both have ADHD.
One is on medication
One is not.
Choosing medication to treat your child’s ADHD is not a one size fits all solution, even for two kids in the same family, even if they are twins.
Only you, and your team of supportive professionals, can decide what is best for your child, what will help him grow, thrive, and be the best version of himself, and ultimately what will help you both have the healthiest relationship together as parent and child.
So, the question is: Should I medicate or NOT medicate my child’s ADHD?
For us, the answer, not-so-simply, is Yes.
I hope that our story can bring hope, healing, and happiness to you. Please share your experiences below! I’d love to read a part of your story.
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