Friday, April 20, 2012

Austin's Antics and ADHD

Austin. His name evokes images of a wild little boy. Constantly running, climbing, jumping, and throwing things.

For years he's been EXTREMELY active. As one person said, "He's like 3 'all boy' boys wrapped into one!" At 2 1/2 he was diagnosed with some hearing loss from fluid in his ears. He had his first set of tubes put in, and we waited to see if he would catch up on his own with speech.

Not so much.

He started speech therapy a couple of months later, and on his 3rd birthday started ECSE preschool to continue speech and language therapy. Just after he turned 4 he had a second set of tubes put in his ears. The first set didn't last long, and his hearing was suffering again.

Looking back I'm sure a lot of his early behavior was due to his hearing loss. He couldn't talk, so he'd bite people to tell them to get away. He couldn't hear well, so he missed a lot of instruction, plus he had zero impulse control. He also seemed to feed off of others, if his environment was calm, he was calmer, if it was busy (like a playground) he was wild. I disciplined him constantly, and it seemed to work...for about 10 minutes. Then he completely forgot about what had happened. I began to seriously wonder about ADHD when he was around 4. He'd finally stopped biting people, but there was still no impulse control. He had very frequent bathroom accidents even though he was potty trained. He was acting out and struggling more at school. As he turned 5 my worry for him became more urgent, as did his schools' concerns. About the time we were wrapping up Ellie's diagnosis we began the process to figure out what was going on with Austin.

We and the school looked carefully at the possibility of an Autism Spectrum Disorder. With Ellie's history the chances are higher for him to be on the spectrum too, but after extensive testing both with the school and privately we ruled that out as a possibility. Instead, not surprisingly to me, he was diagnosed with ADHD.

At first I was cautious about his diagnosis. I feel like ADHD is overly diagnosed, and I wanted to make sure we weren't just jumping to conclusions. However now that we have 2 separate diagnosis's, one from a medical doctor and one from a neuro-psychologist, that both say the same thing, I feel more confident that this really is a part of him.

The school started daily OT with him to help his sensory seeking behaviors, and we saw great results with that. Then a couple of months ago we started him on an ADHD medicine. The results were immediate. The first day on his full dose he played with Jason, building things with constructs, (sp?) a kind of click together building toy set from Jason's childhood, for...


7 hours. He played happily, calmly, in one room, with only the exception of forced bathroom and lunch breaks, for 7 hours. Crazy!

I worried that the medicine would change him too much, that he wouldn't be himself, but thankfully that hasn't happened. I would describe him as still Austin, just calm Austin. He's still fun loving, active and happy, but he's just so much easier now. He listens to me and follows instructions, he is doing worlds better in school, making friends faster, writing his name, and almost never having potty accidents. The medicine has a few drawbacks, the biggest one for us being the lack of appetite, but overall it's been a miracle. Once it wears off though, he's right back to crazy active town, so after 7 pm we try not to attempt much. :)

We're still figuring a few things out for him. He's behind on his fine motor skills, and may have some visual perception issues. He's still got some appointments coming up for all of that. His ears are still a major issue, well one ear at least. The second tube only stayed in that ear for 5 months, and now he gets frequent infections in it, and his hearing is suffering again, so we're talking about a possible 3rd tube for that ear. Also he has some learning delays, most likely from his early hearing loss. Sigh.

It's been another tough road, but again we've been blessed by our school system. They have been SO helpful, and are planning ahead for next year to set him up for success. LOVE the ladies who care so much about him! They have loved him through the tough times, and helped me keep my sanity through the process.

So there we have it. Our home, with one mom, one dad, one Asperger's daughter, one neuro-typical daughter, and one ADHD son. Oh, and two cats and two dogs.

My life is a circus, but it's certainly never dull!


1 comment:

Krystal Isringhausen said...

You are such an amazing woman and mom. Your kids are so blessed to have you!