Friday, February 17, 2012

He's finally getting it!


Ashton was able to attend to an 8minute task today.


I can't begin to tell you how BIG of a deal this is!

He apparently got upset earlier in the day when he was non-compliant with a task but wanted a treat. They explained to him that "you do not get a treat if you get up from the table at lesson time". He was M.A.D - VERY VERY M.A.D!

So mad, that he went and grabbed his daily journal and wrote "NO MAM" (no ma'am) over and over and over and over and over and over again..... on top of one another even. He expressed his anger in a completely appropriate (albeit, comical) way. Sure, there was a second or two of screaming but then he went and got his journal. He EXPRESSED himself! APPROPRIATELY. I cannot even BEGIN to explain how big of a deal THAT is either.

His teacher is constantly amazed that he expresses himself so freely. Happiness? He giggles, laughs, flaps and claps, and teases/plays with you. Mad? Screams and claps/flaps (harshly, not gently like when he's happy) and loudly protests. When he's sad? Oh it's pitiful... the tears. The sadly scrunched up face. The D.R.A.M.A!

Anyways... a little later, he asked for his treat and was told no, because it was not a lesson time yet and he would have to wait until it was time. So, when the teacher got ready to do the lesson (he's being worked with 1:1), she reminded him again that he would not get a treat if he got up from the table during the lesson.

Well... he sat there for EIGHT minutes and finished the task. He earned 5 chocolate chips because they were so excited that HE "got it!"

It's in there..... :)

HE'S in there.

It's getting him to allow us to see that sweet, smart and funny boy that's in there!

So proud that he's learning to more appropriately show his anger (I'm going to get him a journal for home, so he can do this at home too) and that he's finally getting the idea that he needs to do work at school.

SO SO SO SO proud! :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thumbs up on the new meds

Funny enough, both boys started on new medication almost 3 weeks ago. Yes, I was all crazy and had them both start at the same time.

For Holden we switched from Daytrana 20mg (down from 30mg in December) to Concerta 18mg. We made this switch because of the skin irritation from the Daytrana (it's a patch) and it just didn't seem like it was as effective anymore; 30mg he acted super mellow for the greater part of the day and then we had MAJOR attitude issues in the afternoon (the drop-off effect once the meds have left his system)... that's all fine and good but that's not his normal personality. He's usually pretty chipper and happy and talkative. We reduced to 20mg in hopes of helping him gain weight, but it didn't have that effect and while the mellow mood and attitude issues were less, it was obvious the med wasn't working as well as it used to. So, Concerta was our next try. He can now swallow pills, so this was perfect timing. We began practicing with mini M&Ms, then regular M&Ms and then peanut butter M&Ms (those are pretty big too, btw!). So far, he's done an amazing job with this new medication, he's more like himself and he's still doing a great job in school (the most important thing). So three weeks into it and I'd say we found a winner for the meds. PLUS... he's EATING! According to our scales he's gained about 2lbs since the switch, but we'll see what the official weight gain is when the boys have their checkup with Dr Madren in March. I'm anxious to see how much he's gained/grown.

As far as Ashton goes.... he's been prescription med free since last summer. He's been his easiest to manage in YEARS, surprisingly. I was hesitant to start him back on any medication because I know just how strongly he reacts to even a very small, minimal dose. However, after giving him a full nine week period to adjust to his new school, teachers, classmates and schedule, it had become apparent that he needed something to help settle him and help him focus/attend to his work. So, I consulted with Dr. Madren over email (by the way, can I say how absolutely awesome it is that I have a medical professional that I trust with my children's medical care, that I can contact via email instead of having to schedule an appointment?). Keeping in mind, I made mention of the possibility of needed to start an ADHD med with Ashton, at our last appointment in December. So, we decided to try the med he'd been on most recently for ADHD, and that was Adderall XR at 15mg. It became quite apparent the first day that this was not going to work. All Ashton did that first day was lay around and he didn't even smile, not even one single time. I gave it to him the next day and again, more of the same. So, the third day (this was over a four day weekend) I didn't give him the meds. Thinking that maybe he was coming down with something, I figured he would be acting the same (laying around, no smiling) if he was ill. Well, he wasn't sick... he was back to his normal silly, happy self. I emailed Dr. Madren back and asked what we should do. He suggested halving the dose to approx 7.5mg. This dose is what Ashton's been on ever since. He's the same happy, go-lucky kid.... but he's able to sit and attend to some of his work. However, having motivators/reinforcers that work also seem to be helping a great deal. Ashton's teacher set up her laptop at school as a "movie station" for Ashton. When he's completed a task, he can go over there and watch a 20minute movie clip (or whatever the allotted amount of time was). AWESOME!  What also seems to be helping is giving him the one on one attention he needs. He's been much more successful in school over the last couple of weeks and that gives me great hope for his future.

So yay for new meds. That WORK. and that have little to no bad side effects. So far, I haven't noticed any bad side effects with either of the boys, so let's hope this trend keeps up!