I am going to preface this post with the following. Medication works FOR US.
I've said it before. You meet one kid with autism, well you've met only one kid with autism. What works for one won't for another. However for the kiddo, meds do. And I am forever grateful for it. That being said, a few of you have asked what's worked. So I share it with you. Not to tell you to do it. (hey husband is that a good enough legal disclaimer? that's good right? CYA people. Cover your ass!)
Anyway when the kiddo was around 4ish years old and the husband and I were about to drop dead on our feet from being worn out, we went to the developmental pediatrician for some ideas. The kiddo is a mega sensory seeker. Always looking for movement. This was making school very difficult as well as any outing or life at home. He prescribed a very small dose of methylin or what I call the "oh what you do to meeeeee" (I'll explain why.)
We were instructed to give it to him on a Saturday so we could carefully observe him for possible side effects. Which would of been MAKING HIM MORE HYPER!!??!! Mother of god can you even imagine? I DIE! So I slipped it in some juice and hoped for the best. About 30 minutes later my son was laying in bed with his karoke machine singing the Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah" (ooooooh what you do to meeeeeee!!!!!) at the tops of his lungs. At first I panicked thinking "what have I done??!!" He's taken to his bed! Then I realized he was smiling. He was enjoying the feeling of being still and decided to express it in song. He was like a breathing Broadway musical. Later in the day I took him with me to a pet store which was always an over stimulating place for the kiddo. He loves animals. The outing went AMAZING! He was content to hold my hand on line looking at Dog Fancy magazines while we waited our turn. I knew then, we were NEVER not going to use this medication. He finally was able to stop and see the world. I wouldn't deny him that. Not to mention I got a break!
Now things around 5 got a little ugly. The kiddo was having some major rage and anxiety issues. Most of which happened at night. We are talking up at all hours, screaming his head off and objects flying. This then start creeping into the daylight hours as well. Just hours of meltdowns. It was a house of crying. Him, me, the dog. He was going to school with bags and circles under his own eyes from lack of sleep. It was a cycle of chaos that we had to do something about. Again, a tearful couple of calls to the doctor and with that came Risperidone. It is an FDA approved drug for treating the symptoms of autism. It was "the big guns". He was given the smallest dose again and it would take a few weeks before we saw any change. We had to be patient. We had to keep forging ahead. We had to buy A LOT OF COFFEE!
Now this was also the time the wonders of melatonin came into this house. So combined with the Risperidone, we got this kiddo sleeping through the night as a start. Then the Riperidone started slowly working for the anxiety and rage. If it did anything, it got him to start learning how to cope.
It's by no means perfect. He still gets anxious but with meds, therapy and maturity we are able to talk him down before we go into full on meltdown mode more now. And if he does hop into meltdown mode, they don't seem to last anywhere near as long.
Also around 7 we added a zinc supplement to his diet. Kids on the spectrum often have wonky zinc/copper levels. Now I was told it would help with behavior. Does it? Well I'm not really sure if it's helping behavior or just helping him build up his immune system. I have to say in the year he's been on it, he hasn't gotten sick in a long time. And when he has, it's not that long or serious. So maybe staying healthy enough to not disturb the routine is what it is doing. That's good for him and for us. Not to mention, who wants to see their kid sick? So on it he stays.
This is what we do. Will it change? Probably. Everyday is the same. Everyday is different. We roll with it and order another side of fries.