So you know how when you blog about how well your child has been doing lately, very soon after that something happens just to keep you in check? Just to tell you don’t-be-counting-your-chickens and such? Yeah, that’s what happens. Apparently I forgot to knock on some wood (does my particle-board desk count?) when I wrote a few days ago about Nigel possibly discontinuing Risperidone sooner than I’d thought. About him learning to regulate his behavior on his own. Yeah, about that.
First, a disclaimer: Nigel has a really full plate right now (sort of like the one who gave birth to him). He’s enrolled in a full day of classes, in a transitional year (adjusting to a new school as well as a new level of school). And although he’s not experiencing the bullying of middle school (a huge relief), he is experiencing some stress in keeping up with assignments. Add to that the time spent in wrestling practice (Monday through Friday, right after school until 6:00 PM), and he doesn’t have much down time, which he sorely needs. He needs to have his time to watch movies, build Lego, and read. But he also loves wrestling and doesn’t want to give it up.
Any given day of the week is full. But Tuesdays are too much even for me. On Tuesday, he has school all day, then wrestling practice. I pick him up around six, we rush home, wolf down our dinner, he throws on his uniform, and we run out the door to his Boy Scout meeting. Boy Scouts is another thing that he loves and has been doing for several years. I sit off on the sidelines with some of the other parents while he participates in the meeting. Afterward, we go home, he showers, brushes his teeth, and has a little time to read before bed. It’s a long day for any kid, and especially for an autistic one.
But this week, this Tuesday, was like nothing I’d seen in a long time. Someone gave him a stick of gum when we arrived at the Scout meeting, and it was all downhill from there. His behavior was through the roof. No screaming (fortunately he seems to be well past that), but he was all over the place. Running around, acting like a little kid at a playground, disrupting others, bouncing off walls. It was like he had ADHD and was in a manic episode at the same time (for four years, I lived with someone who had ADHD and bipolar disorder, so I have some experience with this combo). I tried to discreetly redirect him, calm him down, but he exploded at me in response, making a scene. I kept watching the clock until the meeting was over. (In the past, I’d tried giving him his evening dose of Risperidone before the meeting, but then he literally had his head on the table the entire meeting and was falling asleep.)
As soon as we got home, I went directly to his pill organizer to get out his evening dose for him. It was then that I discovered that he had not even taken his morning dose. And I was relieved. I was so relieved to have an explanation for his behavior, having spent the entire meeting wondering what the hell was going on with him. Any other day of the week, a missed morning dose would have gone unnoticed. I know this because I don’t get any calls from the high school as I did regularly when he was at the middle school. And it was the same with this particular Tuesday – no calls regarding any behavioral disturbances. Amazing. He missed his morning medication and went through a full day of classes, a two-and-a-half-hour wrestling practice, and a rushed dinner without a single issue. That, my friends, is rather impressive.
But that last push with the evening Scout meeting was just too much for him. So, now I have my answer. He does still need the Risperidone, especially on Tuesdays. But he really is learning to regulate his behavior at school, which had previously been a big concern. All things considered, he’s doing pretty well with his full schedule. Even better than the one who gave birth to him.