• Kelly

Our Autism Story – Day 16 – “Something has to Give!”

Shortly after Brahm was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, we started attending a monthly parents’ support group at the Autism Society of Southeastern WI. At the time, we were new to the world of autism and it was very eye opening to hear the numerous stories and challenges parents with children on the spectrum face. We remember talking after meetings saying things like “we won’t need to medicate” or “we won’t go down the medication path”. After hearing about the trial and error approaches, challenges, and other medication side effect horrors we never thought we would consider medication to help with the challenges we were dealing with. However, we changed our minds…

About a year and a half after Brahm’s diagnosis, we realized ABA therapy, rewards, consequence, punishments, and other non-medication attempts were not enough to keep Brahm (and ultimately our family of four) happy and healthy. We decided to seek out a child psychiatrist that could help us address gaps in Brahm’s behavior. Luckily, one of our favorite ladies at the Autism Society provided a referral for a great child psychiatrist that deals with children on the autism spectrum. (Side note – It is almost impossible to find a child psychiatrist in this area. Demand is significantly higher than supply. We found a great one, but she doesn’t take any form of insurance or Medicaid, so we pay out of pocket.)

Medicating a child is not easy and is not for everyone. The first medication we tried for Brahm went terribly. He wouldn’t sleep and had other side effects. We took him off that and switched to a new medication and then added a second medication. The two medications address both anxiety and aggression. The main goal was to be extremely cautious and ramp up very slowly. Before we added the second new medication, we were literally at our wit’s end. Brahm’s aggression was at an all time high and something had to give. The good news is we have seen significant improvement in both Brahm’s aggression and his level of happiness (and consequently our level of happiness!). Although the medications are helping, they are by no means a cure or an end all. It’s also tricky because we periodically have to increase the medication dosage to keep up as Brahm physically grows bigger. Like almost everything else in this autism journey, the path of using medication is ever changing and has many bumps along the way!

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