Shortly after school this year, I chose to stop my son Victorio’s use of medication for his ADHD. My reason? Quite frankly, my husband and I didn’t see a difference with him on it or off of it. It’s been a real roller coaster being in the classroom and dealing with his “good days” and “not so good” days after school. It was a decision that I gave much thought to… I wanted my baby back (the meds changed him, just not in the way they were supposed to) and I also knew that I could handle whatever the teachers felt like they couldn’t. Let’s face it, it’s an entirely different environment at home with me. I know this, BUT the use of meds just gives me all sorts of feelings, all of them NOT good!!! What’s more, he never ever shared any of his dreams with me. I was beginning to wonder if he even had any?
The third week of being off of medication, I saw a tremendous difference in my son. He also had his first dream that he shared with me! He was more active, happy, slept better and I felt like I had my child back. When I visited the Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and she proposed another medication for him to help remain focused and so that he could be on the right track for school in September (which was the original plan), I felt myself become nauseous as she spoke to me about the side effects of this particular medicine. I kept replaying in my head, “What if something happens and I’m not there?” I also thought, “there has to be another alternative!” It was just way too much to swallow.
I remember coming home and laying on my bed and sobbing. Me in one room and my husband in the other, sobbing as well. We came together that night and devised our plan. We discussed what we would do differently this next school year through tears and loads of hugs. The next day, we spoke to our child telling him what we wanted for him, what we knew his capabilities were and reminding him that we love him and that we are here to support him always.
That week, he woke up smiling. Actually, he’s been waking up smiling pretty much every day after being off of meds. This was something that I missed tremendously! I missed the days when my boy would wake up smiling and running into my arms to greet me with a huge, “Good Morning!” This smile told me that the day ahead was full of excitement for him, as it should be. I asked him, “what are you so smiley about?” He’d reply, “Mami, I had a dream!!” I’d ask, “Did you?” and without even letting me finish my question, he told me all about it with such enthusiasm and not missing a single detail. As he told me all about it, I felt the hairs on my arms stand up and a tear kissed my right cheek (the side he couldn’t see). “Had you ever had a dream before, Papa?” I asked. There was a brief pause and then he said, “No, Mami, and it was just great!”
As the weeks have passed with him off his meds, he’s so much happier. Although he continues with his echolalia and is still a bit unfocused, he has made strides this summer. He’s a work in progress… but aren’t we all? I feel content with my decision to take him off of his medications. I’m not sure what the school year has in store for us but no matter what, I will continue to advocate for my son and be right by his side. I can’t wait until he tells me about his next dream… until then, if he only knew that he has always been mine!
Care to share: Has your child had any “new experiences” that you would like to share with us here?
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