Okay, a misleading title I know, but now that you are reading please stay with me. I recently posted Parenting a teen with Autism on this blog expressing the pain and frustration of trying to do the right thing for my nineteen year old son. At that time we were wrestling with decisions about drugs, diet, behavior modification, etc. in trying to help Jason through his transition into adulthood. This post is a follow up on what has happened in the month since.
Following a visit with his new doctor, and after a lot of research into different medication options, we made the decision to put him back on Risperdal. Part of the reason was based on the feeling that we were losing him in a sense. He stopped laughing, stopped communicating and seemed absolutely overcome with new ticks such as eye blinking and hand twitching. He wore a callous in the palm of his hand where his index finger rubbed from constantly closing and opening it. It has been two weeks since we started him back on the medication and he is back to his social self. We are still dealing with self abuse at times, usually when he does not get what he wants and is angry. But in general he is happy and playful again.
I have advocated for trying natural ways to help him, whether herbal remedies or diet with some breathing exercises nothing seems to make a difference. At this point I realize that my son is a very headstrong and independent being that does not want to be “made” to do anything. Part of our approach in helping him cope now is expanding his communication as much as possible and helping him understand appropriate ways of expression without anger. He has been using a Kindle Fire for over a year now that has language programs designed for Autism…but all he seems interested in is YouTube. I allow this because he has to use the keyboard to spell out songs he wants. This is helping him to better understand the association between written words, language and things he wants. We will be starting some behavior modification therapy again soon, we hope to have better results this time.
I don’t know what another year will bring, or another month, or even tomorrow, but I do know that Jason continues to teach us a lot about ourselves and the mysteries of human social interaction with each passing storm.