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My oldest, Mason, has the hardest time with controlling his behavior. He's impulsive, bossy, and gets overstimulated way too easily. He's learning and improving all the time, which we are so proud of, but he has setbacks, of course, which make school really hard. Inevitably I will get asked, by a new teacher, the new principal, etc..: Why is Mason not on some type of medication? I kind of get annoyed by this question. I mean, it's not like there's a magic pill. If there was? A diagnosis would be so different! "Your child, it turns out, has autism. But, don't worry, just take these pills and it will all go away!" Nope, nothing like that. There ARE some medications that can help with certain behaviors, ADHD type symptoms, but not a cure all. I'm not totally familiar with it, but here is an explanation directly from the Northern County Psychiatric Associates website:
Medications: There is no one specific medication for Asperger’s syndrome. Some are on no medication. In other cases, we treat specific target symptoms. One might use a stimulant for inattention and hyperactivity. An SSRI such as Paxil, Prozac or Zoloft might help with obsessions or perseveration. The SSRIs can also help associated depression and anxiety. In individuals with stereotyped movements, agitation and idiosyncratic thinking, we may use a low dose antipsychotic such as risperidone.
Medicating, for anything, is a personal decision for each family. I'm not here to talk about why anyone should/shouldn't be on medication. It's just that, recently, with Mason's current behavior issues at school, I've been asked a lot...A LOT...why I don't just put him on medication. So I thought I'd explain. Many of you may not know that, in addition to having Aspergers, Mason also has Beckers Muscular Dystrophy. Completely unrelated to the Aspergers, but something my dad has. Since I am a carrier, every boy that I have has a 50% chance of having the disease. Connor doesn't, Mason does. I don't talk so much about BMD because it currently isn't affecting Mason a whole lot. We are honest with him. He knows that, as an adult, he most likely will be in a wheelchair. He sees his granddad and knows they have the same thing. He does get really tired when jumping or exercising a lot, and sometimes gets aches in his legs and neck, especially when its cold. Other than that, he won't really have too many problems with it until his teen years.
So what does that have to do with Aspergers and medication?
Well, MD affects your muscles. Your heart is (duh) a muscle. Some of the side effects of possible medications can affect your heart. Mason's heart DOES check out fine right now, but it's recommended that we don't add extra risk to his heart, just in case. A recommendation we take seriously. I know Mason has a hard road to hoe. We don't want to risk adding any extra problems. Would I try medication if not for that? I don't know. I'm not against it, but it depends on if we can use other methods to help his behavior. Since we can't, I just don't think about the what ifs. I just work with what we can. And since Connor doesn't have so much behavior issues with school as he does fine motor skill issues, we haven't even felt a need to medicate him. So that's this family's take on meds.