Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘periactin

On Tuesday, BB had to go back to the neuro to discuss his migraines. It’s a drive to the neuro, about 40 minutes, and includes crossing several bodies of water and even more two-lane highways. It’s not a rough drive, but I do prefer to do it during daylight. By the time we’re there, BB is already impatient, and on the drive home? We’re required to make a pit-stop, either at a store for something cool, not a habit I want to encourage, or at a drive-thru for fries or nuggets. Since we’re very particular about what fast food we’ll allow him to eat, it’s not a slam-dunk, so I have to plan to drive a certain way in order to pass an ‘approved’ drive-thru. Nothing like turning a simple doctor visit into an event!

This visit, I told BB we’d stop by and get nuggets on the way home. He’d had a rough day at school, and I witnessed, when I picked him up, a teacher snapping at him, pretty loudly and over-the-top harshly about dropping a piece of paper on the ground. (Get a grip, woman, and remember, he’s someone else’s child. Discipline your way at home, but at school, there are nicer ways to reprimand.) He railed on and on about it all the way to the doctor, but the minute we got out of the car, his mood changed. Phew. He loves the doctor’s office, and is especially fascinated with the little door from the bathroom into the office. You know, the specimen door. I had to remind him, dude, look, urine tests sit there. Imagine what you’d be touching if you put your hand there or get your face too close to the door. It did not deter him enough, so I was really excited when he ran to the nurse counter to ask for a piece of note paper. Then he grabbed my check-writing pen out of my hand, as I’m paying the $30 co-pay, to write on this note paper. Then he drops it into the comments/suggestions box. Scary?

We get called in right away. He gets weighed, and I learned he’s gained 3 pounds in 3 weeks. Periactin anyone? That’s the nudge I needed to change medications, as it wasn’t doing enough for his headaches anyway. On into the room, where he regales the nurse with lovely stories from tv shows I wasn’t home when he watched (no, nothing that bad) and then tells the nurse “I’m serious, this is a serious story.” Doctor comes in, we do the exam, talk about migraine med changes, and BB starts with another story. And another. Thankfully, the doctor understands and was interested, quite possibly even entertained, but I’d lost all control. Short of taking him out of the office or physically restraining his mouth, he wasn’t stopping. Yep, ADHD and OCD displays their ugly heads quite evidently, and at least it’s in the doctor’s office, right?

The nurse empties the suggestion box. Finds the note. “Dr. XXX is epic!” We had to explain that epic means cool, but they seemed pleased. Phew. I’m really glad, as we have to go back in six weeks if the new medication isn’t working.

Epic. I guess if you have to go to the doctor a lot, it’s good to have an epic one.

Recently, our school told us that BB was behaving oddly. Blurting out silly answers, being goofy and appearing to try these new tactics in order to fit in. I attended a class with him and watched, and sure enough, he was not being the BB I know from home. On the way home, after he vented on how he was missing his computer time, I asked him why he felt he needed to do that. A sad discussion followed.

Mom, I do it because, well, remember back home in CA? I was picked on there. Teased. Laughed at. No one did anything. People laughed at my hats and my glasses and I learned that the only way to not get teased was to not be myself. So now that I’m here, I’m going to be what doesn’t get me laughed at.

Sniff.

I understood, but assured him that it was fine to be himself. Wear what you want. Have your own style. Speak like BB, not ‘the cool kid.’ It seemed to work.

Fast-forward to yesterday. He’d decided to wear a cape to school, one from a local gaming place where you get in costume. Kids his age are in there all the time, wearing the cape. I realized it was a stretch, a risk, and that someone might tease, but I assured him that if he was going to do it, be prepared to ignore it. (And to realize that most kids who laugh at it probably do so because they’ve not been there and some wish they did. Let’s be real, these are kids we’re talking about and I know adults that have teased me about my obsession with Nascar and then reveal to me later they just wish they could attend as often as we did.)

Anyway, I picked him up amongst a flurry of phonecalls from various school staff. Yes, the kids laughed at his cape. No, they weren’t stopped. Yes, he was embarrassed. No, it wasn’t against dress code. Yes, they band-aided the problem by making him put it away instead of using it as an educational opportunity. The day got worse from there, and ended with him getting kicked in a private place by an unhappy classmate at the end of the day. Had that been BB, we’d have received a phonecall and it would have been taken uber-seriously; the nurse was very involved, and really good about it all, but I’d best get confirmation that the child was dealt with. They’re all over BB about ‘dress code violation’ and every other little thing, I expect them to be fair. They appear to be, but I still want proof. I’m still mom, after all.

So was being true to himself successful? Not in this case, sad as it may be. However, kids and adults have to learn that you are judged by your attire, right or wrong. If I went shopping today in my Aeropostale Christmas jammy pants and a knee-length purple tiger print hoody (both of which I own, btw, don’t hate) I’d get some stares, too. Some immature adults would probably audibly snicker. (I live in the south, where holey clothes and white t-shirts with no bra are acceptable, but there’s still a level at which you’ll get laughed at…it’s just a level that’s impossible to explain unless you lived here. I do promise you though, I do not leave the house in anywhere an outfit such as anything described above.) He does need to realize that there are some things you just need to watch out for, but it’s a hard thing to teach an autistic child that you can be yourself, have your true personality, but immaterial things like clothing and hats will be judged. And quite honestly, not sure I get it either, with all the “beauty’s on the inside” garbage that’s spewed all over the airwaves and magazines with thin beautiful people on the covers yet judgment happens 24/7 everywhere. For a literal child, it’s a minefield to navigate.

He’s at school today. Didn’t want to go, he was embarrassed yesterday and unhappy that he had to take off his favorite shirt for the class photo (still haven’t gotten an answer as to why a plaid flannel shirt on a cold day was unacceptable) but I’m hoping he has a better day. Sometimes people just need to lay off. Focus on the important things. Don’t nitpick. If he’s already been asked to remove a cape, drop it, let it be done. Don’t haul him into an office for more of a reason, especially a questionable one, and if he has to go to the bathroom during reading, let the poor kid go. You can’t fight every battle, and if all your battles are tiny ones, the real, true big issues are going to be lost because you can’t get through.

There are days that homeschooling is more and more appealing. Do I want to do it? No, but ridiculous attendance laws forcing a medically disabled child (he also has migraines) to go to school despite having a doctor’s note saying he is on medication and has this diagnosis, are harassment at best. Spending so much time daily trying to fix problems created by going to school, I could teach him in that time. Again, do I want to? No. Is it a last-resort? Definitely, but I’m not going to count it out if we can’t find a way for him to be happy while still being productively educated. I like his teacher, and I like his school, but school isn’t life, it’s just one part of it, and if school puts him in a bad mood, everything and everyone around him is affected.

Next blog entry I’ll update on the neurology appointment. New prescriptions, new headache diary and a list of things to avoid until a foll0w-up appointment to see if it works. Wish us luck.


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