or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Special Needs Parenting › Anxiety medication for SN child (Autism, ADHD, others)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Anxiety medication for SN child (Autism, ADHD, others)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

I'm wondering if any of you with a child who has special needs has chosen to use anti-depressants with your child to alleviate their anxiety symptoms. We're seriously looking into it and I'd love to hear from anyone else who has made this decision and find out what has come of it for your child and your family.

 

To give you some background, my DD is nearly 6 and has HFA (high functioning Autism). She's in Kindergarten in a full day program and in after school care. This is proving hard for her, but it's a good school and she has a lot of support from teacher and EA, after school staff, interventionists from her regular clinic, etc.

 

She has ALWAYS had severe separation anxiety, right from birth. She always needed to be held and even after she was sitting and walking on her own (never did crawl) she always had to be in the same room as one of her care givers. She needs to sleep with someone, too. If we try to make her sleep on her own she ramps up into hysteria. If we leave her bed, she will inevitably wake in the night and come find us and climb in with us. We use sustained-release melatonin with her to help her fall asleep (and back to sleep) faster. It used to take her as much as an hour to fall asleep without the melatonin. With it, we usually only need 5 - 10 minutes.

 

She cried every day at drop off for her preschool. For 2 1/2 years. Eventually we came up with a good ritual for her (watching me go, blowing kisses, keeping something of mine with her) so that she'd at least not cry. But she was always shut down at preschool and unresponsive to other kids and the teacher. This is how we started our path towards diagnosing her with Autism.

 

I know anxiety is very often found with an Autism diagnosis.

 

We've been trying to use CBT and PBS with her to help with anxiety. But it's very limited in it's result. She can barely talk about it. She's so afraid of her anxiety that it's difficult to get her to even try and put words to it. We use melatonin and give her iron supplements to help with Restless Leg Syndrome - in hopes it would help her sleep better. She eats no artificial colors, flavors, very little sugar, no caffeine, etc.

 

Her anxiety is HUGE right now. She is incredibly controlling at home - with us and her little brother. She is totally inflexible, even after all the social skills Super Flex work we've done with her over the past year. It got 100 times worse when she started school. I do get why - she's "alone" all day and I know that's beyond scary for her. But right now the anxiety is crippling her and seriously interfering with the whole family's quality of life.

post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 

Well, after leaving this up for awhile, getting lots of views but no comments. I'm guessing that none of you is in this boat. :( Okay.

post #3 of 7

PM'ed ya!

post #4 of 7
post #5 of 7

DS (11) just went on sertraline, brand name Zoloft, this September.  It was prescribed for the obsessiveness and anxiety associated with his ASD diagnoses.  We have had great results.  The repetitive ticks like skin picking disappeared.  He's been able to apply skills he learned in cognitive therapy for anxiety.  We've been trying to treat the anxiety with therapy for four years.  He's dealt with one major depression following prolonged anxiety (shortly after first staring school) and years of avoiding trying things he could make a mistake doing.  He really needed a leg up with the medication because he was in such a state of constant anxiety that he wasn't able to focus on the CBT he was given.  The teachers also find him to be obsessing less and we all find he transitions from one activity to the other, better.

 

Sorry I didn't see the post earlier.  It's been very busy, here.  PM me if you have any specific questions.


Edited by FarmerBeth - 11/25/11 at 1:06pm
post #6 of 7

Due to very similar issues, I chose to homeschool YoungSon. After some rocky times along the way, now, at 15, he is in his first real year of school. And he is thriving and loving it! He grew out of the separation anxiety mostly. He still calls to check in, but I work full time and he is OK apart from me all day. He has friends he goes out with, and takes the city bus by himself. Although he is certainly not suddenly neurotypical, he is really no longer disabled in any significant sense.  We pretty much declined all school, therapy, meds, etc. aside from a few unsuccessful tries when my confidence flagged. For the most part, I adjusted expectations to meet his abilities, rather than trying to push him into situations that that I knew would produce anxiety and failure.  I know my approach is pretty radical, but I am amazed at the success we are seeing.

 

I wouldn't really advise anyone to copy what worked for us. I don't see it as a great new parenting technique that should be the subject of a best-selling autism book. And I am not advocating against meds or therapy for anyone else. The viewpoint I wanted to put out here is that perhaps this kid just isn't ready for this experience right now.

post #7 of 7

I missed your first post -- sorry!

 

I've considered anxiety meds for my DD (who has a DX of social anxiety disorder as well as Asperger's) and, while she isn't taking them right now, I would differently use them if we needed to. I've made my peace with that option.

 

We've both homeschooled and public schooled, and she currently attends a very cool alternative school. School is better for her than homeschooling, which was very isolating for her. She is FAR better off with real teachers and specialist who work at interacting with her. Alternative school is a better fit than traditional school. It's much easier for her from a sensory point of view. 

 

Your post doesn't mention sensory stuff, and I know that for my DD anxiety and sensory issues are related, so you could look into that. It may not take away the need for meds, but it could help. 

 

My bottom line on meds is that in this day and age, there's no reason for a child to suffer. Of course meds aren't any parents first choice for their kid, but at the end of the day when you've tried everything you can, its far more compassionate to give a child something that allows them feel safe then to let them grow up constantly freaked out.

 

And I suspect that any parent who feels differently doesn't have a kid with an anxiety disorder. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Special Needs Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Special Needs Parenting › Anxiety medication for SN child (Autism, ADHD, others)