2. I've been asked what some of our cues have been that this is the right dosage for him. Intuniv is prescribed in 1 mg., 2 mg., 3 mg., or 4 mg. pills. If or when we ever have to bump up to the 4 mg., that is the highest level of the medication available. From what I've researched, most children do best at 3 or 4 mg., while some respond well at a lower dose. For us, we noticed very little effect at 2 mg., and a tremendous effect at 3 mg. You take each level of medication for one week before you can bump up to the next level. For us, it took a little over three weeks to notice a measurable change in our son's behavior. We saw little things, like sleepiness in the afternoon, but it would wear off after a couple days on the higher dosage. One place I read (here) confirmed one of the cues we noticed in our son: if he lays down to watch TV around 4 pm, he is still likely to dose off for about a half hour or so and it will not affect his sleep at night. In fact, I still give him half of a 3 mg. pill of melatonin just before bedtime to help him relax and sleep better. He's usually asleep within 20-30 minutes. When he doesn't get the melatonin, there is much more horse-play in the bed with his little brother and it takes him longer to fall asleep, though he sleeps well all night.
3. Another cue we've had is that he still will sit cooperatively with me in the morning time and complete a couple of workpages neatly before he needs a few minutes break. When he gets upset about something, his "calm-down" time is still much shorter than before the Intuniv, and my husband thinks that some things that used to set him off are no longer causing him an issue. I have also observed that he plays outdoors with the neighborhood children for much, MUCH longer than he used to before running in crying that somebody was teasing him.
4. A couple weeks ago, my husband purchased an Xbox gaming system for the family. The first day we had it, my son was off-the-charts irritable. It's almost like you can feel how it makes his brain go haywire with all the stimulation, and then he can't stop without getting livid. So we learned QUICK that we had to put some kind of controls in place right away. The next day I told him he couldn't play the Xbox until 4 pm when all the schoolwork was done and chores were done. It has worked beautifully. I've tried letting him have time earlier in the day on Saturdays, but it's back to the same crazy behavior. When he plays games with his Dad, he does much better too. This past Monday, he had had some extra time on the Xbox because Monday is usually our day off/clean-up/catch-up day. I thought since Dad was home and he had extra down time, we would try letting him have a little time. Nope. Super huge meltdown in the afternoon full of ranting and raving and disturbing the whole family. I promptly grounded him from the Xbox for a full week, and remarkably he hasn't asked to get on today nor did he argue about this penalty either.
I don't know how this medication works, but it definitely takes the edge off of him without making him crazy moody or have serious appetite changes or any other side effects at all.
I told my husband the other day that we are so fortunate that ALL our son has to take is one little pill and it really helps him. I know some children have to be on several different kinds of medication for several different issues, and we don't take for granted that this has really been a positive step toward returning the harmony and peace to our home.
5. The last thing that I have observed is that the cute little tic my son had going on with his left eye winking when he was in highly stimulated activities has virtually disappeared. We used to see it every day at different times of the day under different circumstances (whether when being corrected or highly agitated or nervous), now we RARELY see it. When I do notice it, it's when he's been playing the Xbox for over 1/2 an hour. I don't know if the decrease in the tic is because of something the medication does to control that, or if being on the medication has helped him see that what used to be stressful to him isn't stressful anymore. Either way, it's something that we consider a great thing for him.