Monday, March 9, 2015

A very long overdue update on our journey with "Intuniv"

Five years ago, my husband and I came to a crossroads.
We were struggling in our relationship with our son, who was 8 years old at the time.
It was not something new.
On the contrary, we had struggled with this little fellow nearly his entire life.
But by 2009 things had come to a head and I was desperate for help.
After much prayer and consultation with a plethora of people, professional and close friends,
we made the difficult decision to put our son on a non-stimulant medication to help manage his ADHD.
You can read more about the circumstances and the considerations that were involved in making this decision here.

There was quite a learning curve involved with this medication, and I spent a lot of time blogging about it.
If you're interested in reading through how he adjusted and then how our family needed to adjust to his calmer behavior, you can read through my posts about it here.

Since we began him on this medication in early 2010, several things have changed.
First of all, he has gotten bigger.  As he has grown, the medication is absorbed in his body differently.
He will be 13 next month.
We've changed the dosage several times.
We started at the lowest dose of 1 mg., and moved up from there.
At one point he was maxed out at the highest dose available of 4 mg. {considered the adult dose}
During one of his annual physicals {which our pediatrician requires because of the kind of drug it is},
I mentioned to him wanting to take him off all together because I wasn't really convinced it was doing much to help him control his impulsivity and hyperactivity.
Our doctor then suggested we might want to try something different as Intuniv was not really meant to be a stand alone drug, but one that was administered along with another stimulant medication.
I did NOT want to go that route with him, but we did try to withdraw from it all together.
It was while we were trying to wean him off that we realized just how much it was actually helping him have that internal control and to feel like he could settle down and not feel unable to control his own body.
Our doctor also recommended that we try giving him his dose at bedtime rather than first thing in the morning as is usually prescribed.
That has been key for us!!
For some reason, it seems to take a long time for this medication to kick in for him, and now he wakes up very calm and able to get right to the tasks at hand.

Eventually we moved back up to 3mg., and that is where we've found a more peaceful place for him.

He does not struggle in falling asleep, and we don't give him melatonin anymore.
I have been learning about the amazing benefits of using essential oils over the last year, so we're trying some new things with oils instead of synthetic sleep aids.

Read about what happened and the strategies we tried here.

We have always had to work at keeping Grant engaged and trying new things.
He has never asked to try something new.
The only thing that he will do for hours on end without being forced to is video or computer games.

His dad and I have learned that we have to present a new activity or idea to him several different times, and let him think about it and get himself ready before he's comfortable with it.
Most times, he blows a bunch of "smoke" {think throwing a fit} about something we would like for him to participate in, and usually once he's there he really enjoys it.
So we've had him play baseball with his good friends in the neighborhood.

We've had him involved with our church's mid-week children's programming called "Master Clubs," and we worked really hard to get him through every level successfully.


School continues to be an immense struggle for him.
On paper he started the 7th grade this last fall.
He is only working at about a 5/6th grade level at this point.
We are involved in an amazing "homeschool assistance program" this year that has been a miraculous answer to prayer for us, and I'm hoping that by the end of this year he will be working closer to a 7th grade level.
But he still has a long way to go and this is the time of year where he has always struggled the most.
His ability to focus and stay on task dwindles to almost nothing just before spring break.


He has had the opportunity to try out basketball in this little schooling program, and no surprise, he isn't wildly crazy about it.
BUT, he does really good at it.
He has some natural ability with it that has surprised us all, and himself as well!!

He still struggles with anger issues, being very demanding, not sharing very well, and being able to focus and stay on task in his learning environment.
These are not new issues, and as he is getting older, we are finding that the intensity to which he struggles with these things is decreasing as well.
One area in which he is doing much better in is sensing humor.
When he was younger, he could not interpret when someone was kidding or trying to be funny or if they were being literal.
He never laughed at cartoons because he didn't see any of them as funny.
He also never ever understood when people were just teasing and having fun with him.
He usually just got upset and thought they were "being mean" to him.
But as he has gotten older, he is better understanding appropriate humor and is learning how to laugh at truly funny things.

{Valentine's Banquet 2015}

As I mentioned before, I feel that in this journey we are on, the Lord has led us to learn about essential oils.  We've been using them in our home since Christmas time, and they are just wonderful.  I love being able to use natural, God-made, plant-based things in our home to help our bodies heal over synthetic, chemical laden, side-effect producing, man-made products.
I am currently researching different oils that can help with calming and focus and clarity.
We have been experimenting with Cedarwood and Lemon oils.
Like any other strategy you try, it takes time to find the right amounts and time to apply these oils, but Grant is willing to try and interested in learning how to do it himself!!
I will be posting more about essential oils in the near future and what we find works best for our son!


Stephanie H said...

I nominated you for the Liebster Award! Love your Blog!!

Brenda said...

Awww!! Thank you, Stephanie!! I had never heard of this before now, and I appreciate your thoughts!! Now, I'll need to get busy and pass this on!!