Our little boy has always struggled with anxiety. However, it wasn’t until he started school that it escalated to a critical level. (See “What to do about bullies?”) The psychiatrist who helped our son recommended a small dose of Fluoxetine. Since our little boy was only seven years old at this time, we were very concerned about the use of medication. The psychiatrist insisted that this was necessary, and that we needed to trust him.
Had there been any other way to help him, we would have refused such measures. Still, the medication has so significantly improved our child’s quality of life that we can’t argue with the doctor’s decision. (See “Goodbye Good Friend.”)
Several months later, I enrolled in a class at the University of Oregon titled “Overview of Autism”. The course was reading and writing intensive and packed with learning. For one of our assignments, our professor asked us to research and complete a pharmacological matrix including every possible drug prescribed for children with autism. Students were asked to document the reason for use, dosage, possible side affects, year approved for pediatric use by the FDA, and recommended accommodations for the classroom. Twenty hours and eight cups of coffee later, I had the thing completed to the best of my ability. The assignment was a scary and confusing maze, which I believe to be the whole point. It was a great simulation of the frightening decisions parents have to make so often for their children with ASD. Medications can be a life saver, but nobody wants to experiment with their own child. And most of these medications have not been approved for pediatric use by the FDA.