Should Your Child be on Meds?
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I sneak quietly into my son's room. "It's time to get up and get ready for school."
Wham!! I step aside to avoid the leg wildly kicking at me. "I don't want to go! Leave me alone!"
Just another typical morning at my house. My son reacts this way because he is apprehensive about school. It is a difficult environment for him because he has asperger's sydrome, a form of high functioning autism. Because he's so apprehensive he strikes out at us, but thankfully combative behavior has been limited to home. At school, he just does disruptive behavior because he is apprehensive and has a hard time focusing. But his behavior has affected learning, and the teacher suggests taking him to the doctor to get some meds.
Sounds like an easy fix, but it's not. Medicating your child can be a difficult decision. Many of the drugs perscribed for behavior issues have side effects, and giving a child a drug doesn't necessarily resolve the problem. Sometimes, when one drug is prescribed, it leads to more drugs being prescribed.
Before medicating your child consider all the options. First, with a profesional, a doctor, teachers, and others, discuss why the behavior problems are occurring. If your child is old enough, talk with him/her, too. Try to find a cause to the problem before you race to the doctor for a perscription. Sometimes factors in the environment trigger responses. In some cases, a change in the environment can lessen a child's negative behavior.
If the environment cannot be modified to help your child to deal with the problem, do some research. Some advocate different types of therapies to help children with their behavior problems. The type of therapy depends on what type of behavior the child exhibits. Network with other parents and talk to professionals about what types of therapies may be available to help your child.
If your doctor suggests medication, do some research on the drug. Find out the effects of the drug and how it works. Speak with a pharmacist or find information at a credible website. Also, you can always get a second opinion. Make sure before your put your child on meds, you have educated yourself about alternatives and the drug being perscribed.
If you decide that medication is the best option for your child, don't expect miracles immediately. Oftentimes, a drug needs to be in a child's system for awhile before it has any real effect. Also, typically doctors start children off on a small dose, and the dose may have to be increased to affect the child. Be patient, and monitor how your child reacts after medication has been started.
Sometimes children may need to take medication for behavior issues, but parents should investigate alternatives and make the final decision. Ultimately, you are your child's advocate, and you must keep their best interest in mind.
For more information on children see:
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