Thursday, May 15, 2014

And Now On To The Next Phase

The Toale Family

We had another doctor's appointment this afternoon.  Since increasing Brandon's medication two weeks ago, he has improved significantly in the main behavior areas of ADHD.  Where he continues to struggle is with his social cues and lack of a filter.  When Brandon gets an answer wrong in class, he will often yell back at the teacher, or start to cry.  He often tries to be the teacher and tell everyone what to do.  These are symptoms of the impulsivity side of ADHD.

Now that Brandon has improved quite a bit, the doctor has told me it's time to move on to the counseling side of his treatment.  I was hoping that this was the next step.  Counseling is where Brandon will be taught how to handle the "real world" situations that he currently struggles with.  I work with him everyday to remember to only worry about himself, to not act like he's the teacher.  I tell him every night that it's okay to get questions wrong at school.  I'm excited that Brandon will have the chance to work with someone who does this for a living.  And I'm excited to see the new, positive changes that this phase will bring.  Counseling will start 2 or 3 times a week, and then taper off from there.

I do have a few reservations.  I'm hoping that the counseling is more like this:

and not like this:

Counseling, yes:  psychiatry, no.

As we come to the end of this school year, I want everyone to know just how grateful I am to all of Brandon's wonderful teachers.  They have been so patient, kind, understanding, and loving.  They have worked with me, listened to me, updated me.  This process has been made easier because of their involvement.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Could It Already Be Working?

The Toale Family

We are just over a week into the increased medication dose with Brandon and it looks like things might be turning around a little for Brandon.  His teachers are reporting that he is doing better at focusing in class, and sitting in his chair; he's also not walking around the room at inappropriate times.  He is much more in control of his emotions, and can handle himself better throughout the entire school day.

It hasn't been all smooth sailing though.  Today, Brandon had a pretty big meltdown.  Some of his classwork was misplaced, and even though Brandon knew that he had turned it in he had to move a card for not having it done.  Brandon has been working very hard the past 4 weeks to always have his card stay on green, so moving to yellow was upsetting for him.  (For those of you who are unfamiliar with what card moves are, it's the behavior system for Excelsior Academy. When a scholar in unprepared, or is disrespectful, etc., they move a colored card to help remind them to work harder)

Anyway, once Brandon was back in control of his emotions, and no longer screaming in the hallway (yikes!), he and his teacher talked about how sometimes mistakes will happen and when they do, we might have to do work over again.  His teacher also told me Brandon hadn't moved his card yet prior to their conversation.  He suddenly says to her, "Oh, I forgot to move my card.  Let me fix that."  Then he moved his card and was proud of himself for doing it.  The best part about this is that before he began medication, a meltdown like this would've tanked the rest of his day.  Today, he was able to completely turn his behavior and attitude around.

I originally heard about his meltdown during my lunch break.  Other teacher's had seen what was happening and let me know.  Brandon is in his math class while I'm at lunch.  Each day, I wait for Brandon after math and walk with him back to his homeroom class.  He lets me know how his day has been going.  After hearing about his meltdown, I was sure that he would break into tears when he saw me, like he has done so many times in the past.  Instead of looking defeated and crying, he had a slight smile on his face while he told me about what happened.  I was very proud of him.

After school he came running upstairs to my room and yelled with joy, "Mommy, I stayed on yellow...I did it!"

We're only a month into this process with Brandon.  I went back and forth about this decision for a while before finally taking him to the doctor.  For Brandon, treating him has made all the difference. There's not a doubt in my mind that I made the right decision.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May The 4th Be With You...Call Me Maybe?

Since it's International Star Wars Day, the internet is filled with all things Star Wars related.

I was never a big fan of the song "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen. Many people have done versions of this song.  I'm always impressed simply because I can appreciate the time and effort that goes into making these videos.  I just found another version and I wouldn't be able to call myself a Star Wars fan if I didn't share it.  With over 10 million hits, this is BY FAR, the BEST parody of "Call Me Maybe".

For your viewing pleasure, "Call Me Maybe", by the cast of Star Wars.

May The 4th Be With You

Today is the day that all true geeks live for.  This is the day where we can quote our favorite movie all day long, and, where people can still think we're crazy, we have a legitimate reason for doing it!  What day is it?  It's International Star Wars Day!!!!

In honor of this most glorious day, here are some great Star Wars pictures, along with some of my favorite quotes!

Try not.  Do or do not, there is no try.

Always let the Wookie win!!

Traveling through Hyperspace isn't like dusting crops

If it smells bad on the outside, it's worse on the inside!

The possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1

Wars do not make one great

You must follow your own path; no one can choose it for you

Why you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy looking nerfherder!

Who's scruffy looking?

No, I am your father

Pass on what you have learned

And finally, the quote that has been used throughout all 6 movies, and is often used to parody Star Wars by other shows:

And I'm proud of it!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Let The Games Begin

The Toale Family

Thursday Brandon had his first check up since beginning his ADHD medication.  Thankfully he hasn't suffered any of the side effects like nausea, or appetite suppression.  When I emailed his teacher's and asked them how they thought he has been doing the past 10 days, I was really surprised.  His reading teacher (beginning of the day) told me that he's been a rock star; showing a complete turn around; talking out so much less, and able to focus so much more.  I was thrilled to hear that.

When we turn to math and spelling however, things look very different.  This teacher told me that Brandon is almost worse.  He's talking out even more, especially during spelling, which didn't happen very often in the past.  Brandon has begun shouting across the room, and getting very upset if he has the wrong answer to a problem.

His homeroom teacher also reported that Brandon is more emotional, especially if he's asked to move a card for displaying inappropriate behavior in class.  It's this emotional turn that has me the most concerned, and was the highlight of my discussion with the doctor.

Apparently this surge in emotions is normal as Brandon's body adjusts to the medication.  These next 2 weeks will tell us which direction to go next.  If his emotions get worse since we increased the dose just a bit, we'll know it's the medication that is the problem and we will change that.  If his emotions level off, or remain the same, we'll know to increase the dose he's taking.

I also found out that the higher the level of medication, the longer it will stay in his system.  I was happy to hear this because I'd already pushed back the time I give him the medication once.  Any later and it wouldn't work during the beginning of the day.  Even with taking it later, the medication has been running out before school is over.  So having it last longer will be a great advantage for everyone.

Now the medication games begin.  Which one will work, which dose is the most effective....all the games I've been playing with my own medication for the past 16 years.