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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

Medication to help with focus in school.

Posted by on Aug. 25, 2011 at 5:42 PM
  • 30 Replies

My son is 9 diagnosed with high functioning autism last November. After a recent medical evaluation, the doctors made a recommendation that my son try medication during school hours. In class, he has a hard time staying on task., keeping focus, and filtering out the distractions in order to listen and follow his teacher. My husband and I discussed the topic of medication before. We agreed that if our son's academics are significantly impacted by his behaviors, we would consider medication. Until now, that hasn't happened. I know my son is smart and has the ability to do a lot better in subjects if he just focused and payed attention in class. When I help him with his homework here at home, I don't have too much of a problem getting him to focus. I just have to redirect him. He obviously does a lot better one on one. This can be a challenge to have in his class because the ratio of teacher to students is 1 to 24. Let me just add that my son goes to a regular school, with speech therapy, and aides to come in to help him in math and language arts for 30 minutes each.

My son is not aggresive, rarely has meltdowns, but does have deficits in social interaction with his peers, he impulsivity has gotten a bit better, and has some sensory issues with his eyes (that we have yet to figure out what triggers that). He also tends to forget things like homework.

My question is: Have any of you medicated your child to help with focus and staying on task in school? What are the pros? Cons? What are the side effects? I know it's different with every child, but I'm starting to research out it. I've read of children losing weight, being violent, and other things when taking medication. 

Thanks in advance for your responses!




by on Aug. 25, 2011 at 5:42 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Punkslilncs
by on Aug. 25, 2011 at 5:54 PM

My son was put on Focalin.. I don't really like it. It makes him very sleepy and almost Zombieish.. so we are trying to find another one.. people say it works wonders.. but really it just robbed me of my son.. I know he is ADHD.. but I just wanted him toned down not totally gone.

korr1121
by on Aug. 25, 2011 at 6:14 PM

My 12 year old is ADHD and bipolar. She's on neurontin, clonidine, concerta, ritalin, trazadone and some probiotics.  Yes I know a lot of meds for a 12 year old.  The main purpose of the concerta though is so she focus and stay calm during school.  The ritalin is for after school when she needs to concentrate on doing homework and chores. Plus the ritalin calms her mind so that she can relax and go to sleep.  Then the clonidine and trazadone are her night time meds because she has sleeping issues.  She can literally stay up for 48 hours straight and still be going strong.  Then the neurontin is for her bipolar which takes away the aggression and anger.

Now my 3 year old twins are not in school yet, but they had such short attention spans and had difficulty redirecting that I wasn't able to teach them anything at home.  So their dr prescribed them clonidine. A half a pill in the morning, half a pill in the afternoon and a whole pill at night.  This has helped tremendously.  No more meltdowns, they are calm and can actually focus on the task at hand at least for 5 to 7 minutes, when before they could only stay on task to up to maybe 2 minutes if you were lucky. Plus for the first time they are sleeping through the night.  Thank goodness. LOL

shell3m
by on Aug. 25, 2011 at 6:44 PM

sorry honey, we don't medicate.  Not that I'm against it or anything there just isn't a reason yet.  I do know that several mom's in here do and I'm sure they will help you.  :)

smile357
by on Aug. 25, 2011 at 6:51 PM

My son who just turned 10 yesterday has been diagnosed with bipolar1 and their testing him for autism which has pretty much been decided. He is on lamictal, and lithium, and intuiv, and abilify. We are currently still looking for the solution for the attention span. I will say though that I have read in several articles and books that Rititin and several of the ADD drugs are extremely bad when there is a diagnoses of bipolar. My son was prescribed that when younger and I think personally it has caused some of the problems we are dealing with now. I just know that you need to do your research. Good luck in your search.

 

ReenaBeena
by on Aug. 25, 2011 at 7:25 PM
Well, I am against medicating him....right now because his academics are fine. How do you parent help your ASD child focus and stay on task in school without medication? Please share your ideas!
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Tricia98570
by on Aug. 25, 2011 at 7:50 PM

 I put Colby on a low dose of Adderall XR. It def helps him focus and "takes him down a notch". Its usually used for ADHD, but his dev ped said to try it. It works great at school and home (lasts about 10-12hrs), the down side is that it decreases his appetite a bit which is hard since he's already a VERY picky eater! Hope that helps

mandy119
by on Aug. 25, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Hi my son takes concerta he has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome,he has trouble at times staying focused because he worries a lot and can be very impulsive.Medication has really helped him stay less worried and less impulsive ..I know every child is so different but for us it has helped him out a lot.some of the side effects have been the typical not wanting to eat as much but other than the eating problem we have not had any issues.I hope this may help you.

ROGUEM
by on Aug. 25, 2011 at 11:49 PM

My oldest takes Methylphenidate XR for concentration and focus.  He asks for his medicine because he says it makes school easier for him.  He also just started taking Zoloft because of his extreme situational anxiety of storms.  I have to say he is very happy on it.  I actually have wondered if it could make me that happy...LOL

navyjen
by Gold Member on Aug. 26, 2011 at 12:18 PM

 DJ my 12 year old takes concerta for focus and concentration.  It really helps him and liek ROGUEM's son he also asks for it.

korr1121
by on Aug. 26, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Talk to your dr about clonidine.  It's been a lifesaver for my twins.

Quoting smile357:

My son who just turned 10 yesterday has been diagnosed with bipolar1 and their testing him for autism which has pretty much been decided. He is on lamictal, and lithium, and intuiv, and abilify. We are currently still looking for the solution for the attention span. I will say though that I have read in several articles and books that Rititin and several of the ADD drugs are extremely bad when there is a diagnoses of bipolar. My son was prescribed that when younger and I think personally it has caused some of the problems we are dealing with now. I just know that you need to do your research. Good luck in your search.



in love

Mom of 2, Austin 16 and Taya 12 (ADHD/Bipolar), Stepmom of 2, Layla 3 and Neya 3 (both PDD/ADHD)

Virginia Beach, VA   www.facebook.com/kristy.brownorr

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