Evolution and Hard Decisions

Parenting is synonymous with change. Our children grow and learn; they achieve and alter. And when they are special needs children, their bodies and abilities are in constant evolution.

Change is rarely comfortable.

Jesse’s original diagnoses include PDD-NOS, ODD, OCD, and ADHD. Some of those acronyms will change as he grows. Some—if God sees fit—might disappear. New ones could be added. These are the ones we fight the urge to fear. Though God tells us not to (Isaiah 40:10).

For the moment, the ADHD is the part of Jesse’s picture that is giving us fits. Parent teacher conferences revealed that his inability to control his impulses, pay attention, follow directions and complete projects are interfering with the class environment and his ability to succeed. This preceded a week of no fewer than 5 psychology, counseling or psychiatry appointments for he and his brother. I crawled to the end of the week like flailing roadkill and when I sat with Jesse’s psychiatrist to review the data and teacher reporting, we realized it was time to make a change.

Jesse’s functionality had evolved. We had to evolve, too.

Our last trial with medication was over two years ago. Beginning with the first-line ADHD medication, we anticipated good results. What we got was an entirely different child – a weepy, sleepy, clingy child so unlike our Jesse that after 5 days, we called it quits. This time we will start with a different class of medication, and an EKG to make sure he isn’t at risk for the very rare possibility of seizures that might result from an interaction between his medications. We will know right away if it is working, and if it’s not, his body will expel it quickly.

Thank God for little safeties because the pit looks deep and the stakes are high.

No decision to medicate a child is ever one easily made. But we know the nature of our lives – with or without these special needs kids – require that sometimes, things must. For those of you who are standing on the precipice of fear about what will happen, about whether you are doing the right thing with the “right” medication or school or transition, I am there with you. I know that gnawing ball of anxiety. I’m fighting one, too.

But we know that the God of grace who gives us these children likewise gives us the wisdom to know what’s best. I pray my decision is best. I pray the same for you.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
Eccles. 3:1

- Sarah