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1/25/2008

Friday post doc

No, I'm not a grad student. This is about Zach and his doctor visit. Or, at least, the current assessment of the effectiveness of his meds. You see, up until now, there wasn't supposed to be any 'medicine' for Asberger's Syndrome. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Asberger's is sometimes accompanied by other afflictions which may serve to enhance or disguise the underlying ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). And Zachary has some of those. Along with the physical, social and emotional issues embodied in Asberger's, he has suffered with ADD and CAD (Chldhood Anxiety Disorder). The ADD was diagnosed first, but almost immediately afterward the Asberger's was added. The Doc began treatment for the ADD (Ritalin) and over a period of several months the med level was adjusted until an effective level was found. During that time of titrating the Ritalin, the CAD was diagnosed and the Doc started him on Buspar. A small but IMMEDIATELY effective dose. The Ritalin level was found and suddenly we had a much better adjusted boy attending school. He started Speech Pragmatics, a therapy program meant to clarify and enhance his speech, which until that time was slurred and indistinct. By the time he finished his freshman year in high school he had improve his school and study habits to the point that he was able to apply and be accepted at the Illinos Mathematics And Science Academy - where he is today. He is still dealing with Asberger's, but it is easier now that the other issues are under control.

Recently, the Doc started him on a med called Abilify. Doc's own daughter is one of those 'rare' female Asberger's kids, but her affliction has been more profound than that experienced by Zach. Her psychiatist had started her on Abilify to control some of the symptoms she was dealing with that were similar to OCD. And it worked. For her. And, apparently, it is working for Zach. He makes eye contact now. He is far more talkative now, and when he does speak, it is with more authority and confidence in his voice. He says he feels like more of a person now.

I still don't know about how this med may have affected some of the more subtle symptoms - like does he understand social cues better, does he 'get' facial expression now, does he see and understand body language now? As I write this and I think about these questions I'm willing to bet the answer is no, he doesn't. But qualify that with - not yet. These are things he still has to learn - I suppose the REAL question is - is he now more capable of learning how to pick up on those things?

Only time will tell. Only time.

7 comments:

Marita said...

Interesting. Look forward to hearing how it works out.

Sandy C. said...

Thanks for the update Lou. I'm so glad I checked back this evening. That was such a brave and honest re-cap of your son's Asberger's and treatment. Although I have little knowledge of these disorders, you sucessfully shed light on them and allowed us to peek into just some of the challenges you all face. I cannot think of a more kind and patient man able to stand by Zach than you. I'm so glad to hear Abilify has been able to bring about these positive outcomes.

Nicole said...

Like I said: Loads of strength to you all!!!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for being my first Quaker! ;)

Best of luck with the Abilify. Small steps, yes?

LceeL said...

Sandy and Marita and Nicole: Thanks for stopping by - I will keep everyone informed. I know our success (or lack of it) won't mean the same results for others, but we can all learn from each other.

Elizabeth: Quaker????

VelVerb said...

You should look into neurofeedback. Everyone had thrown their hands up when it came to my son. He was diagnosed with borderline everything, yet meds, therapy, discipline, NOTHING helped.

Neurofeedback did. And the beauty of it? Unlike meds, he will not be dependent on it for the rest of his life.

One word of caution, make sure you are dealing with a good practitioner. It's not regulated so you can get crackpots. They can't really do any damage, but they can waste your money.

(BTW, our sons share the same name.)

Boneblower (Anita) said...

Thank you for sharing this stage in your lives. You have given me some hope in terms of medication which has been mentioned for my youngest (6 yr old). As mentioned previously - both boys with Asperger's Syndrome, yet so very different. Which stresses the point that we're all different! So often I cop "but they're so different"! My response - even twins have differences. I'll get off my soap box now - didn't mean to rant in your comments :)

I love your blogs.