Navigating the Medication Merry-Go-Round

As parents of children on the autism spectrum, we often find ourselves on a relentless merry-go-round of medication decisions, each turn bringing a mix of hope, uncertainty, and challenges.

It is a familiar ride that many parents in similar situations can relate to.  I understand the rollercoaster of emotions and decisions that come with finding the right medication balance for our children.

My son Jordan who is now 27 years old has been on a myriad of medications for over 20 years, and the journey with medications is a delicate balance between benefits and side effects. 

Today, I want to share our medication story that we are maneuvering right now. I will also talk about the challenges we've faced, and the lessons we've learned along the way.

Prozac, while helping Jordan manage certain aspects of his condition, came with the unwelcome weight gain.  The struggle with weight gain, a known side effect of the medication, became a constant concern.

Addressing this issue has been a complex puzzle, with various attempts at weight loss falling short of the desired results. This issue persisted over the years, despite our numerous attempts to find solutions.

Medication decisions for children on the spectrum is complicated, and finding the right balance becomes a delicate dance.  Collecting and analyzing data becomes a fundamental aspect of the journey, yet the doubt persists.

Are the medications working? Have behaviors increased or decreased? What about tics and impulsivity? Second-guessing ourselves becomes an inherent part of the process, as the effects of medications are not always straightforward.

Recently, I found myself at another crossroads, contemplating a change in Jordan's medication. After discussions with his physician, we decided to reduce his Prozac dose by 20 milligrams. This decision wasn't made lightly, considering the countless times we've adjusted medications in the past.

Skepticism loomed over us, but sometimes, as parents, you must trust your instincts. One month into this change, I find myself cautiously optimistic. Having been down this road numerous times, I approach the situation with a mix of hope and caution.

However, there seem to be positive signs.  His laughter seems more natural, less forced. He appears more animated and engaged in his surroundings.  While it's too early to draw definitive conclusions, these subtle changes give me a glimmer of hope.

Deciphering the slightest changes requires a constant eye and a deep understanding of your child's unique needs. It's a constant balancing act of weighing the benefits against potential drawbacks.

To parents currently on this medication journey or those who will embark on it in the future, I want to offer some words of encouragement.

Stay the course, even when the path seems daunting.

The process may seem overwhelming, but the data becomes your guide to better understanding the impact of medications for your child. 

Track data diligently, as it serves as a compass in this complex journey.

Remember, what works for one child on the spectrum may not work for another.  Each child's response to medication is a puzzle that requires patience and perseverance to solve.

The decision to reduce Jordan's Prozac dosage is a small step, yet it symbolizes the continuous effort to improve his quality of life.

The medication merry-go-round is a challenging ride, but with resilience, collaboration, and trusting your instincts, you can find the right balance for your child.

In navigating the challenges, remember that hope is a powerful companion.

Jordan's journey, like many others, is a testament to the strength and perseverance inherent in the autism parenting community.

And for those of you who aren't traveling this journey, I ask that you don't judge what you don't understand.  

Have compassion, give us grace and trust that we are doing the best we can while learning along the way.  

Together, we can face the uncertainties, make informed decisions, and navigate the complexities of autism while always advocating for the well-being of our children.

This was written by Shannon Urquiola at Not Your Average Autism Mom

Thank you for being part of our journey.