Please remember I am NOT a doctor. I am not giving you medical advice, this is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or disorder.
I thought that I would tell you a little bit about what has been going on with Cutie recently. The only major change is that he is now taking Straterra.
Cutie started 2nd grade in August and has since made the honor roll- he is even doing some more advanced work and most importantly- he is held to the same academic expectations as his neurotypical peers. The only modifications to his education are that there is a wonderful teacher who sits with him and keeps him on task and helps him manage sensory issues while he is working and because of his extreme ADHD, he takes his tests in a different, quiet room.
His ADHD has been more difficult to manage over the past few months. Simple worksheets that should take him less than 10 minutes were taking over 5 hours because he could not actually look at the paper, his foot somehow kept managing to be wrapped around his head, he became very skilled at using a pencil as a catapult, if it was in any way unrelated to the task, you name it- he was doing it. The worst part however was that he REALLY was trying to focus on the work- he would start to cry from the frustration and say "I want finish work, I can't look at it- I trying". We asked him if he wanted to try a new medicine as he had not taken any for over a year, he said yes and handed me the phone to call his doctor.
He has tried ADHD medications before, they failed - miserably. When he tried Adderall he became violent immediately and saw no improvement in his ADHD. He tried Concerta and it was terrifying- he looked like he was dying- his eyes were rolled into the back of his head and he was pale and his dry mouth just hung open, he lay motionless for days on end- we gave it the suggested amount of time to "adjust" and it only got worse. There were a few others, none helped at all.
This time we got to the doctor and he asked if we would consider a non-stimulant ADHD medication. We were thrilled! He wrote the script for Straterra and we were on our way.
Four hours after Cutie's first dose on a friday afternoon, he came up to me and asked if he could try a "money maker". His "moneymakers" are math worksheets with about 60 math problems- the deal is that if he completes the entire thing with 100% accuracy in under ten minutes, he gets a dollar. He finished it in 98 seconds.
I was excited, but still trying not to get my hopes up too much. He went to school monday and when he came home, there was a note from his teacher-he had been able to focus without reminders on a test- he also took a standardized test (which he had done well on before) and "drastically improved his score". He had focused during speech therapy and was engaged in classroom activities!
OK, when is this going to wear off? This HAS to be too good to be true. So far, a month in and his scores for everything have gone from 96% to 100%, he does better every day! The best news however is that when he does start to tolerate the medication, he is currently on the lowest possible dose (because of his bad reactions to other medications) there is a lot of room for dose increases!
We have seen very little effect on his appetite. He has always been really hard to feed, he is now at least agreeable to eating breakfast because he wants to take the Straterra! He has not lost any weight at all, he does not get angry or violent....
The only negative effect we have seen so far is that he seems to be more sensitive. When the kids go inside he takes it personally -even when their mothers call them in for dinner. He says "they wanted to get away from me because they hate me". While this is troubling, he is getting better at rationalizing- I think a part of what is going on there is that before the Straterra he rarely actually noticed when they went inside because he really could not focus on anything, including them. Hopefully this will start to level out soon- it does not appear to be depression really as he is happy and stress free, he just has those moments a couple times a day, 5 minutes later he perks up and is playing Star Wars with a different friend.