Anyone have a child on Ritalin? I need advice & information...

Sarah - posted on 10/01/2010 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 4 years old & she is on 1 medication for sleep & 1 behavioral medication. Her doctor just prescribed Ritalin in pill form (pharmacy didn't have the liquid she wanted her on) to take twice a day - once when she first wakes up & once at lunch time. The doctor is hoping it will help her focus more & stay on task.

My daughter, Olivia, is on the spectrum, w. no real understanding of where. She has limited understanding of communication, although that is improving. She has a very difficult time focusing on any one thing for more than a few seconds, although when she does get fixated on something she really gets fixated & we have a difficult time moving her focus at that point. She's a head butter & screams a lot when she gets frustrated, she also hits herself in the head.

She is on sleep medication because she flat out will not sleep. As it is now, we have finally gotten her on a decent sleep schedule. She is usually asleep by 8pm & sleeps until about 5am in the morning. She has school in the morning, and plays in her room until I get her up at 630am.

She can be such a happy child, lots of laughs & giggles. When we have hard days, they are HARD days, and seem never ending. I am happy to try a new medication to see if we can improve her good days & make the harder ones less & less, but Ritalin seems to come w. some hefty side effects. I am not worried about her losing any weight, at just 4 years old she is 46in tall & 58lbs. While I don't want my 4 year old dieting, she's put on a lot of weight from other medications in the past. The doctor said that by taking it early in the day, it should not interfere w. her sleep, but there is a chance. She wants us to give it a try for 2 weeks to see if we get any improvements or not.

As a side note: I know many many people do not medicate their children. Bless you all. That is not something my husband & I feel comfortable doing. It is important for our daughter to sleep and be the best child she can be. If that means she needs to be on medication for now, then that is what we are doing. Our ultimate goal is to have her off medication, or on the least amount. When we moved to Germany last December (my husband is stationed here in the Army), my daughter was on 7 different medications. I hated it all and the doctors we left behind in Idaho didn't seem to want to listen to us on wanting her on the least amount of medications to help her be balanced. This new doctor we are seeing has been wonderful & helped us a lot. I do trust her judgement, and she is always willing to listen to my concerns & allows my husband & I to be part in making decisions for our daughter. Please, do not attack me for having my little girl on medication. I need some insight & advice. If it is anti-medication - please be kind & offer suggestions & useful information.

Thank you!

Sarah

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Katrina - posted on 10/01/2010

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Hi Sarah
There's no hard and fast rule when it comes to medicating your kids. I have 3 children with Asperger's/ADHD and they've all had Ritalin (2 of them still currently taking) at one time or another. My eldest son (who is now 15) starting meds at the tender age of 4 as well. We were originally given Risperidone (for anger issues) along with Ritalin. I gradually weaned him off the Risperidone after about a year, over the period of 3 months as I started to think that it wasn't benefiting at all.
I think that's what it comes down to when it comes to medication - ask yourself, "Is it improving the situation? or Is my child doing better with the medication?" If the answer starts to become a resounding no...it's time to wean off.
Of course, doctor's advice must be followed, but go with your instincts as to what is the best for your child.

Good luck

Katrina :-)

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Jeannette - posted on 10/02/2010

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check out a book called fed up it gives you a full description of the natural chemicals etc found in foods and the effects they can have on children apparently 4 out of 5 children really shouldnt eat apples believe it or not and on the off chance your child may be the 1 in 10 whom responds to the following instead of ritalin or dexies in australia we have a product called eye q it comes in gel caps, chewable tabs and vanilla liq its not just your ordinary fish oil i have a child with adhd, dyslexia and central auditory processing disorder he is a handful to say the least within 2 weeks of staring eye q he stopped crawling up the walls and stopped driving me up them but like i said clinical studies have proved it only works in 10% of children and usually the ones whom dont respond fully to the medical drugs, there is also something called rescue remedy which one of my friends uses from the chemist it levels out childrens anxiety and emotions good luck

Sarah - posted on 10/02/2010

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Thank you Katrina. We started the Ritalin today & I'm very nervous. She is also on Resperidone for self-harming behaviors. She's definitely calmer today & wanted to watch TV, which I'm happy w. It's been in her system about 3 hours. I got up & gave it to her at 6:30am (which is when she'd get during the week), and then gave her a drink. She played in her room for 2 hours so I could sleep a little later (this pregnant mama needs sleep bad). She didn't want to come out of her room when I got up. LOL She gets another dose at lunch time. Hoping it doesn't interfere w. her going to sleep tonight. I think that is what is making me the most nervous. She has so many sleeping issues too. Oy.

Sarah - posted on 10/01/2010

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Also should add:

My daughter also has Celiac Disease, so we are already on a gluten free diet. We've tried dairy free as well & saw no differences in her behaviors or sleep at all. I was deeply upset. In fact, when we went gluten free there was no change either. Gluten was harming her body for sure (she is much healthier now that she is GF), but it did not seem to be causing her behavior issues or learning problems. While I know many kids see big differences w. major diet changes like GF/DF, my daughter isn't one of them.

She is currently on a multi-vitamin & we are getting her on a few other supplements, but being on a limited budget w. 2 children - 1 special needs & our 3rd (surprise!) on the way, we have to really work at what we can afford. We are hoping to order in some Omega 3s for her soon. We are just doing gummy vitamins for now because she will take them willingly.

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