As a parent, you have to make the tough choices, including deciding to take the steps to put your child on medication. If your child has PDD-NOS (pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified) then medication has probably been discussed at one point or another. I have three children, all boys that I love dearly and my youngest son has PDD-NOS.
PDD-NOS is a hard diagnosis because from my own personal experiences with my son and medical professionals, a lot of doctors don’t know much about it. It’s not full blown autism, it’s not quite asperser’s but yet your child is not like most other kids in the neighborhood either.
My son is 6 and will be started first grade in the fall. We sailed through Kindergarten with only a few problems. At school and around strangers, he is the perfect child because he is very, very shy. At home it is a complete different situation. At times it feels like the entire family is hostage to his mood changes and what he is going to do next.
It got to the point where medication was considered. Thinking about putting your child on meds can be scary. I worried about how it would affect my son at school (since he was already well behaved) and what the side effects would be. If you’re in the same boat I was in, this article will give you a few steps to take while you are thinking about putting your child on meds and what to do afterward. Keep in mind that there is no medication that is especially for PDD-NOS. Your child may have another diagnosis like ADHD and medication could possibly help address that.
#1: Start with the doctor
You should always start with your doctor when thinking about putting your child on medication. Your doctor can talk with you about medication and refer you to where to have your child evaluated for meds. Some doctors may write the prescriptions for you but in my area (and others around the country), you have to be referred to a psychiatrist by a doctor, you can’t just pick one out of the phone book. If you don’t like the psychiatrist that your doctor refers you to, then ask for a referral to someone else. Ask for as many as you need. You need to find someone that you are comfortable with because if you do put your child on meds, you’ll be seeing this person for a while.
#2: Express all your concerns to the Psychiatrist
You are the voice for your child so don’t hold back any of your concerns no matter how big or small you think they are. You are the one who has your child’s best interest at heart. If you are afraid of how medication could affect your child, speak up! Is your child already on medication but you don’t think its working? Let them know. Professionals can’t help your child unless you help your child first.
#3: Consider a Behaviorist
A Behaviorist is someone who comes in to work with your child. You can try a Behaviorist before you opt for meds to see if she/he can help curb your child’s behavior and teach the adults how to react to things that your child does. You can also do a combo which is to have your child be on meds but also have a behaviorist who will work with you. I will be completely honest. We had a behaviorist for my son for several months and she didn’t help our family at all. That is due in part to my son acting almost like a perfect child around strangers because of his shyness. Before she arrived, he could be running around the house like a banshee but right when she arrived, he’d be sitting or playing quietly with his head tilted to the side. You know your child best so if you think that a behaviorist could help your child, at least try it. You may find that your child doesn’t need medication, only some behavior modification from a professional.
#4: Keep a Journal
Consider keeping a day by day journal of how your son is doing on his new medication. Record all of his/her highs or lows. Also be sure to write what was going on that day. Did he have a melt down when a favorite show broke? Did something happen at school that set her off? By keeping a journal, you can look back and see if the medication was really working plus you’ll be able to have concrete notes of what to bring up with their psychiatrist, behaviorist or doctor.
#5: Follow your Instincts
As a parent, you have certain instincts. If your gut is telling you that your child’s medication is actually more harmful then helpful, address those concerns with the right medical professional. Follow your instincts because more often then not you’ll be right. You are your child’s champion. Having a PDD-NOS child has made me more aware as a parent and probably has with you too so trust that inner feeling inside.
Other articles by this author:
Teaching your PDD-NOS Child to be Nice to Animals
10 Tips for Disciplining Your Tween
Plan a Dr. Seuss Event for Your School