What Happens in Sebastopol

We spent yesterday in Sebastopol. During the drive home Seymour asked me whether or not I'd had a good time. He seemed surprised when I told him that I had.

It was a ninety percent lovely day, and I tend to round up, so that makes for a positive overall. We took Godfather Michael and all three kids to Hardcore Organic Coffee for Mali to panhandle apple juice off easy mom-looking marks; to the farmer's market for Iz to taste test olive oil, cheese, and Asian pears and experience general foodie awesomeness; to duck-pondy Libby park for serious Leelo-friendly active playgrounding; to Earth Kids for *sigh* one new school outfit each (for less than $100 total, that Waldorfy oasis has the best sale racks for unique kids' clothing in the region); and tied our day up at Willow Wood Market for polenta-based foodgasms and well-earned libations.

Leelo only hit me hard enough to make me cry once. I have no idea what triggered his attack. He was a patient, playful, and cheerful boy for the rest of the day.

Regardless of my general happiness with our excursion, Leelo's aggression and violence are no longer tenable, are no longer behaviors I feel we can manage, well, behaviorally. Seymour and I talked on the way home, and we both feel it's time to pursue medication for Leelo's anxiety/self-injury/unpredictable aggression and violence. Yesterday his blow "boxed" my ear and I lost hearing for five minutes. I can deal with that. But I can't stomach the possibility that he might seriously injure me, himself, or someone else. When Leelo attacked me yesterday, it was in public, in front of a group of happy coffee-goers. The shock on their faces shocked me right back. I'm used to Leelo's behavior, can mentally compensate for Leelo's behavior. But the reality is that his behavior has become dangerous and very much not okay.

I know other people have traveled the meds vs. aggression/self-injury route before. But I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has personal experience or a good information source.

I'll be calling Leelo's neurologist for a consult tomorrow morning.

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  1. I don't have any advice to offer, I just wanted to send you some love because I know this must be a hard step to take.

  2. I think you're doing the right thing, considering you've exhausted every other avenue.

  3. I wish you luck with this decision. maybe with this and other methods you have tried that have worked in the past may be the right combination for Leelo. Time will tell. I am one that is not overly fond of medicine for treating my son for ADHD. but if it helps...

  4. We finally started Abilify a couple of months ago when my son's rages to himself were getting hard to take. It has taken the edge off, that is for sure. It has made him gain weight and be decidingly less active. That scares me a lot. I would be happy to talk with you further if you like, I did LOTS of reseach.

  5. As much as i hate the meds, I've found they are the only effective thing for Jaymes. We're still messing with his meds, he cracked his head jumping off the deck in a fury today and bled quite a bit... So we're off on thursday for another emergency meeting with the Dev. Pediatrician at Duke.

    Good luck to you, and I'm glad you had at least a 90% good day! s
    ounds like you had some fun!

  6. Anonymous8:50 PM

    A hard place to be in. I hope you and your doctor can find the best solution for Leelo.

    Glad you had a 90% good day, sounds like it was great fun. I'm feeling inspired to go visit our local farmers market after reading here.

  7. We decided, after years of research, debate, resistance and deliberation (on my part), to start B on meds. After consults with the psych and neurologist, we opted for Tenex, which was originally designed as an anti-hypertensive for adults, but has been found to be helpful for children with reducing tics and impulsivity. Of all the issues B faces, we decided that these two were the top priority for his safety (primarily) and to reduce obstacles to learning (secondarily). We started him in June, had a ramp up period of several weeks, and we've been very happy with the results. B is still B of course. But the tics are almost entirely gone, and we haven't had a major bolting issue since he started the meds. His receptive language and compliance are both significantly increased, and he is able to and consistently does respond to yes/no questions by nodding/shaking his head, which is huge since he previously did not have a solid method of letting us know what he wanted. Although initially we saw certain side effects (lethargy, constipation) these have gone away after a month or so, as his body adjusted to the meds. Obviously Leelo's issues are different, but I just thought I'd share our experience. I never thought I'd be pro-meds for my kids, but in the end I'm glad I opted to try it, since I feel it enables B to access more of who he really is.

  8. Sadly, this is a subject that we have much knowledge about. Both from trying many things and from a great deal of research. I will have to write a long email to you about it and think of a synopsis type comment for this blog too.

  9. Honey, I've got no advice or knowledge to share. I just want to send love and good thoughts to your family, and I'll be praying that you find a good solution for Leelo.

    Love, Laura

  10. Holy holy. Thank you all for all of the advice. @Raquel and @Jo, look forward to hearing from you.

    @doubletrouble, so when is B coming over to swim, then? So glad you made a successful decision that is truly helping you and your son and your family. I am hoping your stress level has kicked down a notch or two.

  11. 90% good is a good thing. I'm hoping you find something that can keep Leelo at his 90%. You are such a strong momma.

  12. generic Prozac worked well for about a year. Takes about three weeks to kick in. Generic Celexa takes effect faster. These are all low doses so people can stop having a cow over parents trying them on their children with autism. It's a brain condition -- it seems trying a brain medication for aggression problems makes sense.

    It sounds like the agression can't get much worse and if it does you just stop the meds.

    I'll email you whatever I find.. I used to have a spreadsheet that looked at all the studies of the drugs.

    Oh, the neurologist we went to wanted to prescribe an anti-seizure med with huge side-effects so we passed. I stick with the SSRI's and I am interested in SNRI's as well but haven't tried them yet on my son.


  13. Hiya...just catching up and realizing how much I missed. I have heard really good things about dr glen elliott at ucsf. Hugs to you. You're so strong and so loving. The kids--and we, your friends--are lucky to have you.

  14. Anonymous3:06 AM

    We haven't taken that route yet. But we will eventually I know.

    Will be thinking of you all and hope that this is a solution that will help you all.

  15. I'm glad it was 90% good. Sounds like quite the adventure. I truly wish you much luck and wisdom in finding what is right in helping Leo with the aggressive outbursts and giving him more 90% good days too.


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