Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Austin's follow-up appointment

Austin saw his autism doctor today for a 6 month follow-up! It's sort of hard to believe that it's been 6 months since he received his diagnosis!

The appt. went very well, I think. We all went (all meaning the girls and daddy, too!) and actually it went very nicely. I love that the doctor's private practice is in a home, since it helps all of my kids to relax. The big issues I wanted to discuss with him were Austin's increased anxiety, his lack of sleep now that we had to stop the melatonin for the side effects, and the RDI program.

As far as the anxiety is concerned, we were offered a medication that Dr. R said would help with both the anxiety and the sleep issue. It is given only at night. I am really not wanting to jump into a medication, so we'll research this more, try a few other 'natural' non-medicinal approaches, and then we'll decide later. Austin needs to sleep again, badly. Dr. R noted a big growth spurt in the last 6 months and mentioned that we needed to be prepared for puberty. WHAT? Puberty?!?! ACK! I think I'll just stick my head back in the sand on that one! LOL (Actually, Dr. R wanted us to know that the increased anxiety could be related to the beginnings of puberty.... esp. since we've had the BO problem going on for a year, and now a growth spurt that coincided with the anxiety going up. So I'll keep that in mind, but still keep my head in the sand!)

Regarding RDI, Dr. R encouraged us to not rush into it. The plan right now is for me to go to the workshop in March, and then discuss it more at our next appt. with Dr. R in mid-March for Reece. Because it costs so much money to implement an RDI program with a consultant, and we have to multiply that times 2 kids, we just want to make sure that we're using our resources wisely. Dr. R said that, in his experience, progress is less dependent on the methodology of the program and the particulars of how to go about the program, and more dependent upon the time spent individually engaging with the child. So it's less about exactly what sort of activities you are using, and more about the fact that you are doing something organized and deliberate to work with the child.

One thing that I was grateful to hear was when he encouraged us to not drive ourselves mad and broke trying to find the next 'big' treatment or cure. In fact, he told us to make sure that we allow ourselves time and money to take a family vacation (this is where he won over Russ for sure! LOL), and not to put all of our resources into autism. He suggested that, instead of the expensive social skills groups, Austin could get as much out of taking karate, which would also provide him with the physical exertion that he needs as part of his sensory diet.

I wish I could express more clearly the impressions I got from Dr. R today. But it was a really good appointment, and I feel like I have some goals for the next 6 months for Austin, and for ourselves. He does want to see Austin again in 6 months (wants to keep a close eye on him as he approaches puberty which can be rather difficult for kids with Aspergers). We go back in 3 months for Reece's one year follow-up, when she'll be five!


Lisa said...

I'm glad it went so well!!! Sounds like the doctor is happy with the way things have been going too.gctt

The Glasers said...

This sounds odd. Sometimes sleep issues can be caused by food! In Pamela's case, we found a direct correlation between apple products and insomnia. She used to sleep four hours a night, tossed and turned, and had night sweats. All this went away after we took her off apples, and every time it reoccurred we could trace it back to apples!

Other natural remedies I have heard, some people see improved sleep with the gf/cf diet, epsom salt baths, and white noise filters (to mask background noise). Sometimes DMG or Vitamin B6/Mg (ala Dr. Rimland) helps.

Here's another thought along those lines of the expense of RDI or any blockbuster therapy. . . when you look at all of these styles of reaching autistic children, they have a couple of elements in common whether it be floortime, ABA, RDI, Options, etc.:
* 1:1 teaching/learning
* heavy parent-child interaction
* usually done at home

I always tell people you have to get off the emotional rollercoaster of seeking the big cure or treatment. Instead, strive for improvements in quality of life and you will enjoy your children more and be more wise with your money and time!

You have a GEM of a doctor!!! I am very impressed!