This is my Ainsley Diane. She answers to several names, Ains, Ainsy, Ainsy D, spunky, princess..it's really a never ending list. She is my baby, the youngest of 3 and the reason that I have completely changed the way I look at parenting.
My first assignment in Comp I was a paper on ADHD and medicating children. For years I believed that ADHD didn't exist, that children were just being children and parents were medicating them so that they didn't have to deal with them. Kids are hyper, they don't sit down and let us cook dinner or have a break. They don't sit quietly during class and they never stop talking. I felt instead of medicating them, children needed to be taught the proper way to behave and given opportunities to release the energy that they seem to have an ample supply of.
I never imagined there would be a day that I crossed over to the side that supports medication for children with behavioral issues.
Ainsley began having meltdowns when she was around 2 years old. It started as small fits and progressed to full meltdowns. Meltdowns that lasted for hours. The majority of my day was spent trying to calm her down and figure out why she was always so upset. When she wasn't having a meltdown she was the most loving child I have met. She loves hugs and kisses and to be rocked. She is glued to my side at all times. After several weeks of meltdowns they became even worse. She began to hurt herself. When she was upset she would beat her head into the wall and furniture. She would fall into the floor kicking and punching. By the end of the day we were both covered in bruises. I spent weeks trying to correct her behavior. I tried holding her, rocking her, time out, popping her leg..everything that you can think of and nothing helped..it just continued to get worse. One day I noticed that her ankle and entire foot were bruised from a meltdown and that was when I decided that this could be more than the average terrible 2's.
We met with her pediatrician and he explained to us the difference in a tantrum and an actual meltdown. He explained how she would injure herself and that fractured/broken bones from meltdowns were not uncommon and that she would not even notice the pain until the meltdown ended.
Ains has a receptive and expressive speech delay. Many of her meltdowns are triggered by frustration because she is not able to communicate to us what she wants. We are hopeful that once she is able to speak better that the meltdowns will decrease. Currently she takes a low dose of medication to help stabilize her mood. It was a very hard decision for us to give her medication for behavior but in the end if that is what it takes to prevent her from injuring herself then that is what we will do.
It's hard being the parent of a child with special needs but it's even harder being a child with special needs. I spent years judging parents and accusing them of being lazy when they were actually only trying to do what they could to help their child. I still believe that there are children being medicated that should not be but I now know that there really are children that greatly benefit from the use of behavioral medications.
I'm the beginning I was ashamed to tell people that Ains was on this medication. I didn't want people to judge me like I judged others in the past. I don't care anymore. I know the reasons for Ainsley being on this drug and I know how much it helps her on a daily basis.