Today, my wife and I got up fairly early and made the 60 mile drive to our son's school on the Eastern Shore. Our purpose of going out to the school was twofold; one to have a little visit, and more importantly to take some medication out to the school for him.
Back in December, in conjunction with his psychiatrist and the school, we decided to take him off of one of his medications. The medication he was on was an extended release tablet. Since he has to have his medication crushed, he was getting the whole dose at once. He was falling asleep in class in the mornings, so we decided to try him being off of the medication.
The first couple months off of the medication, he did a great job. He was more cooperative, attended class regularly, and was more focused on his tasks. He even was doing a lot better in the dorm area, which had been his biggest area of opportunity.
On Monday of this past week, my wife had to go out to the school to take out a refill of one of his prescriptions. Our son's teacher showed my wife a video of my son acting out and told her that he had been regressing in recent weeks. He had also been demonstrating a lot more aggression towards others. The video was reminiscent of how he had behaved prior to going on medications.
On Tuesday, I called the dorm to check in to see how he was doing. It is hit or miss when talking to the dorm about getting decent information. I got lucky and spoke to somebody who could give me a more detailed report. She informed me that he had not been doing very well, and had even stopped wanting to go to activities that he had enjoyed like the weekly social dances. That was definitely reminiscent of how he acted before going on medication.
Thankfully, I had a follow up appointment with his psychiatrist on Thursday afternoon. I was to show him the video of him acting out. I shared with him how he had stopped participating in activities that he loved. We all decided to put him back on the medication that he had been on, but this time we decided on the regular form of the drug rather than the extended release.
When we got out to the school this morning, we were told that he was in his room. He had thrown two cups of water on the floor and refused to clean it up. He was very upset and still crying when we walked into his room. Thankfully, once we got in there he settled down and we had a real nice visit with him. I took him back out into the dorm rec room and had his clean up the mess he made. We walked around the campus and I let him watch YouTube videos on my phone.
After a couple hours, it was time for him to have lunch. He had been asking for chicken the whole time we were there. I was very impressed to see him trying to cut his chicken into smaller bites with his fork, and with a plastic knife. That is something that he has never done at home, so that was some definite progress. After lunch, we decided to head home.
While we had a nice visit with our son, there were a couple of things about it that concerned me. While I agree that it is necessary to discipline my son when he acts out, sometimes I think that they exacerbate the situation. When he gets upset, he sometimes continues to slide down that slope during the discipline. Some times, it is better to just ignore him until he settles down.
The other thing that bothered me was in regards to some of his personal property. I took a couple of DVDs out to him since he has had a portable DVD player at school for watching those videos. We were informed that they did not know where his DVD player was and that they had not seen it in some time. They also informed us that he had broken or lost his portable CD player.
It is not the fact that these things are broken or missing that bothers me. It bothers me that they did not communicate these things to us prior to our visit. I call the dorm several times a week, and my wife goes out there every couple of weeks to take things for him. Both of those devices are things that he needs to make his life easier away from home. Had we known, at the very least, we could have taken him a new CD player so he could listen to music.
I will be sending an email out to his teacher and to the person who heads up his dorm. The highest priority is to get feedback on how he is doing with the new medication. Second, I want to talk to them to see if any of them have any idea as to where his DVD player is and to ask for more complete information from them on how he is doing. Hopefully, he will react well to the new medication and get back to his old self soon.