Nature and Nurture

So here’s the background. We take Bryan to a psychiatrist for meds. This was a tough decision starting almost 5  years ago and we started with a neurologist at Kennedy Krieger in Baltimore. We reached out because at that time Bryan was pinching and hurting so much Jason and I looked like we were beaten every day. Ok, but here is the thing, the research is limited, and there really are no great meds for treating autism. There is no magic pill so you have to just hope to manage some of the things as they present themselves. For Bryan we need to manage impulse control and anxiety. He takes two meds in liquid form, Bryan takes this with no issue at all. We have always had trouble with him swallowing a pill. He can find anything mixed in juice or yogurt or ice cream. He could be a food/drink analyzer, if such a job exists! In any event, Bryan does not sleep much past 5 or 5:30 no matter when he goes to bed or what we do or how we have worn him out the day before. This sucks for us, big time. We are zombies that catch up on sleep whenever and wherever we can. So the psychiatrist has tried a few different meds to help with the sleep issue. None of have worked so far, at best they make him sleep a little, at worst he gets so irritable he is impossible to handle. It seems that the third med always tips the scale just beyond reason.

So, this week I spoke with the doctor and she convinced us to try one more, an extended release tab that she has had great success with other kids. One slept 13 hours. Now let me just tell you, short of tranquilizer gun, my kid is not sleeping 13 hours on any drug. But here is what happened. The drug comes in an oval pill. He is a big boy, we think he may be able to handle it. We gave him the pill, he spit it out once, then Erwin showed him how to put it in the back of his throat and swallow some water and the pill. And… just like that, he did it. The way we carried on, you would think he won the nobel prize, but to us, these small victories and examples of growth and maturity just catapult us into happy space.

I promised Jason Iwould take him to Target on Friday night to get a gift for his friend’s birthday party. Jason received money for his birthday and has been carefully drawing against this sum every time we go in a store. On the way over there I said to him, let’s get Bryan some gum for doing such a great job with his pill. Bryan loves gum and he grinds his teeth so much, this seems to help a lot. When we got into Target, we passed the display of DVDs. Bryan loves, loves, loves movies and can watch the same one over and over. Jason saw the movies “Robots” on the display and went over and said, “I want to buy this with my money  for Bryan since he did such a good job with his pill.” I told him that’s not necessary it’s expensive and we can just get him some gum. Well, he wouldn’t have it. He said it was his money and he loves Bryan, and “Mom, can’t I just do something nice for my brother?” So I say nature and nurture, some of this you can teach or model, but really it’s just him. That sweet, empathetic disposition, just is in his bones. I was so proud of him and his sentiment. When I got home, Erwin had just rented Robots on On Demand, for the same reason. SO, I guess it is in Jason’s DNA.


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