Regular readers of this blog (if there are such things!) will know that our son has fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and that I have been dealing with depression.
Good news – one of those is now being managed!
Bad news – it’s my depression rather than my son’s FAS.
My mind is in a better place than it has been in a long time. That’s great, but what it brings with it is a realisation that whilst I have been dealing with my struggles I’ve been blind to the reality of every day life for my wife and son.
He is fighting every day to keep it together. He’s being supported by ADHD medication and melatonin, but his frustration is all too well evident.
Seeing his struggles makes my wife feel helpless. Re-reading reports and recommendations from professionals from before we adopted him makes her angry.
Those reports suggest that he should have continuous monitoring to see how FAS will affect him.
They state that, without the right support, the impact on him and our family could be significant to say the least – causing strained relationships and a child who needs so much more support from the system he emerged from.
That my wife has been dealing with all of this by herself fills me with immense shame. At evenings and on weekends I see his flare ups, but each day I escape to work.
It’s all too much for one person to deal with. Heck, it’s too much for five or six people to deal with, but it’s all too common amongst those affected by FAS and FASDs (fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, of which FAS is one).
In our son’s case, he has now been treated with three types of ADHD meds. Apparently it’s a game of trial and error until the right ones are found.
In other words, we’re experimenting with our son’s mental and emotional health. But this is apparently what we have to do. His paediatrician suggested that she knew the first two types of meds wouldn’t be right for him, but apparently had to prescribe them to prove that before being able to try the third.
I can only surmise that the meds don’t work due to our son having FAS. It’s an imitating condition, so it’s entirely possible that the ADHD symptoms are not ADHD after all, and that no ADHD meds will help him cope in a world which challenges him so much.
Up to now the meds had helped him “cope” at school – supporting him to focus and respond appropriately to instructions. The fallout came at home – an eruption of all the anguish stored up during the day.
On the new meds, that’s not the case – he’s struggling to cope at school as well as at home. His frustration can come out as aggression, which unless managed could lead him to losing friends.
That is not the life I want for my son or my family.
We have submitted a request for an EHCP (which his school has not despite his ADHD and sensory processing disorder diagnoses) and are asking for more help. Help from his placing authority, our adoption agency, and our local authority.
We’re hoping that the post adoption teams will be able to help our family.
Any degree of respite, support and understanding, and extra weight in our corner would be truly appreciated.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but at the moment I’d accept a street. We need more people to understand FAS so we can get to the root of our boy’s frustrations.
One step at a time is just not enough anymore.
Now my fight is over I will fight for my son with every fibre of my being. It is time for me to step up. If you try to fob me off then watch out!