I wrote a blog a while back about Pablo. (Not his real name). His mother has given me permission to write about him. To say the least, he has been a real challenge for us.
Here is what we know of his history. Last year he was on an assortment of medication prescribed to him by a neurologist. He finished this medication and even though his mother had been instructed to return to the neurologist, for one reason or another, she never did. So from late last year until now Pablo has been medication free.
After the mother being reminded by the school many times, a judge finally made an order for the her to return to the neurologist with Pablo. They returned, and now he has been placed on another round of medication. He recently turned 9 years old.
So as long as we have known Pablo, he has not been on drugs, until now. So since we started in December last year he has been with us drug free.
Pablo has been put on an anti-psychotic drug that I can only assume by what I have read and what my doctor friend has told me, is for the symptoms of schizophrenia that he displays. We haven’t had a lot of information from the mother so it is difficult to get the whole picture.
What we heard from the mother is that his condition has improved since he was last assessed and this time round the neurologist has put him on less drugs. What I can’t understand is that the neurologist hasn’t used some common sense and had a look at what factors in Pablo’s life have changed and, if there has been an improvement, what is the cause of it!
Drug free Pablo had difficulty concentrating, couldn’t sit still, a lot of energy and a lot of attitude! Pablo on drugs is tired, subdued and quiet, but I must say that it has been the first time since I met him that I have been able to have a face to face conversation that lasts for more than two sentences.
I’m not sure what I prefer. On one hand I like the conversing with him on a level that hasn’t been possible before but on the other, it’s not the real Pablo. He is lacking life! I kind of miss the old one.
It is early days and they say it will take a little while for him to get used to the drugs so I think we will have to wait and see. I can’t say ‘don’t give him drugs’, it’s not my decision, but the week before he was given medication we saw a Pablo who could manage without them.
The education system cannot cope with children like Pablo. The school will not allow Pablo to attend if he doesn’t have a teacher-aid. He can’t get a teacher-aid unless he has been assessed by a neurologist and put on medication.
They system is under-resourced. Simple as that. What that means is that children like Pablo are medicated because of deficiencies in the system!
I believe that the child who takes this medication learns that a pill is the way to cope with their problems. The child doesn’t learn to deal and manage the emotions that he or she is feeling. The child has to either take these drugs for the rest of his/her life or get ready for a tidal wave when the time comes to try and stop taking them.
I talked to the mother the other day and she said that he is much better than he was before. From her point of view it is ok to medicate her child. I don’t live in the house, I don’t have to stop Pablo from being violent against his sisters and I don’t have to raise 5 children on my own so maybe I can understand where she is coming from.
So as for now. I sit on the fence. I would love another opportunity to work with the un-medicated Pablo, but I would also love to see a household with less violence and a happier mother. The are pros and cons on both sides. I guess we will have to wait and see what time will tell….