View Full Version : Advice: Just starting Focalin 5mg - 7 Year old boy

03-03-16, 05:05 PM
So my son just started today. He doesn't have behavior or impulse issues in school. He thrives on the structure at school and is kind of a teachers pet. His problems primarily revolve around attention, organization/executive skills, and working memory. He is impulsive at times, but generally only when horsing around with me or his sisters. Once the boundaries come down for little horse play he gets get impulsive, and cannot control himself and always ends up going too far. The end result of which is either him getting in trouble, or him getting upset.

I gave him his first dose at 6:30AM so that he would be about 1 hour into the active period before I dropped him off at school. He didn't seem to notice any difference, but he did mention his head feeling a little funny when he talked. Today started off like one of "the bad mornings" where every step of getting ready was going to be time consuming and difficult. Usually mornings that start like that don't get any better and often get worse. It took him about 40 minutes to finish his breakfast, but then after he was done, I told him to go brush his teeth and get dressed, and for the first time all year there was no protest. He just said "Okay!" and went to brush them, and came back out of the bathroom 5 minutes later with clean teeth. It sounds like a minor thing, but as many of you probably know this alone was a staggering win. (Normally I got to check on him 10 minute later and he sitting the sink and bathroom is a mess and he hasn't even touched his tooth brush. After giving him his tooth brush and telling him to brush his teeth and stop goofing off, i'll come back 10 minute later to a half brushed teeth and some new toothpaste art on the counter top.) Next was changing from pajamas in to school clothes and it went smoother than his best days before. He got his bag, shoes and jacket and we headed out the door without a hiccup.

(He has also been diagnosed as being on the spectrum and often exhibits stimming behavior. He likes to rock and grunt. He almost never does it except when he's playing by himself, but he probably does it 50% of the time that he's playing alone. He also does it in school sometimes, especially during less structured free time like recess.)

In the car on the way to school he said that he didn't think it was working because he didn't feel anything. He asked me about the medicine and I explained that it might help him concentrate on his work but that he probably wouldn't feel any different. He did his usual stimming in the car. It's a rocking motion in which he bounces his back against the seat. He usually does it vigorously enough that the seat makes a noise and on occasion i'll ask him to soften it up a bit when I hear the seat squeaking under the stress. This morning however he was rocking softly, and not bouncing off the seat, or making his usual throaty-grunts, and he only did it for a few seconds and then stopped. When we pulled up to the drop off line as soon as I stopped he unbuckled stood up gave me a hug and kiss and was out the door and on his way. Usually this simple little process takes a 30-60 seconds and we end up holding up the smooth flow of the line morning drop off line.

I emailed his teacher ahead of time and let her know about his medication and to let her know that he could sit out of gym class if he was feeling light headed or dizzy. I got an email back in the middle of the day with the following:

"Thanks for the update!! I will say.....He is ALL OVER the place today. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen him this active! I will keep an eye out, and I did inform gym class today. He's having a great day otherwise. I'll update you later. "

I'm not sure exactly what "ALL OVER" means here, but parent-teacher conferences are two weeks away so this should be perfect timing for starting since i'll be able to get a relatively quick update on how it's working.

Has anyone else noticed an increase in activity when they first start? I'm not sure if what she's talking about qualifies as hyperactivity, or if he's just feeling good from the medication and has that "I can conquer the world!" feeling that is making him less withdrawn.

I'll try to keep this thread updated with his progress. But from what little I've seen this morning, i'm hopeful. Next, I need to get myself to the doctor. After 40 years of struggling i'm ready to give medicine a shot myself. I've always avoided it because my mom didn't want to medicate me when I was young and I carried into adulthood the "it'll make you feel like a zombie/it's does more harm than good" narratives I was feed. I've basically skated through life by the skin of my teeth and the only thing that has saved me along the way are those few moments of ADD gloriousness where I accomplish amazing things for a short period that make for the long unproductive periods that always follow.

03-03-16, 07:39 PM
One day really is too soon to tell, you've had some positive results. I wouldn't worry about the teacher saying 'he's all over the place" it could simply be she's more attentive to him now that he's on meds and she knows about it.

any side effects like fuzzy head only last a few days, I'd just wait and see.

03-04-16, 02:31 AM
When your child is brand new to medication, it will take you at least two weeks to get an idea of what's going on. Any conclusions you draw within the first two weeks have almost no chance of being valid. The only exception is if there are very bad very obvious side effects.

Your job at this time is to observe and take notes, not to contemplate changing things.