So, I'll start with the good stuff first, and then we'll slowly roll downhill from there. Perrin's mood has been pretty stable for the last several weeks, and his behavior has been amazing. The only issues we have seem to be typical 8 year old boy defiance of authority - which, to be honest, I sort of find endearing at times. I certainly have no expectations that he will mindlessly obey, and my own parents encouraged us to question authority (within reason). He is fully able to express his displeasure with my bossiness, as well as easily vocalize his feelings even if he doesn't always know why he feels as he does sometimes. This is the curse of the mood disorder - we do not always know why we're feeling blue on any particular day, and sometimes it's simply the lack of sunshine.
Socially, he is doing pretty well. A year ago, he just played alone most of the time, and if he did want company, he'd simply play his own games closer to a group of kids without really engaging them. And often he sort of freaked them out with his exuberant role playing. Now, he will actively seek out other kids when he feels like it and even asks if they want to play. I think Perrin's most admirable quality is that he does not care what other people think of him. If other kids look at him oddly because of his tics or because he's thrashing on the floor in the throes of a vicious Nighlok attack, he is blissfully unaware of it. I am very envious of this trait, as I still cringe inwardly when I see the way the other kids look at him.
Also, and this should tell you how significant it is, EXTREMO IS LONG GONE!!! Haven't seen that bastard in over a month. He sometimes pretends to be a Power Ranger villain, but it's lighthearted and fun, and it never carries over outside of regular playtime.
And now join me in the shit at the bottom of the hill. Perrin's tics are now pretty much constant. Face rubbing, eye rubbing, finger fidgeting, pretending to pick something off the floor, licking his lips, sticking out his tongue, facial grimacing, panting, repeating "chu chu chu," rubbing his feet on the floor, scraping the skin between his thumb and forefinger to the point of bleeding, and many more.
Try doing math with your fingers when they are required for ticcing. Or reading a book aloud when you have to lick your lips or swallow 3 times every few seconds. It's damn near impossible. Or using a computer mouse when your hands have to stay in tight fists all the time.
Academically, he's hit a wall because there seems to be no room in his brain for any additional input. There's been no substantial progression in his reading in almost a year. In the summer, when his tics were almost nonexistent, he hit a huge stride and was almost up to grade level in sight word recognition. His reading speed was improving, and he was understanding new math concepts. Suddenly, he has lost almost half of those previously mastered sight words, and his need to tic makes it increasingly challenging for him to even pay attention to any new lessons. Nothing can get in, and when it does, it doesn't stay in.
So, I'm left again with the medication conundrum. Treat the ADHD and watch him struggle through tics or try to teach him while he's pacing around the room and laughing hysterically? It's an impossible decision. At this point, I think I have to choose to try to decrease the tics, which means decreasing his ADHD meds while increasing the clonidine in the hope of some sort of balance. The Christmas break seems like a pretty good time to throw his brain into a blender, right?