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My daughter is twelve, and she has autism.  I diary about her from time to time, as I find her a pretty fascinating kid.

She's an artist, and I have a website for her.  It's

EllieCastellanos.com

I started this as a blog entry for my blog there, but I would appreciate some input on this particular insight, so I thought I'd post it here as as well.

Ellie skinned her knee.

Gajillions of children do it all around the world on any given day.  The human body being what it is, knees are tough knobby things and they heal up pretty nicely.

Unless you’re Ellie.

I was going to write, unless you have autism, but the one thing I’ve learned over and over again is that kids with autism are one of a kind.  Each kid’s issues may be as different as a snowflake.

One of Ellie’s issues is compulsiveness.  She takes Zoloft right now – she’s been taking it for a while and I didn’t truly understand what it was for until I took her off it last summer thinking she was doing so well she didn’t need it anymore.

At her next appointment with the psychiatrist who manages her medication, I said, “She’s been super compulsive lately.” and he said, “What’s her dosage for Zoloft now?” and I said “Oh, she hasn’t been taking it lately.” and he smiled at me in a funny way and said, “that may be why she is so compulsive lately.  That’s what Zoloft is for.” and I said, “Well, I guess I’m an idiot, then.”

We increased her dose when she turned twelve due to her becoming adult sized, but she’s still been pretty compulsive.  Not scary bad, but pretty bad.

Back to the skinned knee.  One of her compulsive issues is picking at scabs.  She picks them clean, and she doesn’t wait for the cut to heal before she does it.  So now she has an ugly open thing on her knee that is going to leave a scar, like the one on her hand from a very ugly compulsive incident that was a side effect of a different medication.  I look at that scar a lot.

She won’t keep a band-aide on it.  Re-directing leads to more focusing on the compulsion.  I’m considering keeping Neosporin on it at all times to make the scabs taste bad,  (Did I mention she eats the scabs?  No?  I was hoping to avoid that disclosure) but then I worry I’m poisoning her.

I guess my biggest question is at what point do her compulsions warrant increasing her dose again.  When do compulsions cross that line between being annoying and being debilitating?

Originally posted to coquiero on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 06:34 AM PDT.

Also republished by Parenting on the Autism Spectrum and KosAbility.

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