While I suspected this before and had stopped giving Zachary claritin off and on, I am now completely positive that it affected his mood and behavior. He had been back on it for the past few weeks because his allergies were getting bad. When Zachary's allergies are bad, not only does he have to typical allergic symptoms but he wakes up overnight with night terrors (which I've begun to wonder if they are related to breathing troubles while sleeping--apnea maybe..) Why it took me more than 2 weeks to finally have an "AHA" moment is beyond me, but finally I did. Sunday was the first day after not taking claritin and there was a noticeable improvement. Yesterday he initiated his reading lessons, read his own chores on the chore chart and *did* them all with, to quote Zach, "a smile on my face!" I believe that Zachary feels the difference too; I'm glad he's feeling the improvement but I'm so mad at myself for not catching it sooner.
Safety is such a worry to me. Zach doesn't retain safety rules like other kids do, and it can be scary. We had been playing out front a couple months ago and the ball we were using went into the street several times. Zachary darted out into the street a few times, even with reminders and a time out on the step. It's not him being "bad", he just forgets. The last time he ran out a van was coming down the road and nearly hit him, it was very close. Zach also seems to have no concept of stranger-danger/safety, and that terrifies me (I know I sound paranoid-hey just ask the teens in this house they'll agree). The biggest problem with all of this is that he is trying to become more independent, he wants to be more independent...it's something that has taken time to come but is finally arriving, yet I have to temper it with my knowledge of his level of safety concepts. As he gets older and the struggles become more apparent, my heart aches; but I am so thankful he is able to express affection and love (many spectrum kids have a hard time with that) because my heart is instantly soothed by a spontaneous hug or a funny "Zachism."
I know the key is consistency and repetition on my part and I'll continue. I am so lucky and blessed with the people that appeared in our lives when Zachary was very little; Kathy and Bambi, in Maine, helped both of us begin to see things in a different light and to look for whatever path we need to help.