I don't work in psych, or with kids; I have long been concerned about the increasing trend of medicating children, particularly as so many of the drugs are powerful, have significant side-effects, and aren't tested in children.
However, the behaviour of my autistic godson had been worsening since Easter. He's twelve, and went from being increasingly verbal to almost mute; he screamed for twenty hours at a time, threw objects at his teachers, and destroyed a glass door at school; he went from being wholly toilet trained to needing to be dragged, screaming, to the toilet. Starting with needing the lights out in the room he was in, within a month all the lights in the house needed to be off all the time, the curtains had to be closed all the time, and he wore sunglasses all day.
After seeing a paediatrician who specialises in autistic adolescents (who recommended an antipsychotic) he was referred to a paediatric neurologist. The referral letter was read by monitor light. According to the neurologist these symptoms are all manifestations of anxiety, which is not uncommon in autistic kids as they hit adolescence. The better they're doing, the harder they fall.
My godson started on a low-dose SSRI about seven weeks ago - he's now up to second-daily doses. He laughs, talks (a little), and the lights are not only on but the curtains can be open on occasion.
While I agree that these drugs should be used with caution, and parents should be told more about them, there are clearly situations where they are an appropriate treatment.