Can You say 10 shopping day left until Christmas?! It's hard to believe but the year is nearly over. I have a lot of information to share with everyone so let's get on with the newsletter! I hope this newsletter finds everyone well and my best wishes to all for a joyous and safe holiday season!
- Dr. Dave's ADDvice -
Recently, a panel of experts on ADHD convened at the National Institute of Health (NIH) to review and summarize the current state of knowledge about ADD/ADHD. Among the issues discussed was the scientific status of alternative treatments.
This is an area that many people have a keen interest in, and for my column this month, I thought I would summarize the information on alternative treatments that was provided by one of the speakers at the conference.
The Scientific Status of Alternative Treatments for ADHD
Information on alternative treatments for ADHD was presented at the conference by Dr. Eugene Arnold, a psychiatrist. Based on his review of the existing research literature, Dr. Arnold rated the evidence supporting a variety of alternative treatments on a 0-6 scale. It is important to understand this scale before presenting the treatments. (Note that this is one person's opinion based on the existing data - other experts could certainly disagree). The scale he used is presented below:
0 - no supporting evidence and not worth considering further;
1 - based on a reasonable idea but no data available; These would be treatments not yet subjected to any real scientific study;
2 - Promising pilot data but no careful trial; These would be treatments where very preliminary work appears promising but where the treatment approach is in the very early stages of investigation.
3 - Supporting evidence beyond the pilot data stage but carefully controlled studies lacking; This would apply to treatments where only "open" trials and not double-blind controlled trials have been done.
(Let me briefly review the difference between an "open" trial and a double-blind trial because this is a very important distinction. Say you are testing the effect of a new medication on ADHD. In an open trial, you would just give the medication to the child, and then collect data on whether the child improved from either parents or teachers. The child, the child's parents, and the child's teacher would all know that the child was trying a new medication.
In a double-blind trial, the child would receive the new medicine for a period of time and a placebo for a period of time. Neither the child, parents, nor teacher would know when medication or placebo was being received. The same type of outcome data as above would be collected - during both the medication period and the placebo period.
The latter is considered to be a much more rigorous test of a new treatment - whether it be a new medication, a dietary intervention, or some other alternative - because it enables researchers to determine whether any changes reported/observed are above and beyond what can be attributed to a placebo effect. In an open trial, you can not be certain that any changes reported are actually the result of the treatment, as opposed to placebo effects alone. It is also the case that it is very hard for anyone to provide objective ratings of a child's behavior when they know that a new treatment is being tried. For these reasons, "open" trials - even if they yield very positive results - are considered to be only preliminary evidence in support of any new treatment.)
4 - One significant double-blind controlled trial that requires replication; (Note: Replicating a favorable double-blind study is very important. The literature is full of initially promising reports that could not be replicated.)
5 - Convincing double-blind controlled evidence but needs further refinement for clinical application. This rating would be given to treatments where replicated double-blind trials are available, but where it is not completely clear who the treatment is best suited for. For example, a treatment may be known to help children with ADHD, but it may be effective for only a minority of the ADHD population and the specific subgroup it is effective for is not clearly defined.
6 - A well established treatment for the appropriate subgroup.
Of the numerous alternative treatments reviewed by Dr. Arnold, no treatments received a rating of 6 and only one - dietary treatments that involve placing children on diets that eliminate their exposure to certain foods or food additives that they have allergic reactions to. Dr. Arnold concludes that there is convincing scientific evidence that some children who display symptoms of ADHD can derive significant benefits from appropriate dietary treatments. The important task, as he sees it, is to determine what percentage of the ADHD population dietary responders constitute (i.e. is it a very small minority of a larger proportion; the general view is that the percentage is quite small) and to better identify the child who is likely to respond to dietary treatment. Preliminary evidence suggests that the type of child most likely to respond is a preschooler with a history of prominent irritability and sleep disturbance. Dietary interventions are also more likely to be helpful if there is a family history of migraines, or if a parent can give a definite example of a food/behavior change connection.
There were two alternative treatments for which a rating of 4 was assigned (i.e. a convincing double blind trial that requires replication). This treatment involves relaxation training using a type of biofeedback procedure (i.e. EMG biofeedback). There is some preliminary evidence that relaxation training does result in reductions in ADHD symptoms (recall a recent article reviewed in ADHD RESEARCH UPDATE about the possible benefits of massage) and Dr. Arnold believes that this treatment approach warrants further investigation. It is not clear what the magnitude of the benefits are nor how long they would be expected to last.
The second treatment for which some positive data from controlled, double-blind trials exist is "deleading" (i.e. reducing lead levels in the bloodstream). Positive effects are restricted to those children who have elevated blood lead levels to begin with; for such children, Dr. Arnold argues that deleading would be the treatment of choice. To how low a blood lead level this treatment should extend is currently unknown.
Several alternative treatments received ratings of "3", indicating promising results from initial studies, but for which the necessary double-blind controlled studies are lacking. Several studies have found that essential fatty acids tend to be lower in children with ADHD, and some preliminary data suggests that supplementing fatty acids in children with ADHD who have been shown to have low levels of these substances may result in behavioral improvement. Controlled trials of fatty acid supplementation should be pursued, although one would expect any beneficial effect to be restricted to those children with ADHD who are first shown to be deficient in their levels of these substances.
Promising data from open trials of providing glyconutritional supplements (glyconutritional contain basic saccharides necessary for cell communication and formation of glycoproteins and lipids) have also been obtained. These results are from only 2 studies, however, with small sample sizes. Once again, placebo controlled trials are necessary.
Promising initial results using several types of mineral supplements have also been reported. Iron supplementation has been associated with improvements in parent behavior ratings for ADHD boys, although no comparable improvement in teacher ratings was found. Magnesium supplementation has also yielded some promising preliminary results for children with ADHD who were also none to be deficient in magnesium. No double blind trials of either type of supplement- ation have been conducted.
What about herbal treatments, an approach that is frequently touted? Two open trial studies using a "Chinese herbal cocktail" have reported extremely positive results, including the complete disappearance of all symptoms in 23 of 80 subjects with no recurrence for 6 months, and improvement reported in 90% of participants. Careful, controlled trials of Chinese herbal treatments are certainly warranted. (Interestingly, Dr. Arnold could not find any systematic data for using pycnogenol for treating ADHD, even though this is widely marketed via the Internet and other vehicles.)
Other treatments for which encouraging preliminary support has been reported include biofeedback, meditation, and some forms of perceptual stimulation and training. Controlled trials of all these approaches are lacking, however, and research on the latter two approaches has not been published in over 10 years.
A number of alternative treatments were assigned ratings of 0 by Dr. Arnold, indicating that he views them as being not worth pursuing.
Among these treatments are: eliminating sugar from children's diets, vitamin supplementation, amino acid supplementation, and hypnosis.
There would seem to be several general conclusions that can be drawn from Dr. Arnold's excellent review of alternative treatments for ADHD? First, in contrast to the more standard treatments of stimulant medication and behavioral therapy, there are no alternative treatments for which comparable empirical support exists. Thus, there is really no alternative treatment that one could responsibly recommend prior to trying more standard treatments (exceptions may be deleading for children with high blood lead levels and thyroid treatment for children with known thyroid dysfunction.)
Second, there are a number of promising alternative approaches that would be reasonable to consider if more standard treatments are not effective. Although the necessary data to support the more routine use of these alternatives does not yet exist, one hopes that the required double blind studies that provide support for these approaches will soon be available. Given some of the encouraging initial results reported for several approaches, it is somewhat surprising that more work in these areas has not been conducted.
Finally, it should be noted that several alternative treatments reviewed, if they are clearly demonstrated to be effective, are likely to apply to only a subgroup of the ADHD population. For example, it would not make sense to provide nutritional or mineral supplementation to a child who is not deficient in either area to begin with.
The above article recently appeared in ADHD RESEARCH UPDATE, the newsletter I publish to keep parents and professionals informed about the latest information about ADHD, and how new knowledge can be applied to help children with this condition. If you would like information about subscribing to this newsletter, or would like to view a recent issue, just click on this link: www.helpforadd.com/subscribe.htm I've got a special subscription offer for the holidays that you may want to take advantage of.
Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season.
Classroom Coaching: Bringing Skills On-Line
One of the many challenges faced by teachers, counselors, and parents when coaching emotional and social skills to children is how to foster the use of tools at the point when they are most needed, i.e., the point of performance. Many children can learn new skills when they are presented in a neutral environment, free of environmental pressures. But when the pressure heats up in the form of teasing classmates, teachers who ignore their raised hand, and temptations to misbehave, it can be hard for these children to summon the internal language needed to bring the skills "on-line."
In this second article addressing the classroom , I will focus upon how to coach "anticipation skills" so that children can prepare themselves to respond skillfully to environmental pressures and demands. This begins with an explanation by the "coach" (teacher, counselor, or parent) about the importance of anticipation. For the sake of practicality, narrative examples will illustrate a variety of ways that coaches can translate the coaching model into classroom application.(Classroom coaching is not necessarily conducted by a teacher, but only assumes that the instruction is being delivered to a large number of children.) In this first illustration, a teacher offers a framework for introducing anticipation skills:
"Imagine that you are driving to a vacation with your family. It's going to take a few hours to get there, and none of you have been there before. Your parents have directions, but they need more to get to where you all want to go. Think about it. What else makes it possible for people to drive places they have never been before, and actually arrive there without getting lost? (pause for answers) Those of you who were thinking about road signs are right. Road signs help drivers because they direct us to our destinations. In order to do that, they give helpful information about how many miles it will take, how fast we should go, and just as important, what we should look out for along the way. Signs do that by telling us about upcoming twists and turns in the road, traffic lights ahead, and exits that we need to prepare for so that we can slow down and turn off where we need to."
This opening example uses metaphor to introduce the subject. Driving serves as a useful analogy because it requires practice, skill, and many relevant issues (laws, accidents, penalties, etc.) have counterparts in the interpersonal world of children (rules, conflict, consequences, etc.) Thus, classroom coaches may find it helpful to refer to the driving metaphor during coaching discussions. Next, I return to the narrative, with the teacher demonstrating how driving a car and being a kid have similarities:
"Signs allow us to anticipate what is down the road, so that when we get there we won't be too surprised. For instance, exit signs tell drivers to get ready to slow down and change lanes so that when it is time to turn it can be done safely. Anticipation means the ability to prepare ourselves for what's ahead of us, whether it be driving or anything else. Why is this important to kids? (pause for answers) Just like speed limits that change depending upon where we drive, kids go from place to place, and must deal with different rules in different places. In school, the rules change a little depending upon whether you're at recess, lunch, in the library, free time in class, or group lesson time at your desk. In each one of these places, the rules are a little different, whether it be talking, walking around, running around, raising your hand, and so on. Kids who anticipate what the rules are in these different places don't get into trouble as much and do a better job at steering themselves.
Sometimes the rules in different places are posted on the walls, just like road signs. But most times, the rules are not posted and kids may not use their anticipation skills to keep themselves within the rules."
Once the classroom coach has brought the discussion to this point, it's time to explain how kids can improve their ability to anticipate what skills will be needed, and how to "hold them in mind" in order to be accessed when necessary. This latter concept refers to the ability to use mental scripts, or self-talk messages, that can be matched to the specific demands of the environment. The goal is for children to retrieve the right "mental road sign" for their present place, but this requires varying degrees of coaching assistance depending upon needs of each child:
"Let's go back to driving for a minute. Even though drivers use signs to get to where they want to go, there are many rules that do not appear on signs. So how do drivers know what to do? (pause for answers) If it starts to rain, there's no sign that tells them to turn on their windshield wipers. If there's a car pulled over on the side of the road, there's no sign that says slow down because somebody might need help. The rain and the car on the roadside are clues that drivers look out for. Drivers need to watch carefully for clues to anticipate what to do. And as clues appear, drivers give themselves directions about what to do. Inside their minds, drivers think about what they should do as they keep their eyes on the road.
"Most kids do the same thing. They learn how to look out for clues that help them stay within the rules. Clues help kids anticipate the rules. But if kids don't notice the clues, they can't use them to anticipate what to do. For instance, if a kid is clowning around and walks backward into the classroom, he won't see the teacher motioning for everyone to be quiet as they enter. Let's say he's laughing out loud about something he heard at recess, retelling the joke, and wham - he slams right into the teacher! Now, there's a kid in for a bumpy ride.
"But what if the kid had been looking out for clues as he walked back into the school building from recess? Most kids use walking-back-into-the-building as the clue to change behavior from clowning around to straightening out. If this boy had picked up that clue, he could use it to anticipate what to do. Maybe he could have directed himself, 'I'm back in school now. I've got to stop laughing and acting silly. I'll find a good time later to tell my friends about this joke.'
"When kids pick up clues they are much better at figuring out what to do. Walking into school is only one clue. Who knows other school clues that tell kids to give themselves directions?" (pause for answers)
At this juncture, coaches can offer a list of clues that help reinforce observation skills.
Children are taught how clues may be auditory, visual, kinesthetic, or a combination. Auditory clues include verbal instruction, ringing of the school bell, singing of others, etc. Visual clues include facial expression, body posture, hand gestures, etc. Kinesthetic clues include walking into school, opening doors, etc. Depending upon the age of the group, others may be added to this list. Next, comes a discussion of the need for self-instruction:
"Once kids have picked up the important clues around them, it's important to know what to do. This can also be tricky for some kids who are not used to giving themselves the right kind of directions. Let's go back to our backwards walking friend for a moment: he first told himself, 'I've got to tell all my friends this incredibly funny joke, no matter what.' We all know that was the wrong direction to give himself because it didn't anticipate that he was going to crash right into the teacher and her rules.
"Giving yourself the right directions is kind of like figuring out the road signs that fit the place you are in at any given time. Sometimes the road signs are simple to figure out, such as "BE QUIET" or "SAY THANK YOU" or "RAISE YOUR HAND BEFORE YOU SPEAK." But sometimes the road signs are a lot harder to figure out and you need to pay much closer attention to the clues. For instance, "RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY" or "ACCEPT NO FOR AN ANSWER" or "I CAN'T ALWAYS EXPECT TO BE CALLED ON EVEN IF I KNOW THE RIGHT ANSWERS."
"These road signs are harder to figure out for a lot of kids. They require that kids carefully look out for clues. Some clues come from watching the people around you and thinking about what keeps things going smoothly for them. Other clues come from thinking about what happened the last time you were dealing with this kind of situation. The way things did or did not work out in the past gives kids clues about what they should direct themselves to do the next time around."
Coaches can proceed from this point with a discussion of typical self-instruction messages that children can employ for improved social and emotional functioning.
The text from Parent Coaching Cards can be used as examples and/or as a springboards for coaching sessions targeting specific skill areas. Once the coach has chosen a finite number (between 5-10) to begin with, children can be made aware of which self-instruction messages fit with which situations. Increased reinforcement will also come from teachers encouraging children to figure out in advance of transitions, which skills need to be brought to mind. Social and emotional skills can also be woven into discussions within subject areas (social studies, reading, science. etc.) that reflect the skills in question, i.e., teachers can ask children which skills were displayed by Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King, etc.
Dr. Steven Richfield
In resonse to Dr. Rabiner's colum, ADDed Addvice, this response was received from Jane Hersey which I included in last months newsletter, out of context. At this time, I would like to reprint Jane's letter in it's entirety for the benefit of my readers.
To: email@example.com Subject: Dr. Rabiner's comments Dear Brandi,
In his recent article Dr. Rabiner writes that there is not scientific support for ADHD treatments other than drugs, behavioral parent training and contingency management interventions. This is not the case.
Even the very early studies in the 1970s offered much supportive data that certain foods and food additives can trigger what was then being called hyperactivity. In fact, the Harley study (often reported as disproving this connection) had an amazing result. Of the 10 preschool children who were placed on the Feingold diet all 10 of the mothers reported that their children had responded favorably.
Later studies added additional support. In 1985 Egger showed that in a double blind challenge, yellow dye could trigger hyperactivity in sensitive boys.
Kaplan (1989) found that a diet similar to (but less careful than) the Feingold diet yielded 58% success in preschoolers.
The two best designed studies to date were both published in medical journals in 1994. Boris showed that foods and additives can trigger symptoms of ADD and ADHD. Rowe demonstrated that yellow dye No.5 can bring about disturbed behavior.
Then in 1997 Uhlig et al. found that ADHD children who were given foods that were known offenders experienced changes in brain activity that could be measured by EEGs.
All of this is probably why the recent NIH panel wrote (in their second draft report) that: "Some of the dietary elimination strategies showed intriguing results suggesting future research."
If your readers would like to have more information on these studies or on the outcome of the NIH Consensus Development Conference on ADHD they can request complimentary information from the Virginia office of the Feingold Association: (703) 768-3287.
ADDult Contentby Bob Seay add.miningco.com Hope for the Holidays
The Holidays bring lot of things - extra food, extra shopping... and extra stress. Two out of three ain't bad...
So, while we can make no promises about helping you with those 5 to 10 extra pounds that the average person will gain from November to January, we can offer a few pointers about making it to the New Year with your sanity still intact - even if your waistband isn't.
For many of us, this time of year means getting together with family or loved ones. Just because we love these people does not mean that they can't bring some stress into our lives. As we pack up the suitcase to go see the folks, it is very likely that we are packing a lot of emotional baggage as well.
Unfortunately, because of this added baggage, some people with ADD (or with an ADD child) may prefer to just avoid the entire family reunion thing altogether. That is really sad. Grandparents have an important role in the life of a child, and ADD Children are no exception.
Special survival skills are needed on ALL sides when ADD people reunite with their families and loved ones during the holidays. Whether the ADDer in your family is your child, your spouse, or you, there are some things that you are just going to have to be ready to deal with.
For many, getting together with the Grandparents presents a chance to speak honestly about how your ADD Child is doing in school and to talk about parenting or other problems. But, while some families may be accepting, others may struggle with their personal beliefs about what constitutes good parenting. Discipline, grades, the kid's appearance can all become potential battlegrounds. Medication is an especially volatile and emotional issue. There is even an organization for Grandparents Against Ritalin, which has many well meaning Grandmothers among its membership.
How do you deal with all of this?
Make a decision about being how much to say to each family member about your child's ADD before your visit. You may not want to tell everyone in the family that your son or daughter has ADD. Don't assume that you know how someone will react to the news that their grandchild or nephew or whatever is taking Ritalin. Be ready to deal with some of the Myths of ADD.
Another strong consideration is your child's own right to privacy. If you choose to stand up at Christmas Dinner and say "... God bless us everyone - by the way, I have ADD." that is one thing. But be careful about making such a public announcement about your child. He or she may not want that news to be public knowledge. Respect those sensitivities.
If you do decide to share, realize that your family's reaction to you may not be because your child is ADD.
The hectic holiday pace may cause family members to act differently than they would under less stressful conditions. There is also a certain shock factor that may be expected.
It is natural for your parents to have questions about ADD. If so, try to explain it as best you can. You may even want to look at the FAQ page before you go so you can anticipate their concerns.
Telling your parents that ADD has a strong genetic component and tends to run in families is probably not a good idea at this point.
Of course, you could say "It's from his father's/mother's family.", which might get you off the hook temporarily, but will almost certainly make the next visit to your in-laws quite interesting to say the least.
Recognize that your parents need time to acknowledge and accept that they have an ADD grandchild. It took you time to come to terms with this - now it is their turn. As long as they are kind to you and your family, let them work on it at their own pace and in their own way.
Be discreet about giving/taking medications. Don't make a big production about giving your child his or her meds -especially if there are little non-ADD cousins running around who might tease him about it later.
Do not argue about medications in front of your child.
Although some people recommend taking a "medication holiday" (that is, not using medication for a period of time) when the child is not in school, this is probably not the best time to do that. Your child will be more excitable because of the holiday, strange surroundings and just the general change in routine brought on by this time of year. Don't use a visit to Grandma's as the testing ground to see how he or she can do without their medication.
Unless you have this real need to inflict pain on your parents...
Take care, and have a wonderful holiday season.
Growing up and being a "handful" caused much turmoil and frustration, especially when the information on what to take and do for a child with learning and behavioral problems was incredibly limited. In high school I was voted one of ten for my "Lion Pride," which meant that I was very social, into sports, and had some spunk. (I remember being sent out into the hallway in high school and then getting in trouble for talking to someone I knew passing by.)
I have joked about the reason for my parents not getting a divorce was due to no one's wanting custody of me; unfortunately, there was a lot of truth to that. With hardly any knowledge about nutrition, I must admit to being moody, stubborn, and probably a bunch of other things. Don't get me wrong, I was well liked and brought up properly, but my choices of diet (that my parents couldn't monitor) led to weight gain and mood swings. Plus, I believe that I had Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD), extreme during childhood and mellowing out throughout the years is a result of nutrition, supplementation, and growth. My weight problems is not to the degree or level that it used to be either. We have all sorts of health problems on both sides of my family and we've all developed a healthy respect for preventative measures.
What has led to the writing of this book has been a strong urge from the Almighty himself, a tremendous amount of desperation, depression, frustration, disbelief in the system, and having a son with some problems. When he was about two years of age, I realized he had learning and behavioral problems. Early on, I noticed that red and yellow dyes sent him into orbit. An extreme amount of sugar did the same thing, and sodas led to additional behavioral problems. My son was susceptible to colds, infections, and allergies. When he got a cold, the hyperactivity was tripled.
My mother started me on the documentation of doctor visits and what we found out about what triggered my son's behavior. The poor little guy was sent home from daycare, couldn't keep a sitter, and one of his first grade teachers wanted to keep him back a year. He had a problem with self esteem and that didn't help matters. We (my parents and I) practiced with him at home on a daily basis (except for Sundays). His behavior during the first seven years went from bad to worse. I knew that something was wrong, but I couldn't put a finger on it. Verbal outbursts and physical harm to himself and others had to be addressed.
Initially, I didn't have the faith that I have now. I prayed hoping there really is a God of the Bible and because of my trials and tribulations, I can say without a doubt-The Lord is more real to me than you the reader. As it was, I didn't realize there were people praying for me to develop a relationship with the Lord. A woman I worked with never pushed me or preached to me and even when I came to her asking some questions she still didn't push me, which was the best things she could've done. Eventually, I asked her if I could go to church with her and she never let on how thrilled she was. The Lord had coached her well!
When I went into the church, a pretty festive youth revival was going on. I was totally taken off guard when a man stood up and told the congregation that the Lord had told him that there was someone in church that day wanted to get saved and have a relationship with the Lord. They hadn't planned for an interruption in the program, but I knew it was me and the Lord knew it was me. I'm not saying to have success with your child this is for you, but I can tell you that I don't feel alone anymore and through God I've been able to bear the pain.
So much has happened so quickly since my new relationship. First of all, Jon was diagnosed with ADHD. He was put on Ritalin and then clonidine was added as an aid for sleeping a deterrent to aggression. Next came the continual increasing of dosages and options for adding or changing medications, and some counseling was added to our list. The last straw was when they wanted to increase my son to 70 mg. of Ritalin along with his clonidine.
Meanwhile, I had been going to meetings and conferences on ADHD. My quest for knowledge to help my son was beginning to consume me. I started with the health food stores and tried what they had, but each one acted like a placebo to my son. I worked on educating those who were in contact with my son and also, getting them to work with me so my son wouldn't be labeled. My son would cry from not being able to control himself and wanting to be a good boy. We tried all kinds of discipline techniques recommended by doctors, but they only helped him to try a little harder, this was literally something he couldn't control. I spoke at a teacher conference on parent/teacher strategies for a child with learning problems, and those strategies kept my son in school. But the solution was not yet in reach. Fortunately, the nurse at my son's school told me about a teacher who has a son with ADHD and was using herbal drops with some success. Students were having a new chance at education and life. There began the start of many struggles toward success. The herbs made sense, since they dealt with the nervous system and blood flow to the drugs covered they symptoms till the drug(s) wore off, but led to the recurrence of symptoms. Some prescription drugs lead to other deficiencies within the body and they work as a catalyst. I didn't understand the reason for this initially and was just trying to keep my sanity in dealing with the situations presented. I feel for people going through this and the heartache involved, but as I shall show you, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The herbal drops had ingredients that worked with the nervous system and the circulatory system. This meant they expedited the process of cleansing the blood so that it flowed much more easier and quickly to the brain. The foods and drinks that we put into our bodies make our blood flow sluggish; and it takes that much longer to get to the brainwithout cleansing. Different herbal ingredients worked with relaxation and the neuro-transmitters. This concentration level would be greatly increased.
Initially, we added the herbal drops to the prescription drugs, slowly increasing the number of drops and decreasing the prescription drug. I began to document the results on a daily basis to be able to monitor and adjust as necessary. (Every individual is different and with different needs.) Fortunately, the school nurse was up on policies of medications, etc., and unless the drops said they were a "cure all," she was able to give them to my son. O course, I did have to sign a document with what I wished to have done for the school records. I informed my son's teacher of what was going on and received her daily input as to his performance in all areas of class, were especially helpful in the behavioral department. Behavioral outbursts consisted of threats, hurting himself, yelling, calling other names, stomping, and flaying himself around uncontrollably. This is what happened at school and at home; add to this compulsive hand washing, wanting to wear the same clothes over and over again, telling me that nothing felt right on his body, and all hell breaking loose. I was continually striving to keep my sanity, faith, and not lose control. When my son was out of his prescription, the addition of bad language could be added.
I had my son in counseling for a time; the counselors were not happy at all with the thought of going natural to balance his extreme problems. The documentation of all his visits was interesting to say the least. One counselor thought that I had great parental skills and was doing what was required. The other counselor said that my son had no problems and I was an overbearing mother figure. This situation was taken care of immediately and efficiently. My son has not been back! I must say the one counselor had very good suggestions for coping with my son's behavioral problems and because of her I am not completely disenchanted with counselors. I do believe there are many counselors out there who really want to help and do, but ask for your records occasionally to see where you both are at.
I got a document from the physician stating that I had taken my son off prescription drugs without his approval. This was a step towards the unlabeling of my son. Then came the getting insurance and like bad credit, taking and wiping the slate clean over a period of time to get re-established. I would recommend Hall Benefit Group highly for this.
I finally got my son off the prescription drugs and onto the herbal drops with a multiple vitamin, liquid silver, melatonin, and pynogemin. (E'OLA & health food store). These additions were taken at home to help him flush out his system of impurities and stabilize his sleep patterns. Along with this, I learned more and more about other foods that might be triggering some of his behaviors and Jon thought it was big stuff to tell the other kids how I made homemade bread and all other kinds of stuff for him, though I'm sure my son wondered if he'd ever be able to eat store bought bread and was dreaming about other foods, too. The teacher and nurse at school noticed the results we began to achieve and by working together, my son passed onto another grade.
My son within months was taken off the melatonin and began to naturally get sleepy at bedtime and sleep throughout the night, instead of sneaking around the house etc. I woke up many a morning to find things out in the kitchen and the television on. I would go in to wake him and he'd already be sleeping with his school clothes on. All these things began to dissipate over time. I was finally beginning to fell like a real person who wasn't always on the edge of an emotional breakdown from trying so hard to cope with all I felt hit with from every angle. (Friends, family, school, and people who weren't familiar) Was told by a woman I worked for that I was obsessed with my son and needed to get my head out of my __ _. So, that's when I decided to get really obsessed later on and started to write this book. (Feeling a bit spunky, oh yeah!) But that happened much later! Everything happens for a reason.
Next my son started going through a growth spurt and when different symptoms started to come back, it wasn't pretty at all. He had achieved so much success and I didn't want a setback. I went through the list of what was going on and decided that there was a lot more to balancing than what I had initially started with. I began gathering books from thrift stores, the library, and anywhere else I could quickly lay my hands on them. I read up on the herbs, too. The compulsive behavior had to be addressed immediately, before my son was taken out of school.
He began to take vitamins to reduce behavioral symptoms. This consisted of more Vitamin C, a stress B-complex, multiple vitamin/mineral combination, calcium/magnesium combination, and Vitamin E. My parents about had a coronary, but I had witnessed the initial success and knew about that I had been researching. I proceeded with much caution realizing that it would take a certain amount of time to see any results. In the meantime, I did need to see some immediate results in the behavioral department. Again, after much research, I decided upon Valerian root, Kava Kava, and St. John's Wort. This was before all the hoopla began about them.
Success was established and the visions of policemen coming to my door to see what all the noise was about... and me asking them to wait just one moment so that I could get out all my documentation so they'd see it was my son abusing himself, and not me abusing him.
The multiple vitamin/mineral combination and the rest were taken after dinner, because that gave them time to be absorbed into the system and start working. Taking them in the morning would be literally flushing money down the toilet! Surrounding myself with knowledgeable people who were willing to share information was a continuous blessing. Each child and adult has different needs caused by many factors. I could go into that here, but then what would I have for my theory and controversy chapter?
Needless, to say, my son balanced out with even better results and began topractice a considerable amount of control at home and school. The key to the success of this is not to give up no matter what! Look at growth spurts as challenges to address and being able to make believers out of others. Always explain to your child the reasons to take the drops, each vitamin, etc. Take the guesswork and punishment idea out of their heads, plus do the program you set up with them (with alterations for yourself). This builds trust and a sense of fellowship. Explaining that we all have behaviors and problems that we need to work on takes the labeling out the door. I, myself, haven't seen one 100%sane and balanced person yet!
My son is now bringing home reports of what a wonderful kid he is and is able to make good friendships with others. He is well liked by all and I'm extremely proud of him. Jon feels very proud that his picture is on the front and that we're together in helping others to lead full and productive lives. I'm not going to tell you that I still don't have to deal with the normal kid stuff, because he still loses privileges on occasion. But I feel that we're a team and have a lot to offer the whole family. Jon's my biggest blessing. I'd do it all again.
My book covers theory/controversy, personal favorites, tests available, misdiagnosis, documentation, Attention Deficit, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Compulsive behavior, Autism, Tourettes, Vitamins, Minerals, Trace Elements, Organizations, and much more. The price is $30.90 which includes price, tax, and shipping. Send to Michelle Davis P.O. Box 10757 Prescott, AZ 86304. I want to thank those of you who have taken the time to write me with your situations. It's great to be able to give back what God has given me. Thank you.
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To be……yourself…or not to be….. yourself. This sounds familiar, huh? While Shakespeare definitely gets credit for these profound words, with a slight modification his words are never more true today than with teenagers. Call it peer pressure, wanting to fit in, or being part of a group or clique, many kids give up who they are for what they think they should be. Probably one of the most difficult things you have facing you today is the quest to be yourself.
From the advertising (TV, magazines, commercials, etc.) that constantly bombards you with messages to be this way or that way, to the group you hang with at school, you, no doubt, feel the pressure. Wear the right clothes, drive a cool car, go to the right parties, don't be too smart and make really outstanding grades ( you may be categorized as a propeller head), drink, smoke or try some type of drug, date the person who fits the mold, succumb to what everyone else is doing…..all for the sake of being what others are dictating you should do and be. The big risk in your mind if you don't "fit in" might be the idea or reality of e-x-c-l-u-s-i -o-n. Some kids absolutely cannot deal with this, while others can if they have better understanding of what's happening and how to deal with it. So, is there any magic bullet or quick fix? No. But, you can read the rest of this article which will give you some seeds of thought and even ideas to ponder. You're going to end up doing what you want to in the long run, but if you're armed with better information and increased understanding, you'll most likely make much better decisions!
There's a saying which goes something like this…."In your teens you worry about what people are saying about you. In your 20s you don't what people are saying about you, and in your 30s you realize that people weren't saying anything about you in the first place." This is a definite truth. Most people don't spend their time talking about Y-O-U. We live in a short-attention-span society and after a brief time whatever it was that was buzzing is soon gone. The message here is don't overreact to what you "think" others are saying. If you don't want to drink at a party, then stand your ground, dig in your heels and say "no." Strength and conviction are the keywords here. In the long run your gains far outweigh the losses. Chalk one up for self-respect, self-discipline, and sticking to your guns. This will make you UNIQUE.
Probably one of the best ways teens can be unique is to try not to be unique. Sounds like a paradox right? Oftentimes a distorted concept of unique entails dressing like the group, talking like the group, going to the same places as the group, behaving like the group, setting your expectations like the group. Gads! If this is unique, then point me in the direction of conformity! March to the beat of your own drum; if you know something is wrong or if something doesn't feel right (that's your gut talking to you and it's usually right), then be different, say so. Have enough confidence in yourself to be able to stand alone-win, lose or draw-you're standing up for something. Remember, if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. This is definitely a way to be unique.
Great authors, poets and philosophers like Robert Frost, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Albert Einstein have talked and written about what makes a person unique. Emerson wrote that the height of individualism was to "trust thyself"; read his work, "Self-Reliance," and you will see exactly what he means. Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken" also addresses the idea of separating yourself from the masses. The final lines of the poem, "two roads diverged in a wood, and I/I took the one less traveled by,/ And that has made all the difference," speak volumes about being unique. Finally, Einstein stated, "He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake….".
These ideas and words are the essence of being yourself and not falling into the cookie-cutter trap. These dudes were definitely unique; in fact, during their own times they were unique enough to be on the outside looking in. Now, however, their uniqueness has become "classic" thereby living on and on and on.
If you look at the definition of unique it's obvious that group mentality does not fit the meaning ….according to my Franklin wordmaster unique is defined as "being one or more of which there exist no others." So, if your mission is to be like the supposed "unique" group you want to belong to or be a part of, be it the hard-rockers, dead-heads, surfers, preppies, Grateful Dead followers, athletes or nerds, then you've defeated your purpose before you've even started.
Being an individual is tough at all ages, not just during the teen years. As you move on in life, it may be the "yuppie" or "keeping up with the Joneses" syndrome. While we all need some group identity, if you sacrifice your own standards, values, and morals for the sake of belonging then there's a problem. Whoever YOU are, be the best YOU that YOU can be and be true to the real YOU. You'll find that simply by following that rule you'll be on the road to being really UNIQUE!
Right now, my third grade students are counting the days to Christmas break. Some of my parents are dreading them. Don't get them wrong, they love their sweet darlings, but two unstructured weeks of sweets, stockings, shopping, Santa, snow et. al. is more than enough.
The holidays can be a time of great joy and great frustration for any parent: But the parent of an ADHD child deserves hazardous duty pay. If you would try to invent a more disruptive, distracting season, you could not. First we change their daily routines by canceling school for two weeks. Then we take them to a dozen stores to buy things for them, but say they can't have them until Christmas. We bake gobs of goodies and even hang candy from the tree. Many of us travel to unknown places a gazillion miles from home to visit relatives with extremely fragile and incredibly expensive knick knacks everywhere.
After days of anticipation and stockings filled with candy, we finally open gifts and witness the joy in their faces as they rip wrappings and marvel at their booty. Only to hear 15 minutes later, "I'm bored!"
As they begin to settle down from all the hoopla of Christmas, we keep them up all night to watch a ball drop and hear "Ole Lang Syne". Completely off their sleep schedule, we whisk them off to more relatives, food, snacks, and parties. The saving grace is that after all this we can ship them off to school again!:)
So how can we make the Yuletide more enjoyable and less hyper. Here are
seven hints for the hyper holidays.
Hint 1. Build in Routine - ADHD people of any age do not handle change well. We tend to become more distractible make poorer decisions and therefore, we can be more irritable. Try establishing as much routine in the schedule as possible. Get them up at the same time, have meals at the same time, plan special activities at the same time each day. For example, you may want to use 2PM - 4PM as "Christmas Prep" time. Use this time to take them shopping one day, bake cookies another, and decorate the house another. This way they will not need to bug you about these things.
I know it is impossible to make every day routine or plan every moment; however, the more predictable the schedule, the more relaxed everyone can be.
Hint 2. Create Traditions. - Traditions are just another form of routine, except that they extend from year to year. my parents started an Advent Calendar one year, the whole family looked forward to unveiling the dates on the calendar each year.
In my home we have several traditions. Every Christmas Eve after church, we go to marvel at overly decorated homes, visit some friends, play games and when we get home, my girls open one gift before going to bed--usually pajamas. These traditions serve as anchors in the midst of change.
Hint 3. Practice New Experiences. Role playing and preparing you child for a new experience, or one they haven't done in a while, is a powerful tool. If you are going caroling at a nursing home, try practicing talking to people in wheel chairs, give them some idea of what to expect and how to act. Explain that some people will be in bed and very sick with tubes everywhere. But whenever possible, do more than just till them, practice the proper behavior.
Hint 4. Be Consistent. One of the biggest mistakes made by well-meaning parent is they will make exceptions to their rules. The confuses the ADHD child. If they can do some once, they assume they can do it again.
Once, I decided to let my students violate my rule of no food in the classroom. I let them get sodas after last break one hot day. It took over two weeks before I stopped hearing "can we have sodas?"
The more consistent you can be the better your child will respond to you rules.
Hint 5. Limit Sweets. It may be next to impossible to completely restrict sweets, but limiting them is a good idea. Some people believe that sugar can make some people hyper. I don't. I think hyper people seek sugar to self-medicate.
When I was a child, I was not allowed to go to the local 7-Eleven. So when I received my allowance, I walked my dog, Chipper, and happened to pass by 7-Eleven. Of course, since I was there, I decided to go in. I purchased tow cans of chocolate fudge frosting and preceded to eat them straight from the cans. The sugar did not make me hyper, my hyperness caused me to crave sugar for the added energy.
Hint 6. Travel Tactically. - This summer I asked the people who received my free email newsletter for travel tips. Many responded with variation of the same theme; keep them occupied.
Many parents swear by books on tapes that the whole family would like. Others suggest travel packs filled with activities, toys and games that is only for the car. Others even suggest bringing a VCR and TV. Whatever your approach the trick is to mix it up so they don't get too bored.
Hint 7. OOPS! Look What I Found. Many people take a Twelve Day of Christmas approach to gift giving. They spread the presents over several days. This way, if they get bored with a gift one day, there will be another one tomorrow. Gifts may get more use this way.
Maybe spreading out gift-giving is too radical a departure from tradition. If so, I suggest planning for the inevitable, "I'm bored" by with holding one gift for later in the day.
The Pierce Family wishes all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope these seven hints will bring some added peace to the holidays.
Rick Pierce, The Hyperactive Teacher, offers a free newsletter. Email him at hyper@ns. net with "subscribe" in the subject line. Rick has posted his entire book, "How to Help an ADD Child Succeed in Life" on his website at www.hyperactiveteacher.com as well as other articles he has written. Please visit. If it has been a while you may be amazed how much information about ADD is on that one site.
That does it for this edition of ADDed Attractions. Take care and Merry Christmas. If you have any announcements or information you'd like to share in ADDed attractions please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to me at P.O.Box 473, Browns Valley, Calif 95918.
NATURAL AND ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES FOR ADHD: www.naturaladd.com
Copyright 1998 Brandi Valentine. All rights reserved. This Newsletter is copyrighted by the authors and/or publisher. ADDed Attractions may be used for non-commercial purposes only and may not be redistributed for commercial purposes without the express written consent of Brandi Valentine.
Appropriate credit should be given to this resource and it's authors if It is reproduced in any form. Brandi Valentine
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