It's also important to note that progress takes time, patience and a good deal of love and understanding. Looking from the outside in to the natural healing realm, it is overwhelming to say the least. Take small bites, allow time for digestion and have an open mind. You never know where good information, answers to questions or progress will come from. Try to keep a positive outlook and find the silver lining; I've enjoyed my journey so much so that it has inspired me to start my own consulting business on health and learning to keep the focus on you. As a parent to one of these very special and unique people, I learned that I have to take care of myself first and foremost. These kids are relying on us and we have to have a very steady and sure foundation beneath our feet.
I have listed out some of the top supplements, tests, and other resources that have helped me through my son's diagnosis.
One of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself is that of support and there are great blogs, websites, and communities that can offer just that. Be sure to take a look at my Parenting page for other great tidbits to help smooth out some of the rougher edges at home.
In my personal opinion, seek out a Neuropsychologist that will do some testing with your child as to really target what issues your child is suffering from or struggling with. Most kids with ADHD oftentimes have several other disorders as well. It's unfortunate, but is true. Your doctor will also provide you with various options and suggestions for managing the diagnosis.
Known Neurological and Physiological Aggravators
Artificial Food Colors and Dyes
Partially Hydrogenated Oils
High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Syrup
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame, Splenda, Sucralose)
These ingredients affect our bodies on a cellular level - oftentimes effects that we don't even notice. Regardless, they leave their mark and multiple studies have shown these toxins do aggravate symptoms of ADHD and autism among other ailments including strokes, heart disease, migraines and weight.
Top Ten ADHD Blogs and Support Groups
http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-adhd-blogs. I'm really not sure what their criteria is but I have my personal favorites which are: www.ADHDmomma.com
Easy to Love also has a great support group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/easytolovekids
Healthline notes some of the national groups, including CHADD, that is a good place to start and even find local support groups as you look for help and answers following diagnosis.
Create a Positive Environment
I've found that most of these kiddos struggle with feelings of inadequacy and low-self esteem - they are always in trouble and feel they are inferior to their friends, siblings and fellow students because of issues that arise from learning disabilities, inability to focus and impulsive behaviors that get them into trouble and attract the wrong kind of attention.
Creating a positive environment for them is paramount; this can be achieved through simple shifts
Try offering more incentives and less punishments. With Preston, I have found this technique far more effective in eliciting movement and change on his part.
Offer choices where available and make teaching time count - in the middle of a tantrum, meltdown, or other irrational emotional episode will garner no lasting results.
Stock your video library with comedies and positive movies including such simple shows as Veggie Tales and collect games that are easy to play and full of laughter.
Take every opportunity to hug, laugh, be goofy, and say, "I love you." Always be careful to teach your kiddo that you them no matter what even if you struggle with their behavior and choices.
And finally, be sure to pick and choose your battles.
Along the same lines of creating a positive environment are providing opportunities to be
around people they look up to and who are good examples to them. Preston really looks up to my Dad and I can't think of a better person for him to be around. All kids are sponges and soak up what is available to them so do your best to give them the best to absorb. Also a good reason for you to take care of yourself and model the type of behavior you would like to see from them.
There is no end to various supplements that have been suggested in helping with ADHD as studies have shown that kids with this disorder are usually deficient in several key vitamins and trace minerals. Universally I have found that Vitamin B and a good fish oil high in EPA and DHA is recommended. When it comes to supplements, it is worth the extra dollars to get a whole foods-based supplement. The body can utilize whole foods much more readily than any synthetic and chemically processed vitamin. I like Garden of Life Raw One for Men (for my little guy) and Mega Foods. From what I understand, New Chapter also is made with whole foods. For EPA and DHA I use Barlean's Omega Swirl.
There are several other supplements that I have read about that have shown to help and they are as follows:
Vitamin B6, B12
Grape Seed Extract
Vitamin C - specifically in combination with Grape Seed Extract
I have found Standard Processes' Cataplex G, which is a fat soluble form of B, to be very helpful for Preston.
Mega Food's Dream Release
I have replaced most of my OTC medicine cabinet with essential oils from DoTerra. Lavender oil is great for calming and helping with sleep. They also have an oil blend specifically developed for focus called In Tune. I used oils for headaches, upset stomach, muscle aches, fevers, coughs, congestion, diaper rash - everything. In my own personal opinion, the fewer exposure to toxic chemicals the better.
This is done with the help of a counselor and people report success with this. I know for us it has been truly helpful to take Preston once a week for an hour. There are various types of therapists that can help with this including Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Play Therapists and Psychologists to name a few. Ask your pediatrician and friends for recommendations and check to see if any of them are on your insurance plan.
My Favorite Books
The greatest gift you can give to yourself and your child is knowledge. This in turn leads to understanding and greater patience. When you understand the nature of the beast, you know what to look for, what will help, when to back-off and when to move ahead. Preston has anxiety which I didn't really understand until I started researching it and talking to other parents in various support groups. I learned what it looked like and how could I manage myself to help him. This is so key. These are a few of my favorite reads and resources to have on hand and reference often.
Dr. Gray has also developed his own wellness line that includes a detox, meal replacement shake and supplements through Isagenix. I followed his suggested protocol with Preston as we slowly weaned him from his medications, specifically Concerta and Zoloft. I do however personally believe that our bodies adjust and plateau and one pertinent factor to health is variety. I have since moved on to other supplements and vary our shakes and smoothies to get more raw superfoods into his diet.
The following is his suggested protocol derived from the above podcast.
1) Start on 300 mg of Grapefruit Seed Extract and 600 mg Vitamin C/day
GSE in capsule form (Dr. Gray uses Vitamin Research Products, vrp.com)
*Per Dr. Gray, this combination was tested in a double-blind study and proven to be more effective than Ritalin.
2) Lithium Orotate - 1 capsule 3 times/day
3) Super Minerals from Mar Venus Wellness Solution, 2 capsules/day
Mar Venus Wellness Solution
4) Isagenix IsaLean Shake - 1 full serving for breakfast
5) It Works Greens - secretly mixed into his chocolate shake
6) Cleanse for Life 1/8 cup first thing in the morning
7) Vitex or Chaste Berry Extract
*Balances hormones in brain, particularly oxytocin.
8) Standard Process Vitamin B and B12 Complex
9) Tuna Omega Fatty Acid Chewables from Metagenics
If the body has digestive issues, nutrients and minerals do not make it to the places in the body as necessary to perform needed functions. The meal replacement shakes and Cleanse For Life have been the most important aid in Preston's overall health. His digestive health has seemed to improve as has his focus and concentration and has provided positive mental support. His mood is still a factor but has improved tremendously. It has also been proven that kids with ADHD are lacking trace minerals and vitamins in their brain; supplementation is imperative.
There are some people that dispute the value of cleansing but having cleansed myself I think it is absolutely necessary in this day and age! Dr. Gray mentions the importance of cleansing for kids with neurological issues and has his own cleanse that he recommends. Toxicity in the body can play a role in various disorders, ailments and disease and overall health and wellness (including weight). The most simple means of detoxing the body is raw lemon juice in 8 oz. of distilled, room-temperature water first thing in the morning.
Given that these kiddo's have a hard time staying focused it is easy for them to quickly fall behind. This leads to a domino effect that negatively impacts their self-esteem and fuels that feelings of inadequacy and inability. I've heard good reviews of Kumon, that teaches independent learning and Mathnasium that works one-on-one with your student. Always utilize online practice sites that your school suggests; this makes learning fun and the repetition is what seems to be the most helpful. One-on-one tutoring is proving to be very beneficial for Preston in both completing homework (hoorah!) and understanding and mastering concepts; someone else working with him has also helped keep our relationship intact as it is one less battle for the two of us to engage in.
There is also an online tutoring program that Preston and I are trialing at the moment and am excited to let you know how it goes:
Preston has an unprecedented amount of energy and he actually can focus when he is absorbed in something that interests him. Building Lego ships, drawing comics, writing stories and even photography. I've enrolled him after-school art classes, chess club and was thrilled when he wanted to participate in this year's reflections contest. Karate has been a perfect fit for his excess energy as well as its focus is on self-control and self-mastery. This has been tremendously helpful for him and a great incentive for working harder to be disciplined. Find that outlet for your kiddo whether it be dance, gymnastics, soccer, etc.
This may seem silly, but it is integral. Raising these kids is exhausting, frustrating and takes a heavy toll on the whole family. DON'T GIVE UP. Stick with it, stay hopeful, find the silver-lining and embody optimism.