ADHD Resources

Treating invisible disorders is tricky but it can be done with some degree of success. As doctors and health practitioners struggle to find the cause of this and other mental/'alphabet soup' disorders, information is limited and open to interpretation. This is where our journey as parents begins in really getting to know our kiddos and what their specific needs are. Every body is different and has different requirements, therefore, there is no 'one size fits all' and what has worked for some, may not work for others.

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.




Diagnosis
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
Artificial Flavors
Partially Hydrogenated Oils
High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Syrup
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Preservatives
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
The following is a link to Healthline's list of Top Ten Blogs regarding ADHD: 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
www.EasyToLoveBut.com
www.AttitudeMag.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
in perspective and seeing your child through a silver lining. This has been immensely helpful for me when I discover that Preston barters toys and pencils for another kid's box of Nerd's - I force myself to recognize his resourcefulness and determination (just like our dumpster-diving forest friend to the right). Find the wit, cleverness, artistic inclination and even humor in the various situations and scenarios. Now, that doesn't mean we don't call them on the carpet when their actions are wrong but we can use that positive mental shift to direct the consequences that are imposed or incentives that are offered in changing that behavior. Aside from that, kids are in tune with our non-verbal communication and un-spoken vibes which can feed their self-loathing; do your best to keep positive.

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.

Mentors
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.

Supplements
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
Fish Oil
Lithium Orotate
Grape Seed Extract
Vitamin C - specifically in combination with Grape Seed Extract
Lemon Balm
L-Thianine
Magnesium

I have found Standard Processes' Cataplex G, which is a fat soluble form of B, to be very helpful for Preston.

For sleep:
Mega Food's Dream Release
Melatonin
Lavender Oil

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.

Behavior Modification
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.
Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids and True Stories
Edited by Kay Marner and Adrienne Ehlert Bashista

I also highly recommend getting involved on their facebook page and their blog http://www.easytolovebut.com/ and become part of the support community!













1-2-3 Magic by Dr. Thomas Phelan












Dr. Bob's Guide to Stop ADHD in 18 Days by Dr. Robert DeMaria

 
Taking Charge of ADHD, The Complete Authoritative Guide for Parents, by Russell A. Barkley, PhD








The Explosive Child, by Ross W. Greene, PhD
This is a MUST read. Very, very insightful.





Love and Logic Parenting Classes
You can look up videos on You Tube with Jim Fay and Foster Cline or visit their website for additional resources.
Podcasts
When I started looking for alternative therapies for Preston to wean him off his medications, I was referred to a podcast with Dr. John Gray, author of the Mars and Venus books. He actually just finished a book that is specifically about ADHD which I am excited to read. The below link is to the podcast I heard that was very helpful in understanding the brain and its various processes, vitamins and minerals and some remedies to help with ADHD, autism and other neurological disorders.



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.

Detoxification Techniques
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.

Tutoring
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:
www.k5learning.com






Outlets
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.

Optimism
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.



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