Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hyperactivity Help Needed

Ok, I sent this to an herbal group and some other friends, and I'm in desperate need of thoughts and direction here, so I'll toss it up here as well.

Our Jacob is pure wildfire. That child must have something incredible in his future because God is all over him keeping him protected despite himself. Those burns last year would have not only scarred physically, but emotionally as well, any other child. He has been bathed in protection more times than I can count. God has big plans for that boy.

So -- HOW DO I SURVIVE HIS RAISING??? He is giving me fits at every turn. Textbook, he is all ADHD/ADD from head to toe. Going the medical route with prescriptions is NOT an option we will entertain at all. So where do I go from here?

What I've learned in his 7 years of life so far doesn't seem like much really.
*He needs strict routine -- we have a fairly good amount of schedule and routine in place as it is, but that child really needs every waking second occupied and structured else he runs off with freedom.
*He doesn't do sugar in dairy products well -- shows a distinct increase with dairy sugars over standard sugars and fruit sugars.
*He functions on very little sleep.
*He is a cognitive sleeper in that he has vivid dreams and talks, sings, even has action/motion while sleeping.
*He metabolizes foods and meds at incredibly high rates, meaning most standard dosing is as useless as plain water for him.
*He has the attention span of a flea. He thrives on constant action, changes and activity. School work is a high challenge because while he needs all the hands-on learning he can get, he just can't focus on it either.
*He has an incredible memory span. Seriously, this child can remember word for word movies, music, book passages...even hearing them once or twice over a year or more ago.

What can we do to help focus him more, to help calm him? How can we somehow harness and direct his personality and character toward appropriate things?

We have a tea blend with linden flower, chamomile flower and hibiscus, and a tincture from Trtaditional Medicinals for 'stress and calming' with several herbs in it. They just don't work. This child has an extremely high tolerance/threshhold for medicines. When he was burned and went through those weeks of scraping and all the treatments, he was put under deep anesthesia during each procedure. He would 'wake' and start singing...or chatting mostly to himself...not long into every procedure. They adjusted his meds and never could maintain a deep sleep for him as they needed. He was maxed out on everything they tried. I know that his metabolism rate is simply not helping with any meds or herbs effectivness rate.
We were told to be sure to keep that alert for any doctors or procedures he may have in his life. Literally imagine this boy during heart surgery--singing all of a sudden and talking away. That would be him.

But what do I do? I haven't gone the route of totally taking all foods away and adding one at a time back into the diet, searching out a food cause for his hyperactivity, but we don't eat boxed and store items as it is. We aren't all natural and organic, but we do limit sugars and processed foods here.

I need every thought, idea and resource I can glean, ladies. What herbs would make a more calming tea ot tincture for him? What foods aside from whites and the obvious color additives should I be looking at? I have to find some help and I just don't know where to begin searching.

Websites, yahoo groups, books and references. I want it all. We will not seek medical thoughts and prefer to find natural ways to help him...food and environmental triggers, herbal meds for calming and focus, etc.

14 comments:

Rita said...

I read your blogs daily and like them with lots interesting said and going on. I'm sure you are a good person doing your very best you are also rigid in opinions so it leaves you with little options. I'm truly sorry if this hurts your feelings.

Now,
Since I teach first grade all day and have for years and also had a ADHD son myself. Here are a few ideas. Food coloring of every kind but especially red will send some children into a child who can fly! =) I would not let him have sugar at all except possibly "Stevia" which is a natural or herbal sweetner. Not letting him have sugar can cause anger so it needs to be a trade off you can't have this but you can have this. Something else that he really likes. I would pray with him each morning. Lay your hand on his arm or head and pray quietly with him for a few minutes. He will like the attention and God answers prayers.
Lets him see your quiet devotion.

We have herbalist around here that will look in the eyes to check health. Nature's Sunshine might have them listed as to where you can find one near you.

Most of my parents are not so dedicated and they use medication. Possibly 6 months of medication would show you the boy inside all this activity. Then you would have a better idea of how to deal with him without the medication. He has no idea who he is or what he wants. He is acting out because he cannot help it. I hope at least one of the ideas is helpful.

Mrs. Kiddey said...

there are plenty of herbal remedies that can be taken. our daughter (who is now 18) had been diagnosed with this at 5 in kindergarten. we had tried every med out there at the time. none worked, (and knowing what i do now, i would NOT do any meds ever again. luckly, she grew out eventually, and has no add/adhd anymore. however, we did find some success in herbal drops remedies at any health food store. valerian, camomile, hops, and quite a few others are very helpful for "calming". ask your counterperson at the health food store and they should be able to point your to the right remedy. hope this helps. amanda from www.kiddeys1.blogspot.com

Deanna said...

No, Rita, you didn't hurt my feelings at all. I am set in a great many of my opinions, and most times it does leave few other options.

I don't believe it does in this instance. We have gone the med route before with what was textbook ADD with eldest son. That boy could look at a speck on the wall and daydream off for hours. He wasn't at all hyper, just lacked the ability to teach himself how to focus for any length of time.

Our school district pushed hard for testing with his doctors from Kindergarten on. We went along. He needed something, I figured. Of course the fact they received some $1500 per quarter he was in school tainted their view I'm sure. And he was continually told we needed to reevaluate his med intake until finally they had him maxed out between 2 different "ritalin subs" he was not eating properly, he couldn't sleep and he was losing weight hand over fist.

The several meds he was on, and grant you this was some 15 years ago and I'm sure there are 'improved' versions out there now, we saw good show in a couple school classes, but he didn't have any true improvement that led us to wanting a constantly drugged child.

I can clearly see the boy inside Jacob. He is wound on a tighter spring than some, there's no denying that, but I don't feel meds are the answer. I don't believe tleverything is handled better with medicines from a doctor than by trying to discern the triggers around him.

I'm just not sure where to begin really. In this world today, there are so many chemicals flushed through our systems, it's next to impossible to find those that trigger certain specifics. Foods and cleansers are top choices to start with, but that encompasses so much itself.

It's overwhelming, and I don't expect an easy route at all, but I am determined to sift through everything I can and keep at it. I'd rather keep the RX med route as a last resort, not a first line of defense, kwim?

I do thank you for your thoughts, though. That's just what I was looking for!
Deanna

Linda said...

Hi Deanna,
We have always homeschooled our children. Our oldest, now 23, was ADD. He wasn't too hyper, so I can't help you there. We chose not to use any meds. What worked for my son was to wear headphones and listen to music while he did his schoolwork. You get to pick the music, of course. :) It seems like it would be distracting, but my son said he could concentrate better with music. So I let him use it as long as he was working. You might want to try it with your son.
Hope that helps a little,
Linda

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you all. My oldest was "hyper" when he was young, but he did so much better with a tight schedule (no meds). I did not know than about food allergies, but as listed above red color is to be one of the biggest coulprits. I have also heard that some kids have problems with wheat etc as well, and that the more processed a product is the harder it is on their little systems. At age 6 my oldest could not have chocolate, it made him very jumpy. He did outgrew his jumpiness, however at 19 is still not able to concentrate on more than one thing (so no multitasking for him). But in his teenage years he also started to do better by listening to his music. One thing that I was wondering is how much tv etc you child is/was exposed to, you mentioned him recitign movies etc. Especially the first 2 years their little brains is forming so many connections, that tv should be almost non excisting. Our youngest is 7 now, and even so he now does get to watch some tv, and enjoys the computer way to much (daddy and boy together have way to much fun with it). He also has the best memory of anyone I ever known. However he only gets hyper with friends around. Part of being a boy. Also, running around was a good part of getting my oldest to calm. I used to live in an apartment, and prior to going home we would stop at a playground, or just had him run (time him, boys like to be the winner) our courtyard for a few minutes. I believ boys need a lot more physical outlet than girls, but living out in the country that should not be a problem for you all. But he may just need a bit more.
But I will keep you in prayer, that you and your family will find the best way to work this out for you. Medication could help, but in my eyes that would be the very last resort.
God Bless,
Marlies

LizBeth said...

Deanna, I taught special ed for a short while. I was amazed at the ADD, etc. kids. They were the brightest. They hated the meds. If you get outside help, make sure they talk to your child, not his "dossier." I have seen much discussion about the role of allergies in all this. No one seems to really know. Everybody has an opinion. My ComputerSon has friends who have been on medication, and they swear it messes you up over the long haul. No encouragement.

My niece uses the headphones and music. She can't study without them. Makes no sense to me at all. I have to have complete quiet, like after everybody has gone to sleep at night. My husband likes symphonies going while he writes and researches. Sends me through the roof. Obviously, we are all wired very differently. We haven't been labeled with any disorders; we are just different.

I keep wondering, why the extremes we see now. When I was in the first grade I remember calm, quiet school rooms. We didn't see these problems. Now it seems like every other child has a disorder? So what has changed?

I'll pray for your Jacob. One more week. Blessings, Liz

Deanna said...

Thank you. Marlies. I know what you mean about TV. No, during Jacob"s lifetime TV has been extremely more curtailed than with the olders. At most, the children may watch an episode of something a couple times a week. We're talking Andy Griffith, Daniel Boone, Christy, etc. We don't do cartoons and full length movies are pretty rare here. We have loads of other things to occupy ourselves with. The children don't do the computer -- well, we are watching a video class now, but no games, emails etc. Bad habits to start too young.

Honestly, TV and other don't hold enough attraction for Jacob especially. He gets bored with sitting and watching TV.

We have 20 acres here -- wild abandoned running sun up to sun down isn't an issue :o).

Jacob's memory extends to everything -- he can tell you what Preacher talked about a month back, he knows Bible verses from first hearing them, he can repeat parts of our read-aloud books and even parts of the lessons we do with the olders.
He's probably the closest to a natural 'student' as we have here in terms of easy memory and most learning, but we just need a way to reign his attention and energy in a bit and make it more readily controlled.
I've been doing a lot of reading today, and chasing down thoughts shared here and in emails. I think the easiest way to start checking problems is cutting back wheat gluten. Not easy, that's for sure, but we already cut back sugars and colors and such. Seems the wheats might be the next logical step.

Rough road ahead
Deanna

Linda said...

I can completely empathize with you.I had a hyper son and an unusual daughter also. I was adament we would not do meds either.It was a lot of work and heartache.Your story about him and the cell phone was way too close to home for me. Although our wild child did not have quit the high metabolism as yours, we found regular exercise before school helped some, and occasionally when I needed a little help we would give him a soda or other form of caffiene. Works on kinda the same theory as ritalin, he just sort of overloaded the system and he mellowed a bit. Not a great solution but when your desperate you'll almost try any thing.

Rita said...

I feel so bad that this is such a struggle for you and many parents. There just has to be an answer and it probably won't be the same for all children. I use a dehumidifier because I cannot tolerate molds. This could cause allergies and be a stimulant for ADHD. One of my children with ADD used a weighted vest and it helped him so much. He was allowed all year to put it on for 20 minutes and take it off for 40 all day long. The weight inside the vest are like little bean bags and the weight is decided by how much the child weighs. He said it made him feel better and he was more focused with it on. He also had ear phones that simply kept out some of the noise as he would put his hands over his ears and say it was to loud.

All of the ideas from others are so good. I hope they keep coming. Write down what works it might stop working but then work again later on. Keep a long list of ideas. You are doing great and I hope you feel everyones support. I don't have answers just suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I’m sorry if this is multiple I’m not sure if it is getting to you.
Hi,
I silently read your blog daily, but I had to comment this time. Our Johnny (age8) has to be Jacob’s twin! We always said Johnny was held down by gravity only! For the attention span issues. I break the lessons into several short periods no longer than 15 minutes if he can last that long. Do lots of hands on learning. I also give him a stopping point (do this much, and then you can take a break).
We also just said No to drugs too, they might cover and mask the issues but won’t solve the problem, or teach him how cope and handle himself later on in life, unless he is on medication.
As far as character development goes, he will learn by example and what he sees, he knows what is right and wrong but can’t control himself. Johnny’s motto is “It sounded like a good idea at the time”
We tried everything I didn’t have any success with herbal treatments either, but We found a huge improvement by adjusting his and our diets. We are now all organic and I also make everything from scratch, because of Johnny’s hyperactivity and peanut and egg allergies. Read the ingredient list on store bought foods and then think about what you would put in the same food if you made it, there’s a big difference. You can dind a recipe for everything that you’d ever need to make, we did do the Feingold program in the beginning it is a great program www.feingold.org . But you are mostly doing what the program says now, all natural, no preservatives, artificial color & dyes. The artificial dyes especially red and yellow, are two things that will set off Johnny’s hyperactivity. Watch what few store bought things you do buy, or the few times that you go out to eat, and watch Jacobs’s reaction to different foods. I don’t know what it is in the chicken nuggets at McDonald’s, but I do know that he will never, never eat them again, they send him into a hyperactive stage, and mood changes that can last for days! Please do check out the Feingold website it has lots of information on it. If you have any questions about it, please just e-mail me and I’ll try to answer them for you. I don’t think it is necessary to join the program since you are kind of doing parts of it now, and maybe just need to do a little more. The program really helped with his fine motor skills too. It took 11 days on the program (some might take longer before seeing any change) without letting the rest of the family know we were doing the program for them to all notice a huge visible improvement in Johnny. On the 11th day his father came to me and wanted to know what was wrong with Johnny, I asked “why, what’s he doing now” and he said “look he’s just sitting there coloring and he’s coloring in the lines too” something that he had never done before, he would just scribble all over the page. We have been using it for about four years now, although not as strictly anymore, because I know what works for him.
Johnny has an unbelievable extremely high pain tolerance; I’ll bet Jacob does too.
Another avenue you may not have thought of is Autism or Aspers. In your list of things that you learned about Jacob every one of them is a symptom of autism. It’s just a thought you might want to check out with your doctor since Jacob sounds so much like Johnny. When Johnny was asked to leave kindergarten and was diagnosed at the age of 5, the thought of autism never entered our minds. I didn’t know autism could be like this, (there are several different levels and types), I always thought the children were worse and non verbal, boy have we learned a lot! Like I said it would be so much easier to talk to you, I’m not very good at expressing myself, that’s why I don’t have a blog. E-mail me your phone number or I e-mail you mine. I hope this helps and makes sense.
Blessings, Roxanne)
rox1236@sbcglobal.net (please edit out if you put this on your blog, Thanks

Hearth said...

This is odd, but one of the ladies that I know has an ADD child and she gives her daughter a little bit of coffee each morning.

As you know, ADD meds are stimulants, as is caffeine... and it helps. Not like meds, but it helps.

She said it worked immediately - so it's something you can try, and if you don't have to peel him off of the ceiling later that day, maybe it might help.

Aimee Kieffer, aka "Momzoo" said...

This what we have been doing with our oldest daughter. It is all pretty new to us, up until about a month ago she was on 3 different medications to control her out of control ADHD behavior. We finally decided that we needed to teacher to how to control herself instead of covering up her problems.

We took her to a homopath and this is what was suggested.

1. Take her off all refined sugars...meaning white cane sugar, frutose and especially corn syrup. She can have agave nectar, raw honey, stevia and 100% maple sugar. This has been easier than I thought it would be, and the whole family is a lot healthier becuse of it.

2. She is off all cow milk, she is sensitive to casin. She can have goat milk, almond milk and cultured dairy products (yogurt, kefir, cultured butter milk and sour cream). This too has been much easier than I thought it would be. In recipes that call for milk I use yogurt or kefir and you can't tell a difference. I make a lot of yogurt now days! ;-)

3. No food dyes or artifical sweeterners. Period.

4. She is taking a couple of homopathic remidies they are: L-Tyrosine and Cerebromax. (e-mail me if you are interested and I will try to get you more infomation aimee@prosphotos.com)

Things haven't been free sailing and coming off the meds have had major ups and downs, but I feel confident that this is the step we are supose to take with her.

Bless you in your efforts to help your boy.

As Simply As We Can said...

I know some of what you speak. I had to laugh when you said your son can repeat stories and songs that he has heard. Several years ago my son went up to a lady that was smoking a cigarette and proceeded to repeat word for word a stop smoking commercial that would help her "stop smoking in 7 days flat."

Right now, we are getting reprieve of sorts. With some kids it starts to go away when they get a bit older and that has been the case with our son. But our doctor says that in some cases - especially boys - it will come back again with a vengence when puberty kicks in good. So we don't know yet which way it's going to go for us long term.

Our doctor suggests fish oil. She said there have been studies that show they have a calming effect on ADHD/ADD kids. You can order them on Amazon *I think* that have a lemon flavoring in them so when they make you burp later, you burp up lemon flavor instead of fish.

I haven't tried it yet, but it certainly can't hurt. Fish oil is supposed to be super healthy anyway.

Capturing Today said...

My girls are very active as well, seems I'm always having to keep them occupied to keep them out of trouble!

We found that making sure they get lots of protein throughout the day helps with their behavior.

We also do not do artificial colors, flavors or preservatives AT ALL.

When my 10 year old was 3, we started doing The Feingold Program (http://www.feingold.org), which is a diet plan for ADD/ADHD. I highly recommend that you look into it if you are not familiar with it. You'll be amazed at the results.

Jer.6:16

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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