So our newest little ones are just fantastic, super sweet, loving kidos.
One concern I have for them is their weight. Not a HUGE concern at this point, but they are both are in or pushing the 90%tile for weight in their ages. Both have been on meds with a side effect of weight gain, and our little girl (5) eats a little out of comfort (via her therapist). Little guy's weight skyrocketed according to the WIC records after being placed on the meds.
Here's what we do now; We eat meals together. I don't necessarily limit food; but we generally stick to one snack between meals. If kids ask for a snack, and I can conveniently distract them, and they go for it, I assume the request was more for something to do and we 'forget' about it. Otherwise, we have another small snack. Snacks are pretty healthy, and we discuss foods that are healthy for our bodies "veggies, nuts, fruits, etc." and snacks are small. I don't talk about it, I just give a small serving. Now that the weather is nice, we are outside playing and riding bikes most of the day. I don't think they had as much physical play at the last foster placement.
One goal we have is to get off the meds (for behavior disorders). I am not opposed to medication when determined necessary, but every service provider-in home behavior management service, therapists, the social worker and the CASA - agree that the meds could be reduced or eliminated over time (last foster parent insisted they were necessary for behavior management...) We are working with their psychiatrist on this. Next week I will get going on getting their med. records to our pediatrician and talk to her about the weight.
I DO NOT want to make their food issues worse,and their mental health is my primary concern, but I also want them well set up for a physically healthy adulthood!!!
Anyway, any one with experience with this?
Perhaps also consider a diet change: sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, dye free, any or all of the previous...sometimes behavior and weight issues can stem from food allergies/sensativities/intolerances...you are familiar with some autistic kids improve on a gluten free and/or casein (dairy) free diet? Similar concept. Also, british studies have correllated ADHD and other behavior problems with the consumption of fake dyes.
Just something else to consider!
Also, I'd keep a log on the kids. It's a bit tedious, but man--it sure is a HUGE help 1) when dealing will all these people involved in the kids care; and 2) shortening the time it generally takes to make changes because you have data to analyze, find patterns, see changes, etc. with a level of detail you can't possibly remember.
Last, my experience with psychiatrists (in the double digits) has been that they are NOT particularly receptive to removing meds (or at least removing all meds). When my husband transitioned off of his ADD meds because intensive dosing of fish oil worked in replacing them (which was a research-based option, btw) she told him that it would not work long-term and to come back in a month. She didn't even want him cutting them out--he just did (she was involved in reducing, so he know what increment to do it with). When he asked her to write a prescription for fish oil so that insurance would cover it (and, btw, guarantying her an ongoing "med management" billing patient) she refused. He's not returning to her. The reality is: if you're not taking drugs, they don't have a patient. I have met ONE that was not like that and actually was, to some extent, a therapist who had the legal authority to prescribe meds. But they're in the GROSS MINORITY. So keep that in mind. It's a hard road--especially with kids in the system on psychotropic drugs and where foster parents generally cannot reject the orders of a medical practitioner. :/
It sounds like you're doing all the right things. One last tip: don't ever change two things at once. Don't add a new supplement the same week as a new sleep routine. Don't remove a potential food irritant the same week you're changing a med dosage. If there's a change (good or bad) you won't know which thing caused it. This lengthens the process a bit, but it also ensures that you're not doing any more, spending any more, or restricting any more than you really need to.
Best to you!!
Sounds like you're already feeding healthy foods in reasonable portions. I'd keep doing exactly what you're doing with food and concentrate on making medication changes - because as heather points out, you don't want to change two things at a time.
How long have the kids been in your home? While I completely agree with the long-term goal of reducing or eliminating psychotropic meds, remember that moving is a huge change too. Settling into your lifestyle, with healthy foods and exercise, is a lot of transitioning to deal with. I would suggest waiting at least a couple months before trying supplements, elimination diets, or major med changes.
The diet and activity levels you describe sound perfect. Results will take time, but you will see progress. No need to rush.
Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)
We've been of meds for just under a month now. Only change is that they are less zombie-ish. There are occasional temper tantrums, but no more than our bio-son has (honestly, significantly less than our bio-son. He is a bit intense). Tantrums are clearly to get attention/something (as opposed to totally uncontrolled emotion). Both are able to stop tantruming almost instantly if they get what they want, so are happening less and less as we meet needs in other ways w/o the tantrum.
Their weight is clearly evening itself out. Both eat less on their own (maybe due to no meds, maybe due to feeling more secure in the home) and both are looking healthier; like as they grow they are growing into the weight they've gained w/o gaining more.
Both have improved in their gross motor skills w/o the meds, which makes it easier for them to run and play and be healthy!
Awesome news! Good job mama!
I hear you on the zombie-like. My bio-son was put on meds a couple of times, which helped his behavioral problems not at all, but added a charming zombielike quality to his relations with the rest of the family.