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#1 of 31 Old 09-18-2006, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I've know for a while that DD 8.5 has ADD. We have eliminated many (not all) processed foods and all dyes except in chedder cheese (which we rarley eat). And have seen an improvement. However DD has just entered the 3rd grade and has regressed in reading and spelling. We worked very hard over the summer to keep her up to speed, but she has never been at grade level in these two areas so it is hard as she has minimal ablity to focus. We have been doing all school work in a quiet room with minmal distractions yet she always finds somehthing else to think about. Her reading is currently a 1st grade level. She is a smart kid and when she enjoys something it is all consuming (like Harry Potter that I read to her), however homework is not one of these things. We have decided to bit the bullet and get her tutor after school to help get her up to speed (which is going to be tough). I am writing this because I am wondering if we are missing anything that we could be doing. I have decided that I can not let her get any further behind and we are going to start her on meds as soon as the teacher returns the paper work to me. The doctor has suggested Ritalin which can be addictive, and has been linked to slowed growth and heart problems but the pred has not seen these in her pt's. In addition to this we are going to take her to a therapist that specializes in ADD for an assessment and to check to make sure nothing else is causing the regression.

To make a long story short please tell me what you have done and what was successful. And if you have used meds how they helped with academic performance.
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#2 of 31 Old 09-19-2006, 08:13 PM
 
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we did meds for one year. ds hated it. said it zapped him of his energy, etc. (btw, i have ADD too and it did not have the same effect on me). i respected ds's decision not to take the med. (after many battles) and he had many issues with sitting still during class, etc. Problems continued until this year when he entered high school which is set up more like a college..he seems to do a lot better in that environment.

some will say that articifical flavorings, etc. do not affect kids, but i could see a huge difference in him if he got ahold of caffeine, red die or large amounts of sugar. so i tried to keep those to a minimum. other than that, i didnt realize how diet could have alleviated many of the symptoms he had.
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#3 of 31 Old 09-19-2006, 08:54 PM
 
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my son has ADD, the non hyper type.

After the "i's so stupid, I should die" speeches, I gave into the meds. He is now on Adderal XR 15mg. It was like someone flipped a light switch. he went from 2 out of 10 on friday spelling tests, to 9/10. He went from being a non reader in the first part of second grade to reading fully within a month of meds.


However, now he does not want to take his meds, and we are trying it... now that he KNOWS he can do the work.
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#4 of 31 Old 09-19-2006, 11:05 PM
 
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my son's academics took about the same progression as boobybunny's. for my son, though, the academic improvement wasnt enough of a motivator. he hated the way it made him feel
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#5 of 31 Old 09-20-2006, 12:44 AM
 
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This IS NOT meant to critisize anyone - please don't take it that way.

We tried Adderol xr in a couple different doses, but ds (my 9 year old) was awake for days at a time on it, heart racing, couldn't breathe, couldn't eat, even on 1/2 of the lowest dose. We tried strattera and it just didn't work. About that time, I came to the realization that I wasn't going to drug my kid to fit into education and society models. Yeah, he's got the attention span of a nat, but that's ok. We do 5-10 minutes of reading, or math a day and make science and history things he wants to learn about and he's able to do a much better job. Once I stopped trying to make him fit in, he did much better. Of course, if you can't homeschool, or don't have a school that will work with kids, then I suppose you have to look at other methods, but I really don't think drugs are what most kids who take them need (especially when heart attacks are a side effect of them).

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#6 of 31 Old 09-20-2006, 12:52 AM
 
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Is she taking a good fish oil supplement? Also, you really need to be vigilant about the food. It takes my DD a good three days to detox from the dyes.

I agree with PP that maybe your daughter should be forced into a mold like all the other kids. I don't think your daughter is flawed; I think the school system is.
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#7 of 31 Old 09-20-2006, 02:46 AM
 
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Insist on testing for learning disablities....well other than ADD. Often times ADD is just a sympom of another LD.
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#8 of 31 Old 09-20-2006, 02:53 AM
 
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I made the choice not to medicate. What works is lots of channel for enrgy and doing work 15 min. at a time. I homeschool so have more flexiblity. My son is now 16. Sallie
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#9 of 31 Old 09-20-2006, 03:25 AM
 
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My dd was diagnosed ADD-Inattentive when she was in 3rd grade. We started on medications in 7th grade, when nothing else was working. The challenge of getting from class to class, on time, and with ALL her materials was too much. I resisted, but medication really did help improve her habits so that she could get through the day. My dd is a bright girl, and had no learning delays - she just could not get it all together at the same time.

When we finally found the right dose, Adderall XR was a good tool to help us live with ADD. Her desk was no longer an explosion of dirty kleenex and 2 inch pencils - she could actually work! She could focus on the task at hand, not look out the window or be distracted by the ticking clock. Her confidence in her own abilities went up, and that made her a much happier girl. I wish I could tell you she went to the A honor roll, but it doesn't often work that way. The medicine helps her focus, but it is still up to her to do the work.

I wish it had not gone to the point that we needed to medicate, but it did. At 17, my daughter has grappled with the need for the medicine, but in the end decided it helps her enough to make it worthwhile.
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#10 of 31 Old 09-20-2006, 03:36 AM
 
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Have you looked into the Feingold Program? Some people react to more than just food dyes. There are also synthetic flavors and preservatives, additives in non-food items such as soap, shampoo, fragrances, or cleaning supplies, plus some people react to natural salicylates in some foods. Food allergies can also cause behavioral symptoms.

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#11 of 31 Old 09-20-2006, 09:29 AM
 
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Just want to second Ruthla's reccomendation of FEingold...My son was a cross between a gnat and bee until we started that and it has made a HUGE difference...even Zac can tell (he's almost 10 now ans we started this when he was 6). We also pulled him out of school to homeschool and we unschool so he can concentrate on what interests him....

If that is not an option for you, in addition to
Feingold Diet
LOTS of time OUTSIDE
LOTS of free time to explore her own interests (it's amazing how much reading, spelling, writing, and math they learn whent hey are learning about something interesting to them)
I'd check out "Upside Down Brilliance" by Linda Silverman I believe...Your Daughter may be a Right Brained, Visual spatial learner and those things are different for her...she may be getting bored in class and that is why she isn't paying attention to school work. Kids ALWAYS pay attention...just maybe not to what we WANT them to...

also check out
www.visualspatial.org

HTH, Sus
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#12 of 31 Old 09-20-2006, 05:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2mama View Post
We have eliminated many (not all) processed foods and all dyes except in chedder cheese (which we rarley eat)....
Try eliminating dairy all together. (I have posted this several times in several places, I know, : but I'm a great believer in this!)

Visit www.evolutiontosimplicity.blogspot.com to follow my epic saga of single mummahood....

 

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#13 of 31 Old 09-22-2006, 06:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
Insist on testing for learning disablities....well other than ADD. Often times ADD is just a sympom of another LD.
I disagree. ADD and ADHD are often accompanied by other LDs. Treating one, but not the other yields lower results than treating all of the problems the child has. Testing for other LDs is important, but that does not mean that ADD should be dismissed if another LD is found.

If you decide to try medication, you need to be working with a doctor who is very knowlegeable and flexible. There are several medications for ADD with different delivery systems, extended and non extended release, in a huge range of dosage levels. You want a doctor who is willing to take the time to perscribe different medications and work with you and the child's teacher through the dosage levels unil you find the right medication in the right dose for your child. It is never in the child's interest to accept a medication dosage which makes them feel doped or groggy or which has side effects.

ADD medication should help your child be able to focus their attention. It stimulates a part of the brain which allows the child to stop impulsive behavior, including allowing their mind to wander. It does not teach them organization, reading skills, or resolve other learning disabilities. It allows the child and their teachers to work on these skills more effectively. Do not allow the child's teacher to insist that the child needs more medication just because they have not miraculously become a perfect student.

Do not allow your child to feel dumb because they have ADD. If possible, have their IQ tested after they find an acceptable medication dosage. Not only do most people with ADD and ADHD have normal IQ levels, it seems to be linked to a genetic disposition to higher than average IQ levels.

Children do not outgrow ADD. Some people are able to deal with ADD without the medication. It is a matter of training themselves to deal with their difference without the medication. Some adults use the medication only when they are under stress. Some adults do best if they continue using the medications for the rest of their lives.
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#14 of 31 Old 09-22-2006, 08:15 PM
 
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Ditto to the suggestion to try a good fish oil supplement.

Also, given the slow reading I'd think about some educational testing if you haven't already done so just to rule out other problems.
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#15 of 31 Old 09-22-2006, 11:51 PM
 
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I'm 35 and was diagnosed with AD/HD inattentive subtype about 4 years ago. I went on Wellbutrin and Concerta for it and it made such a difference, I couldn't believe it.

I decided to immediately go back to college for some math, which I could never "get" previously. I sat in the front row and almost burst out into tears a half hour into the first class. I just kept thinking, is THIS what it could have been like my whole life? Even though I was having huge revelations about the nature of the disorder and my abilities to follow along, I could still concentrate and learn. It was mind-blowing. I went from having to take a math class 4 times to get a C (expensive!) in the class. I still took twice as long to do do my homework, but I could follow a lecture. It was amazing. I just sat there taking notes and marveling that I understood what the teacher was talking about. I can't explain it well enough -- it was like being drunk vs. being sober or something. I could FEEL my brain working and I really, really wished someone had let me experience that earlier in my life.

I was a gifted child and was always wondering what was wrong with me. I wondered why people I knew I was smarter than were doing so much better. The key is that the gap between perceived intelligence and performance is maddening. Slowly, I hit walls and fell behind my peers. In highschool I slowly dropped honors and AP classes, in college I barely made it through in 5 1/2 years.

I can't ever make up for lost time (took a long time to realize that) but I can share my experience and move on from where I am. Life is just better now. Even though I'm pregnant and not medicated, (The fish oil supplement is helping a litle together with reducing my responsibilities to almost none.) I've learned better habits over the last few years and life is easier in so many ways. I can better relate to people, it's easier to work, I can make friends and understand subtle interpersonal cues better. I get along 2000 times better with my husband.

I don't feel drugged, but it was hard to pinpoint the right medication and the right dose. It took persistance (which I finally had). I just was lucky enough to find a great psychiatrist who figured this out with me after 15 years of being misdiagnosed with depression.

I reccommend treatment for little ones because the state of having ADD or AD/HD eventually works its way into your personality and changes you. It's hard to grow up with teachers and people feeling exasperated and impatient with you. So, I don't know if that's too much information, or too personal, but this is me before:: and after: (That's DH's contribution!)
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#16 of 31 Old 09-23-2006, 06:32 PM
 
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My ds was recently diagnosed and we have chosen not to medicate at this time for the following reasons.

1) He's doing very well academically. The problems he has are focus, paying attention, taking tests, and overall sitting still. I see this as a problem with the educational model, not my son. Now that he has a diagnosis and an IEP we can make the school work around him and I intend to push that as far as needed. Socially, he's a little immature but he has lots of friends, makes friends easily, and is constantly asked for playdates.

2) The potential risk of side effects for medication are not worth it right now. I want to try diet, and behavioral and environmental modifications first.

3) I want him to be old enough to say to me, "Mom, this isn't working. I want to try the meds." Then we will research them together and decide.

I don't want him to be one of those adults who has the long-term side effects from the meds and have him say to me, "Why did you do this to me?" I want him to know that the decision to go on medication (if he ever does) was made after we exhausted every other option, and he was the one to make the final decision. I will not medicate him, not for this, without his full, informed consent.

I realize that many children are worse off than mine and have a harder time functioning. I might feel differently if I were the parent of one of those children. These are just the reasons I made the decision not to medicate my son.
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#17 of 31 Old 09-23-2006, 06:43 PM
 
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Lovemyboo...I think you put it very well...and oregongirlie it is interesting to see your perspective, but you were much older and were able to make that decision on your own. I'm very against medicating young children without exhausting all other options first. I think the place we need to start is with the educational paradigm and it's system overall, also nutrition and lifestyle.....

I know it is very hard as a parent of one of these kids, I can only imagine how tough life is for the kids who have to go to school and be barraged with negative messages. I still think changing the system vs chemically changing the child should be the first option to explore.
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#18 of 31 Old 09-23-2006, 06:43 PM
 
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I think one point we all need to look at here is that giving medication to a growing child is an entirely different thing than giving medication to a grown adult. While some adults with ADD/ADHD do fine on medicaiton, the same does not neccesarily apply to children, which is why especially careful consideration must be made. Some children who may not do well on meds as kids may be the polar opposite as adults and do okay. I'm not against medication persay, as long as other methods have been valiantly tried and the benefits outweight the risks. So while I do appreciate stories of adults that do fine on meds, we must realize that with children it is another story entirely, especially coupled with social pressures of adolscence and school.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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#19 of 31 Old 09-23-2006, 11:54 PM
 
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Sorry for being a thread hog... This thread has actually helped me change my view a lot. It never dawned on me that just having a diagnosis as a kid is miles ahead of not knowing what's wrong with you. Although I often wish I had been medicated as a small child, if it were started when I really "hit the wall" academically and socially (middle school) I think it could have changed my life all together. The consequences of my impulsive behavior after that time are still with me. But I still seriously thought I was an alien when I was really little. Thank g-d my little guy won't have to believe that.

This little guy due in 6 weeks has a big chance of inheriting it from me. While he's not medicated now, won't be during breastfeeding (so help me from ppd), and might not be in school, just knowing will help in that decision.

I still believe that it's more than a bureaucratic or constructed system that is reacting to the person with AD/HD, it's a greater natural response. People with AD/HD are often considered difficult to work with and be around. Not because of school rules, but because people often don't like their behavior. Being one of those people is very hard. One of a thousand examples: I remember the looks that would come across my coworkers' faces when I would make random or "harsh" comments in meetings. (I thought they made sense at the time.)

Even having the empathy that comes from having this disorder, it's difficult to teach students with it. It takes 10 times more patience and flexibility to teach them. And I did, without question, fully respecting family choices. Sometimes those choices left a child "failing" (genius 4th grader who couldn't focus enough to do anything longer than 8 or 9 seconds -- yes I counted.) when I really strongly believed they could "succeed" (learn to read, write, understand math concepts) and feel so much happier while medicated. I think it was after being diagnosed and medicated that I actually found the resources to be able to do a really good job. Some people have little patience -- so monitor what might happen to your kid before the "system" (just people) is finished with him.
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#20 of 31 Old 09-24-2006, 02:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to everyone who has responded. I knew that I would get lots of differnt opionions on the meds and while it's a good thing I have a hard time seeing that people are so unaccepting of this. It makes me wonder of those people who responded if they have had a negative experience on other meds and if they really understand that this is a last resort. I would never do this with out throughly going through my options. We have tried alot of cognative behavior therapy and this with the limiting dyes and perservatives helps but not enough. The poor thing struggles so badly to focus and knows there is something wrong. I also believe that she will be able to tell if the meds are working or not as she has asked for help.

I have looking in the Feingold program and it looks far to restrictive, I work with men and women with eating disorders every time I got to work and I would not ever want that for my child and I see putting such "restrictions" on a child and a soon to be preteen a sure fire way to encourage one. Just saying, I'm not open to this right now. As for the fish oil, I have never heard of it for this or attempted it but if anyone knows dosages it wouldn't hurt to try it if I can convince DD to take it. Does the child take it in capsul or liquid form. As far as the dyes go we are very strict about it and limit perservatives as much as possible. I know I could do better with sugar. We don't use much refined sugar, but we could do better. Also homeschooling or unschooling is not an option for us. With her inability to focus and stay in task I would not feel confortable attempting to do this. We gave it a try over the summer and I couldn't get her to focus long enough to get anything done with out a fight. Which is the differance in school as she is very respectful and would never challenge her teacher. Don't get me wrong she is a great kids but when I try to make her sit and focus when there is a lawn mower going 2 houses down and a cat walking by and a brother playing in the other room she puts up a fight. I know it sounds counterproductive to keep her in the school but as of right now it is the best choice.
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#21 of 31 Old 09-24-2006, 04:09 AM
 
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just wanted to add that our therapist (my sons and mine when we are both on Concerta) also recommended fish oil as a supplement. i did feel a boost in my attention span when i took it (3x a day).
although i am not on the Concerta now, when the baby weans (CLW), i do intend to start back on it. as one of the previous posters stated, it changed my life and made me realize how much different my life would have been if i had known about the ADD previously.
although i graduated college, etc., it was a much more difficult decision than it woudl have been on the medication.
i do agree that meds are different for a grown adult than a growing child, but i also believe each case is unique and if you have a caring health professional that is willing to work with you, meds may be the answer for some children. not all certainly and not most of those on meds right now probably, but for some, it is a welcome relief.

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Thanks to everyone who has responded. I knew that I would get lots of differnt opionions on the meds and while it's a good thing I have a hard time seeing that people are so unaccepting of this. It makes me wonder of those people who responded if they have had a negative experience on other meds and if they really understand that this is a last resort. I would never do this with out throughly going through my options. We have tried alot of cognative behavior therapy and this with the limiting dyes and perservatives helps but not enough. The poor thing struggles so badly to focus and knows there is something wrong. I also believe that she will be able to tell if the meds are working or not as she has asked for help.

I have looking in the Feingold program and it looks far to restrictive, I work with men and women with eating disorders every time I got to work and I would not ever want that for my child and I see putting such "restrictions" on a child and a soon to be preteen a sure fire way to encourage one. Just saying, I'm not open to this right now. As for the fish oil, I have never heard of it for this or attempted it but if anyone knows dosages it wouldn't hurt to try it if I can convince DD to take it. Does the child take it in capsul or liquid form. As far as the dyes go we are very strict about it and limit perservatives as much as possible. I know I could do better with sugar. We don't use much refined sugar, but we could do better. Also homeschooling or unschooling is not an option for us. With her inability to focus and stay in task I would not feel confortable attempting to do this. We gave it a try over the summer and I couldn't get her to focus long enough to get anything done with out a fight. Which is the differance in school as she is very respectful and would never challenge her teacher. Don't get me wrong she is a great kids but when I try to make her sit and focus when there is a lawn mower going 2 houses down and a cat walking by and a brother playing in the other room she puts up a fight. I know it sounds counterproductive to keep her in the school but as of right now it is the best choice.
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#22 of 31 Old 09-24-2006, 10:43 AM
 
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My ds takes these dha (fish oil) supplements.

Nordic Naturals

The pills are very small and are chewable. They taste like strawberry. Ds swallows them whole but has chewed one and said it wasn't bad. The standard dosage is 4 pills twice a day. Ds takes 3, twice a day. I may up that to four if it seems he needs it.

Like most dietary change, you need to give them a couple of weeks to a couple of months to really see a difference.
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#23 of 31 Old 09-24-2006, 11:23 AM
 
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I just want to add that the Feingold diet is NOT that restrictive after you figure out which naturally occurring salicylates your child is sensitive to...and if it is a food intolerance your DD will FEEL better not eating things her body does not tolerate well. My DS described it to me as being all crumbly inside...like his insides are just shaking and crumbling and falling apart. HOW AWFUL to feel that way. I only wish I had known about it and tried it sooner. Zac doesn't feel restricted at all, even at soccer games when people bring snacks that aren't on his diet, he just says, NO THANKS...and I always bring him something he CAN have. Even when he is out with friends and I am not around if he is unsure, he says No thanks...he feels so badly when eating stuff he is sensitive to that he just doesn't want it. And when we started Zac on the diet, the whole family went on the diet, and we all feel better for it....He can now tolerate oranges and some tomato and strawberries, which all used to be huge triggers for him, we just doe them in moderation now and not two days in a row. And I feel quite certain he is not developing an eating disorder. He is a very savvy shopper...and when we go to the store and he sees like Fruit Loops for example, he says, NOw, what in nature is THAT COLOR??? or "Wonder how much petroleum is in that box?" I just want you to know that it is NOT that restrictive past the first 2 weeks, then you start adding in the fruits and veggies that have salicylates in them and see which ones dd reacts to...It could be the difference between a lower or a higher dose of medication, or possibly no medication at all.

have you checked out the Right Brained learner info? She may not need meds, she may need a teacher without a teaching disability.

The reason I am so anti med is because I think it is overused. And I think the classrooms are overcrowded and it is so much easier on a teacher to drug a kid into submission that to try to alter the learning environment to better suit a different learning style. I just hate to think of giving millions of kids mind altering drugs when the answer may be as simple as dietary or environmental changes. I'm SURE there is a small portion of the population who needs the medical intervention. I just think it is way overused.
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#24 of 31 Old 10-05-2006, 03:27 PM
 
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has anyone sought a doctor that does behavior counseling? my step daughter recently moved in with us she was on 4 meds for AD/HD and depression, which i understand is a common side effect of
ADD. she was 16 when she moved in with us due to extreme difficulties with her mom, school and even some minor legal problems. i took her to our family pedi becuase all of those meds frankly scared me. he ran a lot of test (blood, physc etc..) and she does seem to have ADD/HD but he reduced her meds to 1 and the dosage almost by half and then told us to enroll her with a therapist that did behavior modification classes. what a life saver. when she first came i spent more time at school than at work and home time was just nerve racking. now she seems to be settling in and doing much better in many aspects of her life, but i am unsure if it will be short lived?? has anyone else had any experiences with this? also we have set rules and guidlines in our house that are strictly enforced and this tyoe of clear structure seems to help (her mom did not believe in any kind of discipline so this was new to her).

she also seems to have some maturity issues especially where dating and boys are concerned is this common with ADD/HD? thanks for any help.

hutsonmom
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#25 of 31 Old 10-05-2006, 03:46 PM
 
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I have read somewhere that taking cod liver oil helps insanely with ADD/ADHD. FAR FAR better than any medicine. It is soooooooo good for you. I may have read it on westonaprice.org or mercola.com

Maybe you already knew that though..... good luck!!!!

Jessica, wife to Mark, homeschooling mama to Micah (2006), Noah (2009), Owen (2012) and another on the way this August (20014)
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#26 of 31 Old 10-05-2006, 04:06 PM
 
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My DS was taking Cod Liver Oil (in capsules) and a combo of zinc, magnesium, and calcium. It worked so well the teacher noticed.

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#27 of 31 Old 10-05-2006, 04:17 PM
 
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I have to agree with the fish oil. I've been using it during pregnancy for ADD and depression after being on Concerta (slow-release ritalin) and Wellbutrin. It has worked really well. But, I have cut my responsiblilities by about 90% (no job, school, understanding and helpful spouse). Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also very helpful (IME) but a psychoanalytical approach is not (also IME).
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#28 of 31 Old 10-06-2006, 10:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How many mg of the fish oil do you give to an almost 9 year old? I went to the local health food store to pick them up and they can in 2 different strenghts.
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#29 of 31 Old 10-06-2006, 11:28 PM
 
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My ds takes six 250mg pills a day, three in the morning and three at night. The directions say you can give up to eight a day. So I'd say no more than 2000mg a day.
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#30 of 31 Old 10-06-2006, 11:30 PM
 
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According to mercola.com
Take one teaspoon of Carlson's liquid oil for every 50 pounds of body weight daily.

For Carlson's Cod Liver Oil Softgels with Low Vitamin A, I highly recommend taking one softgel for every ten pounds of body weight. However, do not exceed more than15 pills per day -- unless you have had your fatty acid levels tested.

We used Carlson's becuase it was supposed to be the purest. We now take Pure Encapsulations because it has been microfiltered.

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