ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - A Child with a problem or a problem child????
As a mother of a child who suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, I often encounter people who do not understand my child's behaviour and am often looked upon as a bad parent. Due to this and some information I have recently discovered I thought I would share this with you all. Some of you may think this helpful, others may not. For some it may explain their own children's behaviour and for others it may help them to be a little more thoughtful before branding anyone a bad parent who is unable to control an unruly child. Here follows my story of how I found out about my son's disability, whats aggrevates it and how to deal with it, you will be surprised to find out that every day things - bubblebath, fruit, chicken nuggets and milk can all affect this disorder.
My children are well loved and although they are not spoilt, they have most things a child these days would desire (within reason and within affordability). My son had always been fidgety, interrupting and compulsive. Climbing trees at the age of two and not being able to get down again, racing down a hill on his trike, smashing into the kerb and then laughing because the trike had smashed. Climbing out of my bedroom window and crawling across the outside sill just to see how far it was to the ground and if he was able to get to the other side window.He had no sense of danger, no fears, he would pick up things in the shop and walk out - not to steal but beacsue he would forget he had them. In the end I had to keep doors locked and windows shut and locked. No I was not leaving him unsupervised and yes the above probably makes me sound like a bad parent, but I'm not. Even when he was a toddler he could escape from his buggy despite being held in with the buggy straps and a set of reins. He hardly slept and did not like being alone, often hiding in the most obscure of places.He was always accident prone - falling off walls, beds, bikes etc. He once triked three miles on his own to his grandparents house on the day they were returing from holiday - on this occasion he was being looked after at his friends house where he had gone for tea.
He was always a handful at playgroup, not violent but boisterous, when I asked the health visitor to help I was told he was only a very active three year old. When I could stand it no longer and he was five I contacted our local clinic who referred him to the child behaviour specialist. When we went to the appointment, my son's actions and rections on the day helped the consultant make a quick diagnosis, my son had ADHD and ODD. Okay, so I had an answer to his behaviour but what was causing it? Diet? Me? his Dad? NO the consultant explained it is a chemical imbalance in the brain, much the same as a short circuit in an electrical circuit. I had to make a choice. Did I allow him to have drugs to help him or should I try and put up with the problem myself? I chose the drug option, at the end of the day I felt it extremely unfair for him to try to live a life when it was hard for him to socialise and everyone branding him as a naughty boy. His first set of treatment did not work properly and after a while we had it changed to a new long lasting drug Strattera which has a 24 hours effect. His behaviour improved and he has been quite settled. We are all settled now, however there are a lot of things we have to take into consideration not just diet but what he uses for his bath, cleaning his teeth, what he drinks and eats. How we tell him off and how to praise him.
INTOLERANCE TO SODIUM BENZOATE & SODIUM CARBONATE
We have all heard how children should not be given 'E' numbers and additives but these are preservatives, found in a lot of common every day foods. Shopping is tedious, having to check every items contents to see if it has 'nasties' in it.
have natural sodium benzoate so if your child eats lots of bananas and is bouncing off the walls - there's your answer!
FULL CREAM MILK
also contains it so SEMI SKIMMED should be used.
COUGH MEDICINES & PAIN SUSPENSIONS
Most medicines including CALPOL, NUROFEN and most COUGH MEDICINES use Sodium Benzoate as a preservative, check with your Pharmacist who will recommend an alternative.
Many of the everyday bubble baths including the better makes PALMOLIVE, RADOX, IMPERIAL LEATHER, SANEX, JOHNSONS all contain Sodium Benzoate - why is a mystery but they do. Okay so your child is not eating or drinking this BUT they are absorbing it through their skin and it has the same effect. Some soaps and lotions also are affected. Personally my son uses Tesco baby tip to toe.
Try not to use toothpastes that contain MINT since this also has a natural Sodium Benzoate.
FIZZY DRINKS, FLAVOURED WATERS, SOFT DRINKS
Although we all know that fizzy drinks are bad for our children's teeth and too much sugar can make any child jump around for a while, the main of them do contain either Sodium Benzoate or Sodium Carbonate and some even have both! My son drinks mainly plain still water (the flavoured and fizzy ones generally contain one of the other preservatives) or semi skimmed milk. Squash is generally not useable but there are a few natural ones available at high cost ( not only financially but also TEETH, my son had to have 8 teeth removed since the natural sugars in the natural fruit squash had decayed his teeth rapidly depsite regular brushing). He is quite happy to drink natural apple juice, semi skimmed milk and water.
CONTROLLING A CHILD WITH ADHD &/OR ODD
Keeping to a regular pattern of doing things helps, they do not cope well with change of routine. Letting them help when they want to for example helping with housework or cooking (age dependent) etc will help them as they feel part of what is going on and are happy when they have acheived something. Do not make promises unless you can keep them, any child gets upset if they are told they are gping to go somewhere or do something and then it does not happen, outings etc are best kept unsaid until they happen, they tend to enjoy it more if they dont spend weeks getting hyped up over it. Whe you tell them off do it with positives and not negatives, the word NO often gets interpreted as be defiant and you get attention - reasoning can work to a degree but you need to be firm but fair. Use a happy face/sad face chart with a pointer so both you and your child can show how you feel without ending up arguing. Try not to shout as they will only tend to shout back and the result is you both get very upset, you because your child is upset and them because they have upset you.
THIS IS NOT EASY!!! It takes practice but in the end you will find that the results you get are what you want.
LIFE ISN'T PERFECT no amount of medicine, TLC or attention will make your child perfect, he or she will still have bad days after all they are only human (even if they do act like little monsters!). Life is what you make it and if you can find out what makes you and your child behave in the way they do, then it is easier to rectify any problems. If you are worried then I would highly recommend you ask your Doctor and they would normally refer you to a child behaviour consultant if they think you need to be seen by one. If your child does have ADHD, and it seems as if the medicine isn,t working, check your cupboards, dont forget its not just food and drink that can be affecting your childs behaviour.
I am not a doctor or a child psycologist. I am just a mother whose child has been professionally diagnosed as having a recognised Disability. ADHD is an illness and not an excuse. I have writen this guide to bring to your attention the everyday factors that have an effect on a child with ADHD. However every child is not the same and some children may not have a problem with these preservatives, BUT after reading this I hope you will be a little more tolerant of the unruly and impatient kangaroo kid at the checkout, they might not be 'just a naughty child'. Please do not judge the parent as a bad parent who cannot control his/her child, they are probably doing their best and feeling very embarrassed with their childs behaviour. I no longer take my son shopping because although 99% of the time he can be very helpful there are times when his devil horns protrude and his tail lengthens and the steam rushes from his ears!
AS I HAVE ALREADY SAID I AM OT A PROFESSIONAL, ALL THE ABOVE IS FROM MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES AND NOT EVERY CHILD IS THE SAME.
IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT ANYTHING, THEN I WOULD RECOMMEND YOU SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE.
I FOUND OUT MY SON'S INTOLERENCES BUT SHEER TRIAL AND ERROR, BUT WITH PERSERVERANCE WE HAVE, WITH THE HELP OF HIS CONSULTANT AND SPECIAL MEETINGS, BEEN ABLE TO IMPROVE NOT ONLY OUR LIVES BUT THOSE OF HIS FRIENDS, SCHOOL TEACHERS AND OUR FAMILY. HE IS A NICER CHILD AND MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE KNOW HIM FOR A LONG TIME - BEFORE HE WAS DIAGNOSED - HAVE RECENTLY SAID WHAT A LOVELY QUIET AND POLITE CHILD HE IS!
THIS MAKES HIM FEEL PROUD AND IT DEFINATELY MAKES ME FEEL PROUD.
I HOPE THAT YOU HAVE FOUND THIS ITEM HELPFUL AND INFORMATIVE. THERE ARE MANY HELP LINES AND ORGANISATIONS THAT ADVERTISE ON THE WEB AND AT YOUR LOCAL SURGERY & CLINIC.