Friday, January 16, 2009

How to calm an ADHD child

I'm probably sounding like a broken record. My kids act ADHD times 100 when they consume foods with food dyes. They are incredibly better off the food dyes. I think foods with salycilates contribute too. Check out the Feingold site for more on salycilates and other food connections.

But I've also been learning that there are also lots of other non-medication options for children with ADHD. I'm not completely opposed to medication. In my practice as a Professional Counselor I've seen lots and lots of children benefit from taking medication. Unfortunately, I also see a lot of trial and error and a lot of unwanted side effects. Doctors also seem to think that if one medication doesn't work, then 2 meds are better. That's my primary reason for not considering medication for my son, despite his attention problems. I think there is a lot of irresponsible prescribing going on with children and I want no part of that for my child.

That's also a reason I am so excited that I finally got Alex into an Occupational Therapist for Sensory Integration. I've been on waiting lists in 2 agencies for 10 months. My son's balance and coordination problems probably go all the back to his early ear infections and 2 sets of tubes. The OT suggested lots of heavy work for Alex. You would not believe how much a little of the right activity can do to calm a child. I could see the effects taking place after 10 minutes in our first appointment.

Since the kids are all home from school today (its' -14 outside) I decided it was the perfect time to test out the "heavy work" idea. I had the kids do an obstacle course in the basement with all kinds of pushing and pulling tasks requiring upper body muscle work. They loved it! They had fun, worked up a sweat, and best of all, they were much more calm than usual. Alex even did great playing the cello afterward.

Here are some more links to Sensory Integration Info
Sensory Processing Disorder site
another SI site

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