Attention deficit disorder and other hyperactivity and auditory processing disorders are becoming more common, and most parents simply turn to medication to help their child. If your child has been diagnosed with these disorders or you suspect that your child may have one of these disorders, then you should consider natural alternatives that might be used instead. Here are a few things that can be done:
Dietary influences have a strong impact on a child’s ability to focus and process information, and you need to be aware of the foods that your child is eating. Serve plenty of whole foods, such as lean meat, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Stay away from anything that is genetically modified, contains food dyes and other additives, and also dairy products. Make sure that you are buying organic ingredients as much as possible, especially for fruits and vegetables and animal products.
Cod liver has strong healing properties that can be beneficial for ADHD and other processing disorders. A study completed at the University of Adelaide showed that children were less restless after taking cod liver oil for 7 months, and there was a noticeable difference in their school performance and concentration. Cod liver oil contains important omega-3 fatty acids that support healthy brain functioning, and this supplement is essential because there aren’t many food sources that provide omega-3’s. I personally like and give Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil to my son.
Probiotics provide the “good” bacteria that resides in the gut, and researchers have found that probiotics are beneficial for ADHD in several different ways. One theory is that probiotics improve digestion, which in turn improves the body’s ability to get the nutrients that are needed for optimal health. Many patients with ADHD have a limited amount of “good” bacteria in the body, and it might be possible to decrease the symptoms of ADHD by increasing the usage of probiotics. Two companies I strongly suggest and have used are Purium Health Products and Klaire Labs.
The Interactive Metronome (IM) is a research-based training program that helps children and adults overcome attention, memory, and coordination limitations. Researchers have found that neural deficits might have an impact on children with ADHD, autism, and other conditions. The Interactive Metronome can help to address the disruptive timing in the brain, which in turn improves the overall success rate of ADHD treatments.
It has been found that regular use of activities withthe Interactive Metronomehelp children have better cognitive functions and they are more alert and motivated to meet their goals. One of the most powerful ways to use the Interactive Metronome is when it is paired with functional therapy interventions and other natural remedies. The benefit of this approach is that it treats the root of the problem, instead of covering up the symptoms. I have witnessed many success stories with as little as 12 sessions.
The aromatic benefits of essential oils can help to improve focus and boost brain functions, especially since essential oil compounds are able to pass the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain directly. Use these essential oilsfor ADHD and other processing disorders:
° Frankincense to decrease systemic inflammation, increase clarity, and improve memory
° Patchouli for the calming, sedative benefits
° Roman Chamomile is high in esters, which are beneficial to calm emotions
° Ylang Ylang is relaxing, and helps to calm the emotions
° Lime has pinenes and aldehydes which both soothe the central nervous system and lift the mood at the same time
One important element is to add more organization and structure in the home, because it helps to set the expectations for the child. Children with processing disorders have a hard time handling situations where the activities aren’t consistent, especially when they are in a changing environment.
Visuals are appealing to kids and very useful when used correctly. Charts work really well with these children, so make charts to help them track their to-do lists, daily routines, and anything else that they need help with. Make the charts easy to read by adding color coordination, and you might also use fun stickers or something to keep the child engaged and focused on the chart. Checklists are great because the child can see the exact tasks that need to be done, and they can track their progress by marking things off the list after each task is complete.
Put together a schedule for the child, and stick with that schedule as much as possible. For example, if the child knows that they wake up in the morning, eat breakfast at the counter, and then put on their clothes, then they will be able to follow that same pattern every morning. Changing the schedule, such as having the child put on their shoes before eating breakfast, can cause confusion, so it is best to establish a good schedule that works for the child and stick with it.
Consistency is key. Before changing any sort of established program with your child, it is recommended that you give it at least two weeks. You can make slight modifications to the program you set at home, but do not stop the implementation of it. If you know in advance that the routine will be interrupted due to a vacation or another reason, I suggest you start your structured schedule when you and your child have nothing coming up. You know your child best. Talk with your child and involve him/her in the process.
Jennifer Kozek, LPC, NCC presents a very comprehensive guide for parents, teachers, and other health care practitioners who crave effective solutions that are healthier than the hammer-like approach offered by mainstream medicine in her book, Healing Without Hurting: Treating ADHD, Apraxia and Autism Spectrum Disorders Naturally and Effectively without Harmful Medication. She is an accomplished licensed psychotherapist with over 15 years of clinical experience treating clients with an array of health disorders including Asperger’s, depression, anxiety, OCD and ADHD. It’s a must read and you will regain hope that recovery is possibly without the need for potentially dangerous medication.