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Old 12-03-09, 10:34 AM
rrsszz22 rrsszz22 is offline
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Re: Advice for dealing with 7 y/o son with ADHD

Hello,
I actually just posted similar information for another parent with a 7 year old boy with ADHD and while I think the above systems in place can work, I think it's really important to rule out other environmental factors. I'm a Behavior Analyst that goes into homes and works with families of children with behavioral problems including ADHD and the first things I always do first is rule out sleep problems, allergies, and nutritional deficiencies.
How does he sleep at night (how many hours?) and what is his diet typically? Usually kids I see that are behaving this way also tend to be poor sleepers possibly having a sleep disorder, which is a huge part of their problem. The reason being that when a child doesn't get enough sleep the body becomes stressed and ends up releasing a lot of cortisol. Cortisol, if you don't know, is a corticosteroid that can cause "wired" behavior AKA the second wind. I don't know if you have ever had to put one of your children on a steroid (prednisone) for an allergic reaction or taken it yourself, but it ends up making it even more difficult to sleep and causes lots of aggression and so the cycle continues.
In relation to his diet, if he has a lot of sugar, this can also cause behavioral problems. Sometimes it may not be obvious how much sugar we are getting because it's in everything we eat now adays. Some kids are more sensitive than others and because sugar has similar properties to heroin it can cause withdrawal symptoms that make a child irritable and aggressive. (I have to admit I have a bit of a sugar addiction myself and notice more mood swings when I eat a lot of it). I worked with a couple kids with ADHD that I had mentioned this to the mother and she took them pretty much completely off sugar, with the exception of natural sugars in fruit and I didn't even think it would have caused the improvement it did. They had been constantly crying, whining, or aggressive when unable to get their way and all of a sudden it just stopped.
You may also want to start him on an Omega-3 supplement as they are linking ADHD symptoms to a deficit in Omega -3, which is an essential fatty acid needed for learning, focus and concentration. We pretty much only get it in fish these days and most kids don't eat fish, so you can see why this is a problem.
Finally, have him checked for allergies. I knew a kid once that didn't have noticeable reactions to peanut butter, but it was finally realized that he was allergic to it and when he ate it his behavior became outrageous. Once it was removed from his diet he became a quiet well behaved child. I'll post some article links for you to look at below that sort of talk about some of these things.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090501090914.htm
http://www.healingwithnutrition.com/newsclips/archive/omega3add.html
http://www.organicnutrition.co.uk/articles/is-sugar-bad-for-you.htm

As for mom, being that you said you go to church, this is a little trick I have found to be very helpful to help me keep my calm being that I have a 2 year old that often tests my patient. Each day when alone I meditate for about 2-3 minutes on the scripture verse "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1, just saying it over and over in my head while pinching my thumb and forefingers together and breathing deeply. Then when she is faced with the frustrating behavior, if she pinches her fingers together and takes a deep breath it will sort of remind her of this verse. I find it helps me to keep my cool better - just a personal tip.
Good luck!
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