Isn't that exactly what we are doing to our children? What has happened to our schools where children are not allowed to be in school unless they are on drug therapy when they have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD? Why are these on an epidemic scale in our young people? I want you to take a moment and just imagine what we are teaching our children. We are teaching them that medication is the solution to not only attention issues, but behavior issues, emotional issues and is the ultimate coping mechanism. We are teaching our children to turn to medication to solve their (and our) problems. How much easier is it for a parent who is tired of dealing with their child's behavior issue, to be able to legally sedate their child? How much easier is it for a teacher to have a room full of sedated students so they will sit for long periods of time without any disruption?
I am more distressed than I can even tell you at the number of parents who come in to see me and think there is no alternative for their child except for medication. They point to the school's insistence that their child has to be on ritalin, even in cases where the child has not been diagnosed with ADD & ADHD.
In fact, there is NO test for ADHD in children or adults. It is based on the presence of a variety of symptoms for longer than six months in multiple environmental settings. But why does ritalin not work for so many people? And what about all the side effects? It literally makes me cry to hear a child say that they don't like who they are on the medication. They feel dead inside. They can't feel at all. They get depressed.
Why are we doing this? So can we just stop? PLEASE!
Here's the protocol that I have used for years with great results. I urge you to try it out, especially over the summer when you have more control over your child's dietary choices and they are not stressed about school. Now will you have a teacher or school administrator breathing down your neck to do something about your child.
1) The first thing is lifestyle - you have to provide your child with the attention they need and deserve and a home situation that is relaxing and supportive. Without this, much of the rest of this is a moot point. It all starts with parenting first.
2) Diet - I hate to tell you, but sugar and simple carbohydrates may be easy to get on the table in a pinch, but they are poison to the ADD & ADHD child. Their body's do not process these well, nor are they able to convert these into stable energy-supplying molecules. Instead sugar and simple carbs short-circuit their brain pathways, since the brain gobbles up as much glucose as it can get. Think of the sugar rush you normally get? Now multiply this by 10 and you get the idea. So eliminate breads, potatoes, starches, sugars and especially artificial sweeteners. Drop the soft drinks, skip the donuts, drive by the fast food establishments at the speed of light.
3) Supplement - First, your child has to have Catalyn which is a whole-food multi-vitamin mineral that is not only unparalleled in nutritional content and absorbability, but has been feeding America since 1929. Next is the group to help balance blood sugar and reduce the ADD symptomology: Gymnema, Inositol, Zymex and Mindlinx probiotic. This combination works on the pancreas, the liver and the gut to help reduce gut dysbiosis and support healthy sugar metabolism, now and in the future. The last group is the mineral group: Min Chex with breakfast and Min Tran with dinner. Now if there is substantial anxiety during the day, substitute Min Tran for Min Chex.
4) Remove multi-tasking and disruptive sensory images. Now what I mean by this is reduce computer and television, and do not allow your child to watch any program that has images that pop up in the corners of the screen or any bar that runs additional info across the bottom or top of the screen. This is incredibly disruptive to perception. If your child is supposed to be concentrating on something, or you are trying to get your child's attention, do not allow them to be playing a video game, or focusing on an IPad. Do not let them do multiple tasks at the same time. The more you can help them to focus on each task and each image, the more balanced their perception will become.
5) Teach your child breathing techniques to relax them, reduce their stress level, and to focus their mind. Some children need help with this - it doesn't come naturally to some, so watch your child and see how they do with this. Just a few minutes of breathing makes a huge difference to the beginning, middle and end of the day.
6) Sleep cycle - Which leads us to the next topic, sleep. Recent extensive clinical studies have shown that many children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD are physically exhausted from lack of sound sleep. Making sure your child sleeps well is crucial to your child's development and health, not to mention their chance of getting into Harvard.
The last thing to consider is your child's daily lifestyle. Children are not wired to sit still for long periods of time, or to be able to focus on one thing intently for long periods of time. The average attention span for a child is 2-5 minutes per year of age. One of the biggest misperceptions I see is a parent or teacher insisting that an 8 year old child should be able to sit still for 90 minutes, when even a 10 year old child can't.
The biggest lifestyle block to concentration and focus is distraction. Distraction can be a soft bed which is meant for sleep, not study, music, television, talking, noise, discomfort, hunger are all distractions and disruptions that will create a habit of poor concentration. It is important to provide the appropriate environment for the task at hand. The parent's job is to remove distractions, not allow them.
But the parent's biggest role by far is that of an example. You cannot expect your child to concentrate in school when at home there are distractions aplenty, and very little physical activity to stimulate a child's energy balance. Children have to run off their energy, and feel the difference between mental energy and physical energy. If you keep a child inside all the time in front of the television, then they will have so much pent-up physical energy that it has to come out somewhere and that will either be at school or at night when you're trying to get them to go to sleep. So set an example and teach your child what real concentration and focus is like.
Let's not continue this habit of sedating our children instead of helping them.