As I sit and reflect on the small changes I see excitement wells up in my heart. For the average onlooker they may not notice anything new within my typically sweet and cute child, but I get to look behind the mini blinds. You see my dear daughter is a wonderful child, she’s rarely in trouble at school, she’s good at church, she behaves at other people’s homes, but at our house she can be a holy terror. Why such a disparity? I don’t know. I wish I understood. You can imagine my confusion when the psychologist diagnosed her with ADHD in September, but after reading the symptoms I started to see where the diagnosis stemmed from. While she may wonderfully follow the rules at school, she talks nonstop at home, she can’t sit still very long, she has a hard time being pulled away from tasks, and she gets frustrated very easily. At school is manifests through lack of attention. She has a hard time focusing and completing a task or remembering instructions in sequence.
Like many parents I was overwhelmed by all the changes occurring around me. As E’s difficulties started to have names I couldn’t process everything at once. I was flooded with information and requests from he school for meetings and prescription medications. Slowly overtime I have been able to step back and take a look at each piece of information separately.
The diagnosis of ADHD was the most frightening to me. Why? Because with it brought scary medications and I didn’t know how I felt about it all. In October I didn’t feel like I had any other choice. The school wanted to put E back in 1st grade and I didn’t want to make this decision yet, then they wanted to see progress and everyones answer was medication. Quickly and without rational thinking I gave in. I made an immediate appt with the pediatrician and requested a script, which had to be hand written, taken to the pharmacy and I could only get enough medication for 30 days, no refills. Again we come to the question, Why? Because all medications for ADHD are controlled substances, so physicians cannot call these prescriptions into the pharmacy. Shouldn’t this be a warning flag?
We started the first medication and it went terribly. She complained of severe abdominal pain within the first two days and wouldn’t eat. We stuck it out for about 4 days until it was a down right battle and she refused to take the medication. The wonderful pediatrician prescribed a new medication and we gave it a go. E survived on this for about 2 months, but again she was complaining of stomach pains, wouldn’t eat and was having TERRIBLE evening tantrums, mood swings, crying episodes. I stopped the medication over Christmas and she was wonderful. We started back after the break, but again it all returned and I couldn’t handle it. Everyday she would come home with her lunch barely touched, she would cry and she would complain her stomach hurt.
Being from a wonderful family who has always sought out homeopathic and more natural therapy for all ailments I started down this path. I had my mother research information from a naturopath we follow and I started scouring the internet. My research lead me to a natural therapy called Attend. There was another medication called Synaptol, which comes in a liquid form, but E hates liquid. Attend had been used by a family friend, thus I decided to give it a go.
We’ve been on it for about 5 weeks now and I honestly can’t see much difference between the prescription med and Attend except there are NO side effects! E has taken wonderfully to the medication and she doesn’t throw a fit about it at all. She takes two small capsules twice daily along with her Omega-3s and she’s a champ. She downs it with juice or yogurt, no whining or complaining.
The school still has concerns that her medication is not at the “right” dose, but I am going to continue on the course. I believe the Feingold diet is changing things and these natural therapies are helping as well. The Minister has also been taking Attend, because through our research he noticed symptoms he was having of focus and attention. He believes the medication is helping him greatly. While E can’t explain to me whether its working I am using the Minister as my guide. He stopped taking it for about a week and noticed a significant difference.
This week marks the end of week two on the Feingold Program. Overall I have to say its been a success. We did have a couple of meltdowns last week and difficult evenings, but not to the caliber of the past. E continues to calm down and regain control quicker. Small other changes have been her compassion and self-awareness. Some examples: On Sunday she kept telling me what a wonderful mother I was and how she had the best mother in the world. For a while I’ve been the worst mother and she hated me. She’d scream and yell at me and be pure nasty. I’ve not seen that beast come out nearly as much. Last night we also had to make a grocery run, which she hates to do during the week (as do I, but it was necessary). She started to throw a fit, but I talked her out of it and we were able to make it through without a meltdown. Tonight for dinner I decided to make breakfast in honor of National Pancake Day. I served her several pancakes with fruit and an egg. After eating the pancakes she wanted more, but I explained to her she had to eat the egg. Pre-Feingold we would have had a complete meltdown, with yelling and potential bargaining about how many bites she had to eat in order to get another pancake. Tonight, she HAPPILY ate the ENTIRE scrambled egg and was easily rewarded with more pancakes.
To me each one of these are mountainous changes. In two weeks we’ve come a long way. Its been tough on the budget and its tough on me at times (I miss tomatoes and apples too), but we’re gonna make it. E’s a trooper and the sweetest girl I know. Her whole demeanor has changed and she’s much more loving and considerate. Of course she’s still a 7 year old, but I am praising God for giving me the knowledge and the wisdom to seek the right answers for our family.
I encourage you to remember: When God is for us, who can be against us?
**Please remember this is my personal experience. While conventional medical therapy has not worked for us, the decision is individual. Each parent is empowered to make the best decision for their child, which is what I am doing for mine. Thank you for your consideration.