Concerned About My 6 Yr Old Taking ADHD Medicines

Updated on October 06, 2010
T.A. asks from San Jose, CA
29 answers

I just want to know if anyone has a child who is taking medications for ADHD?? Which one? how many mg? What are the side effects/withdrawls? Have you seen any real benefits/changes for your child?

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E.G.

answers from Yuba City on

Yeah to Kirsten G. I am also a former second grade teacher and I have to say that unless he is significantly behind in learning, I would leave it alone for know. My husband is a pharmacist and from what he has told me I would recommend talking to one about the short and long term side effects and see if you are okay with them.

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L.S.

answers from Stockton on

T., please go to the pages that Marta and Danny recommend. Please my recent respond to Michelle regarding the same issue. Her son has ADHD and aversion to food.
Meds only MASK the symptoms of a medical condition that has to be treated from the roots. There are very specific treatments or protocols to correct this condition, that is similar to autism (they have similar symptoms and same medical issues).
Good luck

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K.E.

answers from Sacramento on

Make sure also that you cut back on foods with preservatives, food dyes, additives, basically anything that is not all-natural will affect your child. MSG, unfortunately, is all-natural, so learn to look for it in all your foods, and avoid it whenever possible. Be wary of products stating that they are organic: only one ingredient needs to be organic in order for them to be able to slap that label on a product, and certified organic is not much better. All-natural is the only way to go.

Check out www.wildtree.com for all-natural cooking spices and oils: we've been using it for cooking for over a year now, and have noticed a huge difference in my husband, who refuses to take medication for his ADHD. Make sure you read the hyperactivity articles in the About Us section, under Recent News. Really informative. Also, if you look for a rep, ask for Trudy Anderson in Woodland - she's the most knowledgeable about the product and the health benefits.

Good luck!

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C.N.

answers from San Francisco on

My 5-year-old was evaluated for ADHD about a year ago and diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder - in her case "sensory seeking". We have removed all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from her diet, along with wheat and dairy, and she takes omega-3 supplements. Also, she went for a couple of months of occupational therapy and I went for training with the therapist to formulate a "sensory diet" for her. As long as we stick with both diets - food and sensory - she does very well. I notice the decline in her behavior quickly when I have slipped on either diet.

Also, you might consider having your child's vision checked by a developmental optometrist. They check for things other than the standard eye chart - including things like whether the two eyes are working togetehr (eye teaming). My daughter also was diagnosed with convergence insufficiency - her eyes weren't working together so when she looked at something on a page it either looked like everything was moving around or she had double vision. This type of vision issue often brings on ADHD type behavior. She went through about 6 months of vision therapy which retrained the eye muscles to work together. She can now read and focus on things that she was not able to before.

I hope this is helpful, and good luck!

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K.G.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi! I was a 2nd grade teacher before I became a SAHM this April and I couldn't help but feel compelled to comment. Please take what I say with a grain of salt - I don't want to overstep my bounds and I certainly don't know all the background information about your child. In my experience teaching, ADHD is the most commonly over and mis-diagnosed syndrome. That said, I did have several students who DID need the medication, HOWEVER pediatricians are known to "test" for ADHD for ANY academic/classroom attention/behavior problem - simply because it's the quickest "fix" and because they don't know about many other issues in development, prevalent in the field of education.
I would HIGHLY recommend researching the issues and other possible avenues before medicating. Many believe these medications today have long-term adverse affects. (If interested, read "Boys Adrift"). If you have already had your child OBSERVED by a specialist, then kindly disregard my message and definitely find support amongst parents who have children with ADHD. It's just that I have seen several of my students drugged up on meds because their physician dismissed them as ADHD... and it turned out to be Aspbergers in one student, and Sensory Integration Disorder in another. Both to be treated without meds. 6 years old is very young to be medicating.

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B.C.

answers from Sacramento on

T.,

I know how hard it can be. My son has it and my preschool teacher saw the signs. At the 3rd grade I tried all kinds of the medicines. Cody focused better, but a life less, no appetite, dark circles under eyes, didn't want to sleep until 11pm then med wore off and was hungry. Very thin. We did 5mg and increased over 1 yr. he just was not Cody. He looked terrible and I chose to take him off all meds. I just knew there had to be a better way to deal with this. I saw Dr. Amen, on TV and got the book!! You need truly to read this book!! "Healing ADD" by Daniel G. Amen, M.D.. He tells you how to deal with this and what foods are best to help control this. It help me a lot and how the family can deal with this type of personality.....Please find it on Amazon cheap, great book full of info. High protein diet !!! Cody after taking him off was a new kid, gained weight, grew a lot (they don't grow fast with those meds) They may not be straight A students in life but they will be great at something. We have great Faith and Cody is now 5"8 and 126lbs in the 8th grade. Still hard time focusing but, you learn how to get their attention. I use "look at me' , I say what I have to say and tell him to repeat back, so he knows and I know he heard me. Its a new way of life for all of you to learn, but you can do it. I regret the day I put him on meds. If he has a hard time learning.... get it certified first through a doctor to show this is his problem, then the school will have to accomendate him all the way through 12th grade for any needs he may have. You do not have to have him on meds for that. I hope I have been of help to you. Please get the book. Then make your decision. If feel God does provide everything, we need to try that first. Bless you with your family and most important use your patience all the time. Sincerely B. , Roseville, CA.

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V.F.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi T.,

As a teacher for 22 years (primary grades), I have had experience with many behaviors, ADHD being one of them. Due to this, I was very aware that our son was showing signs of ADHD. I have worked very closely with his pediatrician for 10 years with medication and behavioral specialists. We went through many types of medication (dose too high, no difference in behavior, bad side effects etc...) and therapists until we found Concerta and an adolescent behavioralist. It is not a miracle drug by itself. However, it depends on the needs of your child. Some do just fine with medication alone. You really need to do some research and work with your pediatrician. Make a list of pros and cons and share them with your child's doctor. I would also suggest you speak with your child's teacher to see how your child does both inside and outside of the classroom. Remember, an educated decision is the best decision for your child. Finally, I applaud you for being proactive while your child is young. Best of luck.

V.

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A.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi T. -

You are right to be concerned - this is a decision that requires research from many different sources, taking into account many factors, and my biggest advice for you is to pay attention to and TRUST your intuition as a mother. If it doesn't seem right to you in your intuition - pay attention to that. Doctors are trained to dispense medication - this may or may not be the best thing for your child. You are in charge of your child's health- not anyone else - and you know him/her best.

I decided to NOT medicate my son (who is now 17) when many people were telling me I should do it, and labeling him with all sorts of disorders. Thus I began an incredible journey learning and discovering whole new ways of thinking and ways of healing. I was able to help my son (and myself!) far beyond my expectations with changes to his diet and working with him on an emotional/behavioral level. For my son, this was the right decision and had led our entire family to grow in ways we didn't even know were there. I do not believe this would have happened if we had simply medicated him - and I do not believe that he would have been as skilled and prepared for life as he is now, if he had simply been on medication this whole time - medication subdues and masks - not truly heals.

Every situation is different - good luck on your decision and trust your intuition!!

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S.B.

answers from Redding on

Dear T.,
My friend's son began taking Concerta at a pretty young age...kindergarten. Medication was a last resort, but they had tried everything. That kid literally would have lost his own head if it wasn't attached to the rest of him, and some days he had trouble finding it anyway. The medication did help him. Along with working with him very diligently to keep him on task. If they said, "Put your dirty clothes in the hamper", it all just kind of went out the window. So, mom would tell him one thing at a time. Put your dirty socks in the hamper. Great job! Now, put your dirty shirt in the hamper. Awesome! Now put your dirty pants in the hamper. It had to be broken down for him one thing at a time.
As I recall, it took a while for the medication to begin regulating things. He had no side affects and it really helped a lot. I don't know the dosage, but I do know that working with him on learning to focus was also a big part of it. They also enrolled him in dance classes which he loved and helped with some of his extra energy and focusing on the counts of the steps and the rhythm of the music. Karate or anything like that was out of the question as they didn't want him focusing on flying drop kicks. He no longer needs the medication. He's 12 now and memorizes parts for school plays and presentations. They also now can trust him to walk to a friend's house by himself without worrying that he will get distracted and end up somewhere in the complete opposite direction. Taking the medication made a significant difference in his grades which REALLY boosted his confidence. He's doing great.
Just do your research on the different meds and know that they aren't a magic pill. Sticking to a specific routine and not overloading with too many things to think about at once is also a big part of it. Oh, and patience. Lots of patience.

Best of wishes!

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K.B.

answers from Yuba City on

until i worked in classrooms, i never saw the benefit of ADHD meds. i can tell you that if a teacher/school recommends it, you need to listen. they don't say it unless it is REALLY necessary to your child's successful education!
by this i mean, child cannot stay in chair, keep quiet, control their body etc. a child like this won't learn and will prevent others fromlearning as well. they may also have social difficulties. i have tutored children who couldn't learn to read without the focus the meds provide.
many parents take the kids off meds on vacation. that said you will probably just have to trial and error til you find the one that works best for yr kid. and remember the med is not a silver bullet, they need to work on self control issues to eventually manage without the meds as an adult. talk to yr child's teacher, school psychologist, and doctor. dont medicate without their advice. good luck

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E.M.

answers from Bakersfield on

Hi T.-
I don't have this experience first hand, but a lady I used to sit for, her son was ADHD. We noticed that he needed alot of attention and very direct directions. We had to get down eye level with him, make sure that we had eye contact, and ask him to repeat the directions and let us know right then if he did not understand. His first year in school was very difficult, and so his mother started this discipline with him. She put him on medication when he was 6, but only for a year. When the parents took him off, it, they had to work very hard at the constant discipline and helping him to focus, but he has turned into a wonderful, normal teenage boy. The whole issue was that they were skeptical of medication. He needed it for just a small time and was able to work with him and keep him active enough that he no longer depended on it. But it was ALOT of effort. Completely worth it, though. my suggestion is to try everything else first, and if you must use meds, go to the lowest doses, ones you can take him off of, not ones he will be dependent on for a long time.
Good luck and many prayers!
-E.

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C.C.

answers from San Francisco on

I work with students with ADHD.

I think you have received really good advise. Another resource I would recommend is CHADD - it is a group for parents and others that have ADHD or their kids have it. Their website is www.CHADD.org

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G.D.

answers from Modesto on
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J.S.

answers from Rocky Mount on

I have a 6year old, who was 5 years old when she was started on Metadate for ADHD. We did not want to start her on any medication but it was affecting her school work and she is doing so much better. The medication is Metadate 10mg. and she takes it once a day. It's time released so it wears off about 3pm. I have seen a big difference in her school work. It doesn't make her drowsy and we are very happy to have done it. The only side effect is it makes her not want to eat, so we chose not to give it to her on weekends.Also, she cannot swallow pills, so we have to sprinkle it in something and it makes it soooo very hard to get it down. We have to go through a battle every morning but for her school work to be better and her grades to be better, it's worth it. She was going to be left behind in kindergarten. I hope this helps.

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A.C.

answers from San Francisco on

My youngest son has been on adhd meds since first grade. He started out on Ritalin LA (30 mg 1x daily) and let me tell you it made a MASSIVE difference in his ability to concentrate at school. It didn't change his personality (which was a MAJOR concern for my hubby) it simply made him able to sit still and focus for more than a second at a time.

He's now on concerta (56mg 1x daily I think is the dosage) and we switched because it lasts longer than the Ritalin does. He had grown so much the ritalin was no longer lasting clear through school and homework time. It was barely making it to the end of the school day so we talked to his doctor (who is actually a specialist in this area)and tried the concerta.

For both medications he goes in for a check up every 3 months to have his blood pressure, height and weight checked. With both one of the biggest side effects is decreased appetite. Something my guy went through more with the Ritalin than the Concerta ... although he still has some with the concerta. Just have to make him eat a little, especially protiens.

As for withdrawls, I haven't noticed anything really. When he's on it daily then misses a day he seems uber hyper, but that's probably just because we're so used to his more calm demeanor on the meds.

If you're in the Santa Rosa area I'll happily give you the name and number of the specialist my son sees. She is an excellent doctor and goes through extensive testing and evaluation before giving a diagnosis.

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C.G.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi T.,

My son is 8 years old, soon to be 9. He was diagnosed with having ADHD 1 1/2 years ago. It has been a long road. We tried working with his behaviors and choices through a behavioral plan, rewards, and so on. It just was not enough for him. He was having much difficulty in school with focusing, concentration, he would act out on impulse, and so on. We tried different medications, causing different side effects or they just did not help him the way he needed. We finally found one that fit him well and has helped him succeed, socially and academically. He is taking Concerta, 27mg (this is the most he can take in accordance to his weight). This has really made a difference for him and he is happier and has more confidence in himself. The only downside that we were seeing was a slight weight loss. This medication can cause a child to not want to eat as much, so we are making sure that he is eating full meals to maintain and gain weight as he should.

I wish you luck with your child. It was a hard decision for me to put my son on medication, actually, I was against it at first. I tried what I had mentioned above, but then I decided to give it a try and if it helped my son, then this is what needed to be done. I only want the best for him, for all of my kids!

C.

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M.G.

answers from Modesto on

Have you looked into herbal remedies? That might be a better option than pharmaceuticals.

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M.S.

answers from Sacramento on

Listen to your gut - only you know what is right for your child. If you decide to try meds- be compliant and consistent to give it a fair chance.

Also, look up the gluten free diet (no wheat products). A lot of parents swear by it, and see behavioral improvements right away. Hey, no wheat for two weeks is harmless, so you have nothing to lose.

Blessings! :0)

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T.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Our son takes Concerta. He is on 36mg - he is 10 1/2 years old and weighs 72 lbs. He started medication when he was 8 years old. We started off on Adderall and did not like it. He lost 12 lbs very quickly due to loss of appetite even though my former pediatrician said that he hadn't heard of kids losing weight using Adderall. We switched meds (and dr's) to Concerta. He appetite is back and is doing very well. Some kiddos might experience some moodiness when coming off the meds in the afternoon. We have not - lucky us!
Good luck to you!

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J.J.

answers from San Francisco on

I think you are asking the right questions. The other really important part is to do the organizational/behavioral stuff in addition to (or in place of for that matter) the medication. Kids like this need to have predictability and systems and strategies that will help them cope and keep up with the demands of the day. I think when anyone is committing to giving their child medication for a long period of time they should see really significant benefits, not just "he seems a little more focused". Supporting your child by helping them to organize, by setting meaningful limits and providing appropriate consequences will help them learn to manage better regardless of whether or not they are on medication.

Also, there is a great support and information group at Parents Helping Parents www.php.com that has regular meetings/seminars that can keep you up to date on current information and strategies.

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J.H.

answers from Merced on

i have a 5 year old that is ADHD and autistic. We have tried numerious medication. The one that we have found that works great is Methlyn its a Ridolyn derivitive (sister) but doesnt have the sever side effect that Ridolyn. Most of the others have included sever side effects as: sleep insomnia, sever decrease in appetite, sexual masterbation, beating up of siblings, fighting at school, noise bleeds, extreme bruising( school thought I was beating my son and called CPS). I also have 4 kids. I knew the first time that I looked at him that he had something wrong with him.
His ADHD is so sever that he is over the recommended dosage. max dosage of his age and weight is 15x2 a day.
He takes 20mgx2a day or 3 times if needed. I give him 2 pills before school and then the school gives him 2 at lunch and if he has a lot of homework or we have plans that will include late bedtime we give him 2 more at about 330.
During this summer we have kept him off so that he only has to use it when he is in school. I have had to quit nermious jobs becasue the childcare could "handle"him.
hope this helps. if you need to contact me or have anyother questions feel free to email me at [email protected]____.com

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M.J.

answers from Sacramento on

Our son has been taking medications for ADHD for a while. Life changing! He went from the kids who was the outcast at school, kicked out of preschool, parents filing a complaint against him ... to the kid who fits in, gets invited to lots of parties, lots of friends, is happy and thriving.

Our five year old takes Concerta, 18 mg. No side effects, incredible benefits. It's not a magic pill by any means (still have to be a good parent), but has given our son a normal life. It did take several tries to find the right medication, so don't get discouraged if the first try doesn't work well.

Ignore the naysayers who are critical of medications. They haven't walked a mile in your shoes. There's a lot of misinformation out there about ADHD. This is a legitimate medical condition. I recommend a subscription to ADDitude magazine ... terrific, neutral information about ADHD. Also check out the website for the UC Davis MIND Institute ... some good info. there as well on their research into this condition.

M.

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N.A.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi T.,

I went to a child's wellness expo Aug 2. There were 13 doctors from around the country that put this event together. They addressed ADD/ADHD, Autism, Diabetes and other challeges our children are faced with today.
They have found natural solutions to correct the problems instead of treating a symptom.

They are having another event on the 23rd of this month in Santa Cruz with a few nurses sharing other options for parents to choose from.

If this is something that interest you email me and I will send you a flier.

They also video taped the other event and it will be available for sell shortly.

It is always safer to use natural solutions to put the body back in balance and prevent side effects that medicine can have at times.

Good luck.

N. Marie
[email protected]____.com

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C.F.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi T.,

I'm an elementary school teacher and have seen kids on meds. Some with great results while others become walking zombies. I am against all meds if there's alternate choices.

Well, even that viewpoint had to be re-examined when my 7 yr old son's hyperness became out of control and inappropriate for his age. We tried many strategies and listened to all the ones suggested by a behavior therapist.

I really didn't think he would take oral meds and our diet was already pretty healthy. We didn't think we could alter it anymore w/o him losing more weight. Our dr. suggested a patch. He's been on 10mg of Daytrana for a few months now.

You really have to understand what you're giving your child. Daytrana is a stimulant so there's loss of appetite and if the patch isn't removed well before bedtime he won't be able to fall asleep. We set our alarm for 6pm to remove it and make sure it wears off b/c after once or twice forgetting that it was on him we paid the consequences of staying up late w/him.

At first the skin surrounding the patch was red and he scratched the area alot. I was told some people are allergic to the adhesive they use. Over time his skin showed no signs of irritation or itchiness. I have on occasion cut the patch in half to give him a lower dosage. On weekends and for summer break we have not had him on the patch. It took a few weeks, but his behavior has calmed down quite a bit. It hasn't altered his personality, more like allowing it to shine. His teacher has said that he is calmer and can sit still long enough to learn.

This is still a new journey for us since he hasn't been on it long. One thing I've learned is to have an open mind if you plan on trying something new then stick w/it for awhile. It's a very personal choice so learn about all your options before you decide. Best of Luck!

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B.R.

answers from Sacramento on

My only experience with these meds has been with kids I worked with at daycare. One thing I noticed is that some kids got the idea that they couldn't behave without the meds. Be careful that you don't give your child the idea that the only way he can behave is if he has taken his meds that day. Another respondent mentioned this too, and I can't emphasize it enough. What we told our kids who would say "I can't help it (out of control behavior) because my mom forgot to give me my medication" was that the meds were just to help them, but that they had some self-control too, and needed to use it.

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A.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I started my 7 year old daughter on Adderall 10mg- 6 hour time release during the last school year. Her teacher told us she saw a difference in her concentration. I noticed that she seemed more emotional and was often having meltdowns after school while coming off the meds. I took her off of it for the summer and took some parenting classes for her behavior. I will be starting the meds back up again and trying a longer time release & seeing what happens. I am not convinced about whether this is the right thing or not for her, but I am willing to give it another try because of her teachers input.

G.P.

answers from Modesto on

T.,
I do believe the meds are based on weight & age of a child. Each child is different, so it does depend on the type of adhd a child has. I have a son who is adhd, we tried meds, & my son didn't want to take the meds. You can research the meds for your personal information. Concerta, adderall, & there are others. You can check out concerta.com, & it will give you information. It stays in the body 8 hours & it goes out. Google always has helpful infomation. Good luck, G.

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N.P.

answers from Modesto on

Hi T.!

I don't have experience with medicating my children for ADHD, however, my experience is around children that I've known before/after they've been medicated for ADHD.

I'm sure the dosing is safe, and Dr's have so much more experience treating this, so I'm sure whatever you decide to do will be fine :o)

I am an extremely invovled mother at my kids school. I'm there almost EVERY day, and have gotten to know tons of kids & parents over the years. I've also seen some kids make "the change" from without-to-with ADHD Meds.

I need to be honest, it made me very sad to watch the changes in some kids due to ADHD. One boy in particular (a friend of my son's) seemed so zoned. I've known him for 6 years. He eventually went to the Resource Specialist to help him keep up with school, because even WITH Meds he couldn't concentrate.. Also, he doesn't want to eat much, so he's thinning. I truly thought he was fine before any Meds came into play..........sure, he was a total BOY at the high end of the spectrum, but nothing outrageous. If I had the nerve, I would tell his mom that I think she made a mistake by medicating him (we're close), but she's just trying her best to do the right thing..........I don't want to offend her, and I think she would be.

I thought my own boys had a problem for years, but I refused to do Meds for something that I THOUGHT was over-rated. So, I focused on what type of "attention" they needed instead. I have one boy who absolutely NEEDS to RUN, RUN, RUN in order to have a "normal" life. If he misses a "run", he will bounce off walls, and drive me crazy!!! So, we entered him in Track & Soccer :o) Problem reduced, and now at 11, problem is almost gone and things have begun to "mature". My other son just needs to play alone with his very active imagination. If he's allowed about 2 hours of using his imagination (without anyone interrupting him) he does much better throughout the day, too :o)

It takes a little "fine tuning" as a mom to figure out what your child might need in order to NOT need Meds, but as a full-time mom, that will be the easy part for you :o)

T., use your best judgement as only a wonderful mother could.

I hope something I've said has helped make your decision one-way or the other :o)

Good Luck!

:o) N.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I provide childcare, and prior to our last move I had three kids. An 11 year old boy, and his two sisters (2.5 years & 6 months old). The two oldest were ADHD. They proved to be challenging for about 2 weeks, when I first took them on. Only the 11 year old was medicated. Once the mother brought the kids, and when she picked them up informed me that she realized she had forgotten to medicate the 11 year old that morning. I never noticed a difference. I told her that if she did not want to medicate him in the future I would be fine with that. She was relieved, and honestly so was I.

There are so many alternative ideas and treatments regarding ADHD out there. Search them out. In your web browser type in Alternative Medicine: ADHD and see what comes up.

The Dr. Phil show featured a Dr. Lawless (spelling?) some time back who wrote a book that focused on addressing ADHD with diet.

I also highly recommend a wonderful book...It has two different names...The Edison trait which is what it was called with it's first release. It tends to be more expensive than the newer title. It is now called...Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos: How to help the child who it bright, bored, and having trouble in school. The author is Lucy Jo Palladino Phd. I highly recommend this book. It was very enlightening for me when we had some issues with my son, who is now 10 and much better.

I wish you luck, hugs!

T.
Founder
www.theparentpack.org

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