Seeking Help for My Children with Attention Disorders

Updated on June 15, 2008
E.S. asks from Encino, CA
10 answers

My two children have ADD and I am looking for alternative ways to help my kids succeed in school and on tests rather than using drugs. We live near Tarzana and Austin is 10 in 5th grade, Makela is 8 in 3rd grade. They have decent health insurance through their father's Carpenters Union. We have tried the drugs for 3 years and have decided not to continue. We would like to learn if there are tools or different teaching methods. If so, were do I find them? Also, has anyone heard of The Drake Institute?

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So What Happened?

Wow! Lot's of great advice! Thank you. I have edited my request to include my kids ages and such. I have had conferences with their teachers and we are working together to help the kids focus. I have an appointment with a child psychiatrist, and am still reading all your responses. THANKS again!

More Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

I don't know how old your children are, but my 11-year-old has ADHD issues. I give him Junior Strength Fish Oil supplements as well as a chewable supplement called Attentive Child. You can purchase these pretty cheaply at I swear by these. Also, I cut out all simple sugars and artificial colors in foods. There are a wealth of resources on any bookstore site, like Amazon. I bought my son several ADHD workbooks that he has been doing. He says it helps. When he was little I taught him to "tell your body to stop" and "turn on your listening ears" with motions that go with them. Not much advice, but it's all I have not knowing the ages of your child. You can look on eBay for biofeedback programs that you can buy and do at home with your child...similar to what the Drake does. Good luck! I feel your pain, esp. b/c my hubby also has Adult ADD and is on medication that only sometimes works.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi E.:
If you live in the Pasadena area, try getiign your child tested through the Pasadena Unified School system for special services. If you belong to a different school system call them. Another resource is your local regional center. Again, if you live in Pasadena, you would belong to the Pomona Regional center. These 2 sources will get you started in the right direction. Don't give up. Best of luck to you.



answers from Los Angeles on

I don't know if Alma Family Services is in your area ( or you can also try Pacific Clinics ( Both of these resources work on a sliding scale. Do your kids have health insurance??? Healthy Families goes based on a sliding scale. I recommend you see a psychiatrist along with a therapist. They will help you come up with the right meds. if any are needed. I had a lot of problems with my son before. Now things are much better. The psychiatrist and therapist can help you figure out if there are other issues that might be contributing to the attention span problem. If these resources are not in your area and you have insurance they should cover mental services. I would call them and ask them for the list of mental service providers. Let me know what you were able to find. I have a lot of experiance with this. My son's been on ADHD meds since he was 6.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi E.,

I'm glad to hear you are not choosing the drug route to help your children as it is not the solution. There is a free tutoring center in Hollywood, CA called H.E.L.P. They have branches elsewhere, but I'm not sure where. The phone number is ###-###-####, they're open Monday through Saturday, although I'm not sure of the hours.

Most all medical treatments you seek are going to involve drugs, so beware. Call H.E.L.P. and see if they can point you in the right direction.

Good luck,




answers from Los Angeles on

Hi. I just saw Jenny McCarthy on Oprah & now she's on the cover of some magazines too. Well she's talking about her son having Autism. Go to to find out what she said exactly but she said she immediately did a diet that was basically no wheat no dairy. She said that anyone that has children with behavioral problems should try it. I'm sure you can google it or something but she said after she did that within 2 weeks his vocabulary doubled. Something about the wheat is too much for their little brains. I hope this helps. Good luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, I saw the same program last night w/ Jenny McCartney and have several friends with children diagnosed with autism...a catch-all for "unknown" problems. In any event, yes, one of the doctors has stopped working to work full time with his wife and his 4 year old son on diet and other treatments. He said that cutting out the sugar and wheat did help. Obviously, not a cure-all and there are other problems requiring specialists, etc.

Please check with your state family health department. YOu don't give enough information to tell us your state, age of children, or whether you would qualify for low income assistance. In any event, many states have special programs in case you need low income medical insurance. Also, your city likely has pre-school if you qualify as low income so that you would be able to get early intervention. Also, the school district is required to provide programs for autistic children. It won't be easy to get the help you need as many parents end up fighting the school district but they can provide specialists like speech therapists, diagnosis, etc.

You have a lot of heartache and headaches cut out ahead of you. Alternative treatments are rarely covered by insurance but I would suggest checking with the national autism organization and they can probably provide you with a lot of information. There may be a parent support group in your area, as well. This would be your best source of information especially when it comes to getting information about your school district.

Best wishes, E..




answers from Los Angeles on

Hi there E.,

I am attaching some vital information regarding add. I am so glad to hear that you are trying to keep your kids off of the horrible drugs many doctors prescribe today to young children. As you will see in the article I am attaching, diet is a huge factor in ADD/ADHD. I also highly reccomend the book "No More Ritalin" by Dr. Mary Ann Block. I hope this helps you.

Also, is a great jumping point to start learning about nutrition and health for yourself and your kids and natural alternatives to modern phenomenons such as ADD/ADHD. There is so much useful information out there. Please visit the site and search for ADD and you'll get a lot of info. Please let me know how things go!




answers from Los Angeles on

I am sorry i don't know about any grants but in the last week i heard about great ways to help Autistic children. The first was from Jenny McArthy, who has an autistic child. The first thing she tried was cutting wheat and diary from his diet, she said the change was amazing. talking with friends after said they'd heard it from other sources. SO it's worth a shot and it won't cost you money, you just need to learn a better way to feed them. I am sure keeping sugars out will help as well. Go to your local whole food store, they have all sorts to offer.
The second way i heard about last week was using alternative therapy from Nikken. you can go to their web site to ask more questions. they started with magnetic therapy and now have supplements as well.
The last thing i saw was in a health magazine and was giving advice on children in schools in general. they reccomend Omega 3 (British research showed over 50% increase in attention spans in children with attention disorders). they also recommended liquid calcium and magnesium before bedtime, cut out snacks before bedtime to help sleep. Lastly they recommend herb tea to help relax and calm children, they suggest tzao calm, which is chamomile based. when i went to the store to get the omega 3, i found they had a lot of choice for symptoms like these and they were all very inexpensive.
so i hope this helps. i believe in things happen for a reason and here you are asking and i just saw the info. i'd love to know if it helps. I don't know where you live but i got things at Henry's market. Mother's market has a better selection but further away.
best wishes to you and your children.



answers from Los Angeles on

Diet is key! Start there! Really really watch the sugars, additives, food dyes and preservatives!! Try keeping a food journal- you might not even realize all the bad stuff that ends up in their tummies!

Red food dye is one of those things that sets most people with ADD or ADHD off. You would be shocked at what you find it in! Start reading labels!

We did the No wheat, no dairy for my daughter who is not autistic, but has some of the symptoms as well as ADD. It is NOT an easy thing to do!! But well worth the try- you need to do it for at least 3 months to see any results according to those who have done it (I have had a number of friends see HUGE improvements!) We did not see a big improvement :o( We did however see behavior problems if we slipped up ( I know it sounds weird! In other words- she was no better because of the diet, but was worse if we didn't follow it)

Acupuncture has helped some. It's not a huge improvement, but there have been times that her teacher has commented the day after an appointment about how great of a day she had. I see a pretty big improvement right after an appointment.

Good luck! There are so many things to try! I hope that you will find the one that works for you and your kids!!



answers from Los Angeles on

You don't say how old your children are. Are they school aged? Your public school should be able to help you--ask for a meeting.

I'm not sure why the one woman mentioned H.E.L.P. It's an organization for improving literacy, and the only connection I can see to your situation is that they are a Scientologist-run organization, and Scientology is anti-drug.

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