One of the areas I spend much of my time solving, is the reasons behind why a child is having a hard time focusing/concentrating, as confusion, is overly rebellious/quarrelsome or any other behavior not appropriate for their age.
Naturopathic treatment of ADD/ADHD includes determining learning style, establishing optimal nutrition, eliminating ear infections, supplementing where necessary, diagnosing and treating heavy metal toxicity and prescribing a homeopathic remedy where appropriate, depending on the child.
Often a child that has learning problems is a tactile learner. They require something to hold/squeeze/examine to allow processing of information. I often suggest a soft squeeze ball they can hold. Also, children that didn’t crawl, but went straight to walking often have difficulties. This is due to the lack of development of right-left brain communication. There are brain exercises to encourage this.
It is well worth your while to spend a day in your child’s classroom and observe where the problems are occurring—are they where they are situated, a child around them, a certain time of day. All this information is important, because it really helps to identify areas that are often easily changed.
Optimal nutrition requires identifying any food sensitivities/allergies or irritants that could be causing the behavior. Also, sensitivities to dyes, preservatives, salicylates and phenolics should be identified. This can be determined by VEGA (electro-accupressure) or ELISA(blood testing) available through a naturopath. Also, any nutritional deficiencies must be identified. These may be zinc, essential fatty acids (omega 3 oils obtained in flax/hemp seeds and fish oils most commonly in salmon and halibut), B vitamins and Calcium/Magnesium. This is especially true if they do not tolerate dairy and are not absorbing nutrients from food.
You will also see bed wetting that goes along with these problems. I try and test all patients I see for their levels of vitamins and minerals to make sure none are deficient and to only supplement where necessary.
Chronic ear infections lead to hearing loss. This leads to learning difficulties, slow speech and language development. Again, identifying food triggers typically ends ear infections. I may look at a herbal or homeopathic remedy to resolve an infection if it is present.
Lead toxicity should also be determined. Hair analysis determines long term exposure. This should be chelated out of storage and blood with chlorella or other techniques if present, since lead decreases the ability to concentrate, focus and learn new information.
Herbal combinations can also be useful in helping the body rebalance itself and I will sometimes consider those, as well as specific homeopathics depending on the type of behavior issues.
The other issue is the mis-directed reward system that some teachers still use. Food should not be used as a reward, either at home or at school.
A “reward” for a child should not only be encouragement such as “ You did a great job”, but, possibly a sticker/stamp/extra time outside/play a game/positive time out to draw. This reinforces the positive behavior with something they would like to have or do.
ADD/ADHD is typically resolved using the above approaches with lifelong positive effects! So, it is worth it to consider these approaches first.
Dr. Brenda Gill is a naturopath in Rossland. You can make an appointment at 250-362-5035