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12/9/2010 9:33:19 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter
December 2010--Natural Remedies for Attention and Behavior Issues
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by Dianne Craft, MA, Certified Natural Health Professional
HSLDA Special Needs Coordinator

A Struggling Little Boy

Joseph was an unhappy baby. He didn't sleep for very long periods,
and seemed to cry all the time. He did best when he was held and
rocked, or walked. He spit up after feedings. His parents called him
their "high maintenance child."

He developed ear infections which were treated with antibiotics. With
the second antibiotic he received, he developed a rash. He became
allergic to amoxicillin. He recovered from the ear infection, but
continued to be whiny and had diarrhea. As he grew, it became
increasingly evident that he was intolerant to some foods. Milk gave
him a stomachache, and oranges gave him a rash around his mouth. In
his preschool years he was loving and sweet one moment, but easily
flew off the handle if he didn't get his own way.

Eventually his doctor suggested that he had Sensory Processing
Disorder, since noises bothered him, transitions were hard, and he was
beginning to be very sensitive to various food textures. He was
becoming a "carbovore," craving carbohydrates and sweets all day.

As he grew, he continued to be plagued with physical symptoms such as
difficulty falling asleep, stomachaches, and frequent canker sores and
bed wetting. He also had more unusual fears than his brothers and
sisters.

As school began for him, his mother noticed that his memory wasn't as
good as his siblings. He would learn something one day, and forget it
the next. Sometimes he looked like a "motion machine." It was
like his mind was always wandering. He often became easily frustrated
and would flare up or even cry.

Joseph's mom was at her wit's end as to how to help him. She had
tried rewarding, cajoling, punishing, and avoiding doing schoolwork
altogether. Nothing seemed to change his attitude towards learning,
or ability to do it easily. He did enjoy the avoidance of schoolwork,
however.

What to Do?

Dr. William Crook, M.D., found that 85% of children who have repeated
antibiotics when young, struggle with attention and behavior issues
when they are older. In his book, "Help for the Hyperactive Child,"
he recommends that parents use supplements and diet to help balance
their child's brain/body chemistry, and thus make focusing so much
easier for the child. In his book "Superimmunity for Kids,"
pediatrician Dr. Leo Galland also recommends this for his young
patients.

In this newsletter I will relate the "short version" of the
explanation these doctors give the mothers of these children. (Please
see their books for the more complete version). The antibiotics that
do the job of eliminating the bad bacteria that had been causing the
ear infection, strep, sinus infection, etc, also inadvertently reduced
the good bacteria in the gut. This imbalance tends to create a toxin
that irritates the child's nervous system, and often manifests as many
different types of behavior and attention issues. Dr. Orian Truss,
M.D., talks of this phenomenon also in "The Missing Diagnosis."

With this knowledge, what could Joseph's mother do to help her child
feel better, act better, and learn better? She knew he was a smart,
good-hearted boy, who wasn't happy with the way he was acting and
learning.

Check with Your Child's Pediatrician

Your child's pediatrician may want to do a thorough physical with your
child, checking especially for common contributing factors to learning
and behavior issues such as a thyroid panel, blood sugar levels and
anemia. (Dr. Sydney Walker, III found that 40% of his clients who
struggle with learning or focusing have subclinical anemia.) Your
doctor may also want to check other markers, such as food allergies,
with a blood test, which appears to give us better results than the
scratch test.

After checking with her child's pediatrician and ruling out other
reasons for Joseph's struggles, his mother began to replace the good
bacteria that had been destroyed by the antibiotics. She purchased a
good acidophilus in capsule form such as Primadophilus that was in the
refrigerated section of the health food store. Since Joseph didn't
like to swallow pills very much, she opened this capsule and put it
into his yogurt three times a day even though the bottle said only one
time a day was needed. She didn't use the chewable or liquid form,
because she knew they would be too weak to help Joseph. She opened up
the capsules and put them into applesauce or peanut butter.

She started noticing some small changes in him, even in that first
week. His voice wasn't as loud, and he wasn't constantly making those
annoying noises with his mouth all the time. He began to fall asleep
more easily. He seemed to be much "mellower," being able to handle
frustration without getting as upset. Even his brothers and sisters
noticed that he wasn't as mad and touchy as he had been. He began to
pay closer attention to his lessons.

Joseph's mother was encouraged. If yeast/fungus overgrowth really was
one of the causes of Joseph's compromised gut and ability to produce
enough serotonin, how else could she help his body overcome this
unbalanced gut ecology? She decided to add a natural anti-fungal to
his acidophilus regime. She went back to the health food store and
picked up some Grapefruit Seed Extract. She bought this in both the
tablet and capsule form, (not liquid) since she didn't know if he
would swallow any tablets yet. At first she opened the capsule, and
put the contents into some peanut butter with honey, three times a
day. After a while, he decided that the tablets were small, and easy
to swallow. That made it easier for mom.

Meanwhile, she looked for ways to reduce sugar and carbohydrates in
his diet. She changed from cereal for breakfast to eggs, peanut
butter, protein shakes, even leftover dinner, since she knew that
protein-rich foods not only don't feed the yeast, but keep the child's
blood sugar level more stable during the day. She stopped serving
juice, using water or milk (in Joseph's case, coconut milk) to drink.
She kept cut-up vegetables and dip around for snacks, along with
popcorn and nuts.

Soon she began to see a "new Joseph." His disposition became much
more sunny. The biggest relief to mom was that his learning became so
much easier, because he could attend to the lessons and remember what
he had learned from one day to the next. He still liked to fidget,
but was no longer considered a "motion machine." As his school day
became easier, he become more confident in his ability to learn. He
began checking books out of the library like everyone else, and
reading them to himself at night. Joseph's gut was being healed, and
could now be the manufacturing place for serotonin that it was meant
to be.

There are other physical reasons for a child's attention and behavior
issues. You can read more about these in Dr. Sydney Walker III's
book, "The Hyperactivity Hoax." Then you and your child's doctor can
decide which steps to take to help your child feel better. Some
parents find that it is also helpful to work with a local nutritionist
to help their child feel better.

Dr. Walker says that in his clinical practice he has found that,
"Children act how they feel....look for the physical cause first."

HSLDA's Struggling Learner Department has three coordinators who are
waiting to help you with your questions. Just email them at
specialneeds@hslda.org or call 540-338-5600 with your questions.

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, March 12, 2011

You are invited to attend the Early Years (Toddlers to Tweens) and
Struggling Learners Symposium to be presented at the Patrick Henry
College campus. More details coming soon!
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