ADHD Alternate Approaches

by Karoli on June 14, 2006 · 137 comments

Via Newsvine:

J Kelly raises two really important points that I want to emphasize here about ADHD.

Focus begins with the eyes

However, despite Amber’s improvements, she was still struggling to “maintain focus”. On a hunch from Amber’s mother they decided to have Amber’s eyes and ears checked. Amber passed her hearing test with flying colors…and failed her vision test. That’s right, Amber needed glasses! They got Amber some prescription corrective glasses (which she absolutely loved) and her grades shot back up to her normal levels. She is now enjoying even better performance than she had been achieving through the third grade.

You might ask: How is it that the teacher and Amber’s parents didn’t know that the poor girl needed glasses? Amber didn’t really fit the profile. She didn’t complain of headaches, she only squinted from time to time, and she only complained about things being blurry once. However, none of this is the point. Many teachers have been taught, for whatever reason, that a lack of focus means ADD. It’s not always the case!

When Sticks was in fifth grade I read an article that discussed a relationship between ADHD and eyesight. Sticks has always been a voracious reader and never complained of any difficulties with his eyes. The school eye exams were always passed, so we didn’t think about it.

After reading the article on the study, we made an appointment with an optometrist and discovered that Sticks was extremely farsighted and was compensating for it. (He still does whenever he performs because he doesn’t like wearing glasses). His farsightedness was much more pronounced with close work, so not only did he need glasses, he needed bifocals. So, by the way, did I. Mine was discovered at age 16.

If you’re reading this because you’re learning about ADHD and are in the process of determining whether your child has ADHD, include a complete vision examination as part of the evaluation process. It DOES matter. Don’t rely upon the school’s exams or wait for your child to complain.

Supplements make a difference?

(It’s worth noting that J Kelly sells the supplements referred to in the following quote:)

One thing Amber’s parents found was that ADD and ADHD can be addressed (at least partially) through diet. One of the “big ticket items” to avoid regarding ADD is sugar. So they started adjusting Amber’s diet to include less sugar, fewer simple carbohydrates, and more beneficial nutrients. At the same time, they opted to try two natural attention deficit hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder supplements that work well together; “BrightSpark ADD” for kids ages 1 – 12 and “Focus ADHD” formula.

Well, I’m going to agree and disagree on this. I think nutrition in ANY child makes a difference, ADHD or otherwise. We had no success with the ADHD and supplements, but there are some who report successes, and I think that’s great.

A note of caution: Supplements are chemicals too. The fact that they’re derived from a plant or tree bark or whatever makes them no less chemical. “Natural” isn’t always better.

Our supplements consist of Omega-3 and a regular multivitamin for all of us, ADHD or otherwise. We also make sure the kids eat something other than junk for breakfast before school. When we are on the run like we have been lately, we eat more than our share of fast food, but we try to go to places like Baja Fresh where it’s grilled, not fried, and vegetables are part of the menu.

J Kelly’s got some good points. I don’t agree with all of them, but the eye exam and good nutrition are two that I do.

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