Alternative Treatments for ADD/ADHD Robin Ritter Dena Skees March 22, 2012

There are still many questions to be answered concerning the developmental course. Boosting their levels may help control ADD/ADHD symptoms. side effects. and magnesium levels checked. One study found that an iron supplement improved symptoms almost as much as taking stimulant medication. Studies show that what. they are not equally effective for all children with ADD/ADHD. Today the most common way of dealing with the modern pediatric pandemic of ADD/ADHD involve pharmaceuticals. Have your child‟s zinc. These foods will help your child feel more alert while decreasing hyperactivity. you eat makes a difference when it comes to managing ADD/ADHD. but some very simple daily methods may work just as well but are often overlooked. Include a little protein and complex carbohydrates at each meal or snack. . This will help keep your child‟s blood sugar level. behavior modification. Parents should become more informed about the over diagnosing.2 Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) have increasingly been diagnosed among young children today. Try to schedule regular meals or snacks no more than three hours apart. results of the medication and all other pertinent information before they allow their children to become treated with drugs. Increasing iron may be particularly helpful. tutoring. and when. Many children with ADD/ADHD are low in these important minerals. Although there are several effective treatments. minimizing irritability and supporting concentration and focus. iron. Treatment should be tailored to the unique needs of each child and family. outcome and treatment of ADD/ADHD. school programming and exercise. Some of the alternative treatments include but are not limited to dietary interventions.

a child may become much more active due to an adrenaline rush produced by the rise in blood glucose. nutritionists suggest adding more fiber to a child's diet to help manage glucose levels and keep them even. Behavior therapy involves reinforcing desired behaviors through rewards and praise and decreasing problem behaviors by setting limits and consequences. Studies show that omega-3s improve hyperactivity. tuna. whole grains. and some fortified eggs and milk products. When blood sugar spikes. also known as behavior modification. This works best if the reward or praise immediately follows the positive behavior. impulsivity. However.3 Add more omega-3 fatty acids to your child‟s diet. Because these sugars quickly enter the bloodstream. sardines. Research does show that refined (processed sugars) and carbohydrates can have an effect on a child's activity level. It is especially beneficial as a co-treatment for children who take stimulant medications and may even allow you to reduce or even stop the medication totally. and concentration in kids (and adults) with ADD/ADHD. they can produce a rapid increase in blood glucose levels. there is no proof that a diet high in sugar actually causes ADHD. Reward the child appropriately for good behavior and tasks completed. there has been much controversy about sugar and ADHD symptoms such as hyperactivity. the easiest way to boost your child‟s intake is through fish oil supplements. Omega-3s are found in salmon. and oatmeal. It begins with modeling behavior by encouraging good behavior with healthy praise or rewards. High.fiber foods include berries and other fruits. Set up a clear reward system for good behavior or for completing a certain number of positive behaviors. Although at this time. Over the past few decades. Behavioral therapy. However. has been shown to be a very successful treatment for children with ADD / ADHD. such as a merit point or gold star program .

The theory is that rewarding the struggle toward change encourages the full new behavior. Avoid using food and especially candy for rewards. even on pleasurable activities. This kind of therapist can set up a behavioral modification program of rewards and consequences for your child at home and at school and support you in shaping your child‟s behavior. Parents can set up a customized behavioral modification program for their child who has ADD/ADHD with the help of behavioral specialist. A cognitive-behavioral therapist focuses on practical solutions to everyday issues. While it may be hard to just walk away from a temper tantrum. This helps the child know what to expect when they complete a task or refine their behavior appropriately.4 with a specific reward. such as a cognitive-behavioral therapist. Setting up a specific consequence for a certain behavior is probably the best method of providing consistency and fairness for your child. Often this will lead to a power struggle and no one wins in this type of situation. One such way would be to set a reasonable amount of time for a bath or playtime helps train the child to expect limitations. such as a favorite activity. Bear in mind that as your child gets older they will be more sensitive to how they appear to others and may overreact or be unduly ashamed when they are disciplined in front of others. especially if a reward is given for finishing on time. Giving a child a time limit for chore completion is also useful. Negatively reinforcing bad behavior by allowing appropriate consequences to occur naturally while providing safety to the child at all times. Some parents find that using a timer for activities is a good way to build and reinforce structure. It is important to have a plan for appropriate discipline for misbehaving that does not require carrying out in front of others. . do not draw attention to any negative behavior.

and the next. over time.5 Patience is the key with behavioral therapy. Use clocks and timers. with a big one in your child‟s bedroom. In order to encourage positive change in all settings. and bed. since people with ADD/ADHD are notoriously variable in their symptoms. Establish simple and predictable rituals for meals. Allow plenty of time for what your child needs to do. For instance. play. It is important to set a time and a place for everything to help a child with ADD/ADHD understand and meet expectations. Because kids with ADD/ADHD often have difficulty with simple social interactions and struggle with low self-esteem. social skills training is led by a therapist who demonstrates appropriate behaviors and then has the children practice repeating them. However. but impatiently interrupt others at home. fall back into old patterns. your child may behave beautifully. they may have learned how to control impulsive outbursts at school. It is important that parents of children with ADD / ADHD learn how to apply behavioral therapy techniques at home. Consider placing clocks throughout the house. behavioral treatment does improve the symptoms of ADHD. Sometimes it may seem as if the training is not working. homework. another type of treatment that can help is social skills training. Normally conducted in a group setting. such as homework . The social skills group should also work on transferring these new skills to the real world. so that they know what to expect and what they are supposed to do. children with ADD / ADHD need consistency. A social skills group teaches children how to “read” others‟ reactions and how to behave more acceptably. Children with ADD / ADHD often have trouble translating what they‟ve learned from one setting to another. Children with ADD/ADHD are more likely to succeed in completing tasks when the tasks occur in predictable patterns and in predictable places. Follow a routine. One day.

Do role model neatness and organization as much as possible in all aspects of the child‟s life. children with ADD/ADHD don't have a problem paying attention. The problem lies in the fact that they pay attention to EVERYTHING around them. Teachers and administrators can help to provide this support—but it is the parent who can make the biggest difference in a child‟s successful education. Set up your home in an organized way. a child with ADD/ADHD can thrive in the classroom. They don't have the ability to tune things out the way other people do without even thinking. but it can be used in adolescents up to 18 years old. but with patience and an effective plan to overcome these obstacles. Make sure your child knows that everything has its place. it is most often used with younger children with ADD/ADHD. but a child with ADD/ADHD may become even more distracted and “wound up” if there are too many after-school activities. Self-monitoring techniques can be very effective in the school setting. Avoiding idle time is a good idea. Behavior modification techniques are considered to be an essential part of any successful ADD/ADHD treatment program for children. Many believe that children with ADD/ADHD have the inability to pay attention. Make sure your child has a quiet. Children with ADD/ADHD often have a difficult time staying on task in school and that causes a child to fall behind in the classroom. Set an example for good organization. Create a quiet place. Self-monitoring of attention involves cueing the student so that he/she can determine how well he/she is attending to . School creates multiple challenges for kids with attention deficit disorder.6 or getting ready in the morning. Simplify your child‟s schedule. In actuality. A porch or bedroom can work well too—as long as it‟s not the same place as the child goes for a time-out. private space of his or her own.

Be sure to include them as part of the regular class seating. By examining a student's specific problem behavior. Monitor proper behavior frequently and immediately direct the student to an appropriate behavior. Remember that students with ADD/ADHD have difficulty staying in control. find alternate ways to encourage the student as well as to teach the student to reward him or herself. Encourage positive self-talk by stating "You did very well remaining in your seat today. preferably students whom the ADD/ADHD student views as significant peers. Behavior management techniques must often be used in the learning environment.7 the task at hand. If needed teachers may have to change rewards if the current reward is not effective in motivating behavioral change. Students with ADD/ADHD need to be seated in the front near the teacher with their backs to the rest of the class to keep other students out of view to avoid distractions from their classmates. immediately praise any and all good behavior and performance. How do you feel about that?” This encourages the student to think positively about him or herself. teachers can help the students to develop behaviors that lead to academic and social successes. . Cueing is often done by providing an audio tone such as a random beep. Teachers need to enforce classroom rules consistently and avoid ridicule and criticism. Self-monitoring techniques are more likely to be effective when tied to rewards and accuracy checks. The student then notes whether he/she was on or off task on a simple recording sheet. timer. Surround students with ADD/ADHD with good peer models. reward more than punish. understanding its antecedents and consequences. or the teacher can give the cue. Teachers should always provide encouragement.

behavior. researchers compared results from the group that received the interactive metronome training. They believe that over time. Researchers concluded that the group of boys with ADHD who received Interactive Metronome training had a significant improvement in attention span. research suggests that is has to do with a deficiency of dopamine. and the group that received video-game training. and to monitor their physical and mental actions as they occur. The student using Interactive Metronome training is provided feedback that indicates how well they match the beat of the metronome. mood. and movement. diagnosed with ADHD. Exercise can play a vital role in the management of children with ADD/ADHD. attention issues. While not much is known about what causes the telltale symptoms of ADD/ADHD—impulsivity. Interactive Metronome is often used in the school setting.8 Students with ADD/ADHD should have an individualized education program. ages 6-12. and motor control. this is a plan for mobilizing those strengths to improve students‟ academic and social performance. and the inability to sit still. . the group that received no training. Supporters of Interactive Metronome training believe that the behavioral problems associated with ADHD stem from a motor planning and timing deficit. to filter out distractions. In one study involving 56 boys. the individual using Interactive Metronome training can learn to focus for extended periods of time. it involves listening to a computerized rhythmic beat that the person then tries to mimic with hand or foot tapping. Some scientific findings show promising results involving Interactive Metronome training and its ability to reduce ADHD symptoms in boys. By identifying each student's individual strengths and specific learning needs. a chemical in the brain that helps regulate behavior.

Natural treatments do not have the harmful side effects that medications cause and that can last a . Be sure to turn off all electronics (TV. the following tips can help. exercise and medications for ADD/ADHD such as Ritalin and Adderall work similarly.9 To treat ADD/ADHD. these sleep difficulties are due to stimulant medications. gymnastics. try a sound machine or a fan in the child‟s bedroom. iPhone) at least an hour before bed and limit physical activity in the evening. Physical activity immediately boosts the brain‟s dopamine. Exercising is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. providing a structured schedule. regular meals and plenty of exercise. computer. The best overall treatment for any child with ADD/ADHD is consistency in all aspects of their lives. If background noise keeps your child up. Activities that require close attention to body movements. martial arts. exercise doesn‟t require a prescription and its side effect free. Regular quality sleep can lead to vast improvement in the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. However. video games. a large percentage of children with ADD/ADHD who are not taking stimulants also have sleep difficulties. doctors normally prescribe stimulant medication such as Ritalin. Team sports are also a good choice. Set a regular bedtime (and enforce it). norepinephrine. If your child is one of them. many kids with ADD/ADHD have problems getting to sleep at night. are particularly good for kids with ADD/ADHD. But unlike ADD/ADHD medication. and skateboarding. The social element keeps them interesting. Sometimes. which has been shown to increase the availability of dopamine in the brain. In this way. such as dance. and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention. However. and decreasing the dose or stopping the medication entirely will solve the problem but only under the guidance of a medical professional due to possible severe side effects from abruptly stopping any medication.

Love and enjoy the child most of all and remember to provide a schedule of details pertaining to all upcoming activities the family may be involved in to ensure the wholesome fun for everyone involved. Having a child with ADD/ADHD should not isolate activities that other families do on a regular basis. .10 lifetime.

. (1998). (2009). (1997). Orford. NY: Touchstone http://www.org Moulton-Sarkis. (2003).11 References Banks.S. (1998). Driven to Distraction. (1996). (1994).kidshealth. A.S. New York.org http://www.add. New York..J. P. & Ratey. Journal of Child Psychotherapy. S. (2000). C. E. (2006). Beyond Ritalin: the importance of therapeutic work with parents and children diagnosed ADD/ADHD. Kennedy. Answers to Distraction.M. TX: Taylor Trade Hallowell. J. D.help4adhd. Widener.. 43-45. ADHD Autism Connection. IL: Contemporary Haber.J. Colorado Springs.M. & Hart. Parrish..org http://www.org http://www. Review of „ADD/ADHD drug free: Natural alternatives and practical exercises to help your child focus‟. Daisy. The Family Journal. Elliott. R. E.ldonline. Chicago. 24(2). A.S. Wrestling with the whirlwind: an approach to the understanding of ADD/ADHD. 381. R. 267. 25. J.org http://www. Dallas. International Journal of Reality Therapy. & Ratey. CO: WaterBrook Press Debroitner.. „Drugs‟ Versus „Reality Therapy‟....M.. J. Moving Beyond ADD/ADHD. R. Journal of Child Psychotherapy.. NY: Bantam Hallowell. 24(2). Great Misdiagnosis ADHD. 25(2).T. E.K. 17(4)..J.russellbarkley.

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