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Ideas of the Month 2015




The holiday season can become very stressful for parents of a child with ADHD. Not only does the school vacation cause wholesale disruption on routines, but just about everyone is involved in numerous, sometimes overwhelming activities and errands. Surprises are OK as part of the joy of gift-giving, but try to keep everything low-key and minimize disruption of daily routines as much as you can.




Not only is turkey a popular and economical fare at holiday season, but it is also one of the best foods for someone with ADHD. Cook it in a large non-aluminum container. To preserve the greatest amounts of its rich content of vitamins and other nutrients, I recommend slow-cooking at 190 degrees per pound, initiated by 350 degrees for the first hour to kill any germs.




Because it is a petroleum derivative, mineral oil is not a wise choice for children with ADHD or autism. Some people have adverse reactions when they ingest it as a laxative.  A better option would be either sesame seeds or powdered psyllium. Herbal teas with henna are also good. It's widely used in cosmetics and is the main ingredient in baby oil. But apparently it coats the skin just as a plastic wrap would do, and clogs up the pores.  Coconut oil or shea butter would be much better. Many people have mineral oil in their bodies, and our bodies don't seem to have a way to excrete it.




Over a year ago Dr. William Thompson, long-time researcher for the U.S. government’s Centers of Disease Control (CDC), publicly admitted that he and colleagues concealed evidence that indicated a strong relationship between the thimerosal (mercury) preservative in the MMR vaccine and the occurrence of autism among children receiving the vaccine. Two of those colleagues, Frank DeStefano and Collen Boyle, are high-ranking CDC executives in the area of vaccine safety.


Also taped phone calls have come to light between Dr. Thompson, Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield.  In these fragments, Dr. Thompson expresses his outrage about the use of mercury (thimerosal) in vaccines and makes other damning statements about vaccines.


In 2004 Dr. Thompson wrote to the head of the CDC, Julie Gerberding, expressing concern about data on the MMR vaccine that was very sensitive and troubling, possibly the suppressed information about the MMR-autism connection. Thompson was about to present these data at a major CDC vaccine conference when his presentation was suddenly cancelled. A few years later, Gerberding left the CDC and went to work for Merck pharmaceuticals vaccine division — the source of thimerosal MMR vaccines.


This chain of events is of a type all too familiar to those of us who are aware of the multitudinous factors that contribute to the existence and worsening of autism and




The skin of children with ADHD is likely to be dry and/or sensitive and eruptive into rashes. The eruptiveness and dryness are nutritionally related and can often be ameliorated by increasing consumption of fatty acids, zinc and magnesium (three crucial skin nutrients often deficient among those with ADHD). It is also generally wise to advise children and adults with ADHD to use a moisturizing soap for bathing.




One helpful way to get your child to sleep is to use the sense of touch. Generally, gentle pressure and mild warmth will help get even the most squirmy child to sleep quickly.   Consider warming your child’s pajamas in the clothes dryer so that your child experiences warmth all over when going to bed. Or consider cooling the bedroom to 68 degrees and offering a thick blanket, so that our child experiences mild pressure all over. Another strategy that often works well to get hyperactive children to sleep is allowing them to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor or in the bed. The gentle pressure on their skin all over does the trick.




Too much help can be harmful, and it’s especially easy to step over the line and give forth too much of what should essentially be a good thing–help for your child. Over my many years of counseling with parents, I have detected six predictable and common patterns in families of children with ADHD, autism, and related conditions.


They are:


  1. Overindulgence: excess shielding from furstration.
  2. Overprotection: excess shielding from potential danger in non-skill areas.
  3. Infantilization: keeping the child ignorant and dependent by denying access to autonomy experiences.
  4. Hypervigilance: excess preoccupation with the child’s whereabouts, welfare and activities.
  5. Pity: excess sympathizing after the child experiences frustration, hurt, or difficulty
  6. Nagging: excess reminding and repeating of corrective and directive messages.


I invite you to take a moment to ponder whether you are making any of these errors in your attempts to display your love for your child. Please display your love and offer help to your child, but always filter the help you give.




Make mornings go more smoothly by setting out things for your child to take to school beforehand, as part of bedtime preparations the night before. A convenient way is to place whatever your child is to bring to school on a chair that is strategically located so that it blocks passage through the front door. Involve your child in designing this giant “visual aid” so that it becomes part of increased autonomy skills for your child.




Sibling rivalry continually emerges in reserach as one of the leading stressors in families with children who have ADHD. One of the best ways to counteract its negative force within a family is to spend high-quality time on a regular basis with each child. The guiding motto I have developed because of my experience with this issue over the years is “Each child with each parent each week.” The activity should be recreational in nature, not something like helping with homework or doing dishes together. I elaborate on this concept in many of my writings and most of the seminars I teach.




There is much misunderstanding about adjusting dosage of stimulant and antidepressant medication for ADHD. I along with most other leading authorities on ADHD advocate paying a lot more attention to symptom removal level than to body size as the main consideration for the physician to take into account. Most prescribing physicians, however, are used to gauging dosage by body weight for various classes of medication, and the prescribing recommendations provided by the pharmaceutical companies for these medications adhere to that tradition. That is why incorrect dosing is the most common physician error in using these medications. The solution: the Medication Effectiveness Report form available as a free download from this website.




Having a child or teen with ADHD do three to four minutes of mild exercise, such as jumping on a mat or Rebounder, can often bring about significant reduction of ADHD symptoms for a ten to fifteen-minute period. This level of activity provides a boost of oxygen to the brain, resulting in the noticeable changes in behavior.




Getting 9 to 10 hours of sleep nightly usually helps reduce ADHD symptoms by helping cleanse the brain of toxins built up during the day, especially Amyloid beta, in individuals five years old and older. Because it costs nothing and produces rather dramatic improvement, it is a very good intervention to propose for most families who have a hyperactive child.


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