Using ADHD drugs on our children over an extended period is a deeply disturbing disgrace. Mostly a change in diet and some minerals, specific to each child, make a huge difference to the way our chemically unbalanced children currently behave. Some children respond very badly to high energy drinks, Iron Bru, Coca Cola and food additives like aspartame. The mother's pregnancy diet also directly feeds the baby, so creating nutritional support for those in need of a diet change when pregnant is vital. It has also been found Cranio-sacral Therapy can help those suffering the effects of birth trauma, both mother and child. Adults with awareness of their sugar sensitivity will tell you refined white sugar gives them a sugar rush which makes them hyperactive. They avoid sugar.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be very real but it can also be a description applied to an active healthy child by an idle, physically inactive, depressed adult population. Our medical statistics relating to anti-depressants and growing obesity in our young adult population has its own story to tell, one which creates more and more suffering for all, particularly our creative, active children and talented, quick-witted youth. How many of our Olympic Athletes were told they had ADHD? What is Anti-authority Disorder? Perhaps the Occupy Movement could take issue there!
We need to find a way to give computer addicted children real attention much earlier and work holistically with a complex social problem created by the pace of 21st Century lifestyles. Allowing developing children to play in a quiet space with building bricks created an opportunity for them to focus within, learning to concentrate. Doing this in a room full of television advertising sound is impossible. Sound attracts and distracts babies instantly, taking their concentration out. This is not always helpful to their thinking and feeling refinement processes. It has also been found that pushchairs which face away from the mother directly interfere with a child's ability to focus attention. They hone this skill by reading their mother's face, by connecting with her eyes, especially when there is a lot of confusing activity around them. Mum or Dad on the mobile phone, ignoring their child's eyes, is an all too common sight these days. To be a parent is a great challenge to grow ourselves, as much as to teach a child how to live well. We all need to learn more and stop asking the doctor to Fix This Child to fit into our progressively more and more inhumane society. Instead we need to re-create our healthy communities where parents are helped by The Village of relatives, extended family, friends and neighbours to relate well to their children and to each other. We also find taking children into Nature helps them feel delighted peacefulness.
The lack of physical exercise for growing children in our progressively sedentary, materialistic society has terrible effects on the energy balance of boys in particular. The lack of conversation in many people's family lives and constant television or computer flickering input also has effects on focus and attention- giving development skills. What we model for our children is important, far more important than what we say to them. What we do with them, what we feed them and how we inter-relate with them is far more important than what medicine the doctor can give us to shut them down and make them docile. A caring mentor is far better for any child than a poisonous drug.
Making money for the drugs companies does not solve the behaviour problem. It only masks the condition and in many cases increases the health problems of the "problem" child. This child is rarely the actual or only “problem”. The diagnosis is often a trap for the child and goes with them into adulthood. Often these children are very creative. Their ideas are being ignored and their talents shut down. There are far better ways to treat the few children who are truly disturbed and desperately needing assistance to concentrate, focus attention and learn anger control techniques.
What can we do about this in Scotland? I live in Fife where 8% of the children have been put on Ritalin and “Attention Fife”, which offered help and support to parents seeking an alternative route, has been shut down. Money to run our services was withdrawn by our Fife Council. Seems to me to be a very false economy, since the drugs being doled out cost a fortune, as does the medical staff in a system which seems to serve the drugs producers far more effectively than it does ADHD diagnosed kids and their families. We taught the parents how to make soup, listened to them and to the children and found the minerals and oils they were needing, or the creative art which made their hearts sing. What next? “Attention Fife” will discuss suggestions on the 6th December 2012