Musings of a mom... with three very different, but wonderful children... primarily talking about ADHD related stuff... but could talk about anything.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Final Post - ADHD & Gluten-Free

This is my final post. I just have too much going on to keep up with it, although I enjoy writing to the bloggersphere. In my final post, I would like to tell you how my gluten-free experiment worked with our son who has ADHD.

In the fourth quarter of the previous school year, I decided to try my son on a gluten free diet. So, without telling his teacher, I took him off of all wheat.

Our school system uses a green, yellow, blue, red card system to help monitor behavior. A green card indicates good behavior, yellow is a warning, etc. Before he went gluten free, his chance of getting a green card any one day was 40 to 50% each month. We took him off of wheat for the last month and a half of school, which was 30 school days. In that 30 day period, he received a green card every day but two days! And on one of those two days, I intentionally gave him wheat toast for breakfast to see if it would make a difference. So, his chance of getting a green card when he didn't eat wheat was 28 out of 29 days, or 96.5%! Compared to 40 to 50% the first 7 months of the school year! His chance of getting a green card when he ate wheat for breakfast was 0/1 or 0%. I still have the behavior charts for the year to prove this. His teacher, the one giving out the "color" for the day, and who had been giving him the color cards all year, had no idea we had changed his diet. I also didn't tell my son why he couldn't eat wheat, I just told him he had to eat x, y, z. He was 7 at the time.

For whatever reason, wheat/ gluten affects my son's behavior and concentration. He has had a much better school year this year. The percentages haven't been as great, because I haven't been as strict with his diet as I was during that first experimental time. It's very hard to keep wheat completely from him, especially on the weekends. His loves his pb&j and cookies. But he improved in both behavior and school work this year. He averages a 70 to 80% chance of getting a green card each month.

Anecdotally, I also witnessed the effect diet had on him. He tried out for a play at the local community theatre, and was cast in the play, It's a Wonderful Life. It was an adult play (bad idea for a first foray in theatre), so he had sit still a lot waiting for his turn. And I had to sit there and keep him in line. I noticed a dramatic difference when he had eaten something with wheat in it that day, he would be bouncing all over the place, constantly talking, spinning around, etc. When he didn't eat wheat, he wasn't a perfect angel, but he was willing to sit down and work on coloring books or word finds.

I am not saying this as a blanket declaration for all kids with ADHD, but it's evidence enough to me that a gluten free diet is helping to control some of my son's symptoms. Maybe he doesn't have true ADHD, he just had some type of allergic reaction to wheat. I really don't know. He still has trouble sitting still at times, and he really struggles with reading comprehension´╝łlike his dad), but it's manageable. So far we're doing good without medication, but I'm not ruling it out. Also, I'm attempting to take away more and more wheat from the whole family's diet, so it's not a temptation for him.

Thanks for listening! Auf Wiedersehen!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Never Be Afraid to Try Something New

My friend sent me this, I think it's a great quote, and inspires me to keep trying:

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.

I need that reminder... so I don't put labels on myself that I feel I can't get away from.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Suggestions for ADHD Intervention Strategies

In my meeting with the education team at Greg's school this week, I want to take a list of intervention strategies for him. Here's what I've got so far - if you know of any more, add a comment.

1. More time on computer with headphones. He can much more easily concentrate on the computer and the headphones block out distraction.

2. Instead of going to the "specials" classes every day (they rotate gym, art, etc) where he always gets in trouble because the teacher isn't as aware of how to handle him, he could spend time with someone who could help him with social skills, and work one on one with him (or with a small group of kids) in areas he is struggling in.

3. Choosing teachers for him that are aware of how to handle ADHD, and understand that he isn't just being ornery, but rather has real difficulty in listening, sitting still, and paying attention.

4. Allow him to wear headphones with classical music playing in class when he needs to be quietly working on something.

5. Allow him more time for tests - in a place away from distraction.