6 year old boy suspended 3 times. Is it ADHD? What should I do?

I receive a great number of emails per day from patients, friends and family looking for health-related answers to various questions.  I just realized that the time, energy and consideration I put into each private answer could better serve more people if I offered some generic responses on the blog instead. If you have questions, and I can help, I will try to answer you on the blog. I will never use any real names or identify anyone on the blog. Please note, this is not medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for consulting with a qualified health professional in your local area.

Q: It looks like you do a lot of work with ADHD. My best friend's 6 year old son has been suspended (1st grade) three times. She is starting to think it is ADHD. She is against medicating and looking for other avenues. Her chiropractor has given her an extra supplement (not sure what) and fish oil to add to his multivitamin. Any info/advice you would share is greatly appreciated.

Yes, I work a lot with children AND adults with attention, focus and/or hyperactive issues. I use a combination of assessment tools to determine if the behavior is truly ADHD or something else altogether. I work in conjunction with the parents, the teachers, the pediatrician,  the psychologist/psychiatrist and then conduct my own EEG brain evaluation and sound pitch test to best determine IF it is ADHD or not.  I have no way of knowing if indeed this is remotely ADHD. I get great results without drugs via a combination of brain therapies and nutritional support and diet changes. (At the bottom of this article, you will find IMMEDIATE ACTION STEPS.)

I am deeply concerned about a six year old first grader being suspended three times. As a health care provider and a mother, this is unnerving. Before I jump to the conclusion that a child has any behavioral issue like ADHD,  I want to eliminate a few other possibilities. A number of things at a minimum need to be addressed:

1- Parenting style appropriateness and effectiveness
2- Classroom/teacher fit and effectiveness
3- Home life stress or inconsistency
4- General health of child including hearing and vision tests, gut function, diet, sleep patterns
5- Brain state of the child including nutrition, brain allergies, dysregulated brain rhythms

It is very important to not begin the blame game at teachers or mom or the effect of electrical towers or anything else out of our immediate and direct control. This is a waste of time. And this boy deserves better use of our energy. Rather, let's focus on improving the quality of the experiences of this child. Clearly, something is not working for him at a very deep level. Our job is to listen closely and help make his body and mind calm and at peace.

I recommend the parents get coaching on improving their way of listening, communicating and redirecting the child via a good child psychologist and/or parenting course such as Redirecting Children's Behavior. A great book I recommend to parents of ADHD children is Parenting Children with ADHD by Monastra. Even though this may not be ADHD, it offers practical parenting advice and a better understanding of children. This will give the parents much needed support when a child is behaving inappropriately.  Once the parents have received more insight from a licensed professional, they will be better prepared to speak calmly and rationally with the teachers and the school with more confidence and more useful information as to how to help this young boy. Even taking the very lazy route of watching a few YouTube segments of the Supernanny could prove helpful in learning how to better relate and speak to this child more effectively...that Jo is a marvel with kids! Again, this is no substitute for the more professional help I believe is quickly needed.

I'm very curious as to what he is eating, how his bowels function, his mucous load, his sleep patterns and more.  When I intuit into him, I pick up brain allergies more than ADHD.  Food allergies can create complete chaos and disorder in the body and mind of anyone at any age. But when the brain of a young child is being assaulted by them, it creates havoc and pain and the only outlet they have in this big, scary world is lashing out. Many ways to correct these problems are through healing the gut with probiotics (I like customprobiotics.com and Natren's non-dairy right now), a healthy, toxin free diet such as the Feingold Diet, the Carbohydrate Specific Diet, and guidelines posted on Weston A. Price. Here is 45 minute long interview on the Phil Donahue Show with pediatrician Dr. Rapp who did groundbreaking work on how allergies affect the behavior of children:
I suggest finding a holistic practitioner (Chiropractor with a strong Nutrition Practice, Naturopath, Chinese Medical Doctor, holistic pediatrician) and evaluating the gut and allergies. Amazing results in behavior change and reactivity have been achieved with the Bax 3000, Bax Aura, NAET and removal of those allergens from the diet and environment.  If indeed, there are some unbalanced brainwaves, I recommend seeing a local neurofeedback practitioner as well to calm, strengthen and restore a healthy pattern to the brain.
Immediate Action Steps:
  • Keep taking the Fish Oil. My better recommendation is Krill oil. 500-1000mg per day.
  • Remove Gluten, Soy, Casein (milk) and Corn from the diet. It may take up to 6 weeks to see a noticeable change because that is how long an allergen can circulate and keep turning on the same gene code.  It takes 6 weeks for the body to clear it completely.
  • Reduce or eliminate added sugar ESPECIALLY High Fructose Corn Syrup.
  • No sugar for breakfast. High protein meal with a small amount of berries/fruit after.
  • Probiotics on an empty stomach before bedtime. See above manufacturer.
  • Notice, we are not ADDING anything to the child except Omega 3's and probiotics. It is more about ELIMINATING his stress load/things that are highly likely to be burdening his nervous system.
  • No TV before school. (I'd prefer none at all for his sensitive brain.)
  • Lights out early, before 8 pm.
  • Seek professional help from the above resources.
I hope your friend finds this information useful. Please wish her well.  Let her know that there is strong reason to have HOPE. He can be helped. It may take a little effort and a little time, but he can be healthy and happy soon. That is how he is designed to be.