I did not write this post in 2011 because I spaced out but I vowed to get to it this year because I find it is important to report on what, at my house, and seems to be working well and what seems to be working not so well.
The top honor this year has to go to exercise. My eldest son, the Inattentive ADHD son, took up Cross-Country running this year and it seems to have given him:
- · A way to clear his head
- · An understanding of how to work with others for the sake of a team.
- · A boost in self-confidence.
- · A boost in his physical endurance.
My youngest son played football for 3 months and had the same benefits. If I could get them to do these activities year round, we would be in great shape.
Next on the list is MorEPA Minis by Minami Nutrition and One-A-Day Teen Advantage vitamins. I find this combination is easy for the boys to take and gets all the essential vitamins and nutrients into their diets. The MorEPA, specifically, has been a life saver as my younger son will not take the horse pill sized fish oil capsules and the Mor-EPA minis are small sized. The biggest change has been in my younger son. We have seen an increase in his cooperation level and an improvement in his level of impulsivity. He is eleven so this is saying a lot. Our fourteen year old son, despite having entered "the terrible teen years", remains fairly cooperative and cheerful. Our younger son does not take his Focalin on weekends or holidays so we are able to gauge how much other interventions help versus how much symptom improvement he gets from his medication.
Remember that DHA is important for brain development but EPA may help more with ADHD symptoms. Last year a meta-analysis was done that included ten trials and 699 children and Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation demonstrated a small but significant effect in improving ADHD symptoms and the Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) dose within the supplements was significantly correlated with those benefits. This analysis found NO evidence of publication bias or doubt regarding the findings and concluded that supplementing, particularly with higher doses of eicosapentaenoic acid, was modestly effective in the treatment of ADHD. The MorEPA has 500mg of EPA in a 2 capsule dose.
The stimulant Focalin has worked well for my Hyperactive-Impulsive son. He is focused at school and seems to, socially, be less aggressive. Remember that Focalin is a long acting Methylphenidate (Ritalin). He had been on the stimulants, Adderall and Vyvanse and these worked well until they did not. The Adderall affected his appetite a lot and after being on the Vyvanse for about 8 months he started to get very emotionally labile (he would start crying for no reason, he would get depressed, and he would get really angry all of a sudden…). So far he has not had any of these symptoms while on the Focalin. He is on 10mg a day.
Last on the list is our "Nathan Like" Homework Helper. A high school senior who comes to the house twice a week and helps with homework. My boys like him. He is better able to help with homework and he offers help and advice to our sons and we are spared the battles that come from having parents helping with homework. We pay him $10 per hour and he comes for 2 hours per day. The teachers at our son’s school know that we use the homework helper and help guide our use of this helper.
What did not work so well was the third module of Fast ForWord. Our youngest son, who had been diagnosed with a Central Auditory Processing (CAP) problem, made great improvement in reading comprehension, verbal understanding and in his verbal fluidity doing the first two modules. He found the third module to be monotonous and it was a battle to get him to do it. Luckily our pediatrician suggested that an audiologist test him again and he was found to have improved enough to NOT be classified as having an Auditory Processing Disorder anymore. To his delight, this meant he did not need to do Fast ForWord. I feel as though he would still benefit from a less monotonous program that would strengthen his verbal and listening skills. Luminosity is one option.
So those are the four things that helped in 2012. And the one thing, the third module of Fast ForWord, that was kind of a bust. My eldest will enter high school next year; the youngest will enter middle school. School is getting harder but they are, thank God, hanging in there. Here is to another great year!! Happy new year to all of you!!