Published here with permission from The MOORE REPORT INTERNATIONAL - March/April 2000

The Moore Foundation, Box 1, Camas, WA 98607

Remedies for Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity

by Dorothy N. Moore

Do you have or do you know of a child who has been labeled ADHD because he has poor attention, can't sit still, learns something one day but can't remember it the next day, is irritable, easily angered or behaves inappropriately? The usual treatment for this psychiatric "disease", is Ritalin which has become big business for drug companies, not only because its use has increased several-hundred per cent over the last few years, but because its use is encouraged by schools which always are seeking funds and receive more than $400 in annual grant money for each child diagnosed with ADHD. It is estimated that more than 4 million children have this disorder with Ritalin production up 700% in this decade.

Alan Zametkin, a psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health says, "We don't use Ritalin to improve academic performance, but to get their behavior under control." Experts say it clearly works for about 70% of ADHD children, but when one considers its side effects as well as the very real possibility of ultimate drug abuse, the wise procedure is to seek the causes and treat them rather than the symptoms.

Indeed, there is concern among some, such as Bonnie Crammond, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Georgia, who feel that many children are misdiagnosed when they are just highly creative, gifted, or bored. Especially because the great majority, as many as 13 to 1, are boys, we can heartily agree, for we believe that the typical institution is not appropriate for children at such early ages.

Of course, we cannot dismiss the fact that some children have genetic defects from parental influences, brain injury, drug or alcohol-abusing parents, even serious illness or accident and these children need all the help they can get. Even in some of these cases, however, the same remedies that are suggested here with tender loving care can help them overcome their handicap.

READINESS. Though often very bright, boys do not mature as early as girls. They love to learn as long as they are not confined to a chair with a desk and all the books and worksheets which usually are included. Research shows that both boys' and girls' brains and senses are still immature and not fully integrated until at least age 8 to 10 and even later.

In regard to vision, for example, Drs. Seiderman and Marcus in their book, 20/20 is Not Enough, tell us that vision does not develop by itself; rather it develops in relation to the use of our bodies and our minds. Because children are now more sedentary than they were a generation ago, their senses develop more slowly. The fences they climbed and the games they played in the past, such as hopscotch, marbles, jumping rope, etc., largely out of doors required visual-motor coordination and contributed to children's sensory development, including the brain itself. These ophthalmologists say that problems of undeveloped visual-motor skills are twice as common as they were 25 years ago. If I had a child with the symptoms of ADHD or showing problems with learning, I would first take off the pressure either at school or at home. Many children have been taken out of school, allowed to learn in ways appropriate for the young child and their symptoms disappear.

FOOD ALLERGIES. Since over 75% of children with learning disabilities have allergies, the next remedy I would apply is a careful check on diet. Dr. Jerome Vogel, medical director of the New York Institute for Child Development, feels that refined sugar is the main offender. However, many researchers feel that dairy products are the most common food allergen, accounting for 60% of food sensitivities, so I would immediately eliminate both sugar and milk, learning how to read labels to detect even traces of the offending product. Cow's milk seems to increase sensitivity to all types of environmental allergens and produces a great variety of allergic symptoms. It is very likely that you will see improvement in a short time, but be patient for sometimes it takes quite a while.

When we discovered that our daughter's second child was allergic to dairy products, we also found out that his allergy was caused by his mother's using dairy products during her pregnancy. We have since found that if the mother refrains from using dairy products and eggs during pregnancy and breast feeding, and introduces solid foods judiciously, it will protect the baby from ear infections, as well as food sensitivities.

Other common allergens are chocolate, cola, corn, legumes, soy, citrus, tomato, wheat, spices and condiments, sugar and food additives, such as dyes and MSG. How can you determine what foods may be causing the problem? A little book entitled Food Allergies Made Simple by Drs. Calvin and Agatha Thrash, available at the Moore Foundation for $5.00 can help you with this.

EMOTIONAL SECURITY. This cause of ADHD is somewhat related to readiness, but in this case strongly emphasizes the need of the young child for a warm, consistent caregiver, namely, the mother. We once listened to a radio talk show which included the host, three mothers of children diagnosed with ADHD and a medical doctor. All the mothers worked outside the home, but no one dared to suggest that perhaps the problem of the children could be solved by the mothers staying home, so basically, the continued use of Ritalin was justified. These children had been farmed out to the care of someone besides the mother from a very early age, then attended nursery school, preschool, and kindergarten, which in some areas is the norm, but it leaves the children always missing that emotional security which only a mother (or consistent, loving caregiver) can supply. As the child grows older, it doesn't get better either. In fact, it sometimes gets much worse, with peer dependence replacing parent dependence, leading to drugs, gangs, violence and more.

These procedures may not cure all problems. There is still the matter of basic training for self-discipline which is missing in some cases, but that is a separate subject which needs to be addressed by parents in case the other remedies fail.