Autism and Late Diagnosis

This is a particularly difficult post to write.  Many children exhibit obvious behavioral patterns that point to a diagnosis of Autism.  Some of these behaviors include stimming, hyperfocus on objects or subjects, and severe language delays including nonverbal problems.  Other children, like our daughter, do not display these behaviors and still face huge challenges in social interaction and learning. Sometimes a diagnosis comes late, and certain behaviors have become rigid structures by which a child has learned to survive challenging situations

In our case, we did not receive the Autism Spectrum Diagnosis until our daughter was 10 years old and in the 5th grade, despite the fact that my husband, Greg, a licensed professional counselor, had been saying for at least 2 years that something wasn’t right and that ADHD didn’t quite fit her.  The benefits of prescribed ADHD medication never lasted more than 90 days without requiring a change (usually an increase in dosage), and some behaviors were actually magnified because of the medication.

When we first requested that Curly be assessed for ADHD, our pediatrician’s office at the time told us that he did not believe in ADHD because it was a discipline/behavioral issue.  This did NOT sit well with my husband, who was clinically trained to diagnose and counsel for ADHD issues, and it did not sit well with me either!

We changed pediatricians.

We had Curly assessed at school, because as her mom, I began to see patterns emerging with every subsequent school year.  She would start out on a high note – all A’s, loving school, making friends, etc., – and then around the 12 week mark, we would see a dramatic drop in her grades, in her motivation, in her ability to stay organized with her assignments, and with her ability to transition from school to home.

She would have screaming  meltdowns when she would come home from school – which at first appeared to have no reason to me – and which shot my stress level right up there around my-head-is-going-to-explode.  She began being more aggressive with her sister and brother, began destroying small items that belonged to other people, and became argumentative over ev.ery.thing.  All. The. Time.  She could scream and throw a fit for a good hour without stopping, and then it would shut off and she would be tired and sometimes could not even remember what she was so upset about.

If you knew our girl when she was young – 3 or 4 or 5 – you probably cannot imagine her being like this.

I was afraid that her ADHD meds were making her worse.  There were some meds that caused serious side effects that were scary, and we would have to stop that med and try to find another.  We purposed to avoid all of the amphetamine-based ADHD medications due to family history of addiction and because we just didn’t want to go there.  I always felt that I was screwing her up because I couldn’t show more Grace and less anxiety.  That maybe I was not disciplining her effectively, and that was the cause of these problems.

But finally, during the 5th grade, after Curly had seen her own counselor for a few months – we got a referral to a psychologist.  Rather than her behaviors improving with counseling and medication, they were growing worse.  And she was getting bigger and harder to manage.  The psychologist interviewed us and Curly several times.  He performed a QEEG which reviews brain wave activity.  We even had a medical EEG done because there was a concern about possible Absence Seizure (more like a “space out” than a convulsive seizure).  She could NOT tolerate the EEG in the hospital and we had to leave before it was completed because she didn’t like the sensors, the flashing lights, or the sounds of the  machine.

When the psychologist reviewed the QEEG, he showed us that Curly’s brain waves looked NOTHING like an ADHD child.  WHAT!?!  She showed NO typical patterns for ADHD, and other than disorganization and trouble staying on task, he began to tell us that he felt like ADHD was NOT the culprit.  That’s when my husband suggested we consider Autism Spectrum Disorder.

This opened a whole new conversation and realm of questionnaires, assessments, and feedback from teachers.  We reviewed her developmental history and things started to stand out that ALSO fit into the ASD diagnosis (one primary one being constipation…)  While teachers at school could not believe we were even looking at ASD (she is SO WELL BEHAVED at school), the more we worked with the psychologist, the more the pieces began to fit together.  She came off her ADHD meds, which caused some interesting situations, but the more he worked with her and began using biofeedback, the more I saw some of that sunshine come back in our girl.

A puzzle piece is the sort of symbol for Autism Awareness, and I felt like we had dumped out a box of puzzle pieces and were trying to put it together – only there were no corners – it was a round puzzle.  And she was my daughter.

Getting the Autism diagnosis was only the first step.  We have had a long way to come and we are still working on putting support in place for her – and for our family – and for awhile I have felt like we were “behind the 8 ball” so to speak.

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Sometimes Telling the Stories is Hard

When I began blogging many years ago, the basis of my blog was just to update friends and family about the growth of my daughter, Curly.  I got married in my 30s and had her in my mid-30’s so it was a big deal – and not just for me.  Being able to communicate the life experiences as they came while working full-time and taking CARE of said baby was pretty challenging for me – especially since I was taking online college courses at the time.  I heard about blogging through work and decided to jump in and voila!  My writing had an outlet and my stories had a forum.  As Curly has grown, and Georgie & Little Man came along, there was more to write about.  But sometimes telling stories is hard.

As I wrote more posts about my family – about my journey as a wife and mom – and the huge challenges that came along (because LIFE!)  I had to learn how to balance privacy and respect with authenticity and openness.  I tend to lean toward TOO much information, and had to learn how to cut back on details and soften some sharp points.  I also found that people in my life – family members and friends – that I interact with on a daily basis, could become offended by certain revelations and references.

I have had some dark moments.  Days where being a mom was the LAST thing I wanted to be.  It has been exquisitely painful and I have had to process a lot of things about myself, my expectations, and my reality.  And I continue to do so.

I stopped blogging regularly – for quite some time – because I had shared some difficulties my family was experiencing and it stirred up some “stuff” that affected people in my life who have nothing to do with my blog.  So I tried to stop blogging about the personal stuff.  And then I just stopped blogging.  I even got to the point that I wasn’t even journaling in a notebook for fear that someone could stumble upon it “one day” and discover things that might be more fearsome than they could handle.  (and little by little, my spirit started to die in the process…)

What I learned is that NOT sharing the stories in some way is missing out on opportunities to connect with people who understand the struggle and who need encouragement too!!!

I have stories to share about the Autism Spectrum/ADHD, marriage, parenting, spiritual stuff, and family dynamics.  Can I just say that the ADHD/ASD alone has turned my world upside down!?!  It has been a long process and it’s shaken me and changed a lot of things for our family.  I am having to consider things for one child that I don’t ever have to consider for the other two.  The fact that our oldest child struggles with her ASD/ADHD is a big part of why I want to both share and respect her as I write about life.  Being married to a counselor has some great benefits, but being married to a counselor also means that privacy is a BIG issue and I need to be able to balance what I share with how I share it.

So, I will be writing more about our life – sharing the stories – and hopefully sharing not just the struggles (because THEY. ARE. REAL.) but also the victories.  I don’t  have everything figured out.  I don’t have all the answers for my own problems, let alone anyone else’s.  But I do know that companionship can bring great comfort.  Compassion can lead to greater understanding about life’s journey, and God’s work, and crazy circumstances.  And sometimes comic relief is something we ALL need!!!  I want to be able to share the Grace & Glory of the life God has given me most of all…

Are you a Tell-It-All kind of person, or Keep-It-To-Yourself kind of person?  How do you feel when someone shares what you consider to be “too much” information?  How do you feel when someone doesn’t share enough and you leave with more questions than answers?  

Essential Oils for Anxiety and Stress

There are essential oils that can make a really bad day much better.  Essential oils for anxiety and stress have a huge place in my collection of oils.  Between Anxiety, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder in our family, we have a lot of different symptoms that find some relief with use of essential oils.  Sometimes significant relief!

I have a friend who finds that many of the oils that work well for our family – do NOT work for her family with the same diagnoses or symptoms.  This is why a DISCLAIMER is necessary (see the end of my post) because different people react to different oils in very different ways!

Some of these oils are listed in my Essential Oils for Sleep post, but depending on what issues you want to assist, there may be other oils listed which you might find helpful for your use.

Vetiver – attention, focus, racing thoughts

Cedarwood – insomnia, grounding and calming

Lavender – soothing, relaxing, and great in blends

Frankincense – this is one of my GO TO oils for so many things, I had to include it here.  It calms my agitated daughter when nothing else will.  It balances me when I’m feeling moody.  It has been used for centuries in meditation and spiritual practice.  And frankly, it smells delightful… (pun intended)

Ylang ylang – mmmm such a floral wonder.  I usually only add 1 or 2 drops to a whole rollerball because it has such a powerful scent.  Reminds me of the beautiful flower leis my parents brought me back from Hawaii…

Bergamot – a lovely oil with a hint of lemony goodness.  It is the from the same fruit used to add flavor to Earl Grey tea, and it has a softer smell than lemon itself.  This is a photosensitive oil, so you should not go outside within 30 minutes of topical application.

doTerra Balance – this is a preblended mix of oils by doTerra.  Because we don’t know the specific amounts of each oil used in the blend, diluting safely can be tricky.  I tend to go the “less is more” route where my kids are concerned, especially, but I have a rollerball of this in my little bag of oils at ALL times.  It has a very lovely scent – one of my favorites!

doTerra Serenity – this is an oil blend that my friend Shelly gave me to use during my niece’s funeral and the family time surrounding that week.  It has a softly sweet smell and I have used it as perfume, and well diluted as a face serum.  It absolutely helps me settle and RELAX so much better than say, lavender alone.  I will open a bottle of this in the car when the kids are super cranky and put it on myself and the airflow in the ar distributes it to everyone!

Remember that different people can react to different oils in different ways.  While lavender alone can help one of my kids settle almost immediately, a blend of cedarwood-lavender-and-frankincense works better for another one of my kids, and doTerra’s Balance is an oil that helps my third whenever she is too tightly wound.

Diluted topical application is NOT the only use for essential oils.  Diffusing essential oils provides an aromatherapeutic benefit that may be different from topical application.  We have found that diffusing dT Balance for 30 minutes in our family room helps everybody feel more grounded and, well, balanced!

Do you use essential oils for stress relief?  What’s your favorite?  Which oil do you think you would try first?

Essential Oils For When You Can’t Sleep

One of my biggest problems since having kids is regulating my sleep.  Between my all-night sleeper, my never-at-night-sleeper, and the-child-who-won’t-leave-our-bed sleeper – I have not had very many good nights of rest for many years.

As our kids have grown, their sleep patterns have almost flipped.  One of our kids is on medication to help her sleep.  Otherwise, she will be up all night, waking me up because she is bored. Or scared. Or hungry.

We have sleep walkers and sleep talkers.  We have bed wetters and middle of the night eaters.  And there are the occasional night terrors.

Yep – it has been exhausting.

When I discovered that lavender essential oil has a calming and sedative effect, I was happy.  I did notice that it helped calm me down when I used it for my nasty bout of poison ivy.  I also noticed it had a calming effect on my kids.

Lavender sachets – filled with dried lavender buds and leaves – have been used for centuries.  So the idea that the essential oil might be used for the same benefits was not completely out of the realm of the imagination..

Indeed, lavender is often recommended to help calm and settle people, especially at bedtime.  But I have read many comments by people who have said it has the OPPOSITE effect on them.  So, yeah – that is also not out of the realm of possibility.

I noticed after using lavender over a period of months that it did not seem to have the same effect of helping my kids or I fall asleep faster, so I started looking for some other options and found a few oils that were new to me.  (I was also looking for oils to help with ADHD symptoms in my kids, and funnily enough, these were the same oils to help settle for bedtime)

So here are a few oils I have found to be beneficial for helping settle me (or my little rascals) to sleep:

  • Cedarwood – because of it’s woody scent, this is a great oil to mix with other scents to make it more kid-friendly.  It blends especially well with sweet orange and lavender diluted in a rollerball!
  • Vetiver – research suggests this oil particularly works for ADHD, and is especially good for “racing thoughts” so if anxiety is playing a part in keeping you awake, this might be an oil for you.  I add this to every one of my sleep blends.
  • Ylang ylang – this smells just like I imagine a tropical flower to smell!  It can easily overpower the scents of other oils, so be sure to sniff gently and remember that less is more!

You can read more about essential oils for sleep at the following links:

8 Essential Oils for Sleep – by The Prairie Homestead

Essential Oils for Sleep – by Lea at Using EOs Safely

Sleep Tips – by Mommypotamus (not just about EOs)

One of the important things to remember about essential oils is that The Nose Knows!  There are some scents that may be so offensive to your nose that you cannot use them, regardless of their reported benefits.  If you apply an oil to help you sleep and then cannot sleep because it is an odor you can’t stand – you might need to make some adjustments to using it.  Vetiver was an oil I really had to get used to, and I found that blending it with other oils really made it more tolerable, and then I could reap the benefits without gagging over the smell…

Above all – if you don’t have a rollerball and aren’t sure about applying any essential oils to your body, get yourself a cotton ball – a good one, not one of those fakey synthetic cosmetic balls – and apply 1-2 drops of your chosen oils to the cotton ball.  Allow it to dry for a little bit and then seal it inside a plastic baggie. You can use it as a mini-inhaler for several days and refresh it every couple of weeks.

NOTE: some essential oils can melt plastic, so allow the oil to dry somewhat on the cotton ball before sealing it in a plastic bag…

Would you consider using essential oils to help you sleep?  Have you ever tried any essential oils for sleep?  Which oils worked for you?

 

Parenting an Out of the Box Child – Part 3

{If you are just joining, click the links over to Part 1 and Part 2 of this series to catch up!}

Can I tell you the MOST challenging part of parenting my Out of the Box Child(ren)?  it isn’t determining the root cause for each diagnosis, whether or not to use medication in our toolbox, or how diet and environment factor into the ever-changing behaviors of my children.

It’s Grace.

It’s knowing how and when to impart consequence and when to lavish on Grace.

Much of the struggle with #1 Girl is Impulsivity.  I have to say that the impulsivity often leads to sinful choices – and balancing my response as a parent with Grace – while NOT avoiding the sinful aspect – is really my biggest parenting challenge.

It is both heart-wrenching and frustrating.

There are the critics who espouse MORE discipline.  There are critics who denounce medication, which really only restrains ADHD to a dull roar, but allows her to function well at school.  I am required to spend extra time reviewing homework and school work and answering phone calls & texts about her work (or lack thereof), AND am supposed to have extra energy for the daily attitude and shifts in energy and focus and effort – AND be gracious and loving and nurturing, while still maintaining a home environment that displays Jesus Christ.  And teach her responsibility and consequences.  And pour out grace and love.

How?  How do I do that?  So many days, I am At. A. Loss.  I just don’t know.  It isn’t about loving my child.  It isn’t about wanting what’s best for her.

It’s resigning myself to whatever it is that GOD has for her.

And sometimes it means I lay down on the altar for sacrifice.  And sometimes, I just don’t want to.  I want to be able to go into our bathroom, play some soft music, run a hot bubble bath, sip a large glass of iced raspberry tea and read an epic novel without interruption or fear of what might happen if I relax for even two seconds.

2015-04-23 06.32.40The same child who sweetly prepared a breakfast of waffles with chocolate chips & strawberries and a cup of coffee to surprise me – is the same child who finished off the rest of the bag of chocolate chips later that same night in secret.  If I had bet money it was going to happen, I would be rich.  As soon as I saw my breakfast plate, I knew what was coming and hated myself for being discouraged about the likely outcome instead of enjoying the sweet moment…

Parenting an Out-of-the-Box Child has broken me in so many ways.  

And that is why I am writing this.  Not because I have figured out HOW to navigate this parenting road.  But because it’s part of who I am and where God has put me, and I need to be real about it as I seek His Grace daily.  Or hourly.  Or minutely.  You know what I mean.

Maybe someone reading can relate to this.  Maybe someone reading can share their lessons learned through this.  Maybe you feel like you can’t take another minute of this and needs someone to walk the path with them.  No one child or parent is like another – but our journeys may take us down the same road and we can encourage one another and lift each other up.

Because as often as I seek to live out grace to my children, I am bathed in Grace by my Father.  Some days, I wish I could just put her out in front of me into His fountain of grace and let it pour over her.  I don’t always cooperate and am not always fit for His use as an instrument of Grace.

What I am learning the most in all of this, is that I am DESPERATE for His Grace more than for anything else.  And if I can let Him use me, it’s what I hope she learns from my life – that SHE needs His Grace every day too!

Parenting An Out of the Box Child – Part 2

New here?  Click here to read Part 1 of this series.

I. Was. Lost. in my parenting journey and I found myself wondering all the how’s and why’s that come with ADHD.  Frankly, I still feel lost in my journey most days.  Is this ADHD thing my fault?  is it her fault?  Is she just reacting to my failure to discipline enough? or to discipline too much?  Could I have prevented it?  Is it totally neurological? Behavioral? Environmental?  It sure seems like God handed me something I could NOT HANDLE and I couldn’t figure out why.

Just like my out of the box child cannot be so easily contained, no one formula or strategy will work exclusively in my ability to parent her.

My every move – at times – seems to be counterproductive more often than not.  Boundaries are very difficult to establish with her.  Consequences are difficult to not only dole out but for her to respond to.  Reactivity – of which both she & I are guilty – is our worst enemy.  Knowing which battle is worth fighting – and which is worth letting go – is never easily identified.

The truth is:  some days, loving her is hard.  

And the guilt that courses through me when I think that, let alone say it, is devastating.  I don’t mean feeling affectionate for her. Or being willing to throw myself in front of a bus for her.  I mean being willing to lay down my life in the daily living so she can know how much I love her.  And even more so how much God loves her and has a plan for her.

Loving her is exhausting.  Draining.  And more often than not, I feel like I fail her miserably.  My ugliness shoots straight to the surface in the face of her defiance. It bounces right against my tightly-stretched nerves – and I lose myself in an avalanche of impatience.  And fatigue.  And fear.

This child that wants to go toe-to-toe with me over which shoes to wear to school is really desperate for something steady and sure.  And many days, that’s. not. me.  I am so broken by this realization.  In the rare moments of quiet I am able to snag in my hectic days, I cry out to God to make me better for her sake, but only after I beg for more peace and less chaos for my sake.

And more often than not, I hear Him whisper to my wildly-beating heart that HE has a plan for her.  It may not be the plan I envisioned or imagined for her – but His plan is to take her strength and use it for HIS glory.

This scares me to my bones.  Some of the godliest people I know have a wild, spirited child who was raised to know and love God. But the child grew up and made different choices.  And as an adult, that child wrestles with substance abuse.  Crime & prison terms. Broken lives.  Broken bodies.

Not every case.  But more than I am comfortable with.  My heart is wrenched for the possibilities.  For all three of my children.

Because I have no guarantees in this parenting business.  The reality of parenting children is harder than I ever possibly imagined it could be.  And God is teaching me in this parenting journey, as much as He desires to teach them.  And to speak to their hearts Himself.  Dying to ME is the hardest part.  Dying to me and letting God become my child’s steady and sure is like watching her climb a tightrope a bajillion feet above the ground with no {apparent} safety net.  And it is as much a test of my FAITH as a test of my love.

I don’t always know what that means.  I don’t always know what it looks like.  I don’t know what it will look like 10 minutes from now, let alone 10 years from now.  I want a formula that FIXES our problem.  But there isn’t one.

I just know that I have to desperately lean harder into God so she can see that He is MY steady and sure, too.  That in my weakness, HE is where I go.  He is where I turn. And He is always there for me, even when I fail.  It is exquisitely painful.  To be broken out in front of my children.  And when I struggle to yield to Him, it is even more painful for them.

I get Sarah Mae’s statement:

ultimately, the most important thing is laying our children at the foot of the cross and praying that Jesus will call them to Him.

And there is the ultimate sacrifice in parenting.  Not learning methods or means to raise a child, but learning how to lay each child down at the foot of the Cross and LEAVE her there to hear the Savior’s call…

Do you struggle in parenting an Out-of-the-Box-Child?

Parenting An Out of the Box Child – Part 1

My friend, Christie, recently posted a (long) list of books on Facebook that she is reading during the month of April.  She was doing it to request a little bit of accountability.  She got some encouragement.  She got some criticism.  But she listed the book, Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson – and I told her I would read along with her. I’ve read it before and even posted a review, but as I began reading it again today and this evening, I couldn’t believe how much differently I could relate to it now from the first time I read it. I had many lines and sentences highlighted already.  But then I came across a section that just rang SO TRUE with me.  The phrase that started it all was “out of the box child.”

I totally related to that phrase.  And it made me think about “the box” and what that represents, which made me think about a Jack-In-The-Box.  The thing about a Jack-in-the-Box is that it is fairly predictable.  You turn the handle on the side, the melody plays, and just at the right moment, up pops Jack with a loud bang, generally to the amusement of most people.

With an Out-of-the-Box child, though, things are very different.  And Life is NOT like a childhood toy.  It is not always so easy, not so predictable.  And some children are born just fresh

Out of the Box.

Me?  I’ve got 2 of them.  Well, 2 so far.

My oldest girl, my sunshine girl – she was born bright & bubbly.  Smiles a mile wide. Happy go lucky.  Sweet natured, yet determined.

My youngest girl, was born just as beautiful, but less bubbly & bright.  She smiled & laughed, but she also screamed for 2 hours at a time.  Sometimes just with ME, and not anybody else.  She is my sensitive soul.  Sensory-soul. The one who feels like she is going to explode if her socks don’t feel right.  If music is too loud.  If anybody in our family is upset about anything.  My husband & I decided early on, that our #2 girl was always outside-the-box.  It’s how she operates.  If you say the sky is blue, she sees it a different color.  Not to be disagreeable, but because she sees a different color.  She would prefer to dance around the dinner table as she eats.  She doesn’t mind getting down in the dirt to love on a pet.

When you live in a “Stay-In-The-Box” world, it can be really hard to be an Out of the Box kind of kid.  or her parents.  Let me be clear, I am not complaining. We have likened her somewhat to the character “Phoebe” on that show we used to watch called FRIENDS.

But a few years ago, our sweet, spirited, outgoing #1 girl – became defiant, loud, chaotic, angry, uncooperative, fearful, withdrawn.

I was not so prepared for this change.

Fairly quickly, her dad recognized some of the behaviors and changes, and eventually she was assessed and diagnosed with ADHD.  This was, of course, after one pediatrician told us he didn’t “believe in ADHD and that it was really a discipline problem.”

huh.  discipline problem = parenting problem, right?

We adapted our parenting skills and strategies, and watched her grades start to slip.  Watched her attitude shift.  And watched her body react to the stress she was feeling.  She was unable to focus.  She was unable to communicate her feelings with words.  She became angrier and we became more frustrated and it was a vicious cycle.

The next pediatrician quickly assessed her and acknowledged her ADHD and we began a journey with medications and varying parenting skills & strategies – that would often work well one day and then not-so-well the next.  My husband, being more educated and practiced in the parenting strategies, has had to coach me (and still coaches me) as much as parent our child because I have been at a complete loss.  I was desperate to help her but didn’t know how and I felt like every day I was losing her more and more.

And I have struggled to put into words this journey – both because I didn’t want to embarrass my child and because I had not yet mastered my ability to parent her…  I didn’t want to air “dirty laundry” and yet I felt alone in so much of this and I didn’t know how to even wrap my head around most days.  Can I tell you that just writing this so far, has really given me courage to keep writing.

So I will.  I will write and share this journey.  Because it is important.  And I am most likely not the only parent who feels this way about parenting an out of the box child

{I will continue this series in my next post.  You can sign up to receive my posts by email in the sidebar!}

Natural Options for ADHD {Naturally Tuesday}

I’ve been spending a lot of time researching naturally-derived alternatives for a variety of things for my home & family – both medically, nutritionally, chemically, etc.  If you know me or have followed my blog for awhile, you know I have had a history of finding alternatives that use less chemicals and more naturally-derived ingredients.  It is a journey.  I am not a crunchy gal per se, but I definitely want to be a healthier gal and provide a healthier home for my family.  So, I’m launching Naturally Tuesday, where I will write about this journey, my discoveries, my questions, and changes I make.  If I write about this subject, it will be on Naturally Tuesday posts!

Due to some recent changes in our family’s insurance, the meds that our girls have been using for several months are no longer covered.  AT. ALL.   Our girls have been using meds for their ADHD mainly to help them in school and to be able to work through homework without a lot of challenges.  The surprise change to prescription benefits left Roy & I flustered, and our kids dealing with a sudden medication change.

It has been a pretty difficult and challenging experience, despite my husband’s familiarity with medications and their effects, as well as my experience working in the insurance industry.  I spent hours looking through our insurance benefits to see which medications would be covered, which ones wouldn’t, and all the alternatives the insurance suggested.  ugh.

In addition to researching the insurance benefits, I also began researching alternative options for medications.  There are ways to approach the physiological and emotional aspects of ADHD with things other than medication, but since some people don’t even believe in ADHD, there is a LOT of conflict and misinformation.

Through this research, I read several articles and blog posts that recommended a few options like using essential oils, going gluten-free, and adding Omega-3’s to the daily diet.  There are also supplements designed specifically for ADHD, and essential oils and EO blends that are also designed for both the hyperactivity and challenge in focus that is present for many kids with ADHD.  All these suggestions are in addition to behavior modification / disciplinary practices, which even some doctors think is the only REAL option for handling ADHD.

WHATEVER.

We started adding Omega-3s for the girls and honestly, we have seen a difference in their behavior.   It seems as though they are calmer, even with the drastic change in medication.  The medication change happened first, but we were seeing some rebounding effect.  It does seem that the Omega-3s have reduced this rebound effect.  Despite the capsules’ very large size, Curly is actually excited about taking them and I think she feels better for doing so.

We have also been using some Essential Oils (EOs).  Frankincense and Lavender, individually or used together, have had an almost immediate settling effect.  It has taken some practice figuring out that simply applying it to the soles of their feet, and big toes, brings quick relief.  I have used these oils in a diffuser in the room where we are spending time – or doing homework – and it has really helped.  My research indicates that other oils also help with the symptoms of ADHD and I will be trying some of them, too.

NOTES:

  • When applying EOs to children, it is recommended to dilute the oils with a carrier oil like olive oil, fractionated coconut oil, or almond oil (just examples).  Using 2-3 drops of an essential oil along with 10-30 drops of a carrier oil (depending on the EO used) does not reduce the strength of the EO, it just stretches it out!
  • Some essential oils are “hot” and can actually burn the skin when applied directly, so using it with a carrier oil is necessary.  It’s important to learn about EOs and how they can be used, and children usually require some dilution simply because their skin is more sensitive.
  • EOs come from plants, so if you have allergies to specific plants, it is best to avoid their EOs.  Just because they are naturally derived, does not mean you can’t have an allergic reaction.  Using EOs requires some self-education and awareness.

Going Gluten-free is going to be a whole different journey, but one that I am starting to prepare to take.  It requires a different pantry and ingredients for cooking, so will take longer to implement, but we are moving in that direction.

While we navigate the muddy waters of insurance coverage and exclusions, I’m really thankful for some natural alternatives which are even more cost effective.

Disclaimer:  I am NOT a physician.  I am a mom who wants to do what’s best for her kids.  I cannot diagnose or treat any medical or mental health conditions.  I can only share the experiences I have as a wife and mom trying to provide a healthier life for her family.  If you or your children have any medical issues, please consult with your primary care physician.  The EOs I use are doTerra brand, but I am not a representative for them, and I am researching a LOT about essential oils in general, not just one brand or company, because I want to know more about them.  Just like medications, essential oils can have adverse reactions and side effects.  I just prefer to find more naturally-derived products as opposed to synthetic.