It’s been quite a journey, and I’m sure it is not over yet! When Lachie was about 6 years old (he is now 9), my husband and I were told that he has ADHD and we were asked how we felt about medication. Expecting an ADHD diagnosis, my husband and I had already spoken about medication. It was something that we were not comfortable with…. at least not without trying some other options first. We are so glad that we persevered, as we were able to identify triggers to his symptoms, and we now manage them without medication.
What was Lachie like?
When Lachie started school, his teachers, my husband and I, all started to notice a number of things:
- fine and gross motor skill delay – he couldn’t even sit on the carpet at school without slouching or laying down, as his body would tire.
- impulsivity – I remember his prep teacher telling me that she had given the class a handout and asked them to just write their name at the top… but Lachie decided to fill out the blanks. Working ahead, that’s great… except that the students couldn’t really read yet and were asked to wait for the instructions to be read out to them. So of course, Lachie’s answers were incorrect.
- highly distracted – Lachie would find distractions EVERYWHERE! I am almost positive he LOOKED for distractions. This was always a big problem come homework time, so I can only imagine how his teachers felt all day long.
- unmotivated – Lachie loved going to school and he loved going by bus… yet it was a constant struggle to get him ready on time. And he lacked motivation with all sorts of other things. It seemed that NOTHING could motivate him. Rewards didn’t work. No threat was encouraging enough. It didn’t seem to phase him to loose toys or privileges. He was also unmotivated to try new things.
- trouble following directions – Lachie often had trouble following directions or understanding exactly what was expected of him (NOTE: we had his hearing tested, that came back fine).
- Brain fog – expanding upon the previous point – there were times where Lachie would appear to be ‘switched off’. He just simply wasn’t ‘firing on all cylinders’ and seemed to be ‘influenced’ in some way. The message seemed to get muffled in his brain and interpreted wrong. (NOTE: the school suggested he be tested for auditory processing disorder, but that came back clear).
Of course, there were many other little things that all added up, but ultimately, we could see the potential in him and knew we had to do something. He’s a very clever kid and we wanted to see if we could find out what was blocking that potential and causing his symptoms.
What did we try?
- FAILSAFE Elimination Diet – many people have had success with eliminating food additives as well as naturally occurring food chemicals in some fruits and vegetables.
- Naturopath – with a recommendation from my own mother, we saw a Naturopath, to determine if a tailored approach would help.
- Occupational Therapy – to improve his fine and gross motor skills.
- Limiting screen time – as we noticed his behaviour was different after watching television and using iPads etc.
- LCHF (Low Carbohydrate, High Fat) – whilst still unsuccessful, this is the point that I decided to start studying so that I could learn more about how the body works and what it needs to run optimally.
- Back to the Naturopath – I decided to take Lachie back to the Naturopath. This time, I was more concerned about his general health than trying to ‘fix’ his ADHD symptoms.
I wrote about our success story here, our follow up with the Naturopath here and the latest development in his journey here. This is the short version of what I believe allows us to manage Lachie’s symptoms with diet:
- avoid foods that we know trigger his behaviour,
- avoid foods that are damaging to his gut,
- eating as ‘clean’ as we can afford (minimal processed foods and plenty of vegetables),
- taking natural supplements that Lachie’s body needed (probiotic; liver support), and
- limiting screen time.
What can I learn from this?
I have chosen to share Lachie’s story with you in order to provide the following information:
- It is possible to manage ADHD (and similar disorders) naturally,
- There is no one-size-fits-all approach,
- Reassurance that you are not alone
Want can I do now?
If you like what you have read and would like to know more about how dietary changes could help you, please comment below or email me at email@example.com.