food allergies and ADHD

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
food allergies and ADHD
5
Wed, 01-04-2012 - 7:08am

I know there is a lot of talk of the gluten free or ADHD diets, anyone try that or anyone dealing with kids with food allergies and ADHD and or behavoir issues.

Doing some research for my sister. My 5 year old nephew is having huge issues. He has always been a behavior problem, some of it is attention and there are issues with my sister and her and DH are divorced its been rocky now they are civil to the point he lived with her when his mom kicked him out...did I say there are issues. Now he problems with poop control in preschool and that has carried over to kindy. Before xmas teacher called my sister demanding something be done (aka call the Dr) he is defiant, over active, etc. Now honestly I feel he was not ready for kindy. he is a twin he was failure to thrieve. His twin is doing fine and excelling. I know from my own when school got hard for him his behavior showed now difference being his school was proactive and picked up he had writting issues they got him help things got better all nephews teacher does is send work home say its too messy redo so also think some is the school and teacher. Almost like they just want my sister to get an ADHD diagnosis medicate and make her life easier. Oh I so love my school we got accomidation LONG before an ADHD diagnosis, so I armed sister with the things we did. Can they get the OT in school involved he was failure to thrieve he didn't even walk until he was almost 2 very possible we have motor issues if his non failure to thrieve cousin does and I did too and it could be genetic. Also mention some other classroom things they started in kindy. She did call pedi he gave her a few numbers its a 6-8 month waiting list and not covered by her insurance (she is unemployed, kids are on state insurance and they live in housing so money is an issue, pedi is working with her to find a dr that is on the insurance but doing something out of pocket is NOT an option)

Now yesterday she had him at childrens he already is diagnosised peanut and wheat allergy and now he has garlic and soy. He did out grow an egg allergy but with this history of food allergies I wonder if this is playing a roll. I remember when I started Liam's journey doing research read alot about food and behavior so wondering if that is playing a roll here too. Course guessing food stamps don't cover gluten free or other special diets so not sure how much help this would be but just looking for options ideas ect

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2011
Wed, 01-04-2012 - 7:44pm

I don't kinow if its me - I am totally confused by your post - I don't know who you are talking about

I can say that food can be a big factor - not the ultimate cure

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Fri, 01-06-2012 - 3:28pm
Food allergies could definitely be playing a role with his behavior issues. Has she contacted social services to see if they can provide any additional help because of his allergies? Doctors can prescribe special infant formula so that it will be covered under insurance, I wonder if there is anything they can do with regards to special food for him? I would also ask the school for an evaluation, to see what they have to say. It makes sense that the failure to thrive diagnosis would contribute to his motor issues.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Sun, 01-08-2012 - 10:28am

well its not so much they won't cover the foods, you get x amount of money to spend there are excluded items but can't imagine it would be healthy food (usually things like alcohole and non food items they sell at food stores), problem is the special diets can cost more so she'd have less to spread between to feed herself and the 3 kids. She did meet with teacher last week, they will do referal for OT after 1st report cards in February, they can't do it before. Also he is showing some signs of possible dyslexia, could just be he is still learning but thats on the radar. They are still pushing her to do an appointment but given the 6-8 month wait she just looked at the teacher

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2008
Thu, 01-12-2012 - 10:17am
Allergies to foods, or anything can cause adverse behavior, but they do not cause ADHD.
I am also unclear as to your post, it's confusing.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Sat, 01-14-2012 - 1:06pm
Ok, first, when children feel rotten, they often cannot vocalize this and they generally act out. So yes, if he has Celiac's, and his stomach is upset, that is certainly distracting, and makes it hard to concentrate on reading or math. The poop control may be related to Celiac's or it could be something like irritable bowl syndrome. I have seen kids (and adults) who get irritable and defiant when they do not feel good. It is certainly within the realm of possibility that this is part of the issue.

You said that he has some fine motor issues. Eye muscles are fine motor muscles. My son also had fine motor issues, and it did show up in his eyes. He could not use them together to track across the page, and was seeing everything in double vision. He appeared to have dyslexia according to every list I could find. We went to a developmental optometrist and got his eyes checked - he needed vision therapy to strengthen those muscles so that they could work together. Vision therapy is usually covered under medical insurance, not vision (lazy eye is a medical issue traditionally.) However, your sister should check with the most local Rotary Club to see if they can help her with the cost of therapy if he needs it. Glasses can help some kids too, Rotary does help pay for those. If your sister cannot do vision therapy, see about getting the book "Developing Your Child for Success." You will have to get it from Amazon or Ebay - it is out of print. It has exercises that are about the same as what the vision therapy does. She will need to work with him a 1/2 or more a day to see results. The OT can help decide what lessons to start with. Vision therapy also took care of most of the ADHD, although the reading was why I had him do it. If he moved, he saw one of everything, so, he moved - A LOT! Now he sees normal, he doesn't need to move and can sit still and concentrate better. I don't think that medication would have helped him with the movement stuff that he had going - it may have helped attention some. But, we homeschool, so I don't have to please someone else, just me. But, the movement stuff was a large reason why his homeschooled too.

Your sister should ask the school for a complete evaluation. As he is also having behavior and potential reading issues, he needs the psychologist to test him as well. Speech therapy can evaluate if he is able to say and match sounds - my youngest couldn't rhyme, which is a sign that dyslexia may be an upcoming issue. He couldn't say some sounds, so we got him speech therapy through the school for a year and it helped so much! (He now rhymes all words all the time, to the point of being annoying. Making up for lost time I guess!)

Cooking with food stamps is challenging. I helped a neighbor for a while with her shopping. (She was raised in foster care and missed some important life lessons.) If your sister does not have a freezer, help her get one, from freecycle or craig's list or otherwise used and cheap. She can take advantage of sales on meat and such that way to really stretch her budget. Holidays tend to mean sales on meat afterwards - corned beef is cheap after St. Patrick's day, turkey after Thanksgiving. Help her find web sites with recipes that cater to people who need to restrict certain foods. Encourage her to remove bread for everyone and get foods that everyone can eat so as to stretch her budget. Take left over rice and beans or stir fries for lunch, or use corn tortillas instead of bread. I encourage her not to buy those mixes, unless it is for birthday cake that is once in a while. They are pricey and not very satisfying anyhow. When she gets back on her feet, then she can try them if she wants, but now, they are not so important.

She will also need to get the school to acknowledge and honor that he needs a restricted diet and that it will make their lives easier if they do NOT feed him birthday cupcakes, muffins or other things that make him feel bad. Honestly, this may be the biggest issue that she has with the school in Kinder! A friend of ours (asperger's) had meltdowns after sweet, wheat based stuff. The mom wrote a letter to the teacher, and gave him mixed nuts and jerky for snacks, but they still fed him the stuff and the ended up calling her to pick him up every time. Not sure why they couldn't get a handle on this, but for whatever reason they just wanted him to have the stuff and it made everyone's lives harder.

I wish your sister and her son lots of luck. She should really take advantage of school evaluations because they are free and a step in better understanding at least part of how he learns and what he needs. Eye exams, dental appointments, regular doctor are all good to do too (if he has major cavities that are bothering him, again, very distracting and he may not be able to tell what is wrong at this age. Sounds strange, but it is true.)