Natural Rememdy-BrightSpark-Opinions

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-05-2003
Natural Rememdy-BrightSpark-Opinions
Fri, 09-05-2003 - 10:13pm
Hello Everyone,

I am new here and would like to get some opinions.

My son shows signs of ADHD and I have been researching alternative

natural remedies. I came across a product called BrightSpark

that is proven to be effective in children but I am looking

for opinions and others that may have used or is using this


All help and opinions are appreciated.

Thank You!



iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 9:07am
How is it "proven?" What studies were done? Did they have two groups, one controlled and one experimental? How long were the studies done? And, who did them? Is it some people saying it worked - individual cases, rather than a scientific study?

These are all pretty basic research questions. And important ones for our kids so they get the right kind of treatment.

The mainstream ADHD medications have been studied extensively and all the above questions have been answered. You can go to the National Institute of Health Website and find the studies.

I'm no scientist, but it seems to me that the Concerta my child takes is "natural" too. It makes his brain work better so that he gets more signals to control impulses and to pay attention. He takes the lowest dose and we still have to deal with the impulsiveness and inattention, but not nearly to the degree that we did before - he can fit in and be normal and HE LIKES taking the medicine because it allows him to slow down. He is still our same, curious, energetic, bright, sweet boy.

This is a personal choice for parents to make. For us, we wanted our child to have help that works - we should have had on on the Concerta a year before we did, truly. I regret not having him on it. But, he is on it now and his life is so much better.

And, I'll say it again - one of my hopes is that my properly treating his ADHD now, he won't grow up to use other natural products, like marijuana.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-05-2003
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 9:49am
Thank you for your response and opinion.

As you mentioned, it is up to each parents decision on how to

treat their own children. I however, do not believe in drugging

children. I have done alot of research and in my opinion, the

risks out way the benefits. Not enough studies have been done

on the long term effects of children on these medications.

There is a website called "" and just by

reading that made me realize that was not an option for me.

Ritalin is a class 2 drug just like cocaine--we don't want

out 16 year olds on cocaine so why do we want our 6 year

olds on it. This is just my opinion.............

My son is not a severe case.

He can sit for an hour and watch a movie with no problem.

He just calls out a few times in class and is a bit squirmy.

Last year his teacher put him on behavior modification and it

helped alot. He gets good grades and is a good learner.

I took him off dairy because I linked it with his problem.

He drinks RIce Milk and that also seemed to help. I'm

just looking for something to help him adjust a bit in

the classroom until he can control this himself.

Thank you all again.........these are just my opinions and

I am not here to offend anyway..just looking for help and

to offer help.

Take Care,


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 11:55am
You are fortunate, then, that your son appears to have only very mild problems. For those of us with kids whose problems are severe enough to threaten the quality of life for all members of the family, we seek long and hard for answers and frequently come to medication only as a last, and frequently the only successful, resort.

FYI, there is a large and rapidly growing body of research showing that ADHD kids treated since childhood with stimulants have a much lower incidence of drug abuse. Those that abuse drugs are frequently either self-medicating or escaping the devastating secondary consequences of ADHD left untreated over the years, like severe loss of self-esteem.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 9:39am
Not offend? Really.

I think you're very judgmental of those of us who choose to use medication to treat ("drug" in your words) ADHD -And, frankly, even though I am a licensed mental health worker, I don't feel like I can just go with my own "opinion." That's why I sought the advice and care of professionals, including a child psychiatrist, a child psychologist, the school principal, and teachers. I attended seminars and my DH and I both went to counseling and parenting classes. I read A LOT - and yes, I looked at those alarmist websites you mentioned.

But, in the end, we decided to give the medicine a try. And, it is helping our son - more than all the other things we've done.

ADHD is a condition, not a label. Some kids have this condition worse than others; for some kids, behavior mods may be the key. For many, though, medicine is the first line treatment choice.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-05-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 12:01pm
If you were offended I am sorry, however I am entitled to my opinions as you are yours.

I have been studying natural remedies (and don't 100% agree with everything)but do feel we need to take our health into our own hands and not rely so much on health practicioners "opinions." Has it crossed your mind why this so called ADHD didn't exist 30 to 40 years ago? Children went to school and if they were alittle hyper they were known as the class clown. They were not medicated, they stayed in the class and went on. There must be an underlying cause for the increase in numbers in children displaying this behavior. Our food quality over the years have dimished so badly. So many more additives have been added.

I just feel so many children are misdiagnosed and the first thing doctors do is pull out there prescription pads. I offer my opinions because I know so many parents are backed up against the wall with the schools forcing them to see doctors for there childs out bursts. I want others to realize there are many other options to try. I came to these boards to help find some new info also.

Take Care!


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 1:02pm
Sure, it's ocurred to me about ADHD "not existing" 30 or 40 years ago - the fact is that it did exist, but it was called other things. If you read the literature, you will find that it was called other things - even in the 1800s.

I do agree that doctors should not just pull out the prescription pad and write a prescription. For the population I work with - domestic violence survivors - I see a lot of kids who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (from being abused by assaults or witnessing domestic violence) who have the same symptoms as ADHD kids - if the doctor doesn't take the time to find out that is the cause of the behaviors and gives them a stimulant drug - whamo! Bigger problems.

I have a friend who as an adult is taking meds for ADHD. He was one of those kids you are talking about - he's now in his early 40s. So, he went to school in the 60's and 70s. He has memories of being shamed and humiliated as a child. He had ADHD and couldn't control it - his teachers and other adults responded by increasing punishments and making him feel stupid. I know there are a lot of people out there like him - I've met them and I've read about them. Is this what you mean by how it was handled in the past? Because this is what happened to a lot of kids - you can read their stories on this board.

Or, how about when it was acceptable for parents and teachers to beat children into submission? Actually, we still have a high tolerance for physically assaulting children, but not like we used to. This is what happened 50-100 years ago to our ADHD kids, especially. Is this what you mean by how it was handled in the past?

A lot of people have this fantasy idea (i.e. Little House on the Prairie, Happy Days, etc) about families and childhood in the past - when things were "much simpler" and things were "natural." I don't think it existed. If we really study history, we can see that. Childhood mortality was high; children and women were abused and this abuse was acceptable; life was HARD. The picture of the 1950s boy who had ADHD and was accepted by his teachers with a little chuckle and a wink as "being all boy" is a fantasy. That boy was most likely humiliated, shamed, and beaten.

I say "no thanks" to the bad old days. I'm glad to live in a time when I can give my child all-around care - including medical, behavioral, and emotional.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 5:56pm
Never heard of this, but I am a firm believer in trying natural alternatives before medications. I spent a ton of money on nutritionists who took hair and blood samples of DS and tried vitamin and mineral supplements ... dietary changes (not easy for the mac 'n cheese or pizza-only kid) ... herbal remedies ... etc. Although in the end, DS did need to be on meds, at least when I put him on them, I knew that I didn't do it without trying alternatives ... I didn't jump on the bandwagon without carefully trying alternatives. Sometimes, kids do o.k. with dietary changes. Sometimes things like food allergies or sleep apnea can mimic symptoms of ADHD/ADD. But, sometimes that's not the case, and for those kids where it isn't, then meds can become a necessity. Even then, I've always been really conservative ... lowest dose possible while still seeing results.

Right now, Kevin is med-free, and has been for about 12 weeks. Start of school may be triggering some changes, and we may have to go back ... I hope not. Not that I am anti-meds because I'm not. But I do believe in exploring alternatives. I would much prefer to change my child's diet than to put him on meds, if that would be helpful.

I'm also the type of person that takes a lot of vitamins and tries supplements ... I'll go to an acupuncturist before an M.D. these days ... so I'm one to really explore alternatives. There are a lot of 'crocks' out there ... bogus information meant to confuse parents. But, I also believe that for a lot of medical problems, there are solutions other than medications.




iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2000
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 8:04pm
I think 30 or 40 years ago, these were the kids who were sent off to 'reform school' or who just dropped out and went to work in the oilfield or the construction industry or the farm or the family business.

I think ADD has been around for quite a while. THere just weren't many options with which to treat it.



PJPIIadoration.jpg picture by Kimberly_sahm

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 9:48pm
I'm all for respecting the opinions of others, but it doesn't seem to me that's what you're doing.

Re your comment that "if they were alittle hyper they were known as the class clown. They were not medicated, they stayed in the class and went on. There must be an underlying cause for the increase in numbers in children displaying this behavior," let me tell you the story of one of those class clowns -- my brother, whom we understood only way too late had ADHD. This, mind you, was 35 years ago, back when you say ADHD didn't exist. I'm here to tell you, it did.

My brother was, and still is, an extremely intelligent person. But he was very hyper -- not just a little hyper -- and had all the other cardinal symptoms of ADHD. But it was much less well understood back then. Like many ADHD kids, he became the class clown. We were extremely fortunate that, somehow, he was a strong person, because otherwise I don't know how he would have gotten through his childhood, with all the blaming, criticizing, yelling, and even beatings (from my father) he received. My mother, like you, was afraid of "drugging" her son, so she threw away the stimulants the doctor gave her.

My brother scraped through high school with terrible grades, in spite of his obviously great intelligence. He made it to college, but again, barely got through. Later on, he would have liked to go to graduate school, but his earlier grades shot that dream down. He was stuck, and it's really limited him professionally. Meanwhile, he married. But his continuing impulsive behavior has meant that he's come close to losing his marriage several times, his job once, and he's accumulated huge debts. Finally, at the age of almost 40, he's starting to understand the reasons behind some of his behavior, too late to change many things.

In one sense, I agree: Dr's do pull out their prescription pads too fast, schools put too much pressure on, and no doubt there's a fair amount of misdiagnosis. But those of us who've battled this every way we know how, and seen the only improvements come with medications, to which we agreed only to avoid the kind of wasted potential and years of regret my brother experienced, are entitled to more respect than the assumption that we're "drugging" our kids because they're "a little hyper."

Incidentally, research has shown that the incidence of what we now know as ADHD has not changed dramatically over the years; apart from the fact it's been known as a number of different things (minimal brain dysfunction, hyperactivity, organic brain syndrome, etc.) over time, many kids no doubt went unidentified and were simply consigned to the bleak life of being labelled a "bad kid." Studies have also shown that it's incidence is roughly the same worldwide, and that, contrary to popular opinion, is not affected significantly by sugar, food additives, the modern pace of life, TV, etc. The one exception to that seems to be a small group of kids who are sensitive to certain dyes in food -- unfortunately, as I've already established, my kid isn't one of them. Much research has also recently been done consistently showing both structural and functional brain abnormalities in ADHD kids.


Avatar for littleroses
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Mon, 09-08-2003 - 10:49am
To the original post, I have never heard of Brightspark. I am pleased to hear you researching it before you try it though. I think you might take into mind that ADHD is big business and most companies aren't trying to help you (bottom line)...even the big pharmaceutical companies right? So, it's good to have that sense of skepticism when looking into the claims they make. If you research the ingredients carefully, especially the ones you've never heard of and they consistently sound harmless...why not?

In regards to another poster declaring proudly how he/she does not believe in drugging is it up there on your high horse?

I have a child with autism too, for which there is also no known cause or cure. If there was a drug for that, I wouldn't be feeling too guilty for "drugging" her. You do have your opinions, but your choice of words were cruel and judgemental. It implies that you love your kids more not to drug them. It implies we who "drug" are taking the easy way out. I was able to cope, my daughter could not. If there is one thing I can express to you, it's that I have a child with severe ADHD...coincidentally some people believe ADHD and autism are kissing cousins. I lived with this child for 8 years before I began her "drugging." Believe me, the medication wasn't for my sake. It came as my daughter came home from kindergarten one day wishing she weren't alive because she's can't think right...kindergarten. How can you not follow along in kindergarten? 1st grade was worse. As she got older, her disability glared. She cannot function like other children in the classroom. She has NO ability to filter out distractions. Every new stimulus or information entering her brain receives equal priority. If a car drives by, if a cat meows...we can filter that out she can't. Even a brat can learn in school. If she was merely a brat, why couldn't she function in a classroom?

I love that kid more than anyone on this earth. I didn't have a baby with dreams of someday "drugging" her. I believe you definitely have the right to not "drug" your child. I respect your opinion, but having a child with ADHD and another with autism has taught me two of the most important lessons in my personal growth as a human being, compassion and understanding. Leave your judgement of me and my experiences to someone a little more qualified. Remember, medication was the last resort for probably all of us. It wasn't a flip decision. It was heartwrenching and painful. The medication is not a "be-good" pill. She's still herself only now she can do her homework. Now she is isn't tortured.

I guess you are lucky to have it so good.