Today many children in the United States are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, and a variety of other learning disorders. In fact, they have become so prevalent in our culture that they and their panacea, Ritalin, have become “buzz words” over the past decade. What many people don’t realize is that there are natural alternatives such as chiropractic, nutritional therapy, and allergy elimination to help treat these disorders.
ADD/ADHD and Autism fall into the same category of disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). ADHD refers to a combination of symptoms in which developmentally inappropriate degrees of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are present. Since it is apparent that not all children have the hyperactivity component, the term ADD is used instead. Low intelligence is not a symptom; however, ADD can hamper learning as a result of the inattention, difficulty in following directions, excessive motor activity. Autism is characterized by early onset of impaired verbal and non-verbal communication, impaired socialization, and emotional detachment.
What causes these disorders? For decades, researchers have been trying to determine an exact cause for these Pervasive Developmental Disorders and the answer is still under great debate. Apparently, it is a multi-factorial problem which have broken these down into 3 main categories: 1. Physical/structural causes (including things such as birth trauma, head injuries, and spinal misalignment), 2. Chemical causes (including heavy metal toxicity, vaccinations, antibiotic overuse, and allergies), and 3. Psychological causes (such as child abuse and adverse family situations).
Yet, as many causes as there might be, there remains no cure. Therefore, the focus of treatment for ADHD is learning how to control the symptoms. When it comes to the medical treatment, the first mode of treatment is usually a stimulant drug such as Ritalin. However, these drugs, which are classified in the same category as cocaine, opium, and morphine, continue to be a controversial treatment due to the numerous and potentially severe side effects and the possibility of lifelong dependency.
Many researchers have determined that Ritalin is not a cure for ADHD and, in fact, it is a short-term intervention at best. As a result, today more health care professionals recommend a multidisciplinary approach for the treatment of these disorders.
Although stimulant drugs are still prescribed, many parents are researching holistic treatments that integrate the connections between the physical, chemical and emotional aspects of their children. Treatments such as pediatric chiropractic care, nutritional therapy, and allergy elimination among others have all been reported to help control the symptoms of these disorders.
How do these “alternative and natural” treatments impact the lives of children with these disorders? Many of these children have issues with their senses whereby sensory input into the brain is disorganized and considered noxious to the body. Clinically, this is referred to as sensory integration disorders. In other words, these children may have difficulty with taste (perhaps they don’t like certain food textures), touch (the tags in their clothes may irritate them), smell (certain odors may affect them), sound (often they can not tolerate loud noises) and/or visual input (their peripheral and central vision are affected).
According to Dr. Joan Fallon, President of the International Council on Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, “chiropractic should be the cornerstone of the sensory integration treatment plan for the PDD child”. Chiropractic treatment focuses on the detection and correction of spinal misalignments, otherwise known as subluxations. The spinal cord and the brain comprise the central nervous system. The spine protects the spinal cord so any stress to the spinal joints can have a direct impact on nervous system function. Eliminating this stress will allow the body to function at a more optimum level and has even been found to improve the function of the immune system. Chiropractors perform gentle adjustments to remove these subluxations. The deep pressure of the chiropractic adjustment along with the beneficial effects upon the nervous system, especially those areas affecting motion, sensation, and proprioception can create profoundly beneficial changes in these children.
Treatment strategies for PDD children would not be complete without noting the importance of nutritional therapy. There are many diets that have been noted to help including the Feingold Diet and diets free of gluten, casein, wheat, sugar, and yeast just to name a few. Many of these diets focus on the allergies or sensitivities that these children have to certain foods. According to Dr. Ellen Cutler author of the best selling books The Food Allergy Cure, Winning the War Against Asthma and Allergies, and Winning the War Against Immune Disorders, ADHD can be the result of almost any food allergy but most commonly seen are allergies to wheat, dairy, corn, yeast, chocolate, cinnamon, peanut butter, sulfites, food coloring, MSG and salicylates. In addition, essential fatty acids form phospholipids which are critical to nervous system development and function. Children with PDD spectrum disorders tend to have lower amounts of essential fatty acids in their systems and they may even have allergies to them.
Dr. Cutler developed The BioSET Allergy Elimination Technique which can permanently eliminate environmental and food allergies based on the principles of energy medicine, immunology, nutrition, enzyme therapy, detoxification and acupressure. BioSET has been extremely successful in helping these children without using invasive means such as medications or allergy shots.
So, what’s the bottom line in helping these children? Healthcare is about options and since parents are their children’s best advocates they need to be educated about all of their treatment options especially those that do not have adverse effects.
Dr. Risa Sloves is a Board Certified Pediatric Chiropractor who practices with her husband, Dr. Mark Joachim, who is the only advanced BioSET practitioner in CT. Should you have any further questions, please contact them at (203) 838-1555 or www.ctchiropractic.com. For further information on pediatric chiropractic contact The International Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics (800) 423-4690. For information on BioSET contact WWW.BIOSET-INSTITUTE.COM