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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:25 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Winnipeg
One of my sons has been struggling in school. Academically he's very bright, but he has a great deal of trouble learning in group settings. We've wondered if there was something wrong since kindergarten, but have been hoping that his issues with inattentiveness, difficulty making friends etc. would resolve as he matured (and were advised by school and doctors to take a wait and see approach). He is now halfway through Gr. 2 and things are getting worse, not better. We will be having him assessed for ADHD, which the school feels is very likely.

It is particularly difficult from an allergy perspective. Kids with anaphylaxis need to be more responsible, consistent and mature than your average kid, not less so. He has a very difficult time gauging his body's state of being (as in, am I a little bit sick or a lot sick?) and rarely remembers what he is supposed to do for various symptoms and problems (i.e. will only take one puff of his reliever medication instead of the 2 which he has ALWAYS been instructed to take). I bring him home for lunch everyday, because even though the school has excellent avoidance procedures in place, he is still incredibly impulsive and tactile and may accidentally pop something in his mouth (fingers, pencils, toys etc.). Right now, his grade 2 teacher is still willing to give him a lot of extra support and guidance, but I worry about how he will stay safe as he gets older.

I also believe that the "normal" level of anxiety that he has due to having life threatening allergies is amplified by the other issues that he has when at school, and vice versa. My poor little guy is just so stressed out for much of the time. We are going to be seeking some counselling about how to help him with this.

Is anyone else dealing with this ADHD/ anaphylaxis combo?

_________________
1 son allergic to eggs, peanuts, green peas, chick peas, lentils and tomatoes
(avoiding tree nuts and most other legumes too)
1 son allergic to eggs, and has outgrown peanuts
Both with many environmental allergies, asthma and eczema


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Afew people I know (via homeschooling) have kids who would be considered ADHD...but are managing it by avoiding certain foods and additives. Since allergic kids are already known to be bothered by certain foods ( anaphylaxis ) it would seem that it could be the case as far as behavior too. The foods and additives that they seem to mention are food coloring, sodium benzoate, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, wheat and dairy. Personally, my kids don't eat that artificial stuff very often...but halloween and skittles and twizzlers makes my kids CRAZY.

Have you heard of the feingold diet?

_________________
DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:25 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Winnipeg
Yes, I have heard of it. I did some reading a few years ago, when I was wondering if there was some connection between diet and behaviour for my sons. We do avoid all dyes, preservatives, artificial flavours etc. Except for on special occasions (like Halloween), and like you said, when they do have it, both my sons get the "crazies". We tried avoiding dairy and wheat for a short time, but did not see any noticeable improvements in their health or behaviour. But with the chemical additives, particularly food dyes, we have observed a dramatic negative effect...flushed cheeks, glassy eyes and really, really emotional. I had spoken to our allergist about this additive/behaviour connection and he didn't have much info, since it's not a true allergy. He also said that there was no hard science supporting this theory yet, however since I spoke to him about it I've noticed several studies that have come out supporting a link between changes in behaviour and food additives.

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2007/09/ ... ml?ref=rss

However even with them removed from our sons diet, he still has so much difficulty staying calm and focused, especially at school.

_________________
1 son allergic to eggs, peanuts, green peas, chick peas, lentils and tomatoes
(avoiding tree nuts and most other legumes too)
1 son allergic to eggs, and has outgrown peanuts
Both with many environmental allergies, asthma and eczema


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6489
Location: Ottawa
Twinmom, my heart goes out to you. I am very aware of how blessed we are to have an overly cautious child. I can not imagine having an impulsive child with food allergies.
One of my co-workers would describe her son's antics over the wekend and all I could think of was him in the context of food allergies-scary.
You must be exhausted. I wish I had some sage advice, but I don't. I think you are wise to bring him home for lunch and to seek outside help. Good luck!

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I'm sort of in the same boat as Susan - both my kids are quite cautious, although I do think my oldest (gr. 4) is quite anxious and finds school very stressful, so I do sympathize. It is hard to have to deal with that combined with the allergies. But it sounds like you are dealing with a whole other level of complexity, to be honest.

There is a book you might want to check out: Is This Your Child? by Dr. Doris Rapp. I own it but confess I have not had the time to read it. You can view the table of contents on Amazon.com - go to http://www.amazon.com/This-Your-Child-D ... 0688119077 and click on the book image to get a sneak peek at the inside. It might have some interesting info for you.

Dr. Rapp also has her own website as well: http://www.drrapp.com/yourchild.htm . On that page you see this description about her book:

"This 627-page “how-to” book describes how typical allergies and environmental illness overlap, and details the typical and less-readily recognized clues in various infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, or adults. It is one of the rare books on allergies that explain how to recognize, test and treat infants. Dr. Rapp discusses how it is sometimes possible to detect and help prevent future allergies by recognizing and eliminating the causes, at no cost, with a diet in 3 to 7 days. Dr. Rapp discusses hyperactivity, Ritalin, Tourette's, learning problems, aggression, depression, fatigue, headaches, intestinal complaints, yeast problems, muscle aches, and recurrent infections."

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:25 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Winnipeg
Thanks for the support and sympathy guys.

Karen, I haven't read "Is This Your Child?", although I have heard of it. I think I'll pick it up. (BTW welcome back to the forum :) ).

We have our first appointment with the clinical psychologist in 2 weeks for the ADHD assessment. I was a little worried that a diagnosis would mean a prescription for Ritalin (which we would like to avoid if at all possible!) and little more, but have been encouraged to learn of some of the programs and support that we may be able to access for him.

The thing is, he does so well at home. He is a pleasant, cooperative (mostly :wink: ), bright little kid, just very, very sensitive and easily overwhelmed. At school, it's a different story.

And yes, I am little exhausted. We all want our children to be healthy and happy...and between the anaphylaxis, severe environmental allergies, eczema, asthma, chronic urticaria and now ADHD???! It is getting harder and harder to help him achieve that ever more elusive happy and healthy state of being.

_________________
1 son allergic to eggs, peanuts, green peas, chick peas, lentils and tomatoes
(avoiding tree nuts and most other legumes too)
1 son allergic to eggs, and has outgrown peanuts
Both with many environmental allergies, asthma and eczema


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:09 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6489
Location: Ottawa
Could he find a mentor? Someone a little older at school who also has food allergies whom he could talk to? Someone whom he can talk to who has been there and done that?
We went to a family day a few years back which our local support group hosted and it was very beneficial for my daughter to meet other children who had food allergies and who lived 'normal' lives. It was just before she started to wear her E-belt and I'm sure that it helped her to accept this.
Can you talk to the principal about this? Perhaps he/she could facilitate something like this. In any case, they should be aware that this is an issue.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 6:50 pm
Posts: 205
Location: Ontario, Canada
Although my 4 year old does not show signs of ADHD, she is a difficult child. She is often non-compliant and strong-willed and will engage in risky behaviour. I find it very difficult some days. A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend in the school yard after we had the daily battle of putting on the epi-belt. I started to cry and said " Why do I have the kid who is difficult AND has to be responsable for carrying her life-saving medication?".

As a teacher I have seen dramatic changes in children once they begin Ritalin or other attention controlling medication. However, I always recommend this as a last resort to parents. One strategy I have used at school with good results is using various physical outlets for children with "extra-energy". This includes sitting on exercise balls to do work, using squishy balls to occupy hands during lessons. I have even made use of high school co-op students to take kids out for a walk around the school when they need to release some energy.

PM me any time if you want to talk.

_________________
daughter: 6 years tree nuts, peanuts


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
I work as a speical education assistant in a public school, and so I deal with kids with lots of differentnesses, so here is a link you might like. I know it refers to autism, but this method can be used to deal with all sorts of behavioural issues. I went to a workshop on this method and it was really good and was very easy to implement with a wide variety of kids:

http://www.amazon.com/review/product/19 ... ddFiveStar

Basically, it is a way for kids (and adults) to monitor themselves in any behaviour that is troubling. It is a 1 to 5 scale with 5 meaning that you are WAY out of control, and 1 is close to non-breathing (very inactive). So you train yourself to try to stay at a 3, when you get to a four, you might prompt yourself (or an adult might prompt a kid) to do whatever it is needed to calm down (breathing, walk away, count to 5, whatever the plan is), so you avoid getting to a five. It is good cos in a class you can just hold up three fingers, or they have a color coded scale that you can reproduce, and just point to the level the person you are trying to redirect is at. The nice thing is that it teaches how to self regulate.

Occupational therapists can also be helpful in providing kids with "sensory diets", if they have fidgets. Most school boards have OT's as part of their resource team, so it may be possible to have the school link you up.

Here's a quick thing to try - put a strip of the rough side of a self-adhesive velcro strip on the bottom of his desk about 6 inces is a good length - a kid who needs extra tactile stimulation can find this very soothing and it may replace a bunch of behaviors that get him in trouble in the classroom.

Odin books in Vancouver specializes in books for kids with emotional issues. I fostered a little girl for a while, and my son suffered anxiety after he had anaphylaxis at age 6, and the two of them gravitated to those sort of books while they were going through "their stuff". Aaron had a book called "Stress can really get on your nerves", and even though he was only 6-7 at the time, he read it over and over and over. They have lots of books for kids on dealing with anxiety, ADHD, and anything else you wouldn't want your kid to have to deal with, and the staff is very knowledgeable. You could call them if you don't live in Vancouver and I bet they would be able to send you appropriate books. Here's there link:


http://www.odinbooks.ca/


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
That looks like an interesting book/system - I could use that kind of system for my own behaviour!

I also noticed, when surfing around, that there are some others books that might be helpful for my guy - When My Worries Get Too Big! A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live with Anxiety. I think I will investigate this...

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:28 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6489
Location: Ottawa
I think several of these books would be useful to my schools resource library.
Thanks for the link!

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Twinmom, that sounds very difficult in the context of allergy management. Has the school made special accomodations? (I don't know what would be involved with ADHD . .but I would guess that frequent breaks or switching tasks would be helpful.)

I don't have ADHD, but I could be pretty spaced out when I was a kid. . . and that could be stressful for my mom. And my caution was uneven on the allergy front. If she gave me important instructions, there was no way of predicting which ones would sink in and which ones would be forgotten in a few hours! (repeating the instructions emphatically didn't seem to help :lol: )

Quote:
He has a very difficult time gauging his body's state of being (as in, am I a little bit sick or a lot sick?)
That is so much like me! If I feel unwell I can't tell why all the time---for instance I know that "not feeling well"=nausea just before I throw up but not before then. I also sometimes don't know if I'm hungry or not :?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:24 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
I WISH I didn't know if I was hungry or not - I think I'm hungry all the time :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
aaronsmom wrote:
I WISH I didn't know if I was hungry or not - I think I'm hungry all the time :lol:


LOL! Well, I'm known for that too. My one sister took to calling me a "hobbit" because of my frequent snacking (hobbits are known for eating multiple breakfasts). I don't need to eat quite as much as I used to, though.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:31 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:25 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Winnipeg
So many good suggestions and resources, thanks everyone.

Susan, we used to have both of my sons buddied up with an older child with FA's in their old school. It was really great for them. It would be a good idea to do again in this school.

Aaronsmom, those links are awesome, and just what we need. Thanks.

The school does provide breaks, fidgets and other sensory stimulation for the children. There are children in each of my sons' classes who have ADHD and Autism, and the school is quite keen on using various methods to help everyone be a successful learner. So far for my son though, the fidgets just distract him more and he hates the movement breaks, because they pull him away from what he is doing at the moment (he is not good with changes in the routine). I am starting to really look forward to having him assessed...I am desperately hoping for some tools to help him. At this point I feel kind of like I'm trying to build a birdhouse with a spoon and a some scotch tape!

The school and psychologists have also suggested having his brother assessed. Even though he is doing well in school (academically and socially) at the moment, he is also showing signs of possible ADHD, and because they are identical twins it is extremely likely that if one has it, so does the other, just to a much milder degree (he is also the one who has fewer and less severe allergies and has outgrown peanuts????).

Anyway, thanks for the help and suggestions. We had a very challenging end to last week... My son got confused and made a bad choice, which resulted in a minor injury and he then had a reaction to the bandaids that we and the school put on him. He's never reacted to bandaids before (latex or non). So it was yet another missed day of school, and yet another reason to be anxious about school and feel that it is an unsafe place.:( Sometimes life feels a little relentless.

_________________
1 son allergic to eggs, peanuts, green peas, chick peas, lentils and tomatoes
(avoiding tree nuts and most other legumes too)
1 son allergic to eggs, and has outgrown peanuts
Both with many environmental allergies, asthma and eczema


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