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Thread: A hyperactive/difficult 4 year old.

  1. #1
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    Default A hyperactive/difficult 4 year old.

    Wow it has been a while since I've been here. Man things have changed.

    Well we go later this month for DS to get his referral to a behavior therapist. He is majorly hyperactive, acts out, and constantly over the top. He can not be around too many people at once or he feeds off of them and just gets wound up tighter. He does not sleep at night. His pedi believes he is ADHD but we both want us to work with a therapist and to get a proper diagnosis. We have begun a schedule to give him a bit more structure and he is doing ok on it. We cut out TV, junk food, no HFCS or red dye. He is doing a bit better, but I feel like I am constantly wrangling a tornado. I do not want him to get hurt or to hurt Rebecca. I really do not want to get meds. I'd rather him learn to control himself and his action. I am at a loss of what to do.

    Does anyone have any tips or tricks for helping him slow down and see the world or some techniques that can help him control himself.

    Sammi(me)~DH(Troy)~DS(Kyle)~DD(Rebecca)

  2. #2
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    How long have you been off red dye, HFCS, etc? If it has been a recent change, it may take 4-8 weeks (and sometimes longer) to see full results. Since you were already looking at elimination diet (at it has helped), I would check out feingold.org. They have great resources. I would keep a food and behavior diary so that you can better tailor his diet. Also, some fruits and veggies that are high is salicylates can have the same effect as artificial dyes. Apples, grapes and tomatoes are often the big culprits. Another area you may want to look at are your personal care products - the dyes and fragrances absorbed through the skin are just as bad as dyes consumed in food. If you do not want to medicate, I would give the Feingold program a good try. I was a member of the Feingold Association for a couple of years (and it was an awesome starting point for us) and many other members have successfully managed behaviors without meds. Some use a combination of the program and meds for best results.

    I also agree that getting proper diagnosis is very critical and I am glad that your pedi referred you to a specialist. Best wishes!

  3. #3
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    I also wanted to add that I would really focus on sleep. That alone can mean night and day difference. Does he have hard time falling asleep or staying asleep?

    With my DS, a weighted blanket was a huge help. It helps him fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer (he just used to move too much to fall asleep). Also, does he get any caffeine? My DD is very sensitive to it - a little bit of chocolate milk at breakfast and she'd be up all night (she is able to tolerate a little bit now without sleep disruptions).

    And of course, as much outside time as possible but I know that is hard in winter time.

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  5. #5

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    My DS1 was the same way at 4. At 6 he manages himself better and does amazing at school. (Like a behavior model in the class ;).....he does save some of his crazy for me but I can handle that as long as he can focus to learn at school. We try to go on an hour walk/bike ride a day which helps. We also do no MSG, no HFCS, no food coloring, very limited sugar most of his sugar intake comes from fruit or bread. We are very consistent and his bedtime is very stiff.....he is more crazy when he is over tired.



  6. #6
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    We have been on the elimination diet for almost a year. Working our way to paleo. We also do not use commercial products at all. One of my good friends makes soap and we have been using her products excessively for almost a year now. He only drinks water now (almost 4 months into it) other then smoothies. He struggles with falling asleep and Staying asleep. He completely wakes about 2-3 times a night. We placed him on melatonin at our pedi's approval and it helps some but we can only give him so much or he will have night terrors. We have had a rough winter. There is also not much to do in our town for kids his age and our town is not good for walking in. :-/ So we try the best we can to get him out. The best place for him to play safely is 45 min away but that is not feasible on even a weekly basis right now.

    I will have to look at the Feingold and that book.

    Sammi(me)~DH(Troy)~DS(Kyle)~DD(Rebecca)

  7. #7
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    I hope the weather gets better soon so that you can get more time outside. The winter is hard on any kid but especially one who needs to burn some extra energy.

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    Have you seen this website? http://www.additudemag.com/ Lots of great information about ADHD on there.

  9. #9

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    i second the weighted blanket! it has helped ds tremendously in sleeping through the night. he will still have random get-ups but not near as much. deep pressure squeezes seem to work best for ds when he gets wound up. when he does it when were around large groups of people we will just take small breaks, where he and i head to another room for a couple minutes to let him catch his breath, calm down and have a moment. usually it works and he can move on without a problem, sometimes i dont catch it in time and we have outbursts but it's slowly getting better. hang in there!


  10. #10

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    Is there a private OT office I
    In your town?



  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by sammilynn View Post
    We have been on the elimination diet for almost a year. Working our way to paleo. We also do not use commercial products at all. One of my good friends makes soap and we have been using her products excessively for almost a year now. He only drinks water now (almost 4 months into it) other then smoothies. He struggles with falling asleep and Staying asleep. He completely wakes about 2-3 times a night. We placed him on melatonin at our pedi's approval and it helps some but we can only give him so much or he will have night terrors. We have had a rough winter. There is also not much to do in our town for kids his age and our town is not good for walking in. :-/ So we try the best we can to get him out. The best place for him to play safely is 45 min away but that is not feasible on even a weekly basis right now.

    I will have to look at the Feingold and that book.
    What is his sleep routine? How does he fall asleep?

  12. #12
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    I also wanted to throw one more thing out there regarding sleep ... my DS (little older than your little man - will be 6 in May, has been diagnosed with high functioning autism and ADHD - he is active but super hyper, he falls more into the "inattentive" category) sleeps better and longer with late bed time. When I made him go to bed by 8 PM, he would toss and turn for one or two hours. But when he goes to bed at 9 or 9:30 PM, he is asleep faster and he sleeps longer. DS was 3 yo when he slept all night for the first time ever. Up until a few months ago, he was still regularly coming to our bed in the middle of the night. Although he would go right back to sleep when he go there. He now consistently sleeps in his bed all night. It was the combination of later bed time and weighted blanket that worked for him.

    Diet-wise, we are probably doing about the same as yours. We are "almost" paleo (I do allow some gluten free grains for the kids) and we are completely dairy free. We have been of artificial stuff (Feingold) for little over 2 years, GFCF, soy-free and non-GMO for little over a year. I would say that things are getting better all the time. Not drastic changes like when we first started, but the more time we eat healthier, the better things get. We also stopped using plastic cups and plates in the last 6 months and are getting away from plastics best we can. Also, I am slowly replacing pots and pans for stainless steel, cast iron and glass (I still have one non-stick pan). Our pedi recommends this to continue the getting better trend. I do not think we will see any huge quick changes from that but I know that in the long run we will better off.

  13. #13

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    In addition to what others have mentioned I would look at cutting out gluten (which will happen w/Paleo diet and I think the Feingold one is gluten free too).


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by anonsouthernbell View Post
    In addition to what others have mentioned I would look at cutting out gluten (which will happen w/Paleo diet and I think the Feingold one is gluten free too).
    Feingold is not gluten free, it eliminates artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and certain fruits & veggies high in salicylates. However, many who start with Feingold go on to remove other things.

  15. #15

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    Hi Sammi! I don't have any direct experience, but I've been hearing great things about yoga for children, even at his young age. Great to see you around here again!


    Erica 33, DH 34, STC for 4+ years, Diagnosed DOR 4/2011, mom to 4 , Barbados IVF March 2013!!!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by loveNmybelly View Post
    Is there a private OT office I
    In your town?
    No we have to go about 45 min out of town. Plus we have to have a ref feral for everything with our insurance.

    Quote Originally Posted by ibisgirldc View Post
    What is his sleep routine? How does he fall asleep?
    We eat by 6pm every night. Shower at 6:45. Melatonin at 7. Clean up toys at 8. Then he gets to read/cuddle till 8:30, when he lays down with only a small night light. No TV after his shower so it allows his brain to shut down. He lays down and falls asleep within 15 min. Then he is up about every 4 hrs.

    Quote Originally Posted by impatient View Post
    I also wanted to throw one more thing out there regarding sleep ... my DS (little older than your little man - will be 6 in May, has been diagnosed with high functioning autism and ADHD - he is active but super hyper, he falls more into the "inattentive" category) sleeps better and longer with late bed time. When I made him go to bed by 8 PM, he would toss and turn for one or two hours. But when he goes to bed at 9 or 9:30 PM, he is asleep faster and he sleeps longer. DS was 3 yo when he slept all night for the first time ever. Up until a few months ago, he was still regularly coming to our bed in the middle of the night. Although he would go right back to sleep when he go there. He now consistently sleeps in his bed all night. It was the combination of later bed time and weighted blanket that worked for him.

    Diet-wise, we are probably doing about the same as yours. We are "almost" paleo (I do allow some gluten free grains for the kids) and we are completely dairy free. We have been of artificial stuff (Feingold) for little over 2 years, GFCF, soy-free and non-GMO for little over a year. I would say that things are getting better all the time. Not drastic changes like when we first started, but the more time we eat healthier, the better things get. We also stopped using plastic cups and plates in the last 6 months and are getting away from plastics best we can. Also, I am slowly replacing pots and pans for stainless steel, cast iron and glass (I still have one non-stick pan). Our pedi recommends this to continue the getting better trend. I do not think we will see any huge quick changes from that but I know that in the long run we will better off.
    He has been doing much better at the 8:30 routine. He will battle us if we make him go earlier or later. We only use stainless steel or cast iron for all cooking. We are mostly gluten free but still eat the occasional pasta (I love pasta)

    Sammi(me)~DH(Troy)~DS(Kyle)~DD(Rebecca)

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    This might sound strange but have you checked him at neurologist for neck vertebra traumas? I'm Russia there is a Test For something called "twisted neck vertebra" - during birth process and especially with c-sections there is a micro trauma in nerves of the neck vertebra. It is not visible easily and children are born normal , with good apgard score but they are mostly hyperactive. If the child's diagnosis I'd confirmed then usually physical therapy helps the process. Plus chiropractic or massage. With the age even nit treated children grow out of it as the rest of the body assumes function of the damaged cells and they do fine in life. My nephew had it (born naturally) and he could never concentrate in class, always wiggled around, got upset easily. It was discovered when he was 9 or 10 during routine year check up. So may be besides behavioural therapy this is something to look into?
    Miss T (10.17.2008) Miss A(06.30.2012) Flipper #3 due 06.2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheeksy View Post
    This might sound strange but have you checked him at neurologist for neck vertebra traumas? I'm Russia there is a Test For something called "twisted neck vertebra" - during birth process and especially with c-sections there is a micro trauma in nerves of the neck vertebra. It is not visible easily and children are born normal , with good apgard score but they are mostly hyperactive. If the child's diagnosis I'd confirmed then usually physical therapy helps the process. Plus chiropractic or massage. With the age even nit treated children grow out of it as the rest of the body assumes function of the damaged cells and they do fine in life. My nephew had it (born naturally) and he could never concentrate in class, always wiggled around, got upset easily. It was discovered when he was 9 or 10 during routine year check up. So may be besides behavioural therapy this is something to look into?
    Interesting. I may have to take him to the chiropractor to see of that helps. I keep forgetting about the chiropractor. I will call about that and add the vertebra trauma to my list. To think of it that makes sense cause his head was twisted awfully far when he was born by the OB. I was honestly surprised he wasn't hurt by it and maybe he was. :-/

    Sammi(me)~DH(Troy)~DS(Kyle)~DD(Rebecca)

  19. #19
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    Sounds just like my son! Has an array of other issues that make him difficult but the hyperactivity stands out more than anything. We haven't really figured out a routine that keeps him calm, it really varies, but I have heard that essential oils work really well with treating ADHD med-free. Good luck! My son doesn't have his behavioral appt until June or July... ugh! lol
    Dada (27) Mama-Jessie (26) Orion (4) Kadence (2) Osiris (Uterus)

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sammilynn View Post
    Interesting. I may have to take him to the chiropractor to see of that helps. I keep forgetting about the chiropractor. I will call about that and add the vertebra trauma to my list. To think of it that makes sense cause his head was twisted awfully far when he was born by the OB. I was honestly surprised he wasn't hurt by it and maybe he was. :-/
    Birth traumas are very very common even with the best birth ever. Just some are very quick to recover from and some not, some have long lasting effects. I hope chiro helps you and your boy!
    Miss T (10.17.2008) Miss A(06.30.2012) Flipper #3 due 06.2014
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  21. #21

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    You might try to address the waking issue. Teaching him to self-soothe so he can learn to roll over and go back to sleep instead of waking fully. While it won't solve all of your issues, he would likely benefit from a full night's rest. Good luck!

  22. #22
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    Update

    Went to his Pedi today. She is referring us for a sleep study and behavioral therapist. Also we are going to the chiro, so far it doesn't seem to be working. Our Pedi thinks that if we can get his sleep better then he may be better during the day. She also agrees that if we can give him better tools to work with then we can avoid medicating. I hope that in the next few weeks we can get in to get the evaluations started.

    Sammi(me)~DH(Troy)~DS(Kyle)~DD(Rebecca)

  23. #23
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    Sounds like a plan! I hope you get some good answers from the evals.
    Natalie [31] DH [40] 9/01, 1/06 NaturallyNatalie's Hair Accessories!

  24. #24
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    Sounds like you are on the way of getting some help. I bet that if you can get him to sleep better, you will see big improvements. I hope you get some good advice.

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