What is Hyperactivity?
Hyperactivity is a very distressing and multiple disability which affects in various degrees thousands of babies, children and adults. It is symptomatic of a wide range of disorders affecting behaviour, learning processes and communication. A child is often affected before birth, and if adequate preventative measures are not taken, serious disabilities occur which threaten the child’s future development. The effects can often be more devastating to both the child and his family than many other health problems of childhood. If left untreated the condition may continue to affect the person through adulthood in some form of other, although some remission may occur at puberty.
Hyperactive babies often suffer from ‘colic’, need very little sleep (sometimes only three or four hours out of twenty four), cry and scream for much of the time; are restless, fidgety; will not feed properly; are cot-rockers and head bangers. No amount of nursing or comforting will calm such a child. They often reject mothering and affection.
As the child becomes more mobile (sometimes at a very early age) he is into everything, rushing from one thing to another. His attention span is very short and he is easily distractable. He touches everything, and leaves a trail of destruction and havoc. He may not deliberately destroy anything, but his lack of control and co-ordination and general clumsiness leads to breakage of toys and household objects. He explores every recess of a room, and is driven by a seemingly endless source of energy both day and night.
The speech and thinking processes of the hyperactive child often reveal many defects. As some learning disabled children have their greatest difficulties with visual perception, so others cannot integrate what they see and hear and therefore cannot understand, even though they may have no measurable hearing loss.
Not only do sufferers and those who care for them have to cope with very difficult physical symptoms, but also with the attendant social, emotional and practical problems which these produce. Mothers have written to say that they feel ‘loners’ and social outcasts as their children create such havoc wherever they go that they are not welcome at playgroup, nursery school, shops, friends’ or relatives’ homes. In addition, hyperactive children may suffer from a wide range of other ailments and disabilities such as eczema, asthma, catarrh, hayfever, headaches, tummy aches, etc.
Symptoms in Brief:
- Crying, screaming, restless, some need very little sleep.
- Colic. Very difficult to feed, whether breast or bottle.
- Cannot be pacified or cuddled… spurns affection.
- Excessive dribbling… may be VERY THIRSTY.
- Head banging, cot rocking, fits and tantrums.
Older Children(in addition to symptoms in infancy)
- Clumsy, impulsive.., often accident prone.
- Erratic disruptive behaviour.
- Compulsive ‘touching’. Constant motion.
- Disturbs other children. May be aggressive.
- Lacks concentration and may be withdrawn.
- Normal or high l.Q. but fails at school.
- Poor appetite. Poor hand and eye co-ordination.
- Uncooperative, defiant and disobedient.
- Self abusive (pulling hair/picking skin etc.).
- Continued problems with sleep.
There are, of course, degrees of the problem, and not every child will have all the symptoms described here.
More boys than girls are hyperactive. Our figures show a ratio of
3:1 (high percentage of blonde blue eyed boys).
What can be done?
As a result of research and the practical evidence of substantial improvements in the health and behaviour of very many hyperactive children, it has been shown that, in many cases, hyperactivity is aggravated if not caused by, an intolerance to some chemical additives in
food, notably colourings, flavourings and preservatives.
The late Dr. Ben Feingold, MD, an eminent American allergist spent many years researching the possibility of chemical food additives being linked to hyperactivity and behavioural disturbances. From this research he formulated a ‘food programme’ which the HACSG has adapted for use in the UK.
This ‘food programme’ or ‘diet’ is a very simple one designed to eliminate some synthetic chemical additives from the child’s food and drink. (Some H/A children may also have an intolerance to some staple foods.)
Thousands of children have responded well to this programme. They have become much calmer, attentive and less disruptive, both at home and school. They have, indeed, become much happier children as a result.
The ‘diet’ is a very healthy one, and most mothers find it easier to keep the whole family on it. Any infraction of the diet by the hyperactive child may have serious consequences, with a reversion to behavioural disturbances.
Details of the ‘Food Programme’ (diet) are contained in our handbook ‘Hyperactive Children – a Guide to their Management’, a copy of which is available, price £4.OO from the Secretary. We would, however, strongly recommend that parents do become members of the HACSG so that we may offer more individual attention for their child; and keep them in touch with latest research developments, meetings, local activities and other items of interest.
[boxibt style=”success”]Information Courtesy of:
HYPERACTIVE CHILDREN’S SUPPORT GROUP
71 WHYKE LANE CHICHESTER
For Further information visit the website