Our son just turned 8. We have been where you are and know how hard it is for everyone. We would receive daily calls from the school, they would have to clear the classroom because of his explosive behavior. He would scream, call people names, be disrespectful, hit, kick, throw things and his favorite word was no. He would also hide under the desk and refuse to participate in group activities. Writing was an impossible task with complete meltdowns and he was totally ostracized by his peers. It broke my heart. We had seen Drs and therapists all with differing opinions, but I knew we had to do more than we had been to help him and so the detailed research began.
The first thing we did was have a full Neuropsychological Assessment completed, which determined that he has dysgraphia, Social Pragmatic Disorder, ODD, along with ADHD. This allowed us to clearly work out a path to help our son. We met with psychiatrists, neurologists, phsycologists and therapists. We did a lot of homework on all the different options. We were desperate at this point and we picked up the prescription for medication prescribed by the psychiatrist, but we decided that we only wanted to use medication as a last resort, so we came up with an alternative plan.
We started Neurofeedback and within about 8 weeks started to see results. It was also the first tangible thing we had where we could see what was going on inside of his brain, his frontal lobes were on fire! We could see the different areas of his brain and how unbalanced everything was. Slowly things started to shift and we were able to see his brainwaves change in real time. He was able to calm himself quicker, sit down and complete homework without a complete meltdown, (we break it into 10 min sessions with his buy in) brush his teeth and take a shower without a million reminders even read a book on his own. The outbursts started to decrease. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a huge improvement. We had 20 sessions then took a break for summer (it’s expensive and not covered by insurance), but the results stick.
During the summer we started using Colaborative Problem Solving (thinkkids.org) (mentioned above under The Explosive Child by Dr Greene) and using phrases like, I will allow you to play on your DS for 10 mins if you do finish your dinner first, do you want to take the trash out now or in 10mins, giving him more options and working with him to find solutions instead of consequences, which were getting us nowhere. We still insist on respect and manners.
He is limited on screen time and is enrolled in sports activities. We added vitamins and fish oil. Our son struggles with taking tablets so we use Mary Ruth Organic liquid Vitamins and Barleans Mango Peach Omega Swirl – delicious and can be added to smoothies! We also use liquid L-Theanine by Svasthya, which helps increase calming alpha waves in the brain, it works for our son, but can cause focus issues in others. We cut out all harmful food additives and increased Water, protein and salt (read up on this, low salt causes emotional irritation) in his diet. Breakfast protein is really important, go to Pinterest for a huge selection of options for breakfast, snack and lunch for school. We also started to add in meditation/mindfulness, not sitting still, but walking and having him look around and find say 10 insects or 10 plants. Plenty of outside activities and exercise. Our summer was amazing! Very few outbursts, a lot of cooperation, limited talk back and refusals. The stress level in our home went away and we started to laugh again! Best of all kids are knocking for him to go out and play! ❤️
Back to school and some anxiety started to kick in, but we are working closely with the school and they are helping with social skills for him. We are also working with them to use Collaborative Problem Solving instead of consequences and have a detailed IEP in place. So far, so good! No calls in three weeks. Yah!
Next week we start back up with our Neurofeedback and we are very excited to see more positive results. I also plan to add Mary Ruth mineral supplements and once he has finished 40 sessions of Neurofeedback we will stop and we are going to start music therapy with coordination exercises.
Our hope is that all of the things we are doing are to help him build the neuro pathways he is lacking and set him up for long term success.
Hope some of this helps. Stay strong, there is light at the end of the tunnel.