Help Required! ADHD

Hello all!

I'm new to this network, and new to discussion forums in general, and I'm not very good at asking for help!!! However, I am learning that's what this site is all about! So... here goes!!!

I am a single mum with a seven year old daughter who has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). My daughter is the most loving, generous, social, artisitic, beautiful spririt... but her constant arguing, refusal to listen, and inability to focus on anything for more than five seconds is wearing me down. She is also extremely demanding and I seem to get no "me" time at all. I have found some support here for her, but nothing for me... and I'm beginning to feel like tearing my hair out! I hope this doesn't sound selfish! Can anyone help , or know of anyone who can? One practical thing I'm searching for would be someone who is fluent in French who could help my daughter with her homework at the weekends. I had found an ex-headmistress who was excellent, but she's now retired!!

Support of any kind for my daughter or myself would be extremely welcome! Thank you so much!!!


I'll say the same. Not only for myself, and basically I use homoeopathy rather than allopathy whenever possible. My children are getting used to drinking tisanes when they are unwell, disturbed, sleepless and so on and have both of us parents as examples to follow. Oils I use less but then I make a lot of herb salads, use them in cooking anyway and know the benefits all too well. I do not to take conventional poisons, or medicines they call them, nor see my children pumped full of them which shows benefits. We have a Down Syndrome daughter who is very emotional and sensitive and a cup of warm chamomile does as well as any drugs the medics might insist we use.

Sounds like we're singing from a similar hymn book... I use herbs and essential oils like lavender too, for example!

It sounds as if your daughter's state is much more likely to be the genetic cause than environmental or behavioural but I would still not rule the other two out completely. I definitely have a big problem with the actual implementation of the good parenting policy, like I say, it often feels as if my natural reaction is to scream first, be calm later!

I heard an interesting radio 4 item about ADHD being a vital gene in the gene pool, surviving and thriving because if humans don't take enough risks by being a bit hyperactive, we don't experiment enough nor learn from making enough mistakes! This might not help to "cure" your daughter in any way , shape or form, but it might make you smile and feel supported by evolution, when you next feel like tearing your hair out....

I also personally use mild herbs a lot, such as chamomile tea, lavender etc... for anti anxiety, both for patients and my own coping strategies. People, me included, I tend to forget, underestimate their effectiveness.

Thank you Jo!

As a qualified nutritionist, I have been careful with my daughter's diet from the beginning - well before her problems started to manifest themselves. She doesn't have cow's milk, and only now she is older (where she is exposed to sweets by friends), is she allowed to have any, and then we monitor when and what she has, carefully. She is actually very responsible about it and even she realises their potential effects. Food is definitely not the cause of my daughter's problems, although certain natural food supplements definitely do make a small positive difference.

I am already using the 3 parenting steps you mention!!! My main problems are in getting the school to understand her particular needs, difficulties and abilities, and support them, and in finding support for myself! As you say, you can theorise all you like about how to deal with bad behaviour, but ignoring bad behaviours, (as you say), is very challenging, and when you are on your own like me, sometimes you finally get worn down and just want to tear your hair out!

So there you are!

Hello Jo, I'm an ex mental health nurse with 3 grown up boys in our familly. One had a behavioural reaction to milk products at 10 months old, when he switched from a diet of breat and soya milk to cows milk.(we were awake every night for weeks, and when we eliminated the cows milk, his behaviour reverted straight back to laid back!) I have a friend who rarely ever gave her daughter sweets with colouring and one day, aged 5, she'd been given an ice-lolly by a relative. Within minutes the girl was lierally banging her head against the car roof and screaming blue murder. She had to be restrained to prevent her from hurting herself. The hospital said it was a reaction to the addditives and most likely the colouring. There are several books and thousands of studies about E numbers, many of which are not still banned.

I specialised in adult behavioural disorders, so although no direct experience at work, with ADHD in children, was often in contact with teams working in the field. The way I've been taught to understand ADHD is that it's merely an identifying label given to a set of behavioural symptoms. ADHD was "invented and not discovered." "ADHD" is useful as shorthand,when you're trying to describe how someone behaves, but not useful to the person, nor to the actual process of treatment as it results in discrimination in the wrong hands and gives the impression of an immovable state of being that is rather like a learning disability. So it's not like a having cold or like being diabetic.

As the causes are unknown specifically, they are very likely to be a mixture of causes, so, for example, your child may have had reactions to foods as a baby/toddler and has developed a strategy of seeking attention which you and close contacts, have become conditioned to accept and encourage. Carers need to experiment in order to discover what is triggering this behaviour and it's not easy.

Health professionals in our services usually attributed it to either food reactions, or behavioural strategies to get attention which have developed unchecked. Or, more often the case , BOTH. Doctors tended to prescribe medications, and nurses and psychologists prescribed experimenting with food and behavioural techniques.

A very good book I read used the basic concept of 3 steps 1/ignoring bad behaviour as the core aim, 2/ reasonable and consistent punishment for dangerous seriously bad behaviour (so yes, reactiong, but only in a consistently reasonable way appropriate to the level of behaviour) and 3/consistent reasonable rewards for good behaviour in the form of extra attention. This approach works very well with adults too and is used in very difficult entrenched cases of self harming and personality disorders( the aim for them is to achieve a sense of responsibililty for their actions).

So, for me as a parent and nurse not reacting AT ALL to behaviours that are irritating I always find the most difficult challenge, because if someone irritates me I ALWAYS want to tell them to stop. It remains a challenge. But I guarantee it works, if you can stick to it.

Going back to the ADHD specifically, wikipedia is a good source of scientific references and says this about treatments effectiveness "Methods of treatment often involve some combination of behavior modification, life-style changes, counseling, and medication. A 2005 study found that medical management and behavioral treatment is the most effective ADHD management strategy, followed by medication alone, and then behavioral treatment.[107] While medication has been shown to improve behavior when taken over the short term, they have not been shown to alter long-term outcomes.[108] Medications have at least some effect in about 80% of people.[109] Dietary modifications may also be of benefit.[110]"

I personally really think food and additives and behaviour are the best starting points and if it's too hard to cope with, add medication to the startegy. Not forgetting that medication should be seen as a SHORT TERM addition to the behavioural and physical changes in diet.

Hi again Nicky! And Happy New Year in advance.

Where abouts in France are you please? Once my daughter is back at school, I'd like to look into the two organisations you mentioned and wondered if you were anywhere near me?!

Thanks Cate!

I will have a look at these sites over the Christmas break.

Have a good Christmas yourself!


Thanks Annie

Will do!!!

Hi JO,

I know exactly how you feel!!! Where are you? I am a special needs teacher with a very special trick or two up my sleeve, do message me or end me you tel number,



Thanks for that! We're in the Languedoc!

Scouts and Guides are called Scouts et Guides de France some organisations are church based and some or not.

I might have missed you mentioning where you are based but that might help.


Hi Lindsey. Will send you a friend request so we can talk privately! Thanks!

hi again Jo

missed these posts in my earlier answer - if you are having trouble with the school and you think an AVS will help then i know the system - it took me 3 years to get my son a school assistant but it was worth it for the difference it made to his sense of achievement. his primary school head mistress was the most unhelpful, difficult and obstructive person possible but once i knew the system and how it works it all started to fall into place. you do have to be prepared for a bit of a battle though. let me know if you want to start!

Hi Jo

I have a 15 year old boy with ADHD - more AD than HD who is also severely Dyslexic (but not ODD other than being 15!) and has trouble at school etc. so i have been there and got the T-shirt to proove it! There is a system in France to get help with school work if that is required for your daughter - message me if you need more details. As for any help for 'you time' I'm afraid you are on your own there. sorry! I have been in France for nearly 10 years and not come across any support groups at all - apart from paying for a baby sitter to give you a break. i did at one point think about starting something myself but to be honest i was just about hanging on myself and didn't feel i could take on anything else to do with my son at the time. I am in the Charente and have a lovely french teacher who speaks perfect english too - she helps my son with his homework. Also in the Charente is an organsation called SESSAD in Angouleme who assess all sorts of special needs kids and are supposed to implement their own recommendations but in practice it has really been up to me to get them sorted out - not sure if any of that helps at all?? message me if you want more details.

Thank you Brian!

Yes, it's been an uphill struggle with the school in particular, so I can imagine how your daughter must be treated.


Thanks so much for your help Terry. Fortunately, I'm a qualified nutritionist! I agree that diet is important, but it's more likely that genetic factors are the main contributor. I'm hoping someone somewhere will be able to chat and share experiences with me and/or offer me some practical support! Thank you so much for replying and for your suggestions.

Hi Nicky!

That's really helpful thanks! I will look into the CPEA. I have found the school she's at incredibly unhelpful!

A classroom assistant is exactly what she needs. She's been assessed and is incredibly bright... but is frustrated as she can't get her knowledge out!!!

Scouts and Guides sounds a great idea! I will look into tht too! What's do the French call the Scouting organisation please?

Thanks again!

From a fairly comprehensive NIMH (USA) site:

What Causes ADHD?

Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role. Like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of factors. In addition to genetics, researchers are looking at possible environmental factors, and are studying how brain injuries, nutrition, and the social environment might contribute to ADHD.

Genes. Inherited from our parents, genes are the "blueprints" for who we are. Results from several international studies of twins show that ADHD often runs in families. Researchers are looking at several genes that may make people more likely to develop the disorder.2,3Knowing the genes involved may one day help researchers prevent the disorder before symptoms develop. Learning about specific genes could also lead to better treatments.

Children with ADHD who carry a particular version of a certain gene have thinner brain tissue in the areas of the brain associated with attention. This NIMH research showed that the difference was not permanent, however, and as children with this gene grew up, the brain developed to a normal level of thickness. Their ADHD symptoms also improved.4

Environmental factors. Studies suggest a potential link between cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy and ADHD in children.5,6 In addition, preschoolers who are exposed to high levels of lead, which can sometimes be found in plumbing fixtures or paint in old buildings, may have a higher risk of developing ADHD.7

Brain injuries. Children who have suffered a brain injury may show some behaviors similar to those of ADHD. However, only a small percentage of children with ADHD have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Sugar. The idea that refined sugar causes ADHD or makes symptoms worse is popular, but more research discounts this theory than supports it. In one study, researchers gave children foods containing either sugar or a sugar substitute every other day. The children who received sugar showed no different behavior or learning capabilities than those who received the sugar substitute.8 Another study in which children were given higher than average amounts of sugar or sugar substitutes showed similar results.9

In another study, children who were considered sugar-sensitive by their mothers were given the sugar substitute aspartame, also known as Nutrasweet. Although all the children got aspartame, half their mothers were told their children were given sugar, and the other half were told their children were given aspartame. The mothers who thought their children had gotten sugar rated them as more hyperactive than the other children and were more critical of their behavior, compared to mothers who thought their children received aspartame.10

Food additives. Recent British research indicates a possible link between consumption of certain food additives like artificial colors or preservatives, and an increase in activity.11Research is under way to confirm the findings and to learn more about how food additives may affect hyperactivity.

The problem is that in France there are issues like ASHD and autism that are entirely psychiatrised and other things like dyslexia that they more or less think everybody else is wrong about. I have a daughter with Down Syndrome and the way she is treated... Well let's not go there.

It is my understanding that this is often caused by diet or toxins either from diet or environmental intake.

I can suggest a couple of sites that may put you in the right direction rather than consider drugs which always have side affects. The two ladies in charge of these sites are extremely well connected and give evidence to Congress. Marie Flow and Vera Stejskal ...please use my name.