We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, And know the place for the first time. ~T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

12 December 2007

Too much of everything

I'm currently reading this book by Sue Palmer, but not finished, so this is not a review. I shouldn't be surprised that my son is one of the millions with ADHD and other issues as it seems to be growing not just in the US and Britain, but even places like Japan.

We have tried to give my son (and now daughter too) a fairly non-toxic childhood so far. I am vegetarian and had been for about seven years when he was born, and he and my daughter are also being brought up vegetarian. I never smoked, didn't drink when I was pregnant, etc. Perhaps though as I'm learning, he didn't get enough Omega 3 from my diet, and now his. I'm working on that.

He didn't watch any tv until after age 3, and then it was only select videos like the wiggles and thomas the tank engine and educational ones that he chose. He never ate candy (not until starting school.. again, school ugh!!!) and never and still doesn't drink fizzy soda or copius amounts of juice. No artificial sweeteners, and no processed crap. I breast fed him until he was 2 1/2 and he slept in our bed until he was nearly three, when he naturally moved into his own and sleeps heavily through the night. He stopped napping though at age 1 1/2. He didn't start to use the computer until 4 1/2, which might still be young in some people's books, but it was under close supervision. (Here I am justifying my parenting)

He still doesn't watch alot of tv, definitely no tv in his bedroom, we only have the one, and its small, and if I had my nerve I'd get rid of it (my husband and I existed for two years without one and yet now that we have kids we can't seem to get rid of it!!). He doesn't have a nintendo ds, or a playstation but recently received a second hand dreamcast which he does love, but we do have limits. All this and guess what, he still has ADHD, and ticks & twitches and Aspergers. There's no fighting genetics, if that's what it is.

Reading this book has had its enlightening moments, and I like her reference to the elephant tale (where a blind man each feels one part of an elephant and interprets what the elephant is and looks like) in relation to 'experts' findings on childhood issues. Already (and we are only at the beginning) I have encountered 'experts' who disagree as to what my son may or may not have.

I have found myself saying though, as I read the book, I did all that and it didn't help! Except maybe it has helped. Living a healthy lifestyle has probably kept my son from plunging into the worst depths of his problems. I suppose if I wasn't aware of food additives and sugar and let him veg out in front of the telly or computer for days on end, then maybe he'd be 100 times worse. I think the Omega 3 supplements may actually be helping with the attention and hyperactivity part. Palmer does make a point about how kids today don't play outside enough, to work off that natural energy as well as building their imaginations and muscles, due to our fears about their safety. I agree play is very important, but if its Asperger's one's dealing with, it seems to me the personal safety issue comes up in many differnet ways, not just stranger-danger or automobiles.

We don't even have a garden right now, which is terrible and I hope-hope-hope to move this spring. We are near to a small park though, and we do alot of walking. When we lived in America we had over an acre of land, and it was fabulous to point out a tree at the bottom of the garden and say to my son, 'run to that tree, hug it and run back' -- a good way to burn off excess energy. But he was only 3 then, he could really use that now -we could really use that now... we spent so much time outside our house then. We find ourselves saying that alot--what we had then we didn't need, but really need now and don't have!

I spent hours playing out on my own as a kid, riding my bike all over from age 7. My son doesn't want to ride a bike. He is naive for his age (could be the AS, maybe just him) and I worry about letting him out on his own for too long, as sometimes the kids he plays with turn on him, often they just run off and leave him, but sometimes they end up hurting him. We only just started letting him play outside without one of us there and now this. So I know he probably doesn't get the chance to work off the energy he needs to. I'm considering a running club or something for him, since he does like to run...

I'm sure that starting school at such early ages doesn't help and this early years education plan the government has cooked up looks like disaster. Why aren't we looking more toward the successful Scandinavian educational models, and alternatives like Steiner, where kids start education at age 7! Until then, they play, they enjoy family life. All this required 'fitting in', testing, etc. its no wonder kids are having trouble, being made to do so much at such young ages. Well that's me winded, I'm off to carry on reading..

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