ADD/ADHD and Chemical Overload

The way you can measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 16 – 16th February 2006

Welcome to Kidz Newz especially to all new subscribers.   Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children.  Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to.

Feedback is welcome.

My PD Updates

ECCPA 2006 – 27, 28 May at Genazzano FCJ College Kew Melbourne.

I’m no longer presenting at this conference as I will not be in the country.

As I will be in Europe in April/May, if you have any contacts in the UK who would be interested in hosting a PD in early childhood music and movement, please let me know their contact details and I will contact them direct.  Many thanks.

By now you will all be well entrenched into the new year.  And some of you will have the delight of having ADD children in your midst.  What a challenge!  Others will have the daydreamers, the sleepers or the downright stubborn.  There is no doubt that behavioural problems with their attendant learning disorders need to be addressed with appropriate management techniques, maybe even psychological testing, and certainly parent support and education.  The sad fact is that most of these problems are actually biochemical in origin, not social.  When a child’s behaviour is seriously hyperactive, for example, there is a chemical imbalance in the brain.  The child is not suffering from a Ritalin deficiency.  The child is undoubtedly suffering from nutritional deficiencies, particularly minerals and essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6 & 9).  The average diet does not contain nearly enough for the growing brain, and research indicates soils are deficient in minerals and trace elements (Trace Elements in Human and Animal Nutrition by Professor Eric Underwood, UWA). 

Maybe the child has been exposed to an overload of toxic chemicals?  Read Eve Hilary’s ‘Children of a Toxic Harvest’ about chemical exposure in farming communities.  And we all know about radiation sickness as in Chernobyl. These are extreme cases but more and more children are presenting with serious behavioural problems.  Are these children being deliberately ‘naughty’ or are they biochemically unable to behave appropriately?  Observing how they behave with their parents is often a good marker of who is running the household, so that question can be answered to some extent.  Knowing their backgrounds is also essential.  But there are other factors to be considered before advising medical intervention. 

Common healthy foods like tomatoes and potatoes, oranges and eggs, and certainly nuts, can cause severe reactions in some children.  To ascertain if there are any allergies or sensitivies, advise the parents to take their child to a naturopath specializing in allergy testing.  It is often assumed that an allergic reaction will be a skin irritation or other physical symptom, but it can also be a behavioural reaction with no apparent physical symptoms.  A child who is sensitive to a food can eat it in small doses without apparent reaction.  One extra dose can be enough to cause overload.  Witness a birthday party.  The children are excited, happy and co-operative in their play for the first half hour or so.   Then the food is served.  Red cordial, lollies, fairy bread, sausage rolls and cakes.  Chemical and sugar overload.  This is all fairly standard fare at parties.  Many of the children will become unco-operative, even abusive, certainly loud.  Some may become particularly sleepy, even teary.

There are obviously many factors involved in behavioural problems and I would hate to sound dismissive, as though it’s all down to inadequate nutrition.  It is not so simple.  My concern is the general ignorance surrounding nutrition, which is more than just food.  It is which food for which child?  ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’ is very true.  And the overuse of chemicals in everyday foods, such as bread, is alarming.  Furthermore, there are toxic chemicals in everyday bathroom and household cleaning products.  To a susceptible child, this is overload. (Read Dr Samuel Epstein’s ‘Safe Shoppers’ Bible’ or ‘Unreasonable Risk’ for more information) 

I attended a lecture by naturopath turned life coach Lynda Dyer ( recently.  She had achieved amazing results by making simple changes to the children’s diet, eliminating toxic bathroom and household cleaning products and replacing with natural alternatives,  as well as adding basic supplements of minerals and EFAs (fish oil).  Finally, she emphasised the importance of water, which helps flush out all those toxic chemicals. 

I have written in a previous newsletter about the use of aromatherapy (pure essential oils) for calming children, and the Kidz-Fiz-Biz books contain relaxation exercises at the end of each section, as certain music can relax mind and body.  If the problem is treated holistically in this way, there is every chance of success.

Rushing to the doctor to get some Ritalin is a short term solution for a long term problem and doesn’t address the cause.  It just puts on a bandaid.  There are so many natural alternatives giving amazing long term results.  As teachers and carers you are the professionals to whom parents turn for advice.  Please don’t advise a quick  pharmaceutical fix that just adds more chemicals to a probably already overloaded body.

Please contact me if you’d like further information on recommendations for supplements, essential oils or safe bathroom products.

Quote of the Week

When I was young, I was put in a school for retarded kids for two years before they realized I actually had a hearing loss.  And they called ME slow!    Kathy Buckley


A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, and Ryan 3.
The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.
Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson.
“If Jesus were sitting here, He would say,
‘Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.’
Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”


Participants at the recent ASME conference had this to say about the Kidz-Fiz-Biz sessions –

Lots of good ideas and fun activities.  Good music.

Great ideas to give the children more opportunities to use equipment.

Different uses for well known music pieces.

Good knowing how to make those gorgeous hoops!

Reminded me about how wonderful it is to have physically calming activities during a busy day.

I wish we had more time to cover more.

I really enjoyed the session and certainly will be able to implement the ideas in my junior classes.

I was reminded to remember to cross the midline in physical activities.

I enjoyed the use of balloons and parachute.

Useful relaxation and co-ordination exercises.

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she has taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

57 Henry Lawson Walk, East Perth WA 6004
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: 0410 64 2781 E:

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Until next time – continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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