ADD and ADHD: Symptoms in Young Children

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are typically diagnosed when your child goes to school. However, many new parents may start to wonder if their child has related symptoms as an infant or toddler. What are the typical warnings signs and how do they differ from one another? What typically causes these conditions and can they be prevented? Plus, what are medicines or natural remedies that can help kids dealing with these disorders?

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Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
ADD and ADHD: Symptoms in Young Children


Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

Tara Zandvleit: Attention Deficit Disorder, known as ADD and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, known as ADHD are often diagnosed when children start school. And well, there is some debate, but exactly what these disorders really are? There are signs and symptoms that could be evident very early in life. I am Dr.Tara Zandvliet, Board Certified Pediatrician and today we are talking about the signs and symptoms of ADD and ADHD in young children. This is Parent Savers’, episode 75.

[Theme Music/Intro]

Johner Riehl: Welcome back everybody to another episode of Parent Savers’, broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. Parent Savers is your weekly online the on-the-go support group for parents with newborns, infants and toddlers. I am your host Johner Riehl. Thanks again for being for a loyal listener and if you joined the Parent Savers’ club, thanks for doing that as well.

As you know, you get access to bonus content after the show, plus, special giveaways and discounts from time-to-time. All of our episodes are now unlocked and free to access, so if there is an episode you particularly like that you want to show it some friends, reach back into our archives, listen to it again, send it all of your friends. We are really excited that we have unlocked all of this great content that we have for everyone to listen to. So make sure to check it out. Also, subscribe to our monthly Parent Savers’ news letter for a chance to win a membership to our club each month. And another way for you to stay connected is by downloading our free Parent Savers’ app available in the Androids and iTunes market place.

As you know, my name is Johner Riehl, I am the host. We have three boys, my wife and I do, six, four and two, and so that’s quite a handful. And so I think I probably feel like I have Attention Deficit Disorder sometimes, just trying to keep up with these guys. But I am also joined in studio by some other panelists with kids as well Dr.Zandvliet. So let’s go around, so everyone knows who we are talking with.

Colin Reed: My name Colin Reed. I am 27 years-old. I work in airline catering. I have one son, Constantin and I definitely have ADD.

Johner Riehl: Yeah, and Constantin is three months-old and I am nervous that we are scaring Colin about the future …. as Constantin gets older.

Nicole Deline: Hi, my name is Nicole Deline. I am art designer and architect and I have a three year-old son.

Tara Zandvliet: And I am Dr.Tara Zandvliet. I have two children, a ten year-old girl and an eight year-old boy.

Johner Riehl: Nice! We have also got producer Erin on the mike, who monitors our social media accounts. So Erin, chime in. Say “hello”.

Erin Esteves: Hello, hello, its Erin.

Johner Riehl: Something wetty.

Erin Esteves: Oh, please! OG Mammacita and I have one boy, he is 23 and I question constantly…

Johner Riehl: He is 23-years-old, oops!!!!

Erin Esteves: 23 months, sorry.

Johner Riehl: 23 months and the breast feeding….

Erin Esteves: And I still am breastfeeding him.

Johner Riehl: The breast feedings are correct. Yeah, Cash is 23 months-old as we know. Anyway, thanks everyone for joining us.

[Theme Music]

Johner Riehl: Before we jump into the topic, we are going to do a news headline segment and this is from time to time we look at a subject that’s in the news that is of interest to parents. I am passing it on if you guys could share. We have this on our website as well. But this is a story from last month in August, may be couple of months ago.

A Tennessee judge has ordered a baby’s name changed away from “Messiah” and so what happened is that, “The Tennessee judge ordered a baby’s first name changed away from the name “Messiah”. They had to change it to Martin, saying that the only true “Messiah” is Jesus Christ, I am willing that the boy’s mother promises to appeal. But what happened is that the parents had gone before the Tennessee Child Support Magistrate because they couldn’t agree on their kid’s last name. And so they wanted a ruling on what the kid’s last name would be. But instead the judge ordered the baby’s name changed to Martin instead of “Messiah” saying, “the word Messiah is a title and the title is only been owned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ”.

So it’s certainly an interesting thing. That’s not even what they are going to get the ruling and the judge inserted themselves. What do guys think about that?

Nicole Deline: Oh my god!

Tara Zandvliet: Well you have got Olives and you have hey susie’s and you have everything else under the sun, so I really don’t see a problem with “Messiah”.

Johner Riehl: Yeah.

Nicole Deline: Yeah, I don’t understand how the judge could even, things he can decide!!

Johner Riehl: Right, but I mean I guess it was a name hearing, right?

Nicole Deline: It’s a string of letters …

Tara Zandvliet: Right!

Nicole Deline: It can mean anything that anyone wants it to mean.

Tara Zandvliet: That’s exactly right.

Johner Riehl: Yes, but I think surely there are names that are a little bit tabular. I don’t think you could name your kid ‘F-U-C-K’!

Nicole Deline: That’s exactly I was thinking.

Erin Esteves: You know, absolutely, but I think that….that this brings in a bigger question, a bigger issue, as far as division of religion, state.

Tara Zandvliet: Absolutely.

Erin Esteves: You know, where these were granted we pay judges to use their opinions and come to a specific finding on issues. However, they are supposed to differentiate their personal standing on these topics. So you know, I think he was in the wrong and I think they have every right to fight it.

Johner Riehl: Yeah, this judge is clearly over stepping, I think it might be a female on her bounds but according to this article “Messiah” was the 387th most popular name for boys born in United States in 2012. In all there were 762 applications for a boys’ name Messiah in 2012 up from 368 in 2011. So there is literally thousands of other Messiahs going around and the judge is happened to interject herself in this one and I don’t think it’s going to stand.

Erin Esteves: Well you know, it’s funny as that I was born in a Florida to a man named Jesus, who then had to change his name to Hussaih because everyone in Florida was giving him such a hard time.

Johner Riehl: Interesting!

Erin Esteves: And that was you know, in the 70s.

Tara Zandvliet: And culturally, well, depending on which country you come form I mean, like I said Hessues is that big in Mexico and in the South America, means it’s a very common name and a mark of respect actually.

Johner Riehl: So this is definitely surprising story and one will keep an eye. We’ll keep post this to our facebook page too to see what you guys think.

[Theme Music]

Johner Riehl: Welcome back to everyone to Parent Savers’ today we are talking with Dr.Tara Zandvliet about ADD and ADHD and some signs and symptoms in young children. Thanks for joining us Dr.Z.

Tara Zandvliet: Alright.

Johner Riehl: Alright, so let’s here start with the basics. What is ADD and ADHD?

Tara Zandvliet: Well, they are on the same spectrum of behavior disorders and they are based in brain chemistry and anatomy. So it’s definitely got some differences on MRIs things like that. ADD is more attention deficit problems with attention hyperactivity disorders and they are little more just emotional problem and then that is considered next.

Johner Riehl: And so yeah, why are they mopped together?

Tara Zandvliet: They are all sort of on the same spectrum because what happens is some are little more attention, some are little more hyper and there is a whole bunch in the middle.

Johner Riehl: Okay.

Tara Zandvliet: Yeah.

Johner Riehl: And so kids were having trouble either paying attention, staying focused on something or again then the second step is not only if they are not focused but they are doing crazy movements and can’t stop.

Tara Zandvliet: Not the crazy movements just they can’t sit still.

Johner Riehl: They can’t sit still?

Tara Zandvliet: Yeah!

Johner Riehl: And that’s what the ADHD is?

Tara Zandvliet: Right!

Johner Riehl: And so what is, I mean, how old are kids before they are usually diagnosed? When is it diagnosed?

Tara Zandvliet: Well, they just changed all the diagnosis pretty recently in the DSN5 so that’s the psychiatry book that has all the different diagnosis. Also ICD10 which is coming out next month is for MDs to code people. They have changed the criteria for diagnosis as well. It used to be under seven. You had to have symptoms but you couldn’t make the diagnosis till they were over seven because of the differences in the ages and they appropriate behavior of the kids and what 3 year-olds normally do. Now it’s up to 12…

Johner Riehl: Oh, really?

Tara Zandvliet: So you can show symptoms up till 12. If it’s not diagnosed by 12 it’s going to be a conduct disorder and have nothing to do with ADHD. But there are kids that get delayed especially they pure Attention Deficit. A lot of girls have pure ADD and they are day dreamers. They just don’t pay attention in class; they are space cadets; that are the name space cadet. They are your dreamer. She is often in another world. She is my fantasy girl and they are just not paying attention at all. They have got a whole of the life in their brain.

Johner Riehl: So wait, I am confused. Is it that they have to be diagnosed before they are 12?

Tara Zandvliet: They have to show symptoms before they are 12.

Johner Riehl: But can they say, but then can you as a doctor say its ADD or ADHD? Or you have to wait till its 12?

Tara Zandvliet: No, no, no, you can diagnose it all the way up till 12.

Johner Riehl: And how young could we diagnose it too?

Tara Zandvliet: Probably not till about six or seven.

Johner Riehl: Okay.

Tara Zandvliet: Yeah, because of the age. The big key about the diagnosis is that the behavior has to be inappropriate for the child’s age. So picture this, you have got a three year-old who - it doesn’t care what they want, they throw a tantrum, they get so frustrated and they kick you, I mean, it’s all happened to us, right, in the playground? When you say, “it’s time to go home”.

Johner Riehl: Right, this is a true story…

Tara Zandvliet: Of course! Everyone! Now picture that behavior in a 13 year-old. It’s inappropriate. And so what may be appropriate at three is not so appropriate at eight. And so when you have a three year-old who can’t pay attention for more than two minutes that’s a three year-old. But if you have got a nine year-old that’s in school and can’t pay attention for two minutes that’s abnormal.

Johner Riehl: Okay.

Tara Zandvliet: Yeah. so…..

Johner Riehl: And so that’s why you really need to get older to get out of some of the fog of youth and that’s so…..

Tara Zandvliet: Well just the brain develops, the brain doesn’t stop developing at birth, you know, it does a good job prenatally. But then after there is a large amount of growth of the brain and there are some critical periods between, you know, birth and about three-four and then there is a secondary sort of time when the brain is really developing during grandma’s school, you know. And there is even brain development all the way through the mid 20s for men actually. And that’s why some young males are still very aggressive and not thinking about their, you know, their actions and consequences. So brains develop interestingly and there are some interventions that we can do it younger with ADHD and stuff but yeah, there is the development.

Erin Esteves: So then should I not, like I said my son is only 23 months. So should I not be terribly concerned at this point when he is, you know, running a mark?

Tara Zandvliet: You keep it in the back of your mind.

Erin Esteves: Okay.

Tara Zandvliet: And you say, well, if it doesn’t get better by six or seven we may have a problem and there are things you can do during those times to, kind of, make sure that if he has ADD or ADHD, that you are making sure that his behavior is as well controlled as it can be. You know, because you don’t stop parenting once you say, “oh, well, my kid has ADHD I guess I can just sit on the couch”. I mean, there you got to work harder, you know? It’s not an excuse for bad behavior, its not you know, if your kid steals a car that’s not ADHD. If your kid is lying to you and manipulating and leaving the house, that’s not ADHD. You would be surprised how many people use it as an excuse!

Johner Riehl: Well, and I think that there is a sort of a backlash against ADD and ADHD and this idea that it’s an over diagnosis. I mean, didn’t you even caught up that somebody said that there is not even such a thing?

Tara Zandvliet: Yeah, there is a lot of people saying things like that. I think that the new criteria, I think are going to clarify that quite a bit.

Johner Riehl: Okay.

Tara Zandvliet: If you wanted to go through then I can. The big thing is it got to be inappropriate for the age behavior, inappropriate for the age. It has to be six or more symptoms. Not just one. Every kid has one symptom of ADHD, literally. I mean, every kid, you are like, “oh, my god! You have got to have ADHD”. No but it’s the only thing he does. Okay. It’s got to be six or more of this list.

Johner Riehl: If one six ADHD.

Tara Zandvliet: And the other big key is it has to be more than six months, so you don’t just have a kid, just out (unclear)…

Johner Riehl: Of the activity?

Tara Zandvliet: Yeah. It’s not just like all of a sudden, overnight your kid becomes a belligerent, you know, yeah that’s probably teenager dumb. But it also has to be multiple settings because what we are finding is a lot of what parents are calling ADHD bad behavior, that I can’t control them is unfortunately not where you are parenting, or different parenting between two parents that maybe don’t live together or even live together. Grandma taking care of the kids. Different houses there are lot of influences and what we are finding is if they are fine at school but they are a nightmare at home that’s not ADHD. It’s got to be multiple settings. Pretty much consistent behavior through everywhere they are.

Yeah, so that’s key and the symptoms, you know, they split them up into attention problems and hyper activity. So attentions would be things like, now just picture your second or third grader. They are making careless mistakes. Do second or third graders do that? Yeah. But this is really consistent. That’s only one. They would have got six different things. So again, really poor attention to detail when they draw a picture, it’s just about as primitive as it could be. They don’t care. It’s like they seems like they don’t care. They do they just don’t have the attention for that. They have trouble holding attention on task, even with things they like. So that’s a big key.

They like playing Lego but pretty much and two-three-four minutes in, they are done. They have moved on to certain else. They have very big trouble organizing themselves, organizing their things, their papers, they never finish. ‘Did you finish your homework?’ ‘Oh, I think I am not sure.’ ‘Okay, well what did you finish?’ They have done half their English, half their reading, half their math and they haven’t finished anything. They have done some step, they haven’t finished anything. They lose everything. They can’t find. You have bought a lunch pail four times in a year. You know, ‘I don’t know where it is’. Just no attention to where their things are. Their body, their physical self, they don’t like any tasks that need a real big mental effort. Some people will call them lazy but they are not. They are very easily distracted; they forget just their everyday stuff, like, do you always have to brush your teeth after meals? Yes, so why at ten years older you are forgetting again?

The hyper stuff is pretty easy, they fidget, and they can’t move, they tap, they squirm. They are squirmers. They run away, they run and climb when it’s inappropriate. They climbing on book shelves at the doctor’s office, not on to a chair at home, you know, it’s like they should know better. Even at three they should know better. Even when you say “no” a multiple times, they are still doing it. Because it’s like they forget. They leave their seat, they are driven by a motor. If they sit down its “mummy, I have to get up, I have to get , I have to get up”. They really feel a compulsion to move. They blurt out the answers. They are not respectful of other people taking turns. Yeah, that doesn’t exist. They interrupt a lot and not just interrupt but they intrude on a conversation. So they just insert themselves into the conversation and pull to get what they need. They can’t wait for you to finish. So those are the big things.

Erin Esteves: I have a facebook comment. It’s more of a comment or a question regarding ADHD. The poster wants to know; could it possibly be a difference in cognitive process as opposed to a deficiency?

Tara Zandvliet: That’s exactly at the point we are finding now. They have done MRIs on kids. Age matched and everything, parent matched and what they found is that on the MRI they actually have a smaller what’s called the caudate nucleus, and this part of the brain is associated with cognitive and motor control. They can’t control it so they have got the brilliant thoughts, they just can’t not blurt it out, they can’t organize it and process it and all.

Erin Esteves: But in the small…..

Tara Zandvliet: It’s not a deficiency of a brain chemical or anything like that necessarily. It’s actually physically smaller.

Erin Esteves: Wow! Fascinating!

Nicole Deline: So and I am sure you would or probably you want to go into this but my question is can exercise, a lot of exercise and physical activity cannot help?

Tara Zandvliet: Oh, yeah, it helps a lot. You have got to let your kids move when they have got a little small nucleus in the brain that says move and then you have got this four year old saying I have to get up mommy, I have to get out of the chair. Let them, absolutely. Yeah, later I will talk about some things that you can do.

Erin Esteves: I have another facebook question regarding this. In particular, how would diet affect that?

Johner Riehl: Let’s take a quick break. We will look at that after the break as well as talk about, I know, there are so much emphasis on the older kids and the diagnosis. But as kind of write, taking signals as you are listing the symptoms because a lot of our listeners have the younger kids too.

Tata Zandvliet: That too three- four years-old.

Johner Riehl: So let’s talk about the symptoms we can look for, we will talk about things like this facebook questions about diet and even more so we will be right back to pick up the conversation.

Tara Zandvliet: Absolutely!

[Theme music]

Johner Riehl: Welcome back everyone today we are talking about ADD and ADHD, specifically trying to see what we can see in young children as well. As well as trying to understand exactly what it is because there is a lot of confusion about it and it sounds like even the definition of it is changing and what doctors are looking for. So we can pick it up with the facebook question that Erin just asked about diet and its effect on ADHD and ADD.

Tara Zandvliet: In terms of diet, there is some evidence now that some diet issues will worsen the behavior not causing ADHD, this is not something you can “oh, I will give my child peanut butter and therefore they have”, you know. This is more like if your child has attention deficit or ADHD or they are too young to really know but kind of wondering, there some things to look at.

The first is get them tested for iron. Not just blood count which is what the doctors kind of want to do. But actually in the iron level or ferritin level, many ADHD kids are low in iron. If you replace their iron their behavior improves greatly. It’s one of the number one interventions you can do. And you don’t want to overdo iron. You don’t want to just well, I am just going to give iron just in case because you can overdose and it’s very lethal. So want to be careful. Now if you wanted to do it food wise, you know, beans, legumes, lentil soup, spinach, any dried fruit especially raisins.; kids love raisins, you know, prunes all those are great iron sources. So that’s the first thing.

Second one is avoid all of the colorings and preservatives. Many of them are neurotoxins and they will worsen whatever is there. So if you have got a kid with autism, if you have got a kid with bipolar, if you have got a kid with attention deficit, you got a preemie. You do not want to give them any preservatives. The food coloring seemed to be the worst pretty much all of them. I mean, I went through and I was like “Oh let me see…”, read them before - I started listing them like, and even more of them didn’t exist, and so all of them. You know, just avoid them.

Johner Riehl: Pretty much anything that has coloring.

Tara Zandvliet: Pretty much anything. Absolutely! Another big one is gluten. There is a lot of stuff out there saying gluten causes ADHD. No, it does not cause ADHD. Gluten sensitive kids so especially celiac, the inflammation caused in the gut can affect their brain. And so they act like they have ADHD but they don’t. Okay. So then what you do is you test them. Basically, you can do a saliva test. It’s expensive as heck or you can just do the simple thing which is avoid gluten for two or three weeks and see what happens with their behavior.

Johner Riehl: Which is easier to do these days.

Tara Zandvliet: Yeah, very easier and cheap.

Johner Riehl: Yeah.

Tara Zandvliet: Yeah, I know, it have been in the old days when you try and getting no bread anywhere. You know, so gluten is a big one to just check and if there is no difference in behavior, well then, have all the bread you like.

Johner Riehl: Yeah. now but these are all sort of things that may be you have probably engaged with the doctor on it already to talk about the diagnosis and it may be not the diagnosis but you know, as soon as we look at the list of those symptoms. What are some things we can look at in the young kids?

Tara Zandvliet: Oh yeah, toddlers. Is it ADHD or typical toddler?

Johner Riehl: Yeah.

Tara Zandvliet: Okay, so one of them is the overwhelming number of symptoms. Okay? So if you have got a three year-old who climbs on everything, that’s one symptom. It’s not six, right. Here are some things a kid who really avoids playing fun things that require a lot of attention, for example, reading with the parents. ADHD kids do not want to sit next to you and read a book, you know, because they just can’t sit there. Most three-four year-olds can sit at least for a special book, you know, and they lean into you and all that. Another one would be watching a single TV show. Many ADHD can’t even sit down for that, okay. They…..

Johner Riehl: Even if it’s something what they really should like right…..

Tara Zandvliet: Exactly…

Johner Riehl: Like kids if they chose to watch.

Tara Zandvliet: Absolutely! Often they walk and they start playing something and you are like, ‘aren’t you watching it?’ ‘Yeah, I am watching it’. But their back is turned to the TV. Yeah, another thing is…..

Johner Riehl: I am totally going through in my head about my kids’ right and I am sure….

Erin Esteves: Oh right, exactly, we all do!

Johner Riehl: All of our listeners too are.

Tara Zandvliet: We all do…

Erin Esteves: I am applying these to myself!

Tara Zandvliet: Absolutely!

Nicole Deline: That’s right, Gavin is fine. I am like oh god! Me and medication. I lose everything…..

Johner Riehl: Well but that’s got to be one of the difficult things right, we all go through..

Tara Zandvliet: That’s difficult too which is what….

Johner Riehl: Because these are sort of symptoms of our modern brains

Tara Zandvliet: Absolutely and that is another kind of problem actually we are training our brains to be ADHD brains unfortunately with all of the technology.

Johner Riehl: Yeah.

Colin Reed: You know, in that same thing I am thinking about how a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD in a child if its incorrect? What effect that might have on the child if he is medicated and then treated down the line?

Tara Zandvliet: Awful!

Colin Reed: well I was thinking about I was watching, the gentleman’s name is Serkin Robinson and then he talks about a woman named Gillian Lynne, who she is choreographer, she is with CATS, very famous. Of course in the 1930s ADHD wasn’t available, it wasn’t invented yet, you know. He talks about her inattention, her troubles in school, and how when she was in music she had a natural ability to stand up and he references creativity versus what we call ADHD and how it might an incorrect diagnosis might stay for that creativity, what kind of effect that could have on a kid?

Tara Zandvliet: Depression, big time. Kids get depressed when they feel like they are sick or have to be medicated. With the diagnosis of ADHD it has to interfere with their normal functioning. So if they are creative and they get on attention when they are creating and composing and they can sit there for an hour and half composing music. It’s not ADHD. It’s a beautiful brain. It’s working beautifully. You don’t want to make the wrong diagnosis which is why sometimes your parents will go, “my god, the doctor doesn’t want to help me! They don’t want to make the diagnosis and put this kid on a ridelling”! Well, you know, it’s hard because another thing about like these medicines and now was kind of getting into a later but these medicines all kid or not all, most kids have a little better attention when they are in these meds whether or not they have attention deficit and that’s a danger. Just like all adults, do better with coffee, it is a stimulant and it works the same way in kids. So better be careful.

Erin Esteves: You know, I think a good point to make is that college kids are taking these drugs for study and test prep.

Johner Riehl: Oh, yeah!

Tara Zandvliet: There is a huge black market out there and that is big problem right now.

Nicole Deline: Yeah?

Tara Zandvliet: Oh yes. There has been some deaths. Absolutely!

Erin Esteves: So how could there not be an improvement as far as those specific symptoms are concerned? You know, but like Colin was saying it could have the repercussions of squashing someone’s spirit?

Tara Zandvliet: When some kids are not ADHD they are kinetic learners which means that they learn by doing, touching, they have to physically move to learn. These are the actors, these are the theatrical kids, the ones that you know, point in and they jump up and down when they are happy and they need to touch a little plastic dinosaur when they are learning about dinosaurs. They need to stand to learn to read. They do well in math because what’s in school math manipulatives, they are all sorts of Legos, a little thing is for you to learn math with the score on math but reading they all can’t read. If you have them stand on one foot while reading they all learn.

Johner Riehl: Well, let ask you is we go back to looking and I guess the symptoms in the young kids too. But is this something that kids are born with or just something that we can accidentally give our kids? Because you hear a lot of ,”oh, they play a lot of video games so now they have ADD” and I mean it comes up every single show where we talk about the effect of these tablets and these screens because it’s a part of parenting now and is it something that kids may want genetically wired for it but because of what we are doing to them, that we can give them ADD or ADHD?

Tara Zandvliet: I will say I don’t think you can give a kid ADD or ADHD by what you do. However, you can worsen the situation, especially behavior.

Johner Riehl: Okay.

Tara Zandvliet: There is lot evidence that prenatal affects the brain. Premature babies weigh higher rate of ADHD.

Johner Riehl: Okay.

Tara Zandvliet: Babies of smoking moms, babies who were low birth weight for whatever reasons. And so we know that there is a prenatal influence. We also that correlation wise not cause but correlation. The number one correlation with kids with ADHD is screened time between as early as six months, three months and about three or four. The more they have screen time, hour’s wise in a day, average hours in a day, the more likely they are to have ADHD. Now it’s like cause or effect, these kids are super duper good at video games. I mean, it’s like they are made for it man! They are made for it and so to parents then use it as a parenting strategy as a reward or something because they did well today with their behavior so I am going to let him have an hour screen time or is it that they have six hours of screen time every day because grandmas taking care of them and then grandma is just tired and then that kid is more likely to have the behavior issues of ADHD. He may have a small caudate nucleus but may be would have been okay if they hadn’t had the screen time.

Johner Riehl: But then, got it.

Tara Zandvliet: And it does include screen time with educational screen. People think that well because it’s a little game on my iPod that’s reading them a story its fine, its reading. No its not. It is not because there is a little person moving across the thing and its acting it out and changing quickly and so they don’t need to pay attention at one little picture in a picture book. It is screen time.

Erin Esteves: Do you think it’s like a sensory oversaturation? Is it that like a data overload?

Tara Zandvliet: Well if you train your brain how to adapt to the world, if your world involves saber toothed tigers and you know, running away from things that have hunting you, you are going to be quick and you are going to be aware of everything. ADHD kids would have survived man! They would have done great! We don’t have that anymore. But if your environment is constantly changing visuals stimulus you will adapt to that and you will prefer your behavior to that. If your environment involves a lot of reading, a lot of helping with mom, a lot of parent time, a lot of doing the tools with dad, you are going to adapt to people and you are going to adapt to more attention.

Johner Riehl: It makes me wonder, you bring out that example is that may be part of the recent evolutionarily we made it here is because of ADD and ADHD, right?

Tara Zandvliet: I 100% agree with that, yes.

Johner Riehl: And now we are kind of fit in our society our brains too fit.

Tara Zandvliet: Absolutely, yes.

Johner Riehl: Let’s pick up what we were listing before, some of the symptoms that might be evident in three year-old.

Tara Zandvliet: There are a couple of very interesting physical things that make a big difference, one is if you got a four year-old, who cannot hop on one foot, that is a big sign and its weird but it works. Again it’s that brain center that’s in motor control for hopping on one foot. Another one is warming up too quickly to strangers. You got to watch for they really love-you love bug who just loves everybody because they may not have that caution and that’s in a sign of impulsivity. Doesn’t mean that every kid that warms up to you is, you know, but that’s one. Another one is they talk more, they are just incessant talkers. They just comparing to another three year-olds. So those were physical things that are little hard to take, you know, or misinterrupt.

Johner Riehl: My check list is like checked on so many things on my four year-old right now that I knew it get home and ….

Tara Zandvliet: And again it is that inappropriateness. So you may have it in mind and you looking like, “oh my god! He has got six things on that list!” Now just see how it goes and see if he can control himself and learn how to figure it out by five and six and they may not have a problem.

Johner Riehl: Let’s close out the conversation with a little bit of talk of medicines and may be natural remedies too, that I know a lot of our listeners already tuned in to what natural or not medicating kids but maybe there is something’s that we can feed them.

Tara Zandvliet: Absolutely! So most people want to know are there supplements I can give? Yes, other than finding out if they have iron problems, magnesium, it’s a natural comb on the brain. So it works really well. Zinc and B vitamins, those are big. Omegas as long as they are mixed so they are not just DHA or just EPA, a mixed omega is wonderful. Some of it is sleep. There you have to watch if they are sleep apnea, if they are snoring, you have to get on about 10 hours of sleep at night. They are wiggle worms; they don’t want to go to bed. You are going to have to enforce it. You are going to have to enforce it. That’s a discipline parenting issue. That’s not an ADHD issue and the more sleep they get the better they will do. You have got to work with your child right? They are hyper, they are wiggles, you have got two, you have got the more hyper one, you let them jump, let them play, if they have to do their homework, let them do it on one foot hopping up and down. Literally let them get some of that out while they are doing it. They will focus better.

We have already talked about a clean diet. We have already talked about watching the attitudes and stuff. Eliminating any food triggers you may think that they have. Let them have crazy time, just absolute full on, whacky crazy time. Take a lot of outside breaks. Nature for some reasons seems to simulate that section of the brain and so we don’t know exactly why but if you have them playing Lego in the house and playing Lego out in the park, it makes a huge difference as there is an amount of focus time, you know.

Some Chinese herbs can help but you really want to make sure that you have a true Chinese herbalist not just someone playing. And behavior stuff, you know, there is a lot of different things consistency as key. You know, if you have a bed time, it’s a bed time. Making very short goals, for example, if you are going to discipline and stuff, you have got a kid and he is got to play with his sister. Okay, ten minutes, good play with the sister, you reward him. And having a visual reward system is really key with they can physically put a star where they….because they are physical right? Put a physically put a star somewhere where they did it, rewarding them with little things not food please. But little things they get to have five minutes on the iPad if they play fifteen minutes with their sister. That kind of thing. You have got to have consequences, you got to have rules. That’s not talking about massive punishments but you have got to have rules. You have to be consistent about the rules because that’s parenting. That’s not ADHD.

Johner Riehl: Right! It almost seems like regardless of whether or not you think your kid may or may not be having this little while of these tips and how a parent or going to be just good for your kid.

Tara Zandvliet: Definitely!

Johner Riehl: As far as medicines go, what are some of the medications that doctors use?

Tara Zandvliet: Well they are all stimulants and so what they are trying to do is wake up the brain especially that section of the brain, without making you hyper and the weird thing is the medicines tend to not make the kid hyper they often would be a little sleepy right after they take them which is another sign of the attention deficit brain. Most kids if you give them they will think better, they will do things better, but they will be a little more energetic and a lot of times ADHD kids would be little common.

Johner Riehl: Right!

Tara Zandvliet: But they are all stimulants they are all scheduled to medicine. Yet be careful with them. Now side effects of those meds, slow weight gain, they can lose weight, it can interfere with their sleep. There have been some reports of arrhythmias of the heart, especially when the doses are going higher because the parent doesn’t notice any difference because the problem is not the ADHD. The problem is discipline and associating and helping the kid how to deal with life. That’s one.

Johner Riehl: Well, it’s so interesting to think about the parental reaction to a diagnosis or a thought that it might happen whereas, oh, I have got permission now to kind of not take the active role and it’s the opposite.

Tara Zandvliet: Exactly, there is also a new study that is showing that kids who have been on meds for a while during school, well, they definitely do better in school and it works better than any other herbals or any of the other things, they also have a much greater response to chemical rewards in the future which means if they ever tried drugs they are going to be the one who loves it compared to someone who hasn’t and that’s a danger that I don’t really like.

Nicole Deline: So you would recommend trying to go the natural resource.

Tara Zandvliet: Try as much as you can. I mean, if it’s interfering with their schooling once they are behind it is so hard to catch them up. And then they are just behind of all the time and then they think they are stupid and so many of these ADHD kids are brilliant. I mean they are really of high IQs some of them and it’s just you can show it. So you don’t want to get them too behind but at the same time if you can do without meds that would be much better and actually one of the interesting things is in other countries sometimes they try caffeine first. Stimulus, you know. Get me a hot chocolate in the morning. High protein diets in the morning help a lot too. I think every student should have high protein diet in the morning instead of the stuff we give them in America which is cereal.

Johner Riehl: Well thank you so much. That wraps up the conversation for today on Parent Savers’. Thanks for joining us. For information about ADD, ADHD or any of our panelists or Dr.Zandvleit, please visit the episode page on our website We are actually going to continue the conversation for members of our Parents Savers’ club with our bonus content. We are going to talk a little bit more about ADD and ADHD friendly schools and camps. For more information about the Parent Savers’ club please visit our website.

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Johner Riehl: Question from our listeners from twitter, Blaire from Canada asks, “What do toddlers about three drink beside milk and water? I am afraid to get into the room of juice but may be its not as bad as I think.”

Dr.Frederick Johnson: Hi, this is Dr.Frederick Johnson calling in Blaire. Juices aren’t so bad. The problem with juices are generally is that they high in sugar and kids can’t be given too much of them because they are sweet. Well, it might be a reasonable alternative if you want is you can make your baby smoothie which would include things like yoghurt, fresh fruit blended up and see if your toddler would like that. Otherwise juice isn’t so bad but you probably only need about six to eight ounces in a day if that much. So hope that answers all your questions and I’ll talk to you everyone later. Bye bye..

Johner Riehl: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to the Parent Savers’. Don’t forget to check out our sister show Preggie Pals for Expecting Parents, our show, The Boob Group for Moms who Breastfeed their Babies and Twin Talks, coming soon for, you guessed it, parents for twins and soon-to-be parents of twins. Next week we are going to be talking about another great topic, for interested parents everywhere. This is Parent Savers’: Empowering New Parents!

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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