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Emily's Story

From Pure Facts, December/January 2005/6
As an ADHD adult, I need system and organization to accomplish basic tasks, like feeding the family. Every evening, I demand that the floor be cleared and toys put away. Once, when my older daughter was four, she wouldn't do it, so I took a trash bag and scooped up all the toys off the floor. The next day, she personally handed it to the woman at the Medina Children's Home. My rationale was that if she didn't care enough about her toys to take care of them, then another child needed them more. She never gave me an excuse about cleaning again.

Our little Emily has had many nickames in her short life: Wild Child, Energizer Bunny, Bouncy Boo, etc. After three weeks on Feingold, something remarkable happened.
I tried using the same method on Emily from that early age, but instead of working, she would sit and cry about how she couldn't do it - even up to age seven. I tried to help her by saying, "Pick up the red toy, and put it in the toy box," etc. She couldn't do even that. She just talked, played, and cried some more. Experts in ADHD told me that I would have to be with her throughout the entire cleaning process, and even then, she may never be able to handle it alone without medication. But she was already on medication!
The parenting techniques that had been successful with my first child didn't work for Emily

She was thin as a rail with dark circles under her eyes. We always had plenty of protein, fruit, and vegetables for snacks and meals, but for years she ate only apples, other salicylates like cucumbers, grapes, and oranges, and peanut butter sandwiches. (I would later learn that the peanut butter was not a Feingold-acceptable brand.)

At a medical checkup for my older daughter, five year old Emily had squirmed, hopped, climbed, hummed, fell, bounced, and tried to sit again all in the space of about a minute. This doctor asked me if I wanted to have her tested for ADHD. Thus began my search for what would help my younger daughter. We agreed to try drugs, behavioral modification, nutritional supplements and organics. Everything worked a little or sometimes, but Emily continued to panic frequently - especially when it was time to clean her room.

In the spring of 2005, we decided that we couldn't keep her on Ritalin anymore, and the next day the Canadians banned Adderall. We weaned her off all drugs and tried organic foods. There was some improvement, but not consistently (I had not considered her toothpaste, shampoo, and other non-food items, plus her favorite snacks were all salicylates).

Finally, we found the Feingold Program

Several weeks ago I posted our good news - a milestone for Emily - on an ADHD message board:

"Yesterday for the first time ever, Emily cleaned her room. She did it without any impetus at all!! She volunteered, did it on her own, and told me about it later! She also cleaned her sister's closet. She said that she just felt like it. I had to sit down and take slow breaths!

"This was a quantum leap. I had been holding her to the cleaning standards of a 2 year old because she didn't seem to be able to do any better. And I had put so much effort into this one issue, that the day she did it on her own floored me. I've been telling everybody that the Feingold Program is responsible for the "New Emily."

The room cleaning episode was at the beginning of the fourth week, but we saw results within three days. Since I also have ADHD, I joined my little dear, and guess what? I quit "flying off the handle" and crying over minor things. And I'm no longer depressed, (years ago, I had been diagnosed with SADD).

There are people on the e-loop who say they've been with Feingold for over 20 years. It would have been wonderful if I could have said that, but I wasn't listening then. It took having a child facing her own difficulties for me to care enough to search for the solution. We have slipped up on the diet now and again, but it only serves to show us how good it is. We have a Better Boo.

Thanks for caring enough to do the research needed to tell people like us how to stay sane.