Your Quick, Smart Kid

ADD. ADHD. Asperger's Syndrome. Inattention. Hyperactivity. Impulsiveness.

These are modern day catchwords for conditions that may or may not be affecting your child. We are quick as a society to label kids with one or more of these conditions. Even though the causes of these behavioral syndromes are being studied by some of the most prestigious universities worldwide, I think some kids are mislabeled, and are either reacting to an unhealthy diet of food chemicals, inoculations, and sub-standard products, or they are the exact opposite of what they are being tagged - they are exceptional kids; bright kids lost in a faltering world.

Let's rewind the tapes concerning your life and that of your child. Before you got pregnant - for the mothers out there - did you prepare your body for pregnancy by eating and drinking whole foods, raw or organic? Before you conceived, did you detox your body of any nasty toxins you may have picked up over the years? Did you use diet food chemicals, particularly diet sweeteners, during pregnancy? Pondering these questions, you may identify why your child has some hyperactive or reclusive tendencies.

Consider how healthy your environment really is - are pollutants present from industry, traffic, dirty water, or mold in your home or basement? If you are reacting negatively to your immediate environment, your newborn may be, too. It is time to clean up your surroundings and see if your child begins to respond in a healthy way.

Every child is unique. Healthy and bright children are naturally energetic. And healthy children typically become more active when they are tired (i.e. awake past a "regular" bedtime or surrounded by constant noise and chaos). Healthy kids are hungry (all healthy kids are hungry most of the time); feed them healthy foods whenever they are hungry, and watch their behavior soon level out. Healthy kids are typically anxious in a new environment (adults are this way, too!). Healthy and bright children naturally have a higher activity level than most others - they darn well SHOULD.

Most all healthy children exhibit many of the behaviors listed below at one time or another. Do you worry that your 3-year-old can't sit still and listen to a story from beginning to end or finish a drawing? You shouldn't. Preschoolers normally have a short attention span and aren't able to focus for long periods of time on one activity. This doesn't mean they're ADHD -- it simply means they are normal preschoolers. And again, watch and observe their behavior changes after eating one meal too many from the fast food drive thrus.

Don't think that your child MUST be ADHD if they are restless in the classroom; if in the wrong learning environment, children of all ages, including adolescents, typically have a shorter attention span because they have little to no interest in a particular activity. Most teenagers can listen to music or talk to their friends for hours, but they are less focused about homework in a subject that they care nothing about.

The following are signs of inattention or boredom:

  • Often fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities
  • Often has trouble sustaining attention during tasks or play
  • Seems not to listen even when spoken to directly
  • Has difficulty following through on instructions and often fails to finish schoolwork, chores or other tasks
  • Often has problems organizing tasks or activities
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork or homework
  • Frequently loses needed items, such as books, pencils, toys or tools
  • Can be easily distracted
  • Forgetful often

The following are signs of hyperactivity or impulsiveness. Maybe these are possible clues that your child is in the wrong environment for stimulation:

  • Fidgets or squirms frequently
  • Often leaves his or her seat in the classroom or in other situations when remaining seated is expected
  • Often runs or climbs excessively when it's not appropriate or, if an adolescent, might constantly feel restless
  • Frequently has difficulty playing quietly
  • Always seems on the go
  • Talks excessively
  • Blurts out the answers before questions have been completely asked
  • Frequently has difficulty waiting for his or her turn
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others' conversations or games

Before you begin giving your child a lifetime of medications to suppress his/her natural curiosity, high energy level, or tenacious personality, make some lifestyle changes for the entire household. Remove all diet sweeteners and food chemicals from home and school; pack their lunch (especially in elementary school) and teach them at an early age that it is "OK" to take your lunch to school. Speak with the teachers and school administrators and let them know that you are unhappy with the sub-standard lunches offered to the children. Insist that the soft drink and candy machines be taken off the school campuses. Change schools if you have to; search for the safer and healthier environments during these most impressionable years of your child's development.

Below are some attributes of a quick, smart child. Children today are cable ready - they are definitely quicker, sharper, sometimes wiser, and much more aware than the preceding generations. Don't suppress their curiosity and their incessant ability to question - go with their flow while maintaining boundaries, setting (and maintaining) an early bedtime, having quality conversations daily, and teaching them strong ethics. Change your food and living environments, school and friends before you sentence them to a lifetime of toxic drugs to "control" their high-energy spirits.

Circle the traits that relate to your child:

  • Intuitive
  • Creative
  • Generous
  • Innovative
  • Eager
  • Inquisitive
  • Spontaneous
  • Persistent
  • Enthusiastic
  • Visionary
  • Risk taker
  • Romantic/sentimental
  • Funny
  • Can hyper-focus
  • An individualist
  • Great improviser
  • Impromptu speaker
  • Unstoppable dynamo
  • Lucky
  • Thinks outside the box
  • Quick wit/charmer
  • Natural leader
  • Artistic
  • Doesn't take no for an answer
  • Believes anything is possible
  • Fights for what they believe
  • Has a big heart
  • Strong sense of justice
  • Always has a different perspective
  • Constantly monitors the environment
  • IQ of 160 or above (all people have ADD traits)
  • Faces danger
  • Enjoys new ideas and takes risks
  • Short wick, but recovers quickly
  • Has a sixth sense
  • Has ideas most others don't understand
  • Impulsive

If you circled over half of these, your child may NOT be hyperactive - just a normal, healthy quick, smart kid!

Posted August 2008 | Permanent Link

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