I am the mother of Timothy, who is five years old. For five years I had been trying to find out what was wrong with Timothy. It's really been a personal battle. Many people looked at me cross-eyed and said that he is a normal little boy; he is just growing; or he is immature; or it was my fault because I wasn't disciplining him properly; I wasn't stern enough and it was time to introduce corporal punishment. Since Tim was my first child, I had nothing to compare his behavior to and since I was coming out of the corporate world, I didn't really know with whom I could share my doubts and insecurities. I felt very vulnerable exposing myself to other mothers and saying, "I can't do this. What's wrong with my child?"
By the time Tim was three, there were times when I just couldn't stand being a mother. All I did was say no, no, no all the time. He started doing dangerous things to his younger brother, such as pushing him down the basement stairs in a walker. And I thought, "This is not Timothy. He knows that that is not allowed." There was a look in his eye, and I thought, "What has possessed him to do this?" I just knew that something wasn't right and I was told that the reason why he was acting out in this way was because of his new brother, that this was typical, and not to worry, to discipline him as necessary.
When he was four, his schoolteacher said, "I'm having a difficult time with this child. He is extremely bright. He is conceptually aware of wrinkles and God and stars and things like that, but he can't color in the pictures and he doesn't know how to socialize with other children." So I decided that it was time to go to a child behavior specialist who said that when he could sit still, he demonstrated a high IQ. However, they also said he was extremely immature and needed to be observed.
By the time he turned five, his pre-kindergarten teacher said, "He's a problem child and I suspect that he has an attention-deficit disorder, with hyperactive tendencies. I suggest that you get some medical care." We brought him to the hospital and the behavior specialist said that Ritalin would be necessary at this point, along with some counseling.
Based on our family history of chemical dependency, I felt that Ritalin was not a good option. So I started looking for other possibilities. That September, just two weeks after the diagnosis, we had a birthday party, and I served my boy ice cream, chocolate cake, and a glass of milk. And he went totally off the wall. In order to try to control him, I had the children play school because they all loved it. I asked him to recite his ABC's and he stopped at "D." Now he had known the whole alphabet for a year and he just panicked. He looked so scared, absolutely horrified. He said, "Mommy, I don't know what to do. What comes after 'D,' what comes after 'D'?" I knew it was the food, and that from there I needed to find an answer.
I happened to see a program with Doris Rapp on the Phil Donohue Show, and I picked up her book and read it. I gave my son the multiple-elimination diet that she suggested and the results were unbelievable! Even the pediatricians and the other doctors were surprised. In fact, the chief of the pediatric staff, who is also a personal friend, was extremely intrigued, but because of his position in the medical field and the way he was trained, he, at this point, wasn't able to offer me any medical support. But he did support my going to Dr. Buttram until he could learn more himself in this field. So here was the chief of the pediatric staff who was interested but unable to help me.
I've done a lot of reading and now realize that the majority of our MD's have no nutritional background. Now that I have figured out that my son's problem is food allergies as well as allergies to environmental substances such as pollens, it really bothers me that medical doctors don't have this fundamental knowledge of nutrition on which to build. It would have been wonderful if, during those first five years, my doctor had been able to say, "What do you feed your child? Have you noticed a pattern?"
Now, in reviewing the first five years of Timothy's life, I notice a pattern. since he was one, during July and August, he has always been at his worst. There was absolutely no dealing with him. I remember that because it was always before his well check-up, and I was always going to the pediatrician and saying, "I can't deal with this child. What is wrong with him?" And they would say that we would work out some behavior modification rules together. Now I realize he is severely allergic to ragweed, to the grasses, and to dairy and corn. When he came in contact with these substances all at once, it just gave him a full-barrel effect. In the summertime we would eat fresh corn on the cob, and after, as a wonderful treat for the whole family, we'd jump in the car and go the Dairy Queen, with all the ragweed blowing around. Now that was why I was dealing with a monster. As soon as the frost hit, he was much better.
Now, after six months under Dr. Buttram's care, Timothy is a totally changed child. The school system is extremely interested and is keeping a file on him in the clinic, and they're suggesting to other parents that they go this route, because Tim now shows no symptoms of attention-deficit disorder. The kindergarten program he will be entering next year has already tested him and, in their opinion, he is a normal child and shows no evidence of an attention deficit. Plus there is no hyperactivity and has been none for at least four months.
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