Judy Harcus (sfryer@COC.POWELL-RIVER.BC.CA)
Mon, 13 Nov 1995 10:12:26 -0800
In his message "Re: Culturally Sensitive Xmas",
Ian N Ford <ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK> briefly mentioned:
>and another of the Cub Scouts has allergies (one of the few cases of
diet-related >hyperactivity I have come across )
I'm not convinced that diet-related hyper-activity is as uncommon as most
people think. My son definitely has diet-related ADHD. Give him chocolate
or certain types of food coloring and he is guaranteed to have behaviour
problems for up to three days! As he has grown older, he has developed more
control and can handle small amounts IF he is not tired, and not too
stimulated by events.
Technically, this reaction is not an allergy and will not show up on
standard allergy testing, which I think goes a long way towards disbelief in
its existance. It is usually referred to as a "Food Intolerance".
I considered pulling him out of Cubs, or at least forbidding camp, due to
the fact that his cub leader (despite frequent requests not to do so),
always gave my son hot chocolate at campfire along with the other cubs. We
then had behaviour problems with our son for the two days after camp! While
he was at camp, there was enough running around, etc. that it wasn't
noticable, but once he got back to home and school, it was awful.
When we moved to our current location, I again mentioned his allergies to
the leaders who ignored them UNTIL one meeting when, as part of a game, the
cubs were chewing blue bubblegum. When I went to pick up my son, I was met
by a very frazzled leader who told me that my son had gone berserk and was
now hiding in a storage room. My first question to him was "Did he eat
anything?" which startled him, and he told me about the gum. After that, he
was very supportive and the incident was not repeated. My son now has
herbal tea at camp, which he likes, instead of the customary hot chocolate.
I now make that an option available to my troop, and often they prefer the
tea over the chocolate, so my son is not "different". It also seems to
reduce the "excitability" of some of the other Scouts as well.
In my opinion, one of the reason many people scoff at the idea that a
youth's hyperactivity is linked to food, is that some types of food has a
delayed reaction time. A youth may become hyperactive on Tuesday due to a
"trigger" food he ate on Monday. The "trigger" may also be something hidden
in foods (like food coloring) so several different foods can cause a
reaction, making it harder to pin down the cause. Medicine is also a
problem for my son -- most contains food coloring. Also, many ADHD kids
have a reverse response to sedatives/stimulants. Caffeine MAY settle some
hyperactive kids (but may speed up others - so be careful), while some cough
medicine ("may cause drowsiness") will send them bouncing off walls.
If you have a kid who gets periodically hyper, it is worth taking a look at
what they have been eating, not just immediately before, but for the day
before. You may start finding a pattern.
Judy Harcus, Troop Scouter, 1st Powell River Scouts
(British Columbia, Canada)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City