My son, Alex, is a smart, kind, fun-loving, seven-year-old boy. But my wife and I have been concerned about his development for quite some time. Our worries started when Alex was three years old. He was an active and happy toddler, but we noticed that he would get frustrated and be hard on himself when he could not do something just right, like drawing a particular object or making a tall stack of blocks. Alex expressed himself much more with actions than with words. He was very sensitive to loud noises. Alex always had a hard time settling down and falling asleep. He would not sleep for long after my wife and I went to bed and would wake up and come into our bedroom every night.
When Alex turned four, he went to preschool. He said that he enjoyed it. But he always seemed to get in trouble with his caregivers, most often for taking matters into his own hands when he felt he was wronged by another child or for not being able to settle down, get in line and stay in line, stay in the part of the room he was supposed to be in, or otherwise behave like the other children. By the time he turned five, Alex had been kicked out of two preschools. The director of the second preschool believed that Alex had ADHD and urged us to have him evaluated by a medical professional. My wife and I had Alex evaluated by a pediatric neurologist from the DuPont Hospital for Children. The neurologist felt that Alex was somewhat immature, but he wasn’t prepared to diagnose him with ADHD unless he saw no improvement after a year. After a year, the neurologist saw Alex again and gave him a clean bill of health.
It was also at age four that my wife and I began seeing that Alex tended to be affected by large amounts of stimulation. If Alex had a busy, exciting day, we could count on him waking up about one hour after we put him to bed, covered in sweat, crying, disoriented, and inconsolable for about ten minutes; then he would fall back asleep. Also, Alex would get overwhelmed in situations with lots of stimulation, like parties, family gatherings, crowded playgrounds, etc. His reactions varied from crying because he could not decide which of many activities going on before him to get involved in, to jumping from activity to activity without really getting into any of them.
Alex started kindergarten at a private school for gifted and talented children not long after his fifth birthday. He excelled in many of his classes and was promoted to the next grade at the beginning of the spring semester. However, he had a number of difficulties, including not being able to stay focused, sit still, or complete tasks. He consistently forgot what his homework assignments were, what events were coming up, and what he needed to bring in to school from home. The hardest times for Alex were during activities outside of the classroom, where there was less structure. The playground overwhelmed him; class parties overwhelmed him. Also, Alex was still unable to express his feelings verbally, which made it hard for him to get along with other children on the playground. At home, Alex was still waking up every night.
At six years of age, Alex started his second year at the same school. His difficulties at school had improved only marginally and it was obvious that it was causing him to be at grade level or below in some subjects. At home, there were no improvements and my wife and I began to notice some additional problems. We would often have to call Alex two or three times to get his attention and we would often have to tell him two or three times before he followed our orders. Also, Alex always liked to laugh and act silly, but the frequency of his silliness wasn’t diminishing with age, and often, it appeared as if Alex could not help himself.
By the time Alex was halfway through the spring semester, we started getting desperate for ways to help him. I had a pediatric neurologist from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia evaluate Alex. He told me that Alex had symptoms of ADHD. Also, he said Alex appeared to have some difficulty with auditory processing, but judging from some of his other behaviors, Oppositional-Defiant Disorder may also be involved. Overall, however, the neurologist did not feel that these observations painted a complete picture of Alex’s condition. He recommended that Alex’s pediatrician arrange for further evaluations and that I have specialists in the public school system evaluate Alex.
At this point, my wife and I felt hopeless. We saw so much potential in our son, yet we also saw him unable to control his behavior and emotions. We did not believe that further medical evaluations would help. We did not want to get the public school system involved and we definitely did not want to try any drugs, particularly Ritalin.
One of Alex’s teachers referred us to your office. She told us that you practiced homeopathy and had helped children like Alex. On our first visit, you asked questions and my wife and I described Alex’s behaviors and life history. On our second visit, you gave Alex a homeopathic remedy.
Alex’s behaviors increased for a couple of days after taking the remedy and then began to decrease gradually. After five days, Alex began sleeping through the night, every night. My wife and I were amazed! Over the next month, Alex gradually improved in every area. He started being able to focus on tasks better, communicate better, and be less silly. Also, he was no longer being negatively affected by stimulating situations and he became better at handling frustrating situations. His self-control and coping skills improved. It appears as if Alex has made a large jump in maturity.
My wife and I are very thankful that we were referred to you, Dr. Hall. You have helped Alex a great deal and we are very happy that we did not have to resort to drugs.