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vitamins / supplements to help with attention in child. Phosphatidylserine?

(13 Posts)
workatemylife Tue 16-May-17 09:26:06

When DS concentrates, his school work is apparently very good. But the class teacher is frustrated that he loses focus and ends up needing her to repeat instructions, or just does the wrong thing entirely. He's fine when there is a teacher / TA at his group table but that can't happen all the time. Class teacher talked to SENCO and suggested that we monitor at school, and try to build in some games and activities to improve concentration. Reading between the lines, I think they suspect ADD, although that wasn't mentioned in as many words. But some of the things they suggest look like some of the interventions described on ADD websites.

I was looking online for further suggestions, and found a load of helpful discussion, including on here, about vitamins, fish oils, and other supplements. Particularly on US websites, there was a lot of interest in PS 100, phosphatidylserine, for improving concentration, attention, and memory in children and adults. It doesn't seem to be such a big thing in the UK, and I wonder if some of the reviews (it changed my life in 20 minutes etc) might be misleading. Has anyone here used this or given it to their child? Did it work, or would you steer clear? All advice appreciated.

KingIrving Tue 16-May-17 21:29:08

What really made a massive difference for my son was screen removal. Take away all screens, tv, pc, iPad, ps4, .... and introduce calm activities such as reading, playing.
My son was another person

workatemylife Thu 18-May-17 20:43:56

Thank you for the reply. I wonder if we need to change how time at home is spent sometimes. With multiple sets of homework, and a mad rush at the end of the day, to cook and eat, deal with all the practical stuff, DS does sometimes sit in front of the TV / computer for 30-45 minutes, often on his own.

If I'm trying to help build concentration, then maybe he needs to learn how to entertain himself for some of that time with train tracks or cars, puzzles, craft activity etc. It would be a bit more interactive and involve less mental switching off. Mind you, at the end of the day I quite like staring vacantly at the screen while recovering from it all!

KingIrving Fri 19-May-17 01:22:46

But your brain is already formed and it didn't grow being constantly stimulated to the maximum level. You have experienced boredom and calm in your life , a child's brain that is constantly exposed to electronics (gaming or even tv programs) that have the highest stimulation and excitement engineered then because used to a high level of stimulants. Sadly in a class room , the teacher can compete to this entertainment and lessons cannot be as stimulating for a child.
You watch "vacantly" at a screen, you don't play or watch an action-intense tv show, you read or watch a movie, not something engineered to how kids.
A child needs to learn to not being stimulated constantly and build his own imagination and creativity.

workatemylife Fri 19-May-17 10:31:54

That's really interesting. The kind of TV that I watch is probably a lot more relaxing that the frenetic pace of kids television, games etc. I'm going to give this a try.

I'm (gently) regulating screen time, but if I'm honest in looking at the last week, DS has spent more time with TV / computer than the limit that I impose. His older sibling had a homework project due, and while DS with busy doing a jigsaw, I went to help with the project. When I went back after 20 minutes, DS was using the computer and I let him finish the game before putting it away. But that was potentially 30 minutes of screen time above the limit. And if it is the case this week, it is probably the case in other weeks too. All too easy to fall into a habit where screentime is what happens because it is just there. And with half term coming up, now might be the time to stop that happening. Starting by making sure that the computer is out of sight, or at least shut down.

How long did it take for you to see a difference in your son, KingIrving?

KingIrving Fri 19-May-17 21:32:09

Honestly it was quite drastic. The first couple of days it was the only thing he could think of, he was asking "can I use the iPad/watch.../play... but a couple of new books and taking out from under his bed, old loved toys (kapla and a box of miniatures soldiers) . In less than a week, he was a lot less hype. Now we don't have screens during the week and in the weekend there is no binging. All the computers are on the dining table, so for mathletics or homework it is all together, then it is reading or playing. My son loves to help me in the kitchen.

Here are a couple of reading suggestions for you. You should be able to find them in a big library.

book1

book2

book3

Also in case you DS is a preventer for asthma, it interferes with behaviour.

Queazy Sat 20-May-17 20:57:26

Sorry to jump on this post. I just wanted to say thank you, as it's made me realise I need to limit screen time. My 3yo watched children's YouTube a lot sad I'm just so tired with a sleepless 1yo and definitely use it as a crutch. She's going to go mad when I take it away. Any advice or did you just go turkey?

What a mess - I can't believe I have an iPad addicted 3yo! blush

KingIrving Sat 20-May-17 22:16:27

I went cold turkey. You can just pretend it broken as he is so young. The problem with internet and iPads is that there is always something else, it is not a fixed time in the day when there is this nice show on tv and after that a boring political debate kids won't watch. So it is up to us to put an end, and most of the time, the kids are upset, annoyed or angry. And there is of course a difference between an elephant documentary or gaming session on youtube (a guy gaming on his console and filming himself showing tricks).
As long as there is a balance, and the screen is one of the activities of the day it is fine, but when it is the only thing they want to do and when removing it turns into a war, then it is - or at least it was in my house - time to put strong boundaries.

And it is not only a problem for young kids. Last weekend, my Year 9 son had a IST group project, so 4 teenagers came to our house all day long for the filming and editing. Four boys were filming , laughing, running around, and then all laying on their stomach with their pc, adding silly title and so on. The fifth spent his whole day, including part of the lunch when he left the table before everyone else, playing on his phone. Constantly. He was maybe following the group from one room to the other and then sitting in one corner playing.

When they all left after 6pm, I asked my son about him, he said this is what he always does, even during lessons sometimes.

For us, limiting the time daily wasn't working. I didn't want to argue everyday about a stupid piece of electronics and in the minutes after turning it off, my son would't know what to do, he would wander from here to there. And he is 10.
Buy some Djeco cards, and play with him (our favourite pouet pouet) , paint some pasta and make a necklace for you, hide a couple of objects in the house and play cold and hot to find it.

And it is nobody's fault. The games and tv show are engineered to hook you. IT just makes parenting a bit more complicated.

When they are not used to not be constantly entertained, the kids cannot face empty times such as sitting in a restaurant, in a waiting room at the doctor or anywhere.

workatemylife Mon 22-May-17 00:47:54

Hi Queazy. The more the merrier. I know what you mean about children and computers. I am slightly impressed by the skill with which mine find their way around computers and gadgets, but it may not be a good thing after all.

I'm not going cold turkey, at least not yet. I had a great weekend with the DCs this weekend. We were out of the house a lot of the time anyway for various reasons, but we also tidied their bedrooms out, and bagged up clothes that don't fit and toys that are outgrown ready for charity / Ebay. I would normally just have done this myself, at least with the clothes, but getting the DCs involved kept them busy and away from the screen-based babysitter. And each of them found stuff that they had forgotten that they had, so we played a couple of games that haven't been out for months, and opened up the dreaded hama beads.

While the mood was good, I spoke to the DCs and said that I would like to agree a daily limit on screentime. My youngest shrugged and said that would be fine but could we please do some baking to fill up the time grin. Older sibling declared that he wanted no screen time at all because he was going to read all the books on his shelf hmm. Competitive self denial.

If we get to the end of tomorrow with this going on I will be amazed, but at least I will be amazed and living in a house where people are reading books and eating cake and I like that idea smile

I don't know the djeco card games. Will have a look. Thank you.

SofiaAmes Mon 22-May-17 00:50:25

My father is a well known scientist and recently wrote a paper regarding the link between behavior (including adhd and the mood disorders) and vitamin d deficiency. You can google Bruce Ames and Vitamin D to find the paper. Get your ds' vitamin d levels measured or just give him viatmin d (1,000-2000 iu a day is what the vitamin d council recommends for children).

KingIrving Mon 22-May-17 09:32:39

Sofia, I just did research him on pubmed and the conclusion in his paper is :
However, direct effects of vitamin D inadequacy on cognition/behavior in human or rodent systems appear to be subtle, and in our opinion, the current experimental evidence base does not yet fully satisfy causal criteria.

So, I still think - and hordes of neuroscientist do as well - that screens impact negatively on concentration.

SofiaAmes Mon 22-May-17 15:58:54

I am not sure exactly where that quote comes from, but my father (and many experts opinion) on Vitamin D supplementation is essential for regulated behavior and mood. The concluding sentence to the Abstract Summary of his paper is: "This model suggests that optimizing vitamin D and marine omega-3 fatty acid intake may help prevent and modulate the severity of brain dysfunction"

SofiaAmes Mon 22-May-17 16:03:52

That's not to say that limiting screen time isn't going to help. When my dc's were toddlers, Baby Einstein was all the rage. I thought the concept of plugging your child in front of a screen, regardless of what was on that screen, was absurd. As it turned out, Baby Einstein was bad, not good for babies! My dc's had little to no screen time until they went to school. Then, computers were solely a tool for education (my ds has dysgraphia, so needed to use a keyboard instead of handwriting his school work). Now that they are teenagers, the balance is harder to maintain, but it is certainly easier for me than with their peers' parents as they have a toolkit of other self-amusing things to do besides a screen AND they understand the usefulness of computers for research and education and communication.

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