HYPERACTIVITY AND LEARNING DISORDERS"Chiropractors correct abnormalities of the intellect as well as those of the body."
-D.D Palmer, Discoverer of Chiropractic
Doctors of chiropractic have long noticed chiropractic's beneficial effects on those with neurological and emotional problems, especially children.
Learning disorders are just one of many neurological problems that affect children today. They include hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and minimal brain damage among others. The number of children diagnosed with these conditions is growing at a staggering rate, as medical historian Harris Coulter, Ph.D. has noted:
The American Psychiatric Association (Third Edition, revised 1987) publishes a guide to mental illnesses in this country, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual which devotes seventy pages to "Disorders Usually First Evident in Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence. " The second edition in 1968 dealt with these disorders in only 3-112 pages. The first edition, 1952, did not mention them at all.
These disorders have received the appellation "developmental disabilities. " Probably the leading one is dyslexia, " also called "minimal brain damage. " Another prominent one is "autism". But there are many others. Probably twenty percent of American children-one youngster in fame-suffers from a "developmental disability. " This is a ,stupefying figure..
RitalinThe standard medical treatment for hyperactivity in children is amphetamine medications such as Ritalin, Dexedrine and Cylert. Ritalin is classified as a schedule II substance by the FDA along with cocaine, morphine, opium and methadone. Ritalin can have severe side effects, including arrested growth, increased heart rate, insomnia, loss of appetite, social withdrawal, irritability, moodiness and involuntary movements or sounds. In 1988, a half-million children were prescribed stimulant drugs for ADD and ADHD. By 1997 the number was two million and it is expected to reach eight million by 2000. Interestingly, M.D.s in the U.S. prescribe five times the quantity of stimulants for children as M.D.s in other countries. Many parents are concerned about drugging their children for years and possible drug abuse and dependency. "Is there another way," they ask?
The Cause of Learning Disorders?Dr. Coulter and a growing number of professionals feel that many of the neurologically damaged are victims of childhood vaccinations: A large proportion of the millions of U. S. children and adults suffering from autism, seizures, mental retardation, hyperactivity, dyslexia, and other shoots and branches of the hydra-headed entity called 'developmental disabilities, " owe their disorders to one or another of the vaccines against childhood diseases.
Other causes of neurologic damage may be trauma to the head, severe bum, infectious diseases, accidents and falls.
What Can Chiropractic Do?Chiropractors are trained to locate and correct vertebral subluxations-tiny distortions of spinal bones or vertebrae-that can irritate or stress the spine, discs, muscles, ligaments and nervous system.
Although not a treatment for neurological disorders, chiropractic care has given many children suffering from neurological disorders new hope. Chiropractors, parents and school officials have reported on the effectiveness of chiropractic care for children with many kinds of neurological conditions including learning disorders, hyperactivity, inability to concentrate and behavior problems.
For example, the director of Psychoeducational and Guidance Services of College Station, Texas noted that of the 10,000 students referred to him in the previous decade, those who had received chiropractic care seemed to show the most benefit. He noticed that children failing their subjects and lacking motivation began passing their subjects, became highly motivated, and showed improved coordination and ability to participate in athletics after receiving chiropractic care. Some of the cases from his files included:
1. High school student; non-motivated, negative, passive, nonverbal and failing in high school work despite placement in special classes. She was put on 20mg. Ritalin. After chiropractic adjustments, the student was taken off Ritalin, began talking and expressing herself, and showed improved reading comprehension and reading speed.
2. Eight-year-old boy who was extremely hyperactive, irritable and with severe behavior problems at home and school; grades were marginal to failing; on 70mg. of Ritalin/day with steadily diminishing results. After chiropractic care, Ritalin was discontinued and coordination was improved to the extent that the student became a Little League ball player. His attitude was excellent, grades were up an average of one letter grade and behavior at home and school was exemplary.
3. A student with a four-year history of marginal accomplishment in school was nervous, underweight and suffered from insomnia. Medication was briefly tried but the student's emotional control became poor and he frequently wept. After chiropractic care there was a marked reduction in nervousness and great improvement in emotional stability. His mother reported that his appetite was now normal and he began enjoying school during the last month.
Others have observed chiropractic's effect on hyperactivity: "The majority of the children ... did, in fact, improve under specific chiropractic care.? Still others have commented that spinal care may improve IQs.
In one interesting story, chiropractors had taken care of 244 children in a Kentucky reform school. The teachers were so impressed that they signed a petition asking for a full-time chiropractor on staff: "Not only did [the students] improve in health, but also in their school work as pupils ... there has been a marked improvement in their moral life." However, please remember that not all children respond the same under chiropractic care.
Exactly how subluxation correction affects brain function is not known. Some theorize that chiropractic care improves blood flow to the brain;10-13 others feel it lessens anxiety and promotes overall improved well-being 14-16 or enhances brain function17 while others feel it interrupts unhealthy nerve reflexes in the spinal cord.18-Z1 Obviously the final word on the mechanism is not yet in.
In ConclusionWorking in concert with nutritionists, homeopaths, CranioSacral therapists, psychologists, medical doctors and other healers, including chiropractors, parents can give their children every chance for optimal life expression.
If seriously afflicted students have been found to benefit from chiropractic care, could not "average" children benefit as well? Perhaps chiropractic care could help "average" students become "above average"? Increase their IQ a few points? Improve their reading skills a little and give them an edge in alertness, coordination and speech? Why not discover the benefits of chiropractic for your own children?