Primary School

PRIMARY SCHOOL

The following stories I have written up from discussions on the phone with the mothers, fathers and grand-parents; they have all given permission for me to use their stories.  Some are from e-mails. Most have appeared first in the Maati Talk Newsletter.

Hidden in most of these stories is an open secret: No matter the intervention used, progress occurs when  the parent and child team up.  Then the child begins to take responsibility for their own well-being and as their self-confidence grows so they become happier and more balanced people.

Carol (mum) and Robin
Carol says they bought the Settle and Grow late in October but they have not used it so far for studying but will start with the Absorb program this year.
Carol says: “But the bedtime stories are an absolute winner with Robin (7years) who loves them and asks to listen to the “sleep story” every night. I have noticed a difference as Robin seems to be more relaxed and her sleeping patterns seem to be deeper. And we had no bedwetting incidents at all.”
This year we are planning to incorporate the rest of the programs. Thank you for your support.” Carol. [Ref 0110]

Dalene (mum) Richard 12.
I received this note from Dalene this week. It’s an example of a dedicated mother pulling her family with her to live and prosper with ADHD:
“Maati, remember me? I made contact with you about six months ago. I was desperate. Having read all about the challenges of ADHD I sat down and had a serious think about my situation. I know my son Richard 12 is ADHD as he has been assessed at school. My daughter Sonja 16 is ADD, not hyper, just dreamy. My husband for sure is ADHD; he’s that exciting person I fell in love with. As for me let’s leave that one for now.
 
I realised that I am the only one who will be able to pull this bus out of the mud. So, as you say, start with your own disorganised self. There must be changes I could make and medication is not going to be the route for me.
After making a good study of all the information on your website I printed out all the nutrition notes. I ordered the Settle and Grow CDs and with that you kindly gave me the Gemshapes study tips. I used this to assess myself and my family. What a revelation!

I spent most of Saturday familiarising myself with the content and made lists and drafted a preliminary plan of action. [Note: This is not usual ADHD behaviour. She must have been really desperate and motivated.] Armed with this I called a family conference for Sunday afternoon. All four of us then had to bring this problem to the table. We all agreed that something must be done as the complaints from the teachers were very difficult to handle. The marks and future for Sonja and Richard looked bleak.

So, on my suggestions, we looked at all the alternatives including changing the family diet. My husband was the first to object and said he will not give up his addiction of drinking a litre of Diet Coke a day. He said it was cheaper than alcohol. True. The children agreed that they will do the “diet trip” but just for one month. And they agreed to be very strict with themselves. To them it was an experiment like in a laboratory experiment and Richard thought this could be fun. He would pretend to write this up for a science paper. Sonja was prepared to do anything to loose weight and get rid of the pimples.

To experiment with the fish oil was not so great but I made it clear we do the whole package. I would work out the menus and lunchboxes get the correct food and we would meet once a week to discuss progress and give feedback. Because my husband is the biggest sceptic he found it very difficult to take part in the experiment but he offered to write it all up and keep the records.

The feedback after one week was surprising. The CDs were working well and suddenly Richard got full marks for his Friday maths test. Sonja was complemented on her excellent research essay (On Diet for Teenagers). The children, however, found it difficult to cope with my husband who insisted on his tins of coke in the fridge. They asked him, please, for the next few weeks not to bring his tempting cokes into the kitchen. I know this was a difficult request for him but he agreed.

Now six months later. My husband has admitted that he most probably was ADHD all his life and is now working constructively with the kids to help them and himself. He is better able to cope with his food cravings. He is also more relaxed and seems to handle stress better. Both Sonja and Richard are like the best teenagers in the neighbourhood. They are remarkable at school and the teachers and headmaster are thrilled with their results.

And me, well thanks to your information and encouragement, I now run a “Model ADHD Home” and, of course, I personally feel better and more positive.
Best regards, Dalene.”
[Congratulations, Dalene, you have achieved what few others have done. You may not have realised it, but one of the main factors was treating your children as intelligent people who could understand the issues and then make their own judgments. With your encouragement, of course.]

Clara (mum) and son Jack
My recent conversation with Clara was, for me, a glimpse of what many parents and educators have to deal with daily “at the coal face”. Emotionally it was a bit painful and I can only share this with you and maybe you can give me some help and advice for the road forward. There comes a time in one’s life when we do some deep reviewing of what is happening around one.

Clara reminded me that we started working together at the beginning of the year when their problem with Jack became acute: He had to re-do grade two and this was very bad for his self-esteem and it took some serious counselling to help him to adjust and then accept this.
He was taking Ritalin and this was affecting him very badly. He had no appetite; he weighed 55kg, had a serious sleeping problem and occasionally still wet the bed, and, even with the Ritalin, he had great difficulty concentrating. All this was distressing for Jack and the family and Clara, as you can imagine, was very stressed.

She decided to take Jack off Ritalin (against my advice) and start with the Zone diet and Omega 3 program and get the Settle and Grow set of CDs. She would start ASAP with this new approach to the “Jack Problem”.
Two weeks into this project she reported that Jack was eating better and sleeping better. (No more bedwetting.) Over the last 6 months we have been in touch briefly.

She called me on Monday last. “Maati I feel so excited and also so sad. Last term Jack received such good marks in all his subjects, average of 65% and such a good report form his teacher about his progress. He was again assessed and now the new report says he does not really display the symptoms of a true ADHD, he seems to have an eye problem and needs therapy to correct this. Now, suddenly, with these exercises, his reading with the use of the Focus program in the Settle and Grow and is improving every week. We spent a lot of time during the school holidays reading. What fun.

“When I speak to my friends and other ADHD mothers of the CD programs and the diet program some look at me in horror. “How can an inexpensive approach like this help with such a complicated problem? It is just too easy and too cheap to work.”

“We also used the Gemshapes to help to asses our styles and now in our house we know what is stressful for each other (and it is not the same things) and avoid doing that. This program has certainly helped to make for a more harmonious and respectful environment to live in. We are really a happy home now.

“I’m am so sad that not more people would investigate and use the information for their own benefit. Jack and I can only live by our own beliefs and be and example. I thank God for the help and guidance and that He has led me to you and the extraordinary programs.”

Nathan 11 years old.
 
His mother says he is so excited about the Absorb CD in the Sound Study System programs that he insists on using it every day, and has also worked on the GEMSHAPES CDROM which for them was a real revelation.
Mum could not believe the outcome but after doing the test 3 times she confirmed his study style was truly a Topaz Roll. The tips given for this GEMSHAPE study style have already benefited his study techniques. The big thing is that he also sleeping better. Nathan says it is so nice not to have nightmares anymore.

Jovan. (Mar 05)
A story from the mother of an eight-year-old boy at a remedial school. (Mar 05)
Dear Maati, My son really has a learning problem and every day I help him go through his homework. I got the Settle and Grow kit from you and arranged to play the Absorb CD in the background in the room where we do our homework. (I know we should use earphones but we have not bought them yet.)
 
I told Jovan that we were going to try these sounds to help him. After two days he said he did not like the sounds. I asked him nicely if he would agree to try them for three more days. He agreed. After the three days he made no comment so I continued.
 
On the seventh day, we were doing spelling. I said the words aloud and he had to write them out. When he had finished I took the paper to check the words and unusually, they were all correct. But also he had written the words in the most beautiful handwriting which he had never done before. I had to move away because I burst into tears. Of course, I praised him and we had a good time together.

Today the teacher from his remedial school phoned me and wanted to know what I had done to Jovan. She says that his hand writing is dramatically improved. I told her about the sounds and  I now have to go to the school to show her. 
By the way, Jovan says: “Thanks Aunty Maati.”  
 
Update on Jovan  (June 2005)
Dear Maati, You will recall that I reported that Jovan, who has a real learning problem, had benefited from using the Absorb CD in the Settle and Grow kit.

Well, he is going from strength to strength with handwriting improving everyday. Every weekday, at 5pm he settles down to do his homework. (Previously it was such a battle to get him to do this.) I am around to help if need be but he puts on his earphones and gets going on his own. His school marks are improving daily. We are delighted with the progress.
By the way, his little five-year-old sister,  has decided that she also wants to do her homework at the same time. So they sit, one behind the other, Jovan with his earphones on, both quiet and studious.
What a delight! Thanks Maati.

Update on Jovan (Dec 2005)
I promised you some follow-up on the stories we have been tracking all year. I talked with Jovan’s mom. Remember Jovan, the little boy, who is not only AD/HD but has many other physical problems as well. His mother tells me: “Maati, when I sit back and review the past year it is as if I am watching the unfolding of a beautiful flower. I only sit in wonderment because I would not have believed that this little boy of mine, sitting here with me now is the same as the child of 2004.
 
A year ago, his behaviour, at times, was impossible. For example, sometimes he just refused to do his homework, and it was hell to sit down and read and write. To get him to school in the morning was an exhausting exercise. He fought with everybody; his friends were fed up with him. His younger sister found it impossible to be with him because of his tantrums. I was tired and just grabbing at any possible solution. I was prepared to try anything to balance this household. I tried many things, some with results others not. Jovan was on medication (Ritalin) for a while but he is no longer on it.

When we started using the Settle and Grow kit it was really the last resort. I was ready to have a breakdown myself, but that is the last thing any mother can do. Not so? [Ed: Remember the instructions on the aircraft about the oxygen masks. First the mother must fix hers. Then she can help the kids. Mother has first to look after herself, physically and mentally.]
As you know, the results were not immediate but after one week it was obvious that there was a difference, something was happening and we persevered day- by-day.  And today my child is different. He’s not cured but he’s getting there.

He loves to go to school, enjoys waiting for the bus to be on time, and most important he is so excited about learning. His school results prove his enthusiasm. Last year this time with the school results we were in doom and gloom about his academic work. This year we only have bright shiny stars all over the place. His self-esteem is amazing. We are so proud of him.

And the best wonder is that he reads. Can you believe it? He asks for his book to read at night to go to sleep with. We go the library every week and he comes home with his ration of three books. One story book and two books about his special interest: spiders, goggas and stars and space. [Ed: Much like Calvin with his interest in dinosaurs.] “His drawings and artwork are so different from before. This really reflects his joy and balance.

After reading all the Neurotherapy articles on the website I understand more about how the brain works. The Hebbing Learning theory in the article makes sense to me. Will use the programs in the holiday time, just half an hour during the day sitting reading (story books, of course) and relaxing to continue with this “therapy”.
Within one year the Settle and Grow program has turned our family around. Thank you”
[Plus your own lloving patience and encouragement.]

A story from Otto, 11 year-old son of Clinical Psychologist
 “Vandat  my ma die Settle en Grow  program vir my gegee het, geniet ek dit om te leer. Ek het  vir my ’n maklike roetine uitgewerk vir my huiswerk. Eers maak ek my gemaklik by my werktafel  en gewoonlik kies ek die snit 2 van die Absorb program want dit is net 20 minute. Ek gebruik my oorfone  en begin my huiswerk. Die program is so cool want net so voor die 20 minute om is is daar  die drie beeps. Dan weet ek dit is breek tyd.
Die breektyd  benut ek vir ekstra oefinning. Ek neem my fiets en ry vinnig  om die blok. Ek is dan sommer weer reg vir nog 20 minute met my Absorb en my huiswerk.  Vandat ek so begin werk het het ek hierdie kwartaal nog nie een keer laër punte as 90% gekry nie. [Ed: Last year we hear he was really struggling at school.] Ek gebruik die program al van verlede jaar en dit werk lekker.

Ek slaap ook met die slaap stories. Ek vind ek raak gouer aan die slaap en voel baie meer uitgerus die volgende oggend. Ek hou van die Engelse slaap storie met Oogle-Google maar partykeer gebruik ek die Rain program.
[Otto is using the programs correctly, e.g. Study for a short period and then have a brief exercise session. Repeat as required. Note that he has taken control of using the system. His self-esteem has increased because he chooses what works for him each day and at each step.]

Update on the story of Otto. (Feb 2005)
Dear Maati, Remember how my son Otto responded to the Absorb CD and how he studies for half an hour and then gets on his bike to whiz around the block
He still does this and his school marks continue to improve. But he has sort-of claimed ownership of the kit.
[This is great because as he finds it works for him he has less stress and his self-esteem improves. And so does his learning capacity.] He is keen on art and now uses the Recall and Create CDs to assist his creativity while he draws and paints. It all seems to be working together, as one thing gets better so do other things.
Many thanks again.  I’ll keep you posted.

Story of Dominic in Gauteng
Dominic, 10 years, hyperactive, not on medication, has been using the Settle and Grow kit for some months. He found the beeps on the Absorb disc absolutely disturbing so we made him a special version without the beeps. This his mother plays in the background while he does his homework and she says it helps a bit. [Ed: this is not ideal but it is a start.] He likes the Mozart and Baroque music and his mother plays them in the background in the morning and when he comes home from school. This his mother says helps him become more balanced and relaxed.
He does not like the Sleep Starter programs and does not have a full night’s sleep. He pretends to fall asleep and when the rest of the household is asleep he gets up amuses himself in his room. This, of course, adversely affects his behaviour the next day. Here is a case where the use of the Settle and Grow kit is being slowly, slowly introduced.

The Absorb CD, which they did not use any more, they sent to a cousin who is using it most effectively. He says he can concentrate for two hours and finish all his homework for college. But he has not told his parents or his school colleagues how much it helps him. [This is typical and understandable behaviour. They do not want to admit that they are getting “help”.] 

Sleepy-time Girls
I am a working mother (I run my own health-food shop) and for some time now have read a story to my daughter at night to help her fall asleep. But let’s face it, some nights I am so tired and when Maati suggested the bed-time story in the Settle and Grow program I was happy to try it. I rigged up the speakers over my daughter’s bed, started the story, and when I looked again daughter was fast asleep.

Also she slept through the night, which she seldom did before. This was wonderful and for a week or so we used it every night. Then one night I thought I may as well listen to the story myself so I lay down next to her and enjoyed the story. The next thing I realised was when I woke up, feeling chilly, at nearly midnight, sleeping peacefully next to my daughter.  Maybe it was just the stress of the day. Or something. Bed-time stories are not supposed to be for grown-ups.

Gary and Oogle-Google
I have Amy telling me that her son Gary (6 years old) listened to the
Oogle-Google Bedtime story once and reported to her that the story has
no proper ending and he did not think he would listen to it again.

The following night he told her he had changed his mind (anything
new for an AD/HD child?) and maybe he should have another listen
because he slept so much better last night, when he listened. Gary will
use his story when he has had a “rough” day and feels he needs a
 “better sleep tonight”.

Salome:
“Dear Maati, At the end 2006 my son (Robert, 13 years) failed his grade. (Maths marks = zero) and there was a query as to whether he should be promoted or not. As you will remember, we were all very upset, but with your encouragement we accepted the problem and after discussions he was promoted to the next grade.

We invested in the Settle and Grow set of CDs and, as you suggested, we started using it during the December school holidays. We used the sleep programs and sometimes played the Absorb and Recall programs in the background while the kids were just playing. Also, on your suggestion, we added The Real Thing Omega Oil Fish oil to his diet. At the end of the holidays we really noticed a difference in Robert’s behaviour, more calm, and his sleep seemed to be more restful. And, surprisingly, he was quite keen to go back to school.

We discussed our use of the Settle and Grow CDs with the headmaster of the school and asked if Robert would be allowed to listen to the Absorb program during class, for a trial period of one term. He agreed.

Well, as you know, it’s the end of the term and we were called in to discuss Robert’s report with the Headmaster. Remembering last year, we were very worried but when Headmaster showed us Robert’s report, Maths 65%, with glowing reviews for all the other subjects, you can imagine, it was rather an emotional experience. Now Robert is up and away, can’t wait for next term.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement. As you taught us, “First prepare the brain (with the fish-oil) then use the brain (Settle and Grow CDs).”
 
Karin
She shared her story with me just this morning.
“Dear Maati, after two weeks into the first term my daughter Marie’s teacher called us in and we sensed trouble. The teacher said that Marie was giving her problems, she was disruptive in the classroom and could not, or would not, settle down to do her class work. The teacher said we must review her medication, which we did with very little difference in her behaviour.
 
After talking to you we decided to try using the Real Thing Fish Oil for just one month and use the Settle and Grow on a daily basis for her homework. Also to change her diet. We discussed the problem with her and asked her to help be a bit more strict on the sweets and, as you call them “Baddies” that slip in now and then. She agreed because she really did want to be teacher’s pet and have friends.

Tuesday was report day and my heart still races when I think of how worried I was. But then I remember Marie’s teacher’s face, she was just so glowing. She said that Marie has changed dramatically from the beginning of the year. She is much calmer, she sits still and finishes her class work. And her marks are improving every week. It is a joy to have her in the classroom. (Teacher is convinced it’s the oil that has made the difference.)”
 
Caroline
She decided to buy the GEMSHAPES Study Tips CDROM Just for fun. Something for the family to learn and play with in the December holidays.
She told me: “Everyone took it in turn to find his or her GEMSHAPE. This was easy and even our little eight year-old (Jovanne) with a bit of help could do it. Then the fun really started. Among other points we each learned what are our key stress triggers. It was amazing to find that although we are such a close family we are so different.

We realised that little Jovanne (Topaz Sphere) needs to have lots of “time outs”, that is time to just play by himself. He is not being rude or difficult he just needs this private time. He now understands that it is his way of operating (the notes call it his temperament style) and he no longer feels bad or insecure about it.

Last weekend he went to a karate camp, very exciting and lots of fun. It is activity all day with his karate friends but by Saturday evening he just needed his space. He went to the camp master and asked him if he could miss the campfire games because he was really very tired and wanted to have an early sleep. The next morning he was bright and cheerful but looking forward to going home later in the day.

[This is typical behaviour for an intuitive introvert. They can play and present a face and mix with the extroverts for a while but then they need to revert to their own inner space. Remember, 75% of the population are extroverts so the poor introverts are sometimes the victims and have great difficulty in adapting to the activities of their so-called “normal” friends. I notice that many ADD kids, of all ages, seem to be introvert and this adds an extra element to their ADD stress.]

Caroline Continues: “We enjoyed the GEMSHAPES because it was in Afrikaans and English and we could flip from one to the other. I’ll keep you posted on how we get on with the memory tips.”
 
Tina, mother, son James 10.
Talking to Tina last week she reported on her son James has made wonderful improvement over the last six weeks by concentrating on the nutrition and the Settle and Grow CD programs.

He is feeling so much better and is really cooperating well especially now that teacher is sending home such complementary notes: “James has excelled in his spelling test today. 8 out of 10. Good.” “James was the best reader today.” And as his self-confidence grows so his performance grows.

Tina is also very encouraged by his improved behaviour. “We still have the odd episode where he can get very excited but this is becoming less and less; he is certainly much calmer.”

He uses the Settle and Grow sleep program every night and is far more rested in the morning and this helps with his behaviour during the day.
Mom is also taking some Omega 3 capsules and multivitamins and she is better able to cope. The diet is working well and the whole family is now weaned from sugar and all the no-no’s on the food list. Even in these difficult times Tina has worked a diet plan to suit their budget and she tells me it is actually cheaper than when they had all the no-no foods. The saving on chips and sweets, for example, is noticeable on her weekly shopping cost.

We are looking forward to hearing James’ yearend results. This family is an example: everybody decided to prove to himself or herself that “they can do it” and I am delighted that they have.
[Excellent mum-work Tina. Keep it up.]

Tania, mother, son Joshua, 7 years.
“Thank you for the Settle and Grow program and all the help. Just talking with you gives me a “tonic boost” so I feel I can face the problems “Challenges” as you call them.

For many years Joshua has been a serious problem at home and at school. It got to the stage where the day-care mother asked me to consider moving him to another centre. The school teacher was desperate. I was devastated. Everything around me was ready to collapse. But just chatting to you I learned so much and I decided I WILL pull this situation right, help my child and save my marriage. I gave myself one year to turn it around. I know there is no magic bullet.

Ritalin was a NO-NO as it affected my child very badly. We decide to go the food route and within one week there was a noticeable difference. We cut out all the no-no foods, did the Omega 3 and supplements and started using the sleep program in the Settle and Grow. The day-care teacher was willing to use the Absorb CD in the afternoon with his homework.
We sat Joshua down and explained to him the problem and we asked him what he thought about it. It was amazing the questions he asked and some of the practical solutions he offered to help us all, like asking Grandpa to please not to give him any sweets because it is so tempting and he so wants to get well.

I also asked the teacher and the day-care mother if they would please give me a weekly report on the progress and if there are any problems or relapses. We must then give attention to these reports and work on them.
I keep a short diary on all this. (Maati you say that one day Joshua and I can write a book and help other mothers, a bit of a daunting idea but why not, I’m learning so much).

It’s been six weeks now and we have the following to report: Joshua is absolutely determined to get well. As small as he is he has set himself a routine and sticks to it. It is so precious to hear him brushing his teeth and trying so hard to be punctual in the morning. Teacher is delighted with his progress this term but there is lots more work especially on his group work but on his individual work progress he is becoming an achiever. Self esteem is building up! Day-care mother is delighted to with the “new little man” and she says: “She knows how to work with him.”

We are all now using crushed flaxseed and, yes, I think we are all feeling better. And Maati thank you for listening and helping the tears turn into smiles.
 
Marjory. Daughter Monique, nine years+, is ADHD.
They have used the HOME TIMER for 2 weeks now. When it arrived there was great excitement to unpack it and see how it worked. Mom explained the reason why the TIMER is now going to be important in the learning management of the home.

After discussion, they decided that 20 minutes should be ample time for getting finally ready in the morning. They devised a reward system of 10 stars for being on time and 20 stars for ahead of time. Well, the stars are mounting up, lots of special rewards at the end of the week.

This family now arrives at the school gate about 15 min ahead of time. No more shouting, no more tempers. Even mom is now “reminded that she only has 5 more minutes to get ready and she must not to make the family late.” [So Monique is looking at the numbers on the TIMER not only the red section.]

Mom has found that Monique has the homework time far more in control, the reading time is better timed – it’s now a pleasure. She has a calmer more focused child. Mom find the clock very user friendly and Monique is managing it herself now under Mom’s supervision.

“I recommended it highly to all parents.” From Marjory, a happy Mom.
[Those who have used reward systems in behaviour modification know that one has to modify and change the rewards as you go along. No one system lasts forever.]
 
Mother, son Reuben.
 Thank you sooo much for responding to my question.  You are not going to believe it, but I ordered the Time Timer Clock a few years ago from you as well as some CD's and I received the GEMSHAPES CD as a free gift.  I tried to look at it at that stage but because Ruben was still small and there was not much learning to do, I lost interest and totally forgot about it.
This whole afternoon I have been going through the GEMSHAPES CD - together with Ruben identifying him as a Coral Roll - and what a wonderful revelation.  Thank you so, so much.  I got so many ideas and I can’t wait for the new term to start so that we can start learning again. [You should try and learn some non-school type topics during the holidays to get into the swing of things and how the programs work.]

Never thought that learning could actually be fun and I am sure Ruben will agree with me when we start next term.  This has always been his greatest complaint that learning is no fun!

We stopped using the CD's a while ago but I think it might be a good idea to load if for him on his MP3 player – which will look cool if he listens to it.
Thanks again for the wonderful work you are doing.  It is such a relief to have someone to ask for advice when it comes to these difficult situations.
Take care and please continue with your good work! Kind regards, Desiré.”
 
Ann, daughter Anne Marie.
We got the Settle and Grow in February and what a difference in our family life. We now all sleep! Anne Marie had a sleeping problem since baby days and as she got older it was getting real bad. Since she has been using the bedtime stories she is able to sleep the whole night and so can we.

I have been using the sleep programs for my self to test the system. My sleeping patterns is now also more regular, and I feel so much more rested.

We started the Absorb programs in the afternoons for home work. We could not really see any difference or so we thought, but yesterday Annemarie said. “Mom when can I go back to school, when is all these holidays finished. I enjoy school and learning” well you could have knocked me over. This did not happen last term let alone last year. But I discovered that there has been a change in her marks for the better and the reading is becoming easier. So thank you, as you said it will be subtle and gentle but the progress is there. We are so proud of the progress.
Thank you for your support, Ann”

Corra, son Theunis.
Thank you for recommending the "The Real Thing Omega-3 oil. Received Theunis's report card for grade 2 for last term and guess what? He did so well! He received 3's on all his subjects. His Neurologist kept the packaging/tin of the omega in her office to recommend the product to other parents. Theunis’s mood and everything else has changed. This product really works. Thank you for being there and for listening to parents like me! Corra
 
Nicola and son. Per e-mail.
I haven’t been in contact for a while, (the last time was when I ordered some books from you) but the latest Newsletter prompted me to contact you. I thoroughly enjoy the Maati Talk and The BrainsGrow Newsletters, and always read all the articles that you provide links to. I especially found the info regarding early puberty, hormones and obesity in the last newsletter extremely interesting.

I notice at my son’s school that there seem to be so many overweight kids and that the girls seem to be developing breasts so much earlier. I also hear from the teachers that they battle to get kids interested in playing sports like cricket, tennis, rugby and netball. What role do the parents play in this lack of interest? Or is it that they do not want to do any extra driving around? Probably a bit of both.

As you know, I ordered Settle and Grow from you in the first half of 2007. At that stage my son, then 6, was very oppositional and I was at my wits end. At that stage I also started him on The Real Thing Mega Omega as you suggested.

For the first 2 weeks he listened and stayed awake straight through the English and Afrikaans bedtime stories. He did not enjoy the sleep starters. I realize now that actually he was just resisting everything because he felt so out of control that he was trying desperately to control his environment. I tried again a couple of weeks later, and he started to respond to the bedtime stories, enjoying them and actually falling asleep before the end. That made a huge difference to his quality of sleep, because he slept deeper and with less bad dreams. Within a couple of weeks his colour was better and the rings under his eyes were gone. It was also easier to get him to sleep, where in the past I had to lie with him and sing and soothe for at least an hour every night. He just couldn’t get out of his hyped up state. It also made a huge difference to me, because I hated bedtime being a battleground. When it improved with the help of Settle and Grow my quality of life also improved.

In the middle of last year we were told by his school that if we don’t take drastic action to improve his concentration and ADHD behavior, he would not be able to move on to grade 1. I was frantic, not wanting to put him on Ritalin. In the end, under pressure from Neuro Paediatrician Dr …….., Psychologist ........, the teacher and head of department, and his OT, we eventually relented and tried Ritalin.
Well, to make a long story short, this wasn’t the answer; the side effects were horrific (zombie-like behavior, loss of appetite, emotional outbursts, tantrums, paranoia, obsessive behavior, it just wasn’t worth it). We adjusted the dosage to half a tablet every 4 hours, but this did not improve concentration in class, while still causing the side effects. And can you believe it, when I pointed out the side effects to Dr …….., she just offered Concerta instead, admitting that it could probably also have more or less the same effects, but that he can take additional medication for the side effects. We went home to think about things, and within a week I took him off the Ritalin.

Within a month I started a Brain Gym course with Rita Edwards and also started taking him to sessions of therapy with her. The improvement was immediate. As his reflexes became integrated his behavior became calmer, his ADHD symptoms lessened considerably, his tactile defensiveness improved dramatically, he concentrates better, he does not get so hyped up and comes down from a hyped up state much quicker. I can reason with him now and he is less anxious. I have now competed all the necessary level one Brain Gym courses and am continuing the therapy myself. I will however take him back to Rita if I am unsure of how to handle something.

So, where are we now: He got 4’s for everything on his report for the first term and his teacher is happy with his progress. (We are as well!!) She is very impressed with his general knowledge and vocabulary. He has no trouble so far with reading, maths of writing. He still talks a lot in class, and too loudly, and gets into trouble for that, so we still have to work on the modulation of behavior. Impulsiveness and listening and balance are also still issues to work on. At least he has a wonderful teacher this year; that helps a lot.  We are now doing Brain Gym movements to relax before bedtime, combined with Settle and Grow sleep starters. (He does not want to listen to the bed-time stories anymore, will try it again after a while.) He is also still getting 2 of The Real Thing Mega Omega’s as well as 1 tablet of Patrick Holford’s Optimum Nutrition for Smart Kids and 1 Biostrath tablet per day)

I also let him participate in all the sport that he can do at school as well as extramural swimming and afternoon walks and scooter rides. (Bicycle will soon follow, he’s not quite ready balance-wise.) I have been warned that homework gets more challenging this coming term, and I think I will start using the Focus tracks on Settle and Grow. Will let you know how it goes. Will it be more beneficial if he listens to it with earphones while we are doing reading, flashcards and other homework, of will it be OK if I just play it in the background? Altogether we are coping much better now, thanks to you and Rita.”

A subsequent e-mail says: “Thank you so much for all your hard work that you have put into your products; it has been an enormous support. Thank you also for your sound and grounded advice in a time when I was really desperate. Of course, I realize that there lies a long road ahead, but I feel that with Brain Gym and Settle and Grow on our side, we have wonderful tools in our tool box. Until next time, Love, Nicola”

Sally, daughter Tracy. Per e-mail.
“Dear Maati, After three weeks into this New Year we, as a family, realised that we were spinning out of control. At the end of last year our 11-year-old Tracy was just coping. This year with new teachers she was getting very difficult to manage. Mood swings, tempers, sleepless nights, fighting about not eating, food cravings, you name it we were dealing with it.

My husband found this stress very difficult as well. After talking to you I called a family “conference.” [I suggested that an 11-year old is quite capable of understanding the logic behind treating her own condition. And that changing habits is not easy. I wished her well.] Around the table we discussed all these problems and decided to take harsh decisions and work on it for 4 weeks as a team and then review the situation

First in was the Omega 3 for all of us. Next, the food. This was not that easy. My husband found it very difficult especially to give up his craving for fizzy cool drinks. Once we all started with the Settle and Grow CDs things became easier. Tracy started having a better sleep. My husband uses the Recharge in the afternoons when he came home and enjoys the evenings. He even sometimes helps prepare the supper.

For Tracy, home work and study time with the Focus program become so easy. The best was that after 2 weeks of this routine Tracy came home very excited. She came top of the class in the day’s test. This event was all the encouragement we needed. We are now a closer family, life seems like bliss.

Fear not, we are not fooled by this small sparkle of success so we know that we will still need to work on this progress. Thank you for your help and continued support. Sally”

Jaquie, mother, child 12 Years.
“I must confess I was very sceptical of this program in the beginning, but I have changed my mind radically. My son has mild Tourette’s syndrome. I was pleasantly surprised that once we started using the Focus CD whilst doing home work, I could leave him alone to continue with out me hanging over him. He just seemed to want to get on with it and do the work. During the year his marks started improving and at the end of the year he got a trophy for reading and writing skills improvement. In the beginning of the year he had a severe writing problem but at the year-end exams he was able to write a 4 page essay. Thank you for your CDs, your support and the newsletters.”

Steve. Father, daughter Mary
Mary has been a problem sleeper since baby days and this, as all can imagine, has been difficult for the parents as well. Steve bought the Settle and Grow set and from the first night using the bedtime stories there was an improvement. Mary just loved the bedtime stories and now bedtime and sleeping is bliss. Steve says: “Thank for the wonderful variety of sound on the Programs, the story is delightful and Mary has yet to hear the end of the story.”

Grandma Petro , grand-daughter Ronel..
Ronel has been a real problem: Teachers, therapist and family were all desperate and this is where the Settle and Grow set was given the opportunity to help.

One of Ronel’s problems was falling asleep. The first night using the bedtime story mum decided to watch and time her. [Ed: Testing the system?] It took exactly eight minutes for Ronel to fall asleep. It was like a miracle. The next day at school she said she felt better and this improvement has carried on day by day.

Then Ronel started using the Focus CD to do her homework and suddenly, as if a light was switched on in her head, this little girl wanted to read, and read. From somebody who hated books and could not read at all well she now goes to bed with her storybooks and can’t wait in the morning to read again. Mom has bought her a Child’s Bible with large print and she just loves it. [Ed. Note that she does not now always have to listen to the Focus CD to concentrate on the reading. The process has established itself and is self perpetuating.]

Ronel’s teacher is astounded and has the following year end comment on her report: “At the moment Ronel is not at the top of the class nor is she at the bottom anymore. She is very comfortably in the middle but the way she is going now nothing is going to stop her to getting to the top. It is real pleasure to observe and encourage her progress.”
The therapist is amazed and the rapid change this child has made in only two months.

Grandma Petro reckons buying the Settle and Grow was the best investment the family has ever made. [Ed: This is a classic case where the child has taken responsibility for his or her own life while at the same time accepting the help and support of therapist and family.]

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