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Posted by Anne Miller-Bagwell on October 04, 2000 at 14:21:09:

In Reply to: Grand daughter's (12 yrs old) ADD assessment posted by Frederick T. Warren on October 13, 1999 at 20:56:58:

: My 12 year old grand daughter has been cited as having ADD. She lives on the SE coast, while I am in
: SF Bay area. I have been advised that she has had a bout (bouts?) with Tourette's Syndrome (swearing
: on school bus), instances of "obsessive/compulsive" behavior - would not sit on chair previously
: occupied by younger (six) brother as "it was dirty." Also, an instance of rigid/fetal behavior, and "froze"
: after being told to get ready, and brush her hair. The little one was held back a grade at one time, and
: presently, these past and recent concerns have her on Prozac. I am advised that an MRI was taken - no
: tumors, and that now consideration is being made to have her go through a SPECT scan at the Amen
: Clinic in Fairfield, CA. At the same time I was advised that she may have an "oppositional disorder"
: and that if she does have a temporal disfunction (?) then Prozac is contra-indicated. My grand daughter
: would fly - alone, here to go to the Amen Clinic. Under the above description is it safe for her to fly
: unaccompanied. Please Note: She is very welcome, as are her parents, but her Mom's thoughts are to
: send her alone for a Thanksgiving holiday (response to my invite), and also go to the Amen Clinic.If I can
: get appropriate responses, I will gladly call to follow up. I have searched for info on ADD, ODD, and yhe
: Amen Clinic. Thank you in advance. Fred Warren

Mr. Warren,

I have received excellant treatment and help at the Amen Clinic and I know they treat many children. The terms you have quoted are all familiar to me, and sound like things that could be addressed by the clinic's approach, which focuses on balancing the activity and coordination of various structures in the brain, using SPECT imaging, a kind of computed tomography to observe brain activity.

I feel the Amen clinic's approach and expertise, which are not available widely, are worth the trip; in my case, having real physical evidence on which to base the treatment plan saved me from possibly endless trials of one medication after another, when in fact I needed a blend of several. (I have a subtype of ADD common to females, along with chronic depression and anxiety, which often go together.)

It seems to me that your grand daughter's treatment would benefit from having at least one of her parents accompany her. The girl will have a primary care-giver for reassurance in a strange clinical environment, and the parent will learn about the diagnostic process involving SPECT and be better able to understand the treatment, which could involve medication, coaching for child and parents, biofeedback, diet, or other alternatives. Decisions about treatment should be made in consultation between doctor and parents, so unless you are prepared to be responsible for all this, and for transmitting it to a parent (as you may well be; you obviously care deeply about your grand daughter), I'd sugggest a parental escort. That way, safety is less of an issue; not knowing the girl, no-one can really tell you it's ok for her to fly alone.

The general information number at the Amen Clinic is 707 429-7181. They book up pretty fast, and have a rather hefty admission questionnaire to fill out in advance, so I would advise that the parents call soon, if they have not already. The Clinic's preliminary packet contains information for patients and parents as well. Also, traveling on the holiday may not be the best time, and certainly won't be cheapest.

To find out more, you can also read Dr. Daniel Amen's book for lay people, "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life," (yeah, the title's a bit fluffy, but Dr. Amen is also very upbeat). It gives a more complete picture of how various problems like ADD, Tourette's, etc. relate to brain function, and what helps them. I think the best way to get it is through the clinic.

Best of luck to you. I'm after the Amen Clinic's URL myself, and it doesn't seem to up right now. You do have to be a little patient and persistent with them; I think a lot of the people who work there have ADD themselves, :) but they're very kind and helpful.

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