Connie* suspected that something wasn’t right with her grandson Blake*, who had tics from the time he was a young child. By the time he was four, behavior problems began surfacing, leading to suspensions in pre-school and again in kindergarten. Medications didn’t help. His behavior turned avoidant and aggressive by the time he was in first grade. He would hide in the closet or under a desk during class and wouldn’t come out. He was a loner on the playground and would sometimes run away when the teacher called him. He even bent a child’s fingers backward one day in the cafeteria when Blake saw the little boy not properly dispose of his juice box.
Blake was disruptive at home, too. He ran and jumped constantly and wouldn’t listen when told to do something by his mother, Melanie, or grandmother Connie.
Over the years the family tried several medications, mostly stimulants, all with unpleasant side effects, including an exacerbation of his tics.
Finally, when Blake was 11 years old, Connie and Melanie started him on a nutritional supplement called Hardy Nutritionals. According to Connie, these supplements profoundly changed Blake’s behavior and life.
When he was four years old, Blake was diagnosed with ADHD and put on clonidine. Clonidine is a blood pressure medication that can help with sleep and reduce ADHD symptoms, such as hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity in children.
When that wasn’t having enough effect by the time he was in kindergarten, the doctor added guanfacine (commercial name Intuniv), sometimes used with ADHD kids, to the mix. Guanfacine is also a blood pressure medication believed to help the function of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that regulates attention and impulse control.
Connie, Blake’s grandmother, and Melanie, Blake’s mother, knew within two days that guanfacine was not for him.
“He became a zombie almost immediately,” said Connie. “His blood pressure got dangerously low, around 50, and the doctor suggested he go on a stimulant medication instead.”
Connie and Melanie wanted to avoid drugging Blake, who was six by then, and brought him to the Center for Brain Training for regular neurofeedback training.
No communication from teachers foiled neurofeedback training
In the meantime, Blake’s misbehavior in first grade, and his tics, escalated. That’s when he hid under desks and closets, bent a child’s fingers backwards and had no friends in class or the playground.
Oddly, Blake’s first grade teachers failed to tell Connie and Melanie about these behaviors, so they assumed that the many neurofeedback sessions he was having over the schoolyear were working. It was only toward the end of the schoolyear that they learned the truth. Having not received that valuable feedback, Center staff had believed they were employing the proper neurofeedback protocols and didn’t make many adjustments. It was no wonder he continued acting out at home and school.
Back on medication
Armed with that disappointing news, Connie and Melanie stopped the neurofeedback and resumed traveling the medication route again when Blake entered second grade, a merry-go-round they rode for the next three years. They started him on the ADHD medication Focalin. It helped his behavior “a little,” but he still couldn’t sit still in front of the TV and complained of feeling anxious. It caused Blake to lose his appetite and not gain weight. It also worsened his tics, which led to children making fun of him.
Being highly intelligent, Blake qualified that year to enroll in an advanced program at school called AMP (Accelerated Math Program). While he could handle the work, he “flipped out” any time he got an answer wrong.
Hardy Daily Essentials Enters Blake’s Life
When Blake was in fifth grade, Connie ran into Mike Cohen, the center’s director, and mentioned Blake’s struggles with tics. Mike suggested they try a nutritional supplement many of his clients were benefitting from called Hardy Daily Essentials.
“I trusted Mike because I know he does ample research on anything he recommends, and I prayed these would help,” Connie said.
She bought a bottle and started Blake, now 11, on three capsules in the morning and three at dinnertime, hoping to see his tics get better.
They did get better, and unexpectedly, so did other challenges he had.
“I asked him how he felt after his first day of taking the Hardy,” remembered Connie. “I was floored by his answer. He said, ‘I’m cured!’ Cured I asked? He said he felt wonderful, like his brain was working better. He said he felt so much better than he had when taking the ADHD medications.”
Within a week Blake’s tics decreased in number and severity.
Connie had expected that being off the supplements might cause him to struggle with attention and result in having to exit the AMP program, where he had been working above grade level. Instead, he continued to handle the work as well as he had while on the Focalin and got less upset if he made a mistake. His grades didn’t suffer, and his behavior improved to the point that he was chosen to be on the safety patrol the following year.
“It has been wonderful seeing Blake do so well unmedicated after all these years of trying medication,” Connie continued. “It’s been almost miraculous. Melanie, Blake, and I are all relieved and thrilled with this outcome. I wish more people knew about Hardy supplements. They’re like a miracle.”
*Names changed to protect confidentiality.