Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the brain. In Australia, 1 in 20 children have ADHD with a greater prevalence in males than females1.
There are three common symptoms in ADHD:
2. Hyperactivity and
As ADHD predominantly affects children, it is crucial there is careful consideration prior to diagnosis as young children undiagnosed with ADHD are likely to show behaviours similar to the symptoms exhibited in ADHD patients2. Given the sensitivity in diagnosis, there are now three kinds of ADHD:
As ADHD is a complex disorder, there are multiple causes of ADHD. These can include drug exposure during pregnancy, genetics, exposure to lead and lack of early attachment4. Treatment of ADHD commonly involves pharmacological approaches along with behavioural therapies such as cognitive therapy, social training or family counselling4. Professor Yoland Lim Health Care has known about the potential benefits of effective management of this and other conditions for many years and it is only more recently where promising scientific results show the effect of acupuncture on the management of ADHD in children alongside pharmacological and behavioural approaches5,6.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne
 ADHD Australia
 Brain Foundation Australia
 DOI: 10.1186/1745-6215-12-173
 DOI: 10.1007/s11655-011-0701-7
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting 1 in 70 Australians with males being 3 times more likely to be affected than females. It is thought ASD is caused by neurological or genetic factors with two main areas of difficulty:
1) Social communication and
2) Abnormal behaviours and interests.
However, it is important to note that no two people affected by ASD are alike.
The treatment of ASD is dependent on the severity of the symptoms and characteristics. Because of this, each treatment is tailored towards the need of each child. For example, some children affected by ASD may require behavioural therapy or others may require speech therapy, prescription medication or occupational therapy.
Along with pharmacological approaches as well as behavioural strategies, application of acupuncture has shown improvement in children with ASD suggesting another promising approach in treatment of ASD.
Austism Spectrum Australia (2017, November) Autism and ADHD. autismspectrum.org.au/uploads/documents/Fact%20Sheets/Factsheet_Autism-and-ADHD_20171113.pdf
 Better Health Channel (2019, November) Autism spectrum disorder (autism). betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/autism-spectrum-disorder-asd
 The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (2018, June) Autism spectrum disorder. rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Autism_spectrum_disorder/
 Ming et al (2011, October) Acupuncture for Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Evidence- Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Vol 2012. doi: 10.1155/2012/67984
Constipation in children is a common occurrence particularly around the time of toilet training or starting solids. Constipation occurs when there is difficulty in passing stool rather than the frequency. This is because bowel movement varies between individuals. Therefore it is important to observe for consistent bowel motion patterns, hardness of stool and whether or not there is pain during the passing of stool.
Signs of constipation in children can include:
Common causes of constipation in children consist of not having enough fibre in the diet, holding back bowel movements, not eating enough solid foods and taking certain medications such as some cough medications.
To prevent and manage constipation in children it is important to ensure proper toileting behaviour and education at a young age. These can include:
Furthermore, implementing a diet high in fibre and fruit (particularly prune or pear juice) and encouraging the intake of plenty of fluids may help with resolving problems with constipation
In some cases where changing of the diet and modifying behaviour involving a toileting program are not effective, stool softeners and laxatives may be advised by your medical practitioner or paediatrician, to ensure for appropriate dose and number of doses per day is advised.
 The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (2018, February) Constipation rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Constipation/
 Better Health Victoria (2012, July) Constipation and children betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/constipation-and-children
 Health Direct (2019, December) Constipation in children healthdirect.gov.au/constipation-in-children
 Waterham et al (2017, December) Childhood constipation racgp.org.au/afp/2017/december/childhood-constipation/
 Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service (2019, August) Constipation in children childrens.health.qld.gov.au/fact-sheet-constipation/
 Consolini et al (2018, July) Constipation in Children msdmanuals.com/home/children-s-health-issues/symptoms-in-infants-and-children/constipation-in-children
Diarrhoea is a common occurrence in babies and young children whereby stools are more loose, watery and unformed. The exact cause of diarrhoea can only be diagnosed by laboratory tests of faecal specimens with common causes including:
Along with runny, frequent and watery stools, other symptoms typically include stomach cramps and headaches. In children with diarrhoea, it is vital to keep a close watch on your child as loss of fluids from the body can quickly lead to dehydration. Due to this it is important to ensure your child is regularly drinking fluids throughout the day.
In many cases, diarrhoea resolves on its own but if any of the following are present, seeking a review of medical doctors is recommended:
 Health Direct (2019, July) Diarrhoea and vomiting in children healthdirect.gov.au/diarrhoea-and-vomiting-in-children
 Queensland Health (2018, March) Diarrhoea in Young Children conditions.health.qld.gov.au/HealthCondition/condition/14/217/39/Diarrhoea-in-Young-Children
 Raising Children (2018, November) Diarrhoea raisingchildren.net.au/babies/health-daily-care/poos-wees-nappies/diarrhoea
Difficulty feeding is an umbrella term encompassing a variety of feeding or mealtime behaviours perceived as problematic for a child or family. These behaviours may include:
Although these behaviours can be considered to be part of a typical feeding development, there are effective approaches to help tackle feeding difficulties. For example, if your child is not eating whole meals, reducing the amount of food given at mealtimes may be effective. Additionally, creating a positive eating environment, serving new foods and following your child’s lead may all serve to combat difficulties in feeding. However, if your child is consistently refusing to eat, only eating a very small range of foods or you are concerned about growth and overall nutrition, seeking a review from a medical practitioner should be considered.
 The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. Feeding Development and Difficulties rch.org.au/feedingdifficulties/difficulties/What_is_a_feeding_difficulty/
 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Feeding and Swallowing Disorders in Children asha.org/public/speech/swallowing/Feeding-and-Swallowing-Disorders-in-Children/
 Raising children. Toddler not eating? Ideas and tips. raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/nutrition-fitness/common-concerns/toddler-not-eating
Often incorrectly termed as “stomach flu”, gastroenteritis is a serious digestive disorder which when left untreated causes a dangerous imbalance of electrolytes.
Many children are prone to this condition which could last for a several days or even longer. Children may experience more than a few episodes a year. An estimated 5 billion cases of gastroenteritis in children under the age of 5 years are reported worldwide.
Some of the most common symptoms include diarrhoea, cramps and nausea. For this reason, children under 6 months old must seek medical attention when gastroenteritis is suspected to be given adequate treatment.
There are various known causes of this disease, namely viruses, bacteria and parasites. However, the main cause of complications is believed to be due to dehydration caused by fluid leakage into the bowel.
While there are no known medications to treat viral gastroenteritis, treatment can assist with management of symptoms as well as prevention of complications.
Canadian Society of Intestinal Research (2017) Gastroenteritis badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/gastroenteritis/
Nocturnal enuresis, commonly known as bed wetting, is a very common problem for many school-age children with almost a third of four-year-olds wetting the bed during the night. In most cases, children who wet the bed are usually healthy, do not have underlying behavioural problems and are developing as expected.
While the cause for bed wetting varies between children, some plausible factors include:
Although most children grow out of bed wetting there are some strategies to consider especially if your child is feeling ashamed about their bedwetting:
Dr Justin Lim has had case studies of nocturnal enuresis published in the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Integrative Medicine publication.
 The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (2018, March) Bedwetting rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Bedwetting/
 Healthy WA (2019, May) Bedwetting healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Bedwetting
 Health Direct (2019, November) Bedwetting in older children healthdirect.gov.au/bedwetting-in-older-children
 Sleep Health Foundation (2013, October) Bedwetting sleephealthfoundation.org.au/bedwetting.html
 Urology Care Foundation. What is Nocturnal Enuresis urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/nocturnal-enuresis-(bedwetting)
Reflux or gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) is common in young children and is characterised by the contents of the stomach being brought up back (regurgitated) either into the oesophagus or the mouth. As the valve at the top of the stomach is quite loose in babies, GOR typically occurs around 2 to 3 weeks of life and peaking between 4 to 5 months.
It is during growth where the valve usually becomes stronger resulting in the reflux getting better. Signs and symptoms of reflux include:
While in many babies and young children, GOR resolves on its own without treatment or medication, it can be very worrying for parents. Following scientific evidence, there are key strategies to consider:
Furthermore, there is little to no evidence to suggest that starting solid feeds early will help with reflux. Therefore, it is vital to continue to adhere to the Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines and introduce solids at around 6 months of age.
 The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (2018, May) Reflux (GOR) and GORD rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Reflux_GOR_and_GORD/
 KidsHealth (2015, January) Gastroesophageal Reflux kidshealth.org/en/parents/gerd-reflux.html
 Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service (2016, November) Fact sheet – Reflux childrens.health.qld.gov.au/fact-sheet-reflux/