School Lunch Programs: Feeding Mind, Body and Soul

School Lunch Programs: Feeding Mind, Body and Soul

School Lunch Programs: Feeding Mind, Body and Soul

Alyce Ortuzar fills us in on what’s in a school lunch, how it relates to your child’s health, how to improve it and how to get your kids involved in the process. It’s lunchtime at school. What are your kids eating? Here are some possibilities:  Meat and dairy products with government-approved pesticides and endocrine- disrupting hormones U.S. Department of Agriculture-subsidized irradiated beef or chicken from sick and stressed animals raised under unsanitary and inhumane conditions Products loaded with chemicals and devoid of nutrients qualifying as food, such as artificial strawberry-flavored milkshakes containing such mystery ingredients as: Amyl acetate Anethol Anisyl formate Benzyl isobutyrate Dipropyl ketone Ethyl butyrate Phenethyl alcohol Rum ether Solvent What’s Wrong with Additives?  Research shows that pesticides and hormone-disruptors are neurotoxic to growing brains. In the 1970s, pediatrician Benjamin Feingold linked food additives, dyes and other additives to hyperactive behavior and learning problems. Removing these poisons and putting children on diets of salycilate-free fresh fruits, vegetables, and…

Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

If any sense is inefficient, the integration process can be disrupted, and Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) – a term coined by A. Jean Ayres PhD – occurs.  However, because of the possibility of confusing it with the unrelated disorder Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), in the 1980s, those in the field informally began using the term DSI for dysfunction in sensory integration. Ayres Sensory Integration Ayres Sensory Integration® (ASI) is now trademarked, and includes the original theory, assessment, patterns of dysfunction, and intervention concepts, principles, and techniques articulated by Dr. Ayres and applied by therapists trained in this approach worldwide. Some of Dr. Ayres’ colleagues and students, headed by Susanne Smith Roley OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA and Zoe Mailloux, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA, founded a new organization called The Collaborative for Leadership in Ayres Sensory Integration (CLASI). CLASI provides continuing education opportunities for mastering, applying and advancing knowledge in ASI theory and practice, culminating in a certificate of certification.  CLASI is a…

Sensory Diet

Sensory Diet

Sensory Diet

A sensory diet can help many individuals with autism, whose sensory processing is compromised, because they may find it hard to achieve and maintain an appropriate arousal level. In addition, a sensory diet can help those with Sensory Processing Disorder, as well as those with ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities; sensory issues may be playing a large, undetected role in these disorders. Children with these disorders may move from sensory-seeking to sensory-avoidance behaviors, which can be problematic for authority figures even though they serve a purpose for the individual. But what if kids with autism were given opportunities to rock, touch, move, and jump? Maybe they would be satiated and not act out inappropriately. What Is a Sensory Diet? This is the stance taken by many occupational therapists who show parents how to use a sensory diet. Just as a nutritionist recommends certain foods and supplements, the occupational therapist may recommend readily available opportunities to be physical, and supplements them with…

Preventing Sensory Processing Disorder in High-Risk Infants

Preventing Sensory Processing Disorder in High-Risk Infants

Preventing Sensory Processing Disorder in High-Risk Infants

Kelly Dorfman, MS, LDN, discusses how a good neurological diet and healing the gut may stave off Sensory Processing Disorder in a high-risk infant. Three year old Charlie was recently diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and his parents were relieved to finally have an explanation for his extreme fussiness, poor sleep, and developmental delays.  What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?  Previously labeled Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Sensory Processing Disorder relates to the commonly known senses of touch (including pressure), taste, smell, vision and sound as well as other senses such as: Proprioceptive sense:  This sense helps a person determine where they are in space in relation to other things and people. Children with Sensory Processing Disorder often feel disconnected from their bodies and thus often have poor coordination, which can often lead to delays in social development. Vestibular sense:  Proprioception is intertwined with the vestibular sense, which is controlled by the movement of fluid within the inner ear. Because the vestibular…

Phthalates in Personal-Care Products

Phthalates in Personal-Care Products

Phthalates in Personal-Care Products

Patricia S. Lemer, MEd, NCC fills us in about the dangers of phthalates, another family of toxic chemicals, in this blog post. Phthalates (pronounced THAY-lates) are plasticizers used to add texture and luster to hair spray, deodorant, nail polish, lipstick, perfumes and many other products. These ubiquitous chemicals can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled as fumes, and ingested if children mouth toys made out of plastic.  Thousands of studies have shown that phthalates can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system. In pregnant women, phthalates pass through the placenta to be absorbed by the fetus. Later, they show up in the breast milk of nursing mothers, whose babies ingest them. In male fetuses and infants, phthalates can cause testicular atrophy, leading to a reduced sperm count.  As we learn more about the role of toxins in disease and developmental delays, reducing our toxic load must be a priority. What Can You Do About Phthalates? Discover what toxins are lurking…

Parasites Can Cause Seemingly Unrelated Symptoms

Parasites Can Cause Seemingly Unrelated Symptoms

Parasites Can Cause Seemingly Unrelated Symptoms

It took me years to understand how my seemingly unrelated symptoms of dental, digestive and respiratory issues as well as obesity were all due to parasites. Blood in the Stool It’s really frightening to have blood in the stool, especially with a family history of colon cancer. At first, I thought it was remnants of beets, and a colonoscopy showed no abnormalities, not even a tiny polyp. I eliminated wheat and dairy. No change. As my symptoms gradually worsened, I made an appointment with Pittsburgh’s “best” gastrointestinal specialist.  Gastrointestinal Symptoms The candy in the waiting room and the intake with not one query about diet should have been fair warning. “Dr. GI” requested a stool test. “I did one two weeks ago with a top lab; the results will be back soon,” I said, expecting him to be impressed. “Why’d you do that, honey?” he asked kindly. “We have a great lab down the street.” I explained that mine could…

Undiagnosed Lyme Disease

Undiagnosed Lyme Disease

Undiagnosed Lyme Disease

Nika Hamblin relates her personal story of dealing with undiagnosed Lyme disease in this post. Many years ago, my husband and I were living in southern Germany. I became very ill with what doctors thought was a severe strain of flu. Mentally and physically, I haven’t been the same since because of these symptoms: Memory loss Mental fogginess Weight gain Intolerance to alcohol Weakness Joint achiness Complete inability to exercise Doctors kept telling me “if you’d just lose some weight….” Nobody wanted to listen to the fact that I gained a lot of weight BECAUSE I was sick. Five years later, my internist sent me to Johns Hopkins. Diagnoses: chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and Neurally Mediated Hypotension (NMH); I later discovered that some patients diagnosed with CFS in actuality have Lyme disease.  Both Sons Have Multiple Diagnoses While still sick, I gave birth to my first son, Spencer, who was born five weeks prematurely for no known reason. When it…

MTHFR Mutation

MTHFR Mutation

MTHFR Mutation

A genetic mutation called MethyleneTetraHydroFolate Reductase, otherwise known as an MTHFR mutation or methylation defect, may be one reason why some children develop autism or other neurodevelopmental disorder. There are many contributing factors involved in this “perfect storm” situation which may accurately describe your child. The MTHFR mutation may explain why some children survive the overload of environmental toxicity whatever the triggers may be, whereas others, at some point during their early stages of neurological development, regress and remain somewhere on the vast spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders. MTHFR is a type of folate that crosses the blood brain barrier (folic acid, which is synthetic, does not) needed to make the brain methylate; put simply, methylation is a method of detoxification. Children with autism have been found to have “Cerebral Folate Deficiency” (CFD) which means an insufficiency of folate in the brain causing defects in the methylation process.    What Is Methylation?  Defects in the methylation process can affect: Speech Language Auditory…

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

Magnesium can stop an asthma attack, pull toxins out of the body, increase circulation, remove age spots, decrease joint pain and relieve constipation. It is the eighth most plentiful element on the planet and the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is essential for a very wide gamut of critical body functions, affecting virtually every organ system.  Why Is Magnesium Important in Developmental Delays?  This mineral is directly responsible for over 300 biochemical bodily reactions, many of which have gone awry in individuals with autism, attention issues, Sensory Processing Disorder and other developmental delays. It is extremely important in the metabolism of fellow elements: cadmium, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, lead, sulfur and zinc. It is the single most important mineral for maintaining proper electrical balance and facilitating smooth metabolism in the cells. One of the major properties of it is that of stabilizing cell membranes. The health status of the digestive system and the kidneys significantly influence…

Lymphatic System: Key to Improving Immune Function

Lymphatic System: Key to Improving Immune Function

Lymphatic System: Key to Improving Immune Function

What Is the Lymphatic System?   The lymphatic system is the body’s uni-directional transport network that moves dead cells and other waste products from the tissues to the veins just before they reconnect with the heart. The lymphatic system begins with single cells called endothelial cells; they create the initial lymphatics that open, allowing fluids to enter from the tissues.  Pre-collectors, which have valves, then move the transparent lymph fluid forward on that one-way path toward its ultimate destination, an area called the angulus venosis. During the third step, the fluid goes through collectors, tiny muscular units that contract and expand, propelling the lymph fluid to transport its passengers to the lymph nodes.   The nodes filter and process the lymphatic fluid, breaking down any harmful particles, which are then sent to the appropriate organs of elimination such as the liver, kidneys, or lungs. Movement of the fluid through the lymph nodes also increases production of lymphocytes, thus enhancing the body’s immune…