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…

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…

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Increasing amounts of research (see References, below) point to a vitamin D deficiency as being linked to autism, as well as ADHD, allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders. What Is Vitamin D and How Do We Get It?   Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced naturally as D3 or cholecalciferol (pronounced koh·luh·kal·sif·uh·rawl) when sunlight hits the skin. Most people used to get sufficient vitamin D3 from sunlight. Today, vitamin D deficiency is rampant largely in part to increased use of sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, coupled with a move away from an agrarian society.   A Perfect Storm for Vitamin D Deficiency With just 10-40 minutes of unprotected summer sun our bodies produce about 20,000 units of vitamin D. The body makes what it needs, accumulating and storing significant reserves in the tissues, liver, spleen, bones, and brain; it can be then be available during darker months. Vitamin D is fat soluble, requiring sufficient “good” fats in the diet for…

Prism Lenses

The use of prism lenses for behavioral and learning problems goes back to the 1970’s when optometric pioneers began using these tools at the Gesell Institute. Prism lenses can be powerful temporary tools for individuals with autism and other developmental delays because they alter neural processing of the brain, creating an unconscious change in posture or attention.  How Prism Lenses Are Prescribed Counter to what many believe, lens prescribing is an art, not a science. While a machine might indicate one Rx, that prescription might make a patient dizzy or nauseous. Lenses are for particular purposes: to do a specific job, such as reading in the sun, or driving a truck in the rain at night. Unfortunately, for most people, one lens cannot solve both problems. Different prescriptions are thus necessary, depending upon the task.    Ophthalmologists use compensatory lenses to improve eyesight for specific purposes, such as those just described. Most people reading this post are wearing compensatory lenses. Optometrists,…

Learning-Related Vision Problems

Learning-Related Vision Problems

Learning-Related Vision Problems

An estimated 25% of school-age children have vision problems affecting learning. Students can have difficulties in any of a number of areas. Maybe their two eyes don’t work together to track or focus. These and other problems can have a profound effect on how they learn. What Are Learning-Related Vision Problems?   Symptoms of vision problems include:  Eyes that are red or tear when stressed   Poor hand-eye coordination Avoidance of academics Decreased comprehension Slow reading/writing   Losing place Omitting words Skipping lines Confusion of similar words    Discomfort Fatigue Headaches Short attention span when doing schoolwork Vision Problems and/or Disabilities?   Because vision and learning are intimately connected, vision problems can be easily mistaken for learning or attention problems. Undetected and untreated vision problems can elicit some of the very same signs and symptoms commonly attributed to: ADD ADHD Learning disabilities Dyslexia Impulsivity Hyperactivity Distractibility Poor reading Trouble learning math Illegible handwriting In some instances these conditions co-exist and treating one aspect of the…

Sound Healing

Homeopathic Sound Healing Remedies

Sound Healing

Homeopathic color and sound healing remedies create inner balance and stability by activating an individual’s energy system, using vibration to allow the body to heal itself. Recently, practitioners have found positive results in addressing compromised immunity, inflammation, and hypersensitivities in children with autism and other developmental delays using these vibrational remedies, which penetrate deeply to address imbalances in the energy field.   From Classical Homeopathy to Color Healing   Homeopaths use homeopathy’s key tenet, known as the “Law of Similars”, to match a homeopathic remedy with a patient’s constitutional nature. Classical remedies, which address a patient’s physical, emotional and mental symptoms, are made from plant, mineral or animal substances to stimulate the body’s “vital force”, thus enhancing its ability to heal.   Color Remedies  Color remedies come in kits containing small pellets in one-dram brown bottles of the following colors: red, orange, yellow, green, pink, turquoise, indigo blue, violet, magenta and spectrum (all the colors). Like classical remedies, they are prepared through a…

Handle Therapy for Autism and ADHD

HANDLE Therapy for Autism and ADHD

Handle Therapy for Autism and ADHD

Marlene Suliteanu, OTR, and Judith Bluestone, neurodevelopmental/educational therapist, discuss the history and benefits of HANDLE therapy in this blog post. HANDLE®, an acronym for Holistic Approach to Neuro-Development and Learning Efficiency, believes that everyone possesses the potential to learn. No one knows this better than Judith Bluestone, HANDLE’s founder. Bluestone’s personal history gifted her with the ability to create this award-winning program which applies neuro-scientific principles to a wide range of learning and behavioral challenges. Grown from a single location in Seattle, since 1994 the HANDLE Institute has certified hundreds of trainers across the United States, in Israel, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia. Thousands of individuals have benefited from HANDLE therapy for learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, PDD, dyspraxia, language disorders, Tourette syndrome and a plethora of perceptual and behavioral disorders. What Are the Components of HANDLE® Therapy? Holistic HANDLE therapy considers interdependent internal and external influences from: Chemicals Allergens Nutritional deficits (especially essential fatty acids) Dehydration Toxins Lighting TV and…

flame retardants

Flame Retardants: A Threat to Our Children‘s Development?

flame retardants

Patricia Lemer, M. Ed., NCC, discusses the danger of flame retardants to a child’s neurological and endocrine development in this post. Since the 1970’s, manufacturers have been treating mattresses, textiles, plastics and car parts with flame-resistant chemicals known collectively as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), otherwise known as flame retardants. Today, these ubiquitous chemicals are showing up not just in our stores, but in our landfills, ground water, house dust, blood and breast milk, and in animals as diverse as fish in Virginia and polar bears and whales in Alaska.  What Are PBDEs?  PBDEs come in three varieties: deca, penta and octa. Deca, the most heavily used, is one of the many potentially hazardous chemicals in use, due to a failed national policy that presumes chemicals are safe until proven to cause harm. North American industry accounts for almost half the world’s market of Deca chemicals.  PBDEs did not attract much attention until 1999, when Swedish scientists first detected them in…