Why Is Digestion Important?

Why Is Digestion Important?

Why Is Digestion Important?

Understanding the process of digestion is necessary before understanding what goes wrong in children with chronic disorders such as autism, ADHD, allergies and asthma. Digestion starts in the mouth. Each bite of food that enters the mouth mixes with saliva and is swallowed. A process of muscle contraction called peristalsis moves the partially digested food into the stomach, small intestines and colon, where enzymes and other juices work it further.    Enzymes, which are proteins responsible for many essential biochemical reactions, are vitally important for proper digestion. Enzymes act as catalysts, breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats into simple forms that the body can absorb, burn for energy, or use to build or repair itself. As the body absorbs nutrients, toxins and other waste products finish the journey, exiting through the rectum as fecal matter.    How Long Does Digestion Take? This very complex process could take hours to days, depending upon many factors. Ideally food should not tarry too long in…

What's for Breakfast?

What’s for Breakfast?

What's for Breakfast?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! We’ve all heard that maxim. Manage Glucose Levels What is a “good” breakfast, and why is it so important, especially for kids with neurodevelopmental disorders and mood disorders? It’s all about glucose levels. Fasting for 10-12 hours between dinner and awakening in the morning triggers hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and acidosis. The Body Ecology Diet’s fourth principle is that too much acid encourages yeast overgrowth, viruses, parasites, and other unhealthy cells to thrive.  Prepare Children for Learning Research now proves the importance of a good breakfast to prepare children for learning. One British study explored the performance of 19 children, aged six to seven years over a four-week period. The children ate meals offering similar calories but different glycemic loads. (Glycemic load is how much a given food causes blood sugar to rise sharply.) Two to three hours afterwards, those who ate a low-glycemic breakfast performed significantly better on the tests…

Vision Affects Behavior

Vision Affects Behavior

Vision Affects Behavior

Difficult behaviors can potentially be changed by improving vision, but most people don’t know that vision affects behavior, attention, learning and processing. They should, however, because the brains of children with autism spectrum disorders prevent them from correctly focusing on and perceiving what their eyes see. Let an optometrist prescribe special glasses, and watch those behaviors change!  Vision Involves Both the Eyes and the Brain  Seeing is far more than the prescription in your glasses. Have you ever picked up a new prescription that didn’t seem quite right at first? After a short time, your brain acclimates to a new way of seeing. In treating those with developmental delays, eye doctors use lenses therapeutically to change perception. Why? Because perceptual deficits translate into impaired social skills, delayed language, motor problems, and a host of other symptoms even in children with 20/20 eyesight.  How Vision Affects Behavior  In perception, the brain must answer two questions about objects in the environment: what…

Lyme Disease in Children

Lyme Disease in Children

Lyme Disease in Children

by Maria Rickert Hong, CHHC, AADP This article addresses the symptoms, causes, testing and standard and alternative treatments of Lyme disease in children. If your child has sudden and continued uncharacteristic behaviors, outbursts and mood swings, you may want to suspect Lyme disease. If your child has a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, OCD, ODD, Sensory Processing Disorder or mood disorders, you may also want to rule out Lyme. Many of these disorders have symptoms that are co-morbid with Lyme disease. Just because you live in an area that’s not “Lyme central” (Connecticut and the northeast United States), don’t think that Lyme disease isn’t possible. People, pets and ticks travel and carry the disease with them. The disease can also be spread by other insects such as fleas, mosquitoes, mites and spiders. Symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease in Children Following are common symptoms of chronic Lyme disease in children: Fatigue Sleeping problems Headaches Nausea Abdominal pain Impaired concentration Poor short-term memory…

The Best Dyspraxia Program Ever

The Best Dyspraxia Program Ever

The Best Dyspraxia Program Ever

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND Children with developmental delays demonstrate varying degrees of difficulty with motor planning. This disorder is called dyspraxia, a technical term derived from the Latin roots “dys” meaning “poor” and “praxis” meaning “coordination.” Apraxia is a more serious version of this disability, with severely limited motor planning. Dyspraxia can affect gross, fine and oral motor skills. Activities such as riding a bicycle, running, and eating with utensils require skilled motor planning. When dyspraxia affects the ability to coordinate sounds to make words, the result is impaired speech and language. Dyspraxia, Speech and Language How does an individual find the right words, sequence them into sentences, and converse? Since conversations can take many directions, mental flexibility and the ability to prioritize ideas are essential. If grandma asks Christopher what he likes about school, he could choose recess, or his new truck. Children with language motor planning issues often answer questions tangentially, with scripts, or by echoing. Fluid…

Piracetam: A Powerful Learning Tool for Learning Disabilities and Dyspraxia

Piracetam: A Powerful Learning Tool for Learning Disabilities and Dyspraxia

Piracetam: A Powerful Learning Tool for Learning Disabilities and Dyspraxia

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND Rosie had multiple learning and language disabilities related to a seizure disorder that had resisted medical treatment. “The little men in my head make the lights go out,” Rosie told me on her first visit. “I never thought this would happen,” Rosie’s mother exclaimed excitedly, six months later. She was referring to a recent test result that revealed her eight year-old daughter was now reading at a first grade level. Joseph, a boy with severe language delays, had also been making little progress. Joseph’s mother was likewise thrilled when a speech evaluation found her son had gained 13 months in receptive language in just nine weeks. Jackson, a boy with a brain injury, began walking independently for the first time. Rene, an adopted toddler whose birth mother abused drugs, overcame an “incurable” swallowing disorder. What is responsible for these remarkable changes? Piracetam! What Is Piracetam? Piracetam, (2 oxo-pyrrolidone) is a “smart drug” developed in Belgium…

Choline and Complex Language Development

Choline and Complex Language Development

Choline and Complex Language Development

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LDN When I began recommending choline to improve motor planning, many parents reported spontaneous improvement in the complexity of expressive language in their children. I want to share my thoughts about this very exciting and unexpected outcome with our readers. What Is Choline? Choline is essential for brain development. In 1998 the National Academy of Science recognized it and established a daily requirement of 425–550mg. Research shows that lack of choline in a mother’s diet during pregnancy and lactation can permanently limit brain capacity later in life. Individuals must ingest choline. Since primary dietary sources are liver, eggs, wheat germ, lecithin and soy, it is unlikely that many kids, especially those on elimination diets, get enough of this critical nutrient. What Is Complex Language? Developmentally, children progress from labeling items, to asking for what they want, a form of “demand” language. The next step, the most difficult for many children on the autism spectrum, is conversing…

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive Enzymes

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND Children diagnosed with developmental delays have a high rate of digestive pathology. Studies suggest between 58% and 93% of children with gastro-intestinal (GI) symptoms, and slightly less than half of those without noticeable symptoms, have low digestive enzymes. While special diets, supplemental nutrients, good bacteria replacement and yeast treatment are all needed to heal these children’s guts, adding digestive enzymes may be necessary for the complete restoration of digestive function. What Are Enzymes? Enzymes are special proteins that catalyze essential biochemical reactions. There are two main types of enzymes: metabolic and digestive. Metabolic enzymes facilitate activity in the immune, endocrine and other systems. Our focus is on digestive enzymes, which are necessary to break down food. Where Do Enzymes Come from? Fresh, raw food is a natural source of enzymes. The gut lining in healthy digestive tracts also produces enzymes. Efficient digestion requires enzymes from both sources. The guts of picky eaters, damaged by the…

Brain Gym and Sensory Integration

Brain Gym and Sensory Integration

Brain Gym and Sensory Integration

by Mary Rentschler, M. Ed., Brain Gym consultant and instructor Editing articles about occupational therapy (OT) and sensory integration (SI), I have often thought to myself , “OT, SI and Brain Gym are totally compatible and complimentary.” I signed up immediately last spring when the Educational Kinesiology Foundation offered a new workshop, “In Sync: Integrating the Senses through Movement”. Taught by Rita Edwards, Dip. OT, D.T.S.E., Brain Gym Consultant, and Edu-K International Faculty member, the course demonstrates how to combine OT, Brain Gym and sensory integration. Rita acknowledges Paul and Gail Dennison, Carla Hannaford, Jean Ayres, and Carol Kranowitz as providing conceptual and practical support for her work. She has developed balances (a process for putting interventions into the context of a specific goal) for integration of the cranial-sacral, vestibular, proprioceptive, visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory systems. A Balance for Vestibular Integration Lisa, a seven-year-old with low muscle tone, wants to ride her bike around corners and stop easily….

Nonverbal Learning Disability

by Patricia S. Lemer, M. Ed., Chairman of the Board What Is a Nonverbal Learning Disability? First appearing in the literature in the late sixties, when I was finishing graduate school, non-verbal learning disabilities (NLD or NVLD) are now diagnosed frequently. A nonverbal learning disability describes a cluster of deficits in motor, visual-spatial, social and sensory arenas combined with strengths in vocabulary, rote memory, and attention to detail. This syndrome causes sensory overload and profound difficulty with cognition, academics, and relationships. NLD is easily confused with Asperger syndrome and sometimes used synonymously with the dual diagnosis of gifted/learning disabled. While most psychologists agree on the etiology and treatment of language-based learning disability (LD), vision-based LD or NLD is poorly understood. Compensate or Remediate? Traditional approaches to NLD focus on diagnosis and compensatory techniques, without addressing the motor, sensory and visual deficits. While teaching strategies can be beneficial, ameliorating deficits makes more sense. In How to Develop Your Child’s Intelligence, Getman…