Nathan: Sensory Processing Disorder, Reflux and Asthma

Original Symptoms & Diagnoses:
Sensory Processing Disorder, Asthma, Allergies, Hypotonia, Developmental Delays, Colic, Projectile Vomiting, Failure to Thrive, Eczema, Acid Reflux, Chronic Constipation, Food Sensitivities and Intolerances
My concerns about my sons’ health problems were dismissed by all of their doctors (except for the current ones) and chalked up to “they’ll grow out of it”. My older son was the worse of the two, as he was on 10 different medications by the time he was three years old, including medications for asthma, allergies, eczema, acid reflux and constipation as well as a nebulizer.
These days, there’s very little evidence that my sons ever had Sensory Processing Disorder, acid reflux, asthma and eczema. I used to wonder a long time ago if these issues were related to each other and to their developmental delays, anxiety, failure to thrive and mitochondrial dysfunction. If I didn’t tell anyone that my boys had these health problems when they were young, they would never know it.

My sons have healed from Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), acid reflux, asthma and eczema. I used to wonder a long time ago if these issues were related to each other and to their developmental delays, anxiety, failure to thrive and mitochondrial dysfunction, and now I know that they are.

Gut Dysbiosis and Toxicity

All of these issues are related to gut dysbiosis (in their cases, a systemic Candida infection) and toxicity. They were both full of heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium). My older son, Nathan*, was at the 97th percentile for heavy-metal toxicity; my younger one at the 90th. They both got it from me when I was pregnant with them. I didn’t find out until after my older son was over four years old that we were all full of heavy metals.

“They’ll Grow Out of It”

My concerns about my sons’ problems were dismissed by all of their doctors (except for the current one) and chalked up to “they’ll grow out of it”.

A mother knows when there is something wrong with her children, so I was left to research these issues myself. I found the book Healing the New Childhood Disorders: Autism, ADHD, Allergies and Asthma by Dr. Kenneth Bock to be the most helpful at tying these issues back to the immune dysregulation and nutritional deficiencies caused by their gut dysbiosis and toxicity.

Dietary Changes and Detoxification

Understanding what the root causes are helped me to know what to do to recover them. I changed their diet to a gluten-free, dairy-free at first to alleviate sensory issues and asthma, then I later switched to the GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) to eliminate the gut dysbiosis.

We began going to a naturopath to help us with detoxifying safely. I eliminated all toxic household and personal-care products from the house by looking up the safety of their individual ingredients. EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database was a huge help here.

They have both been through occupational therapy (OT) and craniosacral therapy. However, there are always residual issues. It would take a lot more out-of-pocket money for OT that would help my sons overcome their developmental delays and retained reflexes, both of which come from the neurological damage caused by their exorbitant amounts of heavy metals.

Failure to Thrive and Food Sensitivities

In addition, both sons were considered failure to thrive because they fell through more than two percentile curves on the weight growth chart. In fact, my older son was born at the 50th percentile for weight yet fell to the 3rd percentile by the time he was 18 months old because he had actually lost weight at that point.

The culprit for their failure to thrive? A food sensitivity to dairy, which caused their acid reflux and contributed heavily to asthma, eczema and chronic constipation. It was really frustrating to find this out because my older son had been tested for allergies (but not sensitivities!) by a leading allergist. And both of them saw a pediatric gastroenterologist who never mentioned that food could be an issue and had them on acid-reflux medication for years.


These days, there’s very little evidence that my sons ever had any of the above-mentioned disorders, and if I didn’t tell anyone, they would never know it.

Both the nutritionist and the naturopath will continue to be needed for their help in overcoming mitochondrial dysfunction and toxicity. And there are always more lab tests to be ordered. It’s a lot of work and a lot of money to do these interventions, but I know they’re getting better.

What’s frustrating to me is how little most pediatricians and, thus, moms know about these issues. It’s still considered almost heresy to say that a child can be healed from autism, SPD, allergies, ADHD, asthma, etc., but that’s probably because a pharmaceutical can’t cure these issues; it would only mask the symptoms.

*Name has been changed

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Sources & References

Aguilera, M., et al. Antibiotic-induced dysbiosis alters host-bacterial interactions and leads to colonic sensory and motor changes in mice. Gut Microbes. 2015;6(1):10-23.

Ahn, R.R., et al. Prevalence of parents’ perceptions of sensory processing disorders among kindergarten children. Am J Occup Ther. May-Jun 2004;58(3):287-93.

Ben-Sasson, A., et al. Sensory over-responsivity in elementary school: prevalence and social-emotional correlates. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2009 Jul;37(5):705-16.

Boat, T.F., et al. Prevalence of Learning Disabilities. Mental Disorders and Disabilities Among Low-Income Children. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015 Oct 28. 16.

Borre, Y.E., et al. Microbiota and neurodevelopmental windows: implications for brain disorders. Trends Mol Med. 2014 Sep;20(9):509-18.

Darling, A.L., et al. Association between maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood: results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Br J Nutr. 2017 Jun;117(12):1682-1692.

Egset, K., et al. Magno App: Exploring Visual Processing in Adults with High and Low Reading Competence. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research. 07 Jan 2020.

Hertz-Picciotto, I., et al. Organophosphate exposures during pregnancy and child neurodevelopment: Recommendations for essential policy reforms. PLoS Med. 2018 Oct 24;15(10):e1002671.

Maenner, M.J., et al. Prevalence and Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2018. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2021 Dec 3;70(11):1-16.

Tomcheck, S.D., et al. Sensory Processing in Children with and without Autism: A Comparative Study Using the Short Sensory Profile. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2007. 61, 190-200.

Warner, B.B. The contribution of the gut microbiome to neurodevelopment and neuropsychiatric disorders. Pediatr Res. 2019 Jan;85(2):216-224.

Zablotsky, B., et al. Prevalence and Trends of Developmental Disabilities among Children in the United States: 2009-2017. Pediatrics. 2019 Oct;144(4):e20190811.

Zaigham, M., et al. Prelabour caesarean section and neurodevelopmental outcome at 4 and 12 months of age: an observational study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2020 (20)564.

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