The most consistent thing of children with dyslexia is their inconsistency! These children appear bright, highly intelligent and very articulate, but are unable to read, write and spell at grade level and struggle with very low self-esteem. They have difficulty sustaining attention and will “zone out” frequently losing track of time.
Overall struggles are in areas of vision, reading, spelling, hearing, speech, writing, motor skills, math and time management, memory and cognition and behavior, health, development and personality.
How Can Children with Dyslexia Be Helped?
Probably the most important nutritional deficiency for dyslexia is good quality fats and fatty acids for the brain and eyes. DHA, found in mother’s milk, is vitally essential to brain functioning and hand/eye coordination.
The Modified Atkin’s Diet (MOD) is the new ketogenic diet, focusing on high levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates and sugar.
Also helpful is the Feingold Diet that eliminates food additives, chemical preservatives, dyes, refined sugar, and salicylates which all negatively affect the brain.
Supplementing zinc and iron, two of the body’s most important trace minerals deficient in children with dyslexia, have been found to improve their overall health and immune functioning.
A detoxification protocol to address multiple chemical sensitivities by removing toxic pathogens will help improve cognitive functioning.
Removing gluten and casein from the diet will lessen the effects of food allergies and the “zoning out” behaviors.
What Therapies Help the Best?
Vision therapy is at the top of the list.
The role of vision in dyslexia is paramount because it addresses various visual conditions that have been associated with dyslexia and learning disabilities:
- Poor eye movement skills
- Convergence insufficiency
- Faulty binocular vision
- Lazy eye
- Poor visual processing
- Weak visual motor skills
- Suppression of one eye
Other important therapies include:
- Chiropractic neurology (balancing the right and left hemispheres of the brain)
- Brain Gym (hand eye coordination)
- Reflex integration therapy
- Occupational therapy with sensory integration
- Auditory Integration Therapy (Berard) or Sound Stimulation (Tomatis)
- Brain Balance
Dyslexia Checklist to Start
Make dietary changes:
- Eat whole foods
- Buy organic foods
- Remove all GMO foods
- Remove all fast and processed foods
- Remove all foods with:
- Artificial colors
- Artificial ingredients
- With an elimination diet, remove potentially inflammatory foods such as:
- Strictly limit:
- Refined salt
- Refined carbohydrates
- Consider implementing a low glutamate diet and/or the Feingold diet
Include plenty of good quality fats, such as:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Wild salmon
- Organic chicken
- Organic turkey
- Grass-fed ghee
- Essential fatty acids from:
- Cod liver oil
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Evening primrose oil
- Borage oil
- Walnut oil
- Krill oil
Remove vegetable oils such as:
Heal the gut with special diets that focus on removing grains and reducing sugars, fructose and starchy carbohydrates, such as:
- GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) diet
- Body Ecology Diet
- GF/CF (gluten-free/casein-free) diet
- Paleo diet
- Modified Atkins diet (replaces the ketogenic diet)
Learn more about healing diets and foods.
Add fermented foods and probiotics daily:
These will keep the gastrointestinal system and microbiome healthy and strong which in turn will keep the immune system strong.
- Eat kefir yogurts
- Eat fermented vegetables
- Eat umeboshi plums (very alkalizing)
- Eat miso soup, if soy is tolerated
Some good probiotics are:
- Gut Pro
- Dr. Ohirra’s Live Cultured Probiotics
- Garden of Life
- Klaire Labs
Use digestive aids with your practitioner’s guidance:
- Betaine hydrochloric acid (HCl) for low stomach acid (with meals)
- Digestive enzymes with DPP-IV for gluten and casein intolerances (with meals)
- Proteolytic enzymes (on an empty stomach)
- BiCarb (on an empty stomach)
- Bromelain (with meals)
- Papaya (with meals)
Clean up your environment:
- Remove animals (both live and stuffed!)
- Remove carpets
- Use non-toxic cleaners
- Use non-toxic building materials
- Green your home
Ask your pediatrician to run some laboratory tests for:
- Possible food sensitivities and allergies
- Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) IgG, IgA, IgE and IgM
- Nutritional deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. The NutrEval by Genova Diagnostics Labs covers the following areas:
- Cellular energy
- Mitochondrial metabolism
- Neurotransmitter metabolism
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Toxin exposure
- Detoxification need
- Bacterial and yeast overgrowth
- Gluten and casein sensitivities
- Organic acids: The organic acid test by Great Plains Laboratory for:
- Yeast overgrowth (Candida)
- Other microbial infections
- Comprehensive Stool Analysis by Genova Diagnostic Labs to identify:
- Altered gastrointestinal function
- Bacterial/fungal overgrowth
- Chronic dysbiosis
- Neurotransmitters: Neurorelief (Neurosciences Laboratory) is a specialty lab that tests neurotransmitters to determine chemical imbalances in the brain
Use homeopathy specific for:
- Learning disabilities:
- Baryta carbonica
- Calcarea carbonica
- Baryta iodatum
- Carcarea phosphorica
Use herbs, essential oils and natural supplements with your practitioner’s guidance:
- MCT oil (coconut)
- Cod liver oil
- Neuromins DHA
- Vitamin D3
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC): helps with detoxification process and healing of the gastrointestinal tract
- MSM transdermal cream
- Epsom salts baths
See a behavioral/developmental optometrist:
A developmental optometrist can check for convergence and tracking problems with your child’s vision.
He or she can correct these issues with vision therapy, lens and prisms.
Doing so can improve hand-eye coordination and school performance.
Learn about retained primitive reflexes:
Most, if not all, children with neurodevelopmental disorders including learning disabilities, have retained primitive reflexes.
Find a therapist that is trained in integrating primitive reflexes, which can cause imbalances in the way your child’s brain performs.
See a chiropractic neurologist at a Brain Balance Center:
The Brain Balance program can help balance the right and left brain hemispheres and make neural connections to extinguish primitive reflexes.
See a neurofeedback practitioner:
Neurofeedback is approved as a level-one intervention by the American Academy of Pediatrics for ADD and ADHD, which are learning disabilities.
Even if your child doesn’t have ADD or ADHD, children with dyslexia may still benefit from neurofeedback.
See a sensory-integration occupational therapist:
These OTs address a variety of sensory issues with a child using hands-on equipment. This type of therapy calms down the nervous system to help integrate the senses and retained reflexes.
See a chiropractor:
A chiropractor can perform spinal cord adjustments, which can improve communication in the nervous system.
See a craniosacral practitioner:
Craniosacral therapy can reestablish central nervous system functioning.
See an auditory therapist:
Many children with learning disabilities have auditory processing problems that may be causing problems with focus and concentration.
An auditory therapist can devise a listening program that is specific to your child’s needs.
Find a therapist doing Brain Gym:
A Brain Gym practitioner can have your child do exercises for sensorimotor coordination, self-calming and self-management.
See a homeopath or naturopath:
These practitioners can diagnose and treat gastrointestinal disorders naturally so that the child’s immune, sensory, neurological and nervous systems develop without being compromised.
Still Looking for Answers?
Sources & References
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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.
Edwards, E.S., et al. Dyslexia on a continuum: A complex network approach. PLOS ONE, 2018; 13 (12): e0208923.
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.
Morris, C.R., et al. Syndrome of allergy, apraxia, and malabsorption: characterization of a neurodevelopmental phenotype that responds to omega 3 and vitamin E supplementation. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. Jul-Aug 2009;15(4):34-43.
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.
College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Vision and Dyslexia. 2008
Johnson, Kathy. Dyslexia: Recognizing, Screening and Treating. Albany, NY. Pyramid of Potential, 2014.
Lambert, Beth, et al. Brain Under Attack: A Resource for Parents and Caregivers of Children with PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalitis. Answers Publications, 2018.