SPD, ADHD and Autism Calming Strategies

By Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND The brain needs a balance between excitatory and calming chemicals to control the body’s activity level. This blog post details Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD and autism calming strategies. A wide variety of chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, modulate the brain’s tendencies toward arousal or calming. Adrenaline (or epinephrine) is an excitatory chemical that helps the body respond to danger by dilating the eyes, speeding up the heart and initiating other functions that prepare the body for fight or flight. If an acute response is not necessary, the body can convert adrenaline to dopamine, another excitatory molecule that improves focus and concentration. Both dopamine and epinephrine are important under the appropriate circumstances. However, if adrenaline is dominant in a preschooler during circle time, he will be unable to settle down. Similarly, if excessive dopamine is present, the result is obsessive, rather than focusing, behavior. At bedtime, when the body tries to cycle into sleep, the brain may…

Food as Medicine

This piece on food as medicine is excerpted from Annemarie Colbin’s book “Food and Healing”. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist, Founder of Natural Gourmet Cookery School and Institute for Food and Health in New York City. We think of food as something that nourishes and keeps us alive. But food can also heal our bodies (think of it as food as medicine). Every culture has its own remedies for various problems, handed down through the generations. Many childhood ailments respond very well to these traditional preparations. Fevers For thousands of years, an elevation in body temperature was considered beneficial. But for the past 80 years or so, pharmacological medicine has insisted — wrongly — that fever is no good and must be lowered as soon as it appears. If a spontaneous fever does not exceed 104 degrees and is not accompanied by other symptoms, try these natural ways to handle it and speed its passing: Keep the child…

Nutrition and Autism

by Vicki Kobliner MS RD, CD-N Nutrition and autism:  Mention the words “nutrition” and “autism” and many people quickly but exclusively think of gluten and casein free diets (GFCF). While this diet has certainly helped to improve the symptoms of autism for many children, there is far more about nutrition and its relationship to autism that every parent should know before embarking on the complex and often expensive journey into the world of biomedical therapies. Good nutrition is the cornerstone of growth and development for all children, healthy or ill.  When nutritional status is compromised it will directly affect a child’s progress, and for a child with a chronic illness like autism, the lack of critical nutrients can have far reaching effects. Children with autism often exhibit a frustrating mix of picky eating behaviors and limited diets, bowel irregularities, food allergies or sensitivities and physical and behavioral signs of nutrient deficiencies.  A vicious cycle is created which goes something like…