How Sensory Integration and Nutrition Interact

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND, co-founder, Developmental Delay Resources Sensory integration (SI) is a complex process that makes it possible for a person to take in, organize and interpret information from our bodies and the world.  (Is the soup hot or cold?  Did the bee sting hurt?  Where are my arms and legs?  Do I need to go to the bathroom?)  Using sensory information efficiently enables us to function smoothly in daily life. Most people naturally get a good “sensory diet,” which nourishes the nervous system and creates healthy circuits capable of relaying accurate information.  For children, ordinary touch and movement experiences, such as swinging, climbing, digging, and molding playdough, are “food” for the brain. Children with SI dysfunction, however, misread sensory input, often under- or over-reacting to it.  If a child’s sensory processing is disorganized, he may be hypo- or hypersensitive to temperature, pain, and the way his body works. If behavior becomes out of sync with life, therapy…

Hypotonia and Nutrition

Hypotonia and Nutrition

Hypotonia and Nutrition

Low muscle tone, or hypotonia, is one of the physical problems often associated with developmental delays; nutrition and low muscle tone are intimately connected. Children can have generalized hypotonia or it may affect just specific areas such as the hands or upper body. Hypotonia is clinically significant because in severe cases the muscles are literally too weak to perform important tasks such as holding a pencil or sitting without slumping in a chair. In milder cases, stamina or precision are affected. For example, children with severe hypotonia of the hands are reluctant or sloppy writers whose interest in writing or drawing declines in direct correlation with the severity of the low tone. When the concerns are milder, youngsters may try to overcompensate for difficulties by holding pencils too hard and causing cramps or creating blisters. Hyptonia Causes There are two possible causes of hypotonia. Occupational therapists contend that the vestibular system imbalances are to blame. The vestibular system is the…

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…

Nutritional Supplementation and Autism, ADHD, SPD and Other Delays

by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND, Co-Founder,  Developmental Delay Resources Children who are distractible or have developmental delays need more nutrients than non-affected youngsters. This blog is about nutritional supplementation and autism, ADHD, SPD and other developmental delays. The higher nutritional needs may be due to one or more of the following: poor absorption due to gastro-intestinal issues and/or allergies; self-restricted diets during critical developmental periods; impaired ability to detoxify environmental chemicals and pollutants; nutrient deficiencies passed on from their parents. Parents are justifiably alarmed when a child is eating poorly despite assurances many physicians offer. Poor nutrient intake can decrease intelligence and affect brain functioning, especially if it occurs during the first few years of life. Unfortunately, these indisputable facts are not enough to convince children to eat their whole grains and vegetables. The best most parents can do is offer consistently good choices and eliminate heavily processed, artificially colored and flavored foods. For those who have successfully removed junk…