Can Learning Disabilities Be Mitigated?
- Friday, September 20, 2013
To further establish the midline as the child’s “plumb line” and to internalize directionality, help your preschooler with midline fine motor exercise. Draw a large 8 lying on its side, on a piece of double-wide construction paper. With the child sitting with his middle lined up with the middle of the horizontal 8, have him trace around the track with a crayon three times (stimulating the right, automatic brain hemisphere) and then write the letters of the alphabet directly on the 8 diagram on the construction paper. Continue this process as you go through the alphabet. The alphabet letter represents the visual/spatial part of the exercise and stimulates the left brain, so this becomes a whole brain activity. With a preschooler, do this exercise for about ten minutes a day, using about five letters altogether, along with the three times around the track in between each letter. This needs to be done slowly as your hand is on the child’s hand, training his muscle memory for midline recognition and fluency. (If your back hurts from leaning over, then you are doing it right!)
Mitigating the Symptoms of Dyslexia (significant reading problems)
Do step one, as described above, for your non-crawler or quick walker.
If your child has a difficult time (has to think about it) performing the cross-crawl movement standing up (touching opposite hand and knee repeatedly for one minute), then do the brain training as described in step number three, above.
Since research shows that dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD run in families that have an essential fatty acid deficiency, it is good to mitigate dyslexic-like symptoms by giving the essential fatty acids early. Research strongly indicates that the DHA in fish oil helps to increase the integrity of the connections in the brain. For most moms, this just means that they give a teaspoon of flavored, emulsified (best digested) cod liver oil daily. Since the cod liver oil contains DHA and another important brain fat, Vitamin D, it has been found that many learning disabilities can be reduced when this supplement is taken. Researchers are finding a strong correlation between a deficiency of DHA and Vitamin D and dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADD, autism, allergies and asthma.
Take repeated ear infections seriously, because these can be one of the causes of auditory processing problems later in life. In Dr. Mary Ann Block’s clinic in Texas, children never have more than one ear infection, because she replaces all dairy and soy products in their diet. If a child is given an antibiotic for an ear infection, many moms know that by also giving a good probiotic, like Primadophilus, the child’s memory and behavior are not negatively impacted by the temporary yeast/fungus overgrowth that tends to come with repeated antibiotics.
Mitigating Symptoms of ADD/ADHD
In pregnancy, research shows that moms who take adequate amounts of fish oil (especially when Vitamin D is included) have fewer issues with learning and focusing with their children. Always check with your doctor before adding any supplements while pregnant or nursing. Have your Vitamin D3 levels checked first.
Try to nurse your child exclusively as long as you can. When introducing foods, select fresh, whole foods as much as possible. Many parents do this by just making many of the baby’s first foods by simply mashing bananas, steaming carrots, or making pureed chicken in the blender, etc. Make sure the child is getting good fats like avocado, butter, and whole fat dairy products. If a child has had early ear infections, or antibiotics, it is good to put off introduction of dairy products as long as possible.
Limit intake of sugar and packaged, processed foods as much as possible. Use whole oatmeal for breakfast with berries, rather than packaged cereals.
If your child needs an antibiotic or steroid, also give a good probiotic three times a day for several months after the medicine has been given, to restore the child’s gut ecology. Remember that the bowel is the manufacturing plant for the calming, focusing neurotransmitter, Serotonin.
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