Author: Susan R. Johnson MD, F.A.A.P.
Published: Feb 6th, 2014
Updated: Sept 4th, 2017
The recommendations listed below are the most frequent ones I give to families. The 1st series of recommendations, #1 through #13, explain the benefits of Biodynamic Osteopathic Cranial therapy. This type of non-manipulative, cranial work helps to resolve cranial compressions/restrictions (usually from the birth process), which are causing sensory integration dysfunction. In my experience, unresolved cranial compressions also cause challenges with eye tracking and eye convergence, as well as, being a common cause for deterioration of vision in early childhood and in the older, school-age child. Many types of movement therapies are also described in this section, as well as, lifestyle changes (especially the importance of sleep, limiting screen time etc.). This section also looks briefly at the development of reading and writing and the differences between fluently reading by sight memory (i.e. the spatial recognition of a word), in comparison to, fluently reading by sounding-out words, phonetically. This section briefly reviews the options for tutoring, with respect to reading, and how to switch reading from right-brain, sight reading to left-brain, phonetic-based reading. Phonetic-based reading represents "true" reading because it allows for simultaneous inner-picturing of scenes (The articles, "Teaching Children to Write, Read, and Spell Parts I and Part II" and the article, Assessment of Pre-reading and Reading Skills look more deeply at these issues).
The next section, representing #14 through #21g, looks at overgrowth of intestinal yeast and how it causes inflammation of the intestinal lining, and how that can trigger a variety of health issues, from allergies, chronic ear infections and chronic sinusitis to more severe conditions of gluten-sensitivities, receptive and expressive language delays, adrenal gland fatigue, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and the Autistic Spectrum Disorders (also see my Leaky Gut Article for more details). This section also heavily focuses on nutrition, the vitamins and minerals we need, the foods we need to be sure and eat, as well as, the role of our beneficial intestinal bacteria in producing certain vitamins and making minerals more bioavailable. This is why the integrity and health of the intestinal lining is a key component of a healthy immune system. This section also reviews the clinical signs and symptoms of most vitamin and mineral deficiencies (and how to correct them), especially for those eating more of a vegetarian diet. This section also reviews the importance of juicing fresh vegetables, on a regular basis, and sometimes even taking additional supplements, with methylated B12 and methylated Folic Acid (see 4b in the Leaky Gut Article for how to test genetically for the methylation gene, often referred to as MTHFR). Finally this section also reviews our crucial need for dietary sources of beneficial intestinal bacteria, and the importance of sometimes taking oral probiotics (including the why, how, when, and what to take).
The 3rd section of this article, representing #22 through #27, provides practical advice and book referrals for strengthening our full presence and our ability to express unconditional love, when we are with our children. This section talks about ways to be with our children, without disrupting their play, and highlights self-care: physically, soul-wise, and spiritually (Please see the many other articles I have written on these key areas, which I, too, am still learning).
Finally the last section of this article, #28 through #34, has more health and school-related recommendations. This section covers areas like a soothing cream to rub over your child's heart at bedtime, the recommended age of entry for the first grade, and accommodations that can be made at school, if your child shows eye tracking and converging issues or still needs to wiggle a lot when sitting in a chair. Also in this section is a discussion of the ALF appliance, for upper and/or lower jaw expansion, since dental issues that our structural (i.e. crowding of the teeth, an overbite, an underbite, etc.) also occur when there are unresolved cranial compressions. Finally, this section reviews the importance of looking at our EMF exposures from cell phones, iPads, computers, SMART meters etc. and gives practical tips about what we can do to minimize their impacts on our health.
I. To strengthen children's sensory integration/processing pathways so they can better coordinate their body when moving, still their body when sitting or standing, easily focus and pay attention when learning, and decrease their stress and anxieties:
1) For treatment of unresolved cranial compressions, which often occur during children's birth and can disrupt the development of their sensory processing pathways, have your child see a specialized osteopathic physician who has been trained by Dr. James Jealous and who gives non-manipulative, Biodynamic Cranial Osteopathic treatments. I sometimes recommend a specialized physician who is board certified in Atlas Orthogonist and Functional Neurology. The key is to find the one that your child most connects to and relaxes with during the treatments so the treatments are the most effective.
These treatments help to resolve cranial compression(s), especially over the cerebellum brain tissue and brain stem, at the base of the skull. They, also, help to deeply relax the autonomic nervous system so balance, proprioception, and bilateral integration pathways can more completely develop. In my opinion, these treatments are far superior to most cranial-sacral treatments. These treatments also correct any eye winking, eye tracking and/or eye converging challenges. You can read more about Biodynamic osteopathic treatments and locate the names of other practitioners in your state by going to the web site, www.jamesjealous.com. Please set up a phone time to speak with me 2 to 3 weeks after your child has had at least 3 cranial treatments, to discuss the progress your child is making.
Signs and symptoms for having unresolved cranial compressions which also cause blockages in the development of tactile, balance, eye tracking, proprioceptive, and bilateral integration pathways:
2a) If available in your area (usually at a Waldorf or Waldorf-methods school), have your child do at least one cycle of Therapeutic Eurythmy movement therapy (Highly specialized Tai Chi and Qigong-like movements for children and adults), either twice a week for 7 weeks or once a week for 14 weeks, to strengthen eye tracking, eye convergence, balance, proprioception, and bilateral integration pathways. Therapeutic Eurythmy also helps to relax the autonomic nervous system.
I usually have children do 2 to 3 biodynamic cranial sessions before starting Therapeutic Eurythmy to help resolve any cranial compressions so the eurythmy movements imprint more deeply in the brain. Sometimes children need more than just 1 cycle of 14 sessions to open their pathways. I sometimes recommend a one hour follow-up session to reassess movement and/or reading pathways after the first cycle to determine if a 2nd cycle is needed.
Therapeutic Eurythmy is done one on one with your child and in my opinion is more effective than Brain Gym, HANDLE exercises, Smart Moves, gymnastics and even occupational therapy, though I do recommend occupational therapy (if done with a therapist that specializes in working with children that have sensory integration dysfunction) for very young children (ages 2 to 4) or older children whose balance and proprioception need strengthening before they can do Therapeutic Eurythmy (see my referral sheet). Check this website, www.Therapeuticeurythmy.org/directory/ for eurythmy therapists.
Frequently prescribed Therapeutic Eurythmy movements:
2b) Therapeutic or Parelli Natural Horsemanship riding lessons (mostly bareback) are also wonderful for strengthening proprioception and balance. Check web sites for Therapeutic Horseback riding and/or Parelli.com.
2c) Have your child participate in Extra lesson movement work with EXTRA Lesson trained movement therapists that usually work at Waldorf and Waldorf-method Schools. This movement work is done once or twice a week to strengthen eye tracking, eye convergence, balance, proprioception, and bilateral integration pathways. I usually start with a course of Therapeutic Eurythmy movement therapy and then add or substitute bareback horseback riding (if available) and/or Extra Lesson work or other movement programs (whatever is available).
The loving relationship of your child to the movement therapist is extremely important for extra lesson work and for any other movement therapy or educational experience in which your child participates. The therapist needs to be in and to stay in the present moment, when working with your child, and the therapist needs to care deeply for your child and enjoy the movement or teaching work that he or she is doing with your child. This is what will help your child to relax and enable him or her to imprint the movement and learning. Anytime your child experiences excessive stress when moving or learning, she or he will go into the fight/flight portion of the autonomic nervous system, and the movements and learning will not fully imprint in his or her mind (in other words the therapy will not be very effective).
2d) To improve balance and proprioception in a younger children less than 5 years of age, I usually recommend weekly or biweekly sessions of sensory Integration occupational therapy with a highly trained pediatric occupational and physical therapist (OT/PT). Once again, the loving relationship of your child with the movement therapist is the key ingredient! The movement games also need to be done in a fun (though not over-stimulating) way, so your child's autonomic nervous system stays relaxed and is not put into fight/flight (see 2c above).
3) I recommend that children 6 years old or older and adults take 1 tsp/day of Arctic D cod liver oil by Nordic Naturals to provide 1000 IU of Vitamin D3, approx. 1000 IU of Vitamin A, and plenty of omega 3 fatty acids (especially DHA and EPA) for brain myelination and development. If children are ages 3 to 5 years then I recommend 1/2 tsp/day. If taking capsules containing the oil, make sure the concentrations of Vitamin A and Vitamin D 3 are fairly equivalent if these vitamins are added to the oil. Also make sure the capsules contain both DHA and EPA as omega 3 fatty acids.
Children and adults will get a sandpaper like rash on their upper arms and/or back when they have omega 3 fatty acid deficiency. The skin should become silky along with any new growth of hair on the head, about 1 month after taking the oil. Be sure to have your child consume a few teaspoons of organic butter, Factor x butter (Weston Price recommended), and/or ghee (butter without the milk protein), during the same meal when taking the oil, since it helps the body absorb this oil. We need extra Vitamin D3 during the winter time in Northern California even if it is sunny outside since the low angle of the sun does not allow our body to make it easily. If your child does not like the oily taste then you can vigorously mix the oil with 4 to 5 Tbsps of organic grape juice before she or he drinks it.
4a) Continue to limit screen time (i.e. computer games, videos, television) to 2 hours/week, if at all, and avoid watching screens on school nights. Media over- stimulates and stresses the autonomic nervous system and therefore keeps the brain in fight/flight mode causing hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and attention problems. In addition, the pathways of the brain (i.e. mind) can't develop properly or heal when the autonomic nervous system is stressed. Remember that 30 minutes of screen time often stresses the nervous system for 3 to 4 hours keeping children in fight/flight for several hours after turning off the screen. Playing outside in nature, especially in water or sand, is a great way to detox and relax the autonomic nervous system again.
We also convert our visual memories of the day from short term to long term memory during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep each night, and the visual input from screens will compete with and dilute out the visual information and visual experiences, that your child has had during the day. In addition, if adults or children do not get enough sleep during the night, then deep sleep is preserved but REM sleep is shortened (i.e. sacrificed) which also limits the conversion of short term memories from the day into long term memory. For example, if your child learned something new one day and did not get enough REM (i.e. rapid eye movement) sleep that night or watched a lot of media that day, then your child would more easily forget what was learned when he or she woke up the next morning.
4b) When children have adequate sleep they will awaken by themselves in the morning, have a hearty appetite for breakfast, and often have a bowel movement as well. Remember that getting enough sleep is key for learning (see 4a). In addition, deep sleep restores the brain's neurotransmitters and allows the liver to store sugar for the brain to use the next day. This helps prevent adrenal gland fatigue so the adrenal glands are not continually over-stimulated to secrete cortisol (a steroid and stress hormone that moves sugar into the bloodstream to provide more fuel for the brain). Cortisol oversecretion depletes vitamins and minerals and also suppresses the immune system so we become sick more easily. Usually we get reddish circles under our eyes from allergies and dark circles from adrenal fatigue.
5) Make sure that your child's hands, arms, feet, legs, and abdomen (lower back) are as warm as the skin over his or her heart. The brain can not adequately find an extremity if it is cool or cold. Children can't manipulate their fingers as easily if they are cold, and can't feel the ground underneath their feet if their feet are cold. In general, being cold keeps children and adults in their stress portion of their autonomic nervous system. Children will use up their body's energy for developing their heart, lungs, brain etc., if they have to use that energy to keep their body and organs warm. The immune system also does not function as well when children or adults are cold. Magnesium deficiency can also cause our extremities to run cool.
6a) Signs and symptoms that your child's proprioceptive pathways may be partially blocked by unresolved cranial compressions and/or needs strengthening are:
6b) Play and do lots of proprioceptive strengthening games and movements that are noncompetitive, as well as chores, such as pushing a wheelbarrow, pulling weeds, digging with a shovel, carrying buckets full of water to water the plants, carrying the groceries, carrying the laundry basket, cleaning the windows, wiping off the table, sweeping the floor, pushing the chairs underneath the table after eating, pulling the trash can out to the curb, washing and polishing the car, raking leaves, pushing a wheelbarrow etc. Other physical activities and games that strengthen proprioception include: doing "fun" gymnastics, running, jumping, hiking, setting up a tent, building a fort, bouncing a heavy ball, shooting baskets, opening doors for other people, walking or running in the sand at the beach, playing in the waves, swimming, jumping off tree stumps or hay bales, playing hop scotch, scrambling across boulders etc. Once again, keep the sports activities, non-competitive, so the autonomic nervous system does not go into fight/flight mode.
Your child may also enjoy being squished in the Dog Pile game (where he or she is sandwiched in-between your bodies), being wrapped up like a burrito using a blanket or towel, and playing the Bear Hug game (where you sit in a chair as the sleepy big bear and give your child a big bear hug using your arms and legs). You can then pretend to fall asleep and have your child wiggle free. Rock wall climbing is also a fun activity that strengthens proprioception, in addition to horseback riding and Therapeutic Eurythmy. Most of these proprioceptive strengthening activities strengthen the balance pathways as well. As children's proprioceptive pathways develop normally or as proprioceptive pathways are opened by biodynamic cranial therapy followed by movement therapy, you will see a change in their drawings.
Children draw for us the proprioceptive connections that their mind has made to the trunk and extremities of their body when they draw for us a picture of a person. Children less than age 2 years usually only scribble when asked to draw a person. Their mind has not yet connected proprioceptively with their body. Girls age 2 years and boys age 3 years usually draw a circle with dangling sticks for legs and/or sticks for arms coming out of the circle. This means that they are starting to make proprioceptive connections to their arms and legs but not yet their trunk, hands, fingers, or feet.
Usually by 4 years of age, children draw a full stick figure often with 3 to 5 stick fingers on each hand. Starting around age 5 years of age, children start to experience their body in 3-dimensional space (i.e. forward/backward, left/right, and up/down) so their drawing of a person now shows dimension. Now the drawing consists of clothes on the trunk (e.g. shirt, pants, or a dress) with tubular (rather than stick-like) arms, hands, fingers, legs and feet. The drawing becomes more detailed along with the appearance of a neck around age 7 years. When children draw this detailed and 3-dimensional drawing of a person, their proprioceptive pathways are formed and they will have an accurate visual memory for numbers and letters.
Once children can fully perceive their body in 3-dimensional space, they will be able to stand on each foot, in stillness, for 8 to 10 seconds with their eyes closed. They will also be able to accurately draw on paper all the numbers and letters that are firmly drawn on their back, with a finger. Remember that children will still perceive the diagonal lines in the letters, M, W, or V, as horizontal or vertical lines, until they fully feel their body in 3-dimensional space. When their proprioceptive pathways have fully developed, children will be able to recall and write down a series of 6 numbers, letters, and/or shapes that they are shown visually for 10 seconds, without reversals. This is why we do not want to push children to read or write until their proprioceptive and bilateral integration pathways are fully developed, or we will cause children to develop visual processing, nonverbal learning disabilities.
When children can draw a dimensional drawing of a person without being coached by a teacher or a parent, then their minds have fully imprinted the location of proprioceptive receptor sites in the muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments within their trunk and extremities and they will have an awareness of their body in space. Now they will be able to sit still in a chair without wiggling, sitting on their legs and feet, and/or lying on their desk top. They will have an accurate visual memory for letters and numbers when writing or doing mathematics and be able to easily fall asleep and stay asleep, since their mind can now perceive their body even when their eyes are closed.
In parenting and disciplining our children, always remember that the age of children proprioceptively, based on their drawing of a person, usually corresponds to their emotional, behavioral, and social age. For example, a 5-year-old child who is still scribbling, because of unresolved cranial compressions that are blocking proprioceptive feedback, will still have an emotional, behavioral, and social age around 1 1/2 to 2 years. Their intelligence may be completely normal and even gifted, but their mind is overwhelmed with keeping their body upright and not available for noting the nonverbal, social cues of other children. These children, that are either still scribbling at 5 years of age or barely able to draw a stick-figure often lacking fingers, will also have challenges with fine motor finger movements and show a fist-like pencil grip when using a crayon or colored pencil.
When a 7-year-old child is still drawing only a stick-like person, then he or she will have not developed spatial awareness, yet. Therefore, that child may inappropriately hug other children, crash into other children, or bump into furniture. That child may even withdraw to the periphery of a room, when there are lots of children running around. This is because the child is feeling overwhelmed and unable to navigate around the other children. These 7-year-old children, who are still only drawing stick-like figures, have a proprioceptive age of 4 to 4 1/2 years. This often means that they have an emotional/social age of 4 to 4 1/2 years as well. Their social skills will continue to seem young until their proprioceptive system more fully develops. Knowing this helps us as parents and teachers to adjust our expectations for the child's behavior and social skills as well as our methods for disciplining and ways of communicating with our children.
Once again, when proprioceptive pathways are still developing, children need their minds to judge spatial distances and keep their body upright, especially when their feet are off the ground. Therefore, their minds are not yet free to focus on the nonverbal social cues given by other children or adults. In addition, their autonomic nervous system is often in fight/flight or stressed so they can be very physically and emotionally reactive and show overly large (dilated) pupils while in indoor, moderate light.
7) Give your child a pressure squeeze massage at bedtime to strengthen his or her proprioceptive pathways. Start by squeezing the thumb and each finger of one hand with your whole hand, and then sequentially squeeze the hand, wrist, and up the arm until you reach the shoulder. Now squeeze the thumb and fingers of the other hand up to the shoulder (making sure to squeeze all the joints-fingers, hands, wrist, and elbow along the way). Next firmly squeeze all the toes and the entire foot with your hands (you do not need to squeeze each toe individually), and then continue squeezing from the ankle up to the thigh (squeeze the knee on the sides). Now do the other leg from toe to thigh. End by squeezing the child's shoulders and squeezing along the sides of the rib cage down to the hip bones. If children are too ticklish when you squeeze their rib cage on either side, you can have them rest their arms along their sides and squeeze down their arms to squeeze their ribcage. Always adjust your squeezing to your child's comfort. If the child is ticklish then you may be squeezing too lightly. If the child says it hurts then you are squeezing too firmly.
8) Play catch with your child, 5 to 10 min./day, with progressively smaller and smaller bean bags, rice-filled balls, ping-pong balls, or tiny soft balls to strengthen his or her eye tracking and convergence. For fun if your child is younger and struggles catching a ball, you can start by tossing a balloon in the air and taking turns hitting it up in the air and seeing how many times you can tap it sequentially (so it is not a competitive game that stresses the nervous system) before the balloon falls to the ground. You can also have your child practice throwing a bean bag, ping pong ball, or small rice ball in the air and catching it by herself or himself (#times equals your child's age in years) first with both hands and then each hand separately, using an underhand catch so the eyes track more up and down. Later your child can practice tossing the ball or bean bag back and forth between the hands. If your child is older (1st and 2nd grade or older) he or she can do this catching activity while on a balance board, then the movement becomes cross-lateral and will strengthen bilateral integration pathways. Ping pong, jacks, tennis (noncompetitive), and badminton are also great games for strengthening eye tracking, eye convergence, and hand-eye coordination. Even solving mazes on paper and playing board and card games (though not on a computer screen!) will strengthen eye tracking. Eye strengthening activities need to occur in 3-dimensional space and not by looking at a flat, 2-dimensional screen, which will only strain the eyes.
Playing catch is so important because it strengthens visual tracking, eye convergence, balance, proprioception (especially in the fingers), eye-hand coordination, and fine motor finger movements. It is the best thing to do to prepare and/or strengthen your child's abilities to read and write.
9) Do lots of cross-lateral movement activities to strengthen your child's bilateral integration pathways. Movements like noncompetitive swimming, climbing rock walls, hiking with poles, snow shoeing with poles, cross country skiing with poles, jumping rope by self (especially in a double jump to single arm swing pattern), Bal-a-vis-x.com (bouncing a ball from one hand to the other while on a balance board), contra or square dancing, ballroom dancing (in middle school or high school), certain extra lesson movements, and of course Eurythmy (which is one of the most powerful movement therapies for bilateral integration) are all great. Circle time in k through 4 grade at your school often includes cross-lateral movements, as does doing Spatial Dynamics in the older grades. Doing a circus skills camp some summer (e.g. learning how to ride a unicycle while juggling) would also be great, as well as learning how to paddle upright on a flat board in still water (a popular sport in Hawaii right now). Even kayaking, canoeing, and rowing are cross-lateral activities (because the trunk and lower extremities hold tension while the arms are paddling) and will strengthen bilateral integration and proprioceptive pathways.
Starting in the first grade at Waldorf and Waldorf-method schools, all the form drawing and practicing of cursive writing (in a flowing manner without pausing between each letter), will also strengthen bilateral integration pathways. Printing just requires the left hemisphere of the brain while cursive writing requires the right and left sides of the brain working together. Older children who have not yet fully developed their bilateral integration pathways will find cursive writing very challenging and will prefer to print.
10) Read the Articles, Healing our Children with Attention, Emotional, and Learning Challenges, Teaching our Children to Write, Read and Spell-Part I, Part II, and Visual Tracking, Eye Convergence, Reading and Writing, as well as Assessment of Pre-reading and Reading Skills (also included in my book, Healing Our Children).
11) If your child is in 4th grade or above, he or she may need an individualized, phonetic-based reading program like Susan Barton or Linda-Mood-Bell to switch the reading pathways from the right brain (sight memory) to the left brain (phonetic-based, sounding-out the words). These programs first work on phonemic awareness, having children practice hearing the separate sounds in a given word. Next, children learn the different sounds that each vowel can make, and the spelling rules that determine what particular sound a vowel uses within a given word. For example, the vowel A says its name, A, in the word MAY and also gives this sound in the words BAY, RAY, SAY, and DAY. The vowel A uses a different sound in the words, SAT, MAT, BAT, RAT and yet another sound, the AH sound, in the words, SAW, RAW, LAW, BALL, TALL, and CALL.
Susan Barton's phonetic program describes children as being dyslexic, assuming the reading challenges are all genetic. Just realize that sight reading results when children are taught to read before the left side of their brain has developed for phonetic-based reading. There may be a genetic reason why the left brain develops later for phonetic-based reading, but it could also be due to an unresolved cranial compression that is blocking the development of these pathways.
The problem with the more formalized Linda Mood Bell training centers is that they are very expensive, and their instructors teach phonetic reading without realizing that it is a developmental task. In my opinion, they often push phonetic reading in very young children, who have not yet fully developed their proprioceptive and bilateral integration pathways, and/or still have unresolved cranial compressions that are blocking these sensory processing pathways. These Linda-Mood-Bell instructors will have children do tutoring 3 to 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, to attempt to teach phonetic reading in a child whose pathways are not yet ready to learn it. I have children receive tutoring from Linda-Mood-Bell instructors, but only after I am sure that their sensory integration pathways, especially proprioception and bilateral integration, are fully developed.
I recommend that phonetic-based tutoring be for only 1 hour, once or twice a week. If the tutoring does not imprint easily for your child, the proprioceptive and bilateral integration pathways have not yet fully developed, and I would stop the tutoring and focus on cranial work in conjunction with movement therapy. I also recommend Therapeutic Eurythmy, one on one, or a physician who specializes in Functional Neurology and teaches whole body and eye movement exercises to parents, so they can do these exercises at home with their children. These exercises further open and develop the cerebellum, parietal, temporal, occipital, and frontal areas of their child's brain, needed for phonetic-based reading. If eye tracking and eye converging pathways are not fully functioning after cranial and movement therapies, then I sometimes will recommend Vision Therapy if the vision therapist works with an occupational therapist who specializes in whole body movements and does not use a computer program with children, which I feels strains the eyes. In my opinion, eye tracking and eye converging movements need to be done in 3-dimensional space and not by looking at a flat, 2-dimensional computer screen.
Once children can easily hear the separate sounds within each word (i.e. phonemic awareness) and can quickly sound-out words backwards as well as forwards (such as TRAMS=SMART, WARTS=STRAW, POTS=SPOT etc.), their left brain has usually developed enough to learn phonetic-based reading. I also want to make sure that bilateral integration pathways are fully developed so that children are forming mental pictures in their mind while simultaneously reading phonetically.
12) If your child has sensory integration dysfunction or learned to read words using right brain sight memory and now needs to switch reading pathways to the left side of the brain (so the child reads phonetically, by sounding-out words, rather than guessing at the words by their shape), then the tuition at a private Waldorf School may be tax deductible as a medical expense each year. I often recommend and prescribe Waldorf-based teaching methods to meet children's learning needs through the 8th grade and even through high school. This is because Waldorf and Waldorf-method schools teach children using visual, auditory, and hands-on, kinesthetic teaching methods. Waldorf schools also provide lots of handwork, painting, drawing, singing, playing of musical instruments, circle movement activities, classroom eurythmy, and outdoor movement games, as well as, activities like spatial dynamics and circus skills. In addition, all follow-up visits, the initial assessment, all movement therapies, cranial work, supplements, dietary recommendations (eg. Gluten-free and organic foods), and remedies, that I recommend, are also tax deductible as medical expenses, each year.
13) Continue reading lots of books and lots of stories to your child to strengthen the right brain's (mind's) capacity to create imaginative scenes and pictures. Eventually as the left side of the brain strengthens for phonetic-based reading, along with the strengthening of bilateral integration pathways (i.e. the connections between the right and left sides of the brain), your child will be able to simultaneously create scenes/pictures in his or her mind while reading. In my experience of 30 years of pediatric practice, these pathways for phonetic-based reading and mental picturing do not start developing in girls until around ages 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 or 8 years of age (the earliest age I have seen phonetic based reading with simultaneous mental picturing is age 6 years and 2 months). Boys' sensory integration pathways of proprioception and especially bilateral integration need at least an additional 1 to 2 years to develop. Therefore, their ability to read phonetically while simultaneously forming mental pictures may not develop until they are 7 1/2 to 9 years of age. These pathways are easily blocked from developing in both girls and boys by unresolved cranial compressions, brain malnutrition, and/or inflammation in the brain due to the Leaky Gut Syndrome.
In addition, if children come from more artistic, intuitively gifted, right brain dominant parents, then they will need additional time before the their left brain myelinates fully for phonetic-based reading. Some of our most gifted children may not read until 12 years of age, because they have not, yet, myelinated the left side of their brain for phonetic-based reading.
II. Recommendations for healing the Leaky Gut Syndrome (i.e. inflamed and leaky intestinal lining), which often causes Autism, Alzheimer's, autoimmune diseases, expressive and receptive language delays, allergies, asthma, chronic sinusitis, chronic serous otitis, and delays in sensory processing.
14) Read my articles, Leaky Gut Syndrome and the Allergy Treatment Sheet, as well as the excellent books, Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride from Cambridge, England and The Plant Paradox by Steven R. Gundry. In my articles and these books, we discuss how our diets high in processed foods and sugar, the use of frequent antibiotics, and chronic stress, all act to destroy our healthy intestinal bacteria, disrupt the functioning of our mitochondria, and allow yeast to overgrow in our small intestine and colon. The yeast steals and absorbs valuable minerals and vitamins from our food, and it also absorbs glucose from our diet. Now our brain struggles to get enough sugar, B vitamins, and minerals. This causes our adrenal glands to over secrete cortisol (adrenal gland fatigue) and makes us crave sweets (looking for B vitamins), as well as, crave salty foods (looking for magnesium).
In addition, the yeast can burrow into our intestinal lining causing inflammation (i.e. stomachaches after eating or before having a bowel moment). Certain unhealthy bacteria can also produce an endotoxin that hurts our intestinal lining and/or the gluten protein itself can trigger inflammation of the intestine directly in some people. Whatever is the cause of the inflammation, this inflammation of the intestinal lining allows undigested food products to gain direct access to our bloodstream, triggering an immune response, allergy symptoms, and when severe, brain inflammation. Both receptive and expressive language as well as other sensory processing and learning pathways can be disrupted from this inflammation in the brain.
Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends taking probiotics (containing beneficial intestinal bacteria) and going on a gluten-free (wheat, rye, corn, barley) and mostly casein-free (milk products) diet called the GAPS diet, for at least 6 months, to heal the intestinal lining (some children need this diet for 1 to 2 years). I recommend her maintenance diet, but be careful with the intro diet. The intro diet can cause children to become too acidic (i.e. ketotic), and lose muscle mass and fat, especially if the children are not eating any carbohydrates (i.e. vegetables). Fruits, which children usually will eat, are not added until a more advanced phase of the intro diet. This diet, along with going on probiotics, juicing vegetables, and eating lots of chicken mineral bone broth, will usually stop all stomachaches in 1 month and decrease any congestion. Expressive and receptive language should also start to improve. It usually takes a little longer for eczema skin rashes to go away, tonsils to shrink, and/or serous fluid behind the ear drums to resolve.
There are several websites and cookbooks with great gluten-free recipes that our based on the GAPS book by Dr. Campbell-McBride (See the list of Resource>Publications, on my website. In addition, please visit the website GAPSdiet.com for lots of specific dietary information about GAPS, lists of certified GAPS nutritional consultants, and other great articles and resources.).
There is an at-home, finger prick test by US Bio Tek laboratories (usbiotek.com) that can assess the presence of IgG antibodies in the blood to 96 different types of food proteins. The test is $159. This test helps to sort out whether a child or an adult needs to be only grain-free, only casein-free, or both gluten and casein-free. Normally there should be very low levels of detectable IgG antibodies in the blood to food products, since the intestinal lining does not allow any undigested proteins to enter the blood. Our liver then makes human proteins from these building-block amino acids. IgG antibodies are only produced by our immune cells if they detect foreign (i.e. non-human) proteins, like gluten or casein, in our bloodstream. This would only happen if there was yeast overgrowth or a bacterial endotoxin in our intestine causing inflammation and compromising the integrity of the intestinal lining.
15a) Take Bio-Kult capsules (2 to 3 billion organisms/capsule) at bedtime for 6 months to restore beneficial intestinal bacteria. The treatment dose is 2 to 4 capsules/day for children 2 to 4 years of age and 4 to 6 capsules/day for children 5 to 10 years of age. Older children and teenagers can take 6 to 8 capsules/day. This is an excellent probiotic formulated by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and can be ordered on-line by calling 800-899-3413 or going to the web site www.GAPSdiet.com.
For adults I recommend taking 8 to 10 capsules of Bio-kult at bedtime, 1 capsule (30 to 50 billion organisms) of Trinity probiotics by Natrens, or 1 capsule (80 billion organisms) of Critical Colon probiotics by Renew Life.
With Bio-Kult, start with just 1/4 to 1/2 of capsule for the first week and then increase to 1 capsule at bedtime for the next week, followed by 2 capsules at bedtime for the subsequent week. Continue increasing the number of capsules each week, until your child is taking the appropriate treatment dose at bedtime. It is best if your child can swallow the whole capsule with water or buried in applesauce, since the stomach acid often destroys most of the bacteria if the probiotic is in powder or liquid form. If your child can't swallow the capsule, you will just have to open it.
15b) Increasing stomach acid (HCL) also helps improve digestion of proteins. According to the website branchbasics.com, causes of low stomach acid include: eating when stressed, eating processed foods (also fast foods and microwaved food), excessive carbohydrates (i.e. not eating much protein), vitamin (especially Thiamin) and mineral deficiencies (especially zinc), drinking ice water during a meal, being older in age, taking antacids, and yeast (candida) in the stomach. Things that increase the acid content of the stomach, which helps the digestion of proteins, include: relaxed mealtimes, eating unpasteurized unsalted, fermented veggies like sauerkraut, drinking ginger tea with a meal or lemon water right before a meal, drinking fermented cabbage juice or chicken bone broth with meals, and chewing thoroughly. Eating fruits (which unlike vegetables, do not contain much protein) decrease stomach acid production, so many people eat fruits, separately, and do not combine fruits with proteins and fats during a meal.
16) Juice 12 large organic carrots, 1 organic green cucumber, 1 organic red beet with beet greens (leaves), 6 organic stalks of dino Kale (if available), 1 to 2 organic apples, 1 peeled lemon and sometimes 1 peeled orange if your child wants a sweeter drink. Sometimes I add 2 to 3 large stalks of organic celery though make sure the celery is not bitter, because if it is, it will really ruin the flavor of the drink and children won't drink it. Have children drink 8 to 12 ounces of this juice at least 3 to 5 times a week or even daily (I recommend that adults drink 16 to 32 ounces).
This juice will provide lots of vitamins, mineral, antioxidants, and raw plant enzymes to better digest your food and even help to get rid of excess intestinal yeast. Drinking this juice will provide so many minerals for the body that the saliva pH will stay alkaline (7.0 to 7.4) the entire day, so energy levels will be high, and the immune system, as well as the brain, will function more effectively.
Taking in lots of vitamins and minerals usually will stop the craving for sugar. We often crave sugar when we are B vitamin deficient, yet most of our breads and sugary foods are depleted in vitamins by over-processing and cooking (cooking inactivates most vitamins). Whole Foods store has a juice bar where you can order a 16 oz drink containing beets, carrots, cucumber, parsley, spinach, apple and lemon (they sometimes have kale). On days that you juice your child does not need to take the Oxylent supplement containing extra vitamins and minerals (See #21a).
17) Make organic, free-range, chicken bone broth soup (see the recipes on my website or in my book) to provide your child with lots of minerals especially calcium and magnesium. The bone broth also helps to heal any inflammation in the intestinal lining. Usually if adults or children have stomach-aches, it is recommended that they drink about 1/4 cup before meals, or mix the broth into the food when cooking. The chicken bone broth can be frozen in ice cube trays and then be easily used when cooking. If you make the chicken-vegetable soup with the bone broth, it has lots of garlic and onions that also help to discourage yeast growth in the intestine.
18) Increase magnesium containing foods in your diet such as dark leafy greens (like kale, spinach, swiss chard, and Romaine lettuce), green colored pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pre-soaked/slow roasted almonds, Brazil nuts, seaweed, brussels sprouts, avocados, broccoli, unsweetened cocoa powder, raw cacao nibs, and of course bone broth soup. Even papayas, raspberries, tomatoes, and organic strawberries rank high in magnesium, according to the website, mercola.com.
Magnesium also makes up Epsom Salts, and can be absorbed through the skin if either Magnesium sulfate crystals or Magnesium chloride salts are added to the bath. Children and adults can also take 1 tsp (for children) and 2 heaping teaspoons (for adults) of cherry flavored or raspberry-lemon flavored adult CALM by Natural Vitality. Make sure to buy the CALM that only contains magnesium. The CALM is added to 8 to 12 ounces of either cold or warm water and is usually taken orally in the late afternoon. The raspberry-lemon, flavored CALM can be added to cool water, along with the Oxylent, vitamin and mineral powder (see 21a), and taken orally. CALM relaxes skeletal muscles and so relieves growing pains, muscle cramps and restless legs. It stimulates smooth muscle contraction in the small and large intestines and therefore increases the frequency of stools. It is great for constipation and does calm the nervous system. Usually I have children take 1 to 2 tsps of CALM in water every day for 2 weeks and see if they note any calming effects during the day and better sleep at night. If they do, I have them continue taking CALM and increase magnesium-containing foods in the diet.
Magnesium is a mineral and a cofactor for sugar metabolism and neurohormone/neurotransmitter production (e.g. melatonin, to promote sleep, and serotonin, to calm the nervous system). According to the Weston Price Journal, magnesium is required for the production of all proteins, including those that interact with vitamins A and D. Magnesium deficiency causes among other things, cold hands and feet, tooth decay (poor enamel), asthma, seizures, chronic fatigue, hyperactivity, temper tantrums, hypertension, migraine headaches, insomnia, calcium kidney stones, muscle cramps, constipation, osteoporosis, menstrual pain, restless leg syndrome, decreased learning, poor memory, numbness and tingling in the extremities and angina from coronary artery spasm. We tend to crave salt when our body is magnesium deficient.
19) Remember that eating lots of pre-soaked, slow roasted almonds (recipe in my book or on the web site) and turkey will increase serotonin levels, the good mood neurotransmitter. I would also give your child a hearty protein/fat-containing snack, like almonds or turkey, every 2 to 3 hours between meals to stabilize his or her blood sugar levels. Eating healthy fats will slow the emptying time of the stomach, and therefore slow the rate and the amount of sugar that is absorbed into the blood stream via the small intestine. This lowers the amount of insulin secretion by the pancreas and lessens the chance of low blood sugar and cortisol secretion.
Having yeast in the intestine and being in the fight/flight portion of the autonomic nervous system, also cause the brain to rapidly use up the sugar in the bloodstream. Low blood sugar (i.e. low sugar to the brain) makes adults and children more irritable and tired, and therefore less able to focus. It also increases the likelihood of having meltdowns, since it stimulates the production of cortisol and other stress-producing neurohormones (like epinephrine and norepinephrine) from the adrenal gland.
20) Read the articles on my web site or in my book on nutrition, especially the article More About Nutrition, that talks about cooking with healthy fats like coconut oil and ghee, while avoiding partially hydrogenated (trans) fats, like corn oil, and avoid cooking with canola oil. Even olive oil should be used cold and not for high temp cooking. The cookbook, Nourishing Traditions, is also a great book to read. Just reading the first 75 or so pages of this book, in addition to, the pages about wheat give an excellent review of nutrition. My entire 6-week course in Switzerland is covered in this book. This book also discusses: how to soak and prepare grains (so they can more easily be digested), how to ferment vegetables, like cabbages and beets, to provide beneficial intestinal bacteria, and how to make homemade yogurt and kefir.
21a) I usually recommend that children and adults, who are vegetarians, take a multivitamin and mineral supplement that contains methylated-B12 (i.e. methycobalamin and not cyanocobalamin) and methylated-Folic acid (not just Folate or Folic acid), as well as extra magnesium (See #18).
For children and adults that are gluten-free, and for children that are in the stress portion of their autonomic nervous system (i.e. fight/flight), have clinical signs and symptoms of an inflamed and leaky intestinal lining, have unresolved cranial compressions, and/or have expressive and receptive language delays, I recommend they take Oxylent, a powdered vitamin and mineral supplement (Oxylent.com, 877-699-5368) that also contains methylated-B12 and methylated-Folic acid. I usually recommend that children drink 1/2 of an adult, Oxylent packet, mixed into 8 to 12 ounces of water, daily. Teenagers and adults can drink an entire packet, mixed into 16 to 32 ounces of water, daily. Oxylent is also sweetened with Stevia, rather than sugar or corn syrup.
A full packet of Oxylent also contains 1000 IU of Vitamin D3. I would not exceed 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 for adults or teenagers, unless you are following blood levels of Vitamin D3. I would also not exceed 1500 IU of Vitamin D3 for children, and a much less amount for infants and toddlers. Children, that are 6 years or older, can take 1 tsp/day of Arctic D cod liver oil by Nordic Naturals and 1/2 packet/ day of adult Oxylent since this would give them 1500 IU of Vitamin D3/ daily, which is fine. The best way to get enough Vitamin D3 is by exposing the skin to late morning or early afternoon sunlight. Usually 15 to 30 minutes/day of sunlight exposure is enough, though people with darker skin pigment, may require more sun exposure. The key is not to burn while leaving your skin free of sunscreen (except for the face) during exposure times (also see 21d).
You can see why I recommend taking Oxylent for a few months when you read the article, "Violence and Nutrient Deficiencies" in the Journal, Wise Traditions, Spring edition, 2013 (published by The Weston A. Price Foundation),
Vitamin B12 (which is made by our intestinal bacteria if our intestine is healthy) when deficient causes irrational anger, fatigue, weakness, amenorrhea, soreness in arms and legs, diminished reflexes, mood changes, mental slowness (Alzheimer's), a red sensitive tongue, tingling and shooting pains in extremities, numbness, sensory hallucinations, paranoid symptoms, ringing in the ears, headaches, irritability, memory loss, nervousness, and palpitations. Vitamin B12 is in grass fed meats (assuming animal has healthy intestinal bacteria to produce it), brewers yeast, egg yolks (lightly cooked since heat denatures the vitamin), alfalfa, raw organic milk, and miso. Deficiencies occur in vegetarians and vegans with low animal protein intake and individuals with the Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Vitamin B6 is involved in the metabolism of amino acids and for maintenance of the immune system. It is also necessary for the process of methylation, which is critical for mental health. A deficiency of Vitamin B6 causes acne, allergies, anxiety, asthma, carpel tunnel syndrome, depression, seizures (epilepsy in children), crohns disease, cracked sores on mouth, dandruff, headache, irritability, violence, fatigue, hyperactivity, calcium kidney stones, learning disabilities, muscle fatigue and pain, nausea with pregnancy, neuritis, PMS, schizophrenia. stress ulcers, toxemia during pregnancy, joint pain, water retention, and infertility, to name a few. Vitamin B6 is needed to make serotonin, the good mood transmitter, along with the mineral magnesium. Avoid any deficiency by eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
According to Dr. Mercola, (Mercola.com), fruits and vegetables that contain the highest pesticide residues, and therefore should be bought organic, include: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, grapes, celery, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and potatoes with conventionally grown strawberries topping the list with a minimum of 20 pesticides. Right now (given that our government has reversed a lot of policies that were protecting our farm lands and has also given the approval to use pesticides that were once banned), the fruits and vegetables that our considered to be the safest to eat, when not organic, include: Non-GMO sweet corn, avocados, pineapple, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, non-GMO papayas, asparagus, mangos, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and grapefruit.
Folic acid deficiency causes acne, anemia, canker sores, depression, diarrhea, fatigue, sore red tongue, irritability, hostility, headaches, immune weakness, neuropathy, periodontal disease, poor appetite, restless leg syndrome along with magnesium deficiency, seborrheic dermatitis (cradle cap) along with Biotin deficiency, poor memory, growth impairment, insomnia, weakness, and digestive disturbances. Microwave cooking destroys this vitamin along with many others. Avoid any deficiency by also eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) deficiency impacts the hypothalamus and impulse control. Symptoms of deficiency include depression, irritability, confusion and loss of memory. Chronic deficiency results in paralysis and insanity. Marginal deficiencies cause impulsiveness, high irritability, aggressiveness and sensitivity to criticism. People who eat foods with mostly empty calories such as sodas, fast foods, snack foods and alcohol are at risk for B1 deficiency. Thiamin is found in animal foods and selected seeds.
Niacin (Vitamin B3) deficiency, also known as pellagra causes diarrhea, dermatitis and dementia-The three D's. The psychotic (schizophrenic like) symptoms are variable and sometimes can precede the diarrhea and dermatitis. Subclinical (mild) symptoms include anxiety, hyperactivity, depression, fatigue, headaches, insomnia and hallucinations. Niacin is found in fish, liver, meats and bacon. It is also now added to processed grain products. Our bodies can synthesize niacin from the amino acid, tryptophan, which we need from our diet. Good sources of tryptophan include cheese, chicken, turkey, beef, fish, shellfish, peanuts and eggs. The whey component of raw milk is an excellent source of tryptophan because the protein has not been denatured (i.e. destroyed) by heat (i.e. pasteurization).
21b) Zinc mineral deficiency (or copper excess) will cause white spots in the nails, frequent colds, sore throats, hypertension, fatigue, memory impairment, infertility, environmental sensitivity, impaired night vision (along with vit A deficiency), slow growth by interfering with growth hormone production, weakened muscles, slow wound healing, and impair the senses of taste and smell among many other symptoms. We need about 15mg/day of zinc, daily, and 50 mg/day, as a one time dose, to make a sore throat go away (if we catch it early enough). I usually recommend 25mg/day of zinc, if child or adult is showing signs of deficiency (i.e.white spots or lines in the nail), though I never exceed 50mg/day.
Zinc occurs in grass fed beef, lamb, organ meat and the dark meat of chicken or turkey. It also occurs in egg yolks, salmon, sardines, oysters, crab, unsweetened cocoa powder, raw wheat germ, dried yeast, spinach, pre-soaked and slow roasted almonds, green colored pumpkin seeds, cashews, pecans and dates. During the winter or at the first sign of a cold, I recommend sucking on Elderberry/Zinc herbal lozenges by Zand with 5 mg of zinc gluconate/lozenge. Adult Oxylent also contains 15mg of zinc/packet. Zinc can upset an empty stomach, so have your Oxylent-containing drink with food, and don't drink it at the same time as taking an iron supplement. Adult Oxylent does not contain any iron, though children's Oxylent contains both zinc and iron, which is why I don't recommend taking the children's version.
According to Weston Price Journal, Vitamins A and D support the absorption of zinc, and zinc supports the absorption of all the fat-soluble vitamins. Many of the proteins involved in Vitamin A metabolism and the receptors for both vitamins A and D only function correctly in the presence of zinc. Zinc is also rapidly depleted if we are consuming lots of breads, pastas, sugars, or other simple carbohydrates, since it is a cofactor in sugar metabolism pathways along with the mineral magnesium and several B vitamins.
21c) Vitamin C deficiency causes nose bleeds, sore gums, slow wound healing, weakness, mouth ulcers, loose teeth and decrease bone growth. According to the website DrAxe.com, foods that are high in vitamin C include oranges, strawberries (organic), kale, brussels sprouts, green and red peppers, broccoli, grapefruit, and guava. Orange juice that is pasteurized will deactivate the vitamin C so unpasteurized orange juice from Trader Joes or freshly squeezed orange juice is the best.
21d) It is important to get enough Vitamin A, since Vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness, lack of tear secretion, dry and rough skin (also caused by DHA and EPA omega-3-fatty acid deficiencies), slow growth, diarrhea, weak tooth enamel (also magnesium deficiency), and increased susceptibility to respiratory infections. Signs of getting too much Vitamin A include double vision, dizziness, hair loss (also iron deficiency), peeling skin on lips and palms, and even seizures. Great food sources for Vitamin A (think orange in color) include carrots, fresh apricots, sweet potatoes, squash, cantaloupes, as well as liver, asparagus, spinach, kale, dark leaf lettuce, broccoli, and even watermelon.
21e) Getting enough of activated, Vitamin D3 is also proving to be critical for our health. The websites, www.DrAxe.com and www.Mercola.com have great articles about the importance of Vitamin D3, magnesium, and other nutrients, and how much to take. Some signs of Vitamin D3 deficiency include a weakened immune function, seasonal (winter) depression, autoimmune conditions, colon and breast cancers, soft bones (osteopenia, since Vitamin D3 is needed for calcium absorption), skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis, acne), sagging skin (in older adults), and even dementia. A lack of Vitamin D3 also impacts focus and attention, and makes it harder to lose weight (when one is overweight). It is also important to know (according to Dr. Mercola) that one of the first signs of a Vitamin D deficiency is a sweaty head.
Exposure of the skin to sunlight allows Vitamin D synthesis in the skin, from cholesterol. Other sources of Vitamin D3 include Arctic D cod liver oil by Nordic Naturals, sardines, wild salmon, mackerel, raw milk, and egg yolks (soft boiled or raw), though sunlight exposure of the skin, for 15 to 30 min/day (without sunscreen) is the best. Unfortunately, because of the angle of the sun during Winter, any geographical area North of Atlanta, Georgia, from November through March, does not provide enough sunlight to make a sufficient amount of Vitamin D3, so supplementation is key during these months.
According to Weston Price, "low levels of Vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of depression and panic, and Vitamin D affects potions of the brain involved in learning and memory, as well as motor control (since there are many Vitamin D receptors in the brain)." Vitamin D is very much involved in production of serotonin, the molecule of will power and delayed gratification.
21f) Vitamin K2, which is produced by the beneficial intestinal bacteria along with Vitamin B12, is involved in the formation of myelin in the brain and cell growth. It can affect psychomotor behavior and cognition (Please see the article on Vitamin K2 by Dr. Mercola on his website, www.Mercola.com, for lots of detailed information).
21g) Getting enough iron in our diets is also key for our health. Our blood cells require iron, since iron makes up an important part of hemoglobinin, which is needed to bind and transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron deficiency causes anemia, fatigue, poor concentration, hyperactivity (in children), pale skin, pale nail beds, brittle nails, rapid and/or irregular heart beat, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, dizziness or lightheadedness, cold hands and feet (also occurs with magnesium deficiency), unusual cravings for ice, dirt, and clay (eating dirt can cause children to get lead poisoning if dirt contains old paint chips), and a weakened immune system.
Iron deficiency can occur from acute blood loss, a chronic, microscopic, blood loss (think "Leaky Intestinal Lining Syndrome"), a lack of iron in the diet (vegetarians have to watch for this along with getting enough methylated B12, Niacin, and magnesium), an inability to adequately absorb iron because of having an inflamed intestinal lining (think Celiac Disease or the "Leaky Intestinal Lining Syndrome"), or an increased need for iron (pregnancy, menstrual cycle).
Great sources for iron include: beef and chicken livers (not more than once a week because of high Vitamin A), grass-fed beef and lamb, the dark meat of organically fed, free range chickens and turkeys, cooked spinach (1/2 cup cooked spinach gives almost 20% of adult daily requirement for iron), dark chocolate (chocolate >84%), sardines, pistachios, raisins, prunes, figs, molasses, black beans, spirulina, and lentils (pre-soaked). Many other fruits and vegetables also contain some iron. Cooking with iron pots can add more iron to the diet as well as consuming foods with Vitamin C, which facilitate the absorption of iron, especially from plant sources.
III. OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STRENGTHENING YOUR PRESENCE WITH YOUR CHILD AND BRINGING CALMNESS AND MORE JOY TO YOUR FAMILY LIFE:
22) Read my new articles, Unconditional Love-Part I and Part II, that talk about living in the present moment, and how our upbringing and just being depressed can often make it challenging to parent our children effectively and remain present when our children do things that displease us. Often we withdraw our loving energy, when we feel tired, overwhelmed, disrespected or our feelings get hurt. We also withdraw our energy from our children, if we are experiencing stress in our other relationships. For children this feels like we just disappeared energetically from the room, and they will unconsciously do things to get us angry. For when we become angry with our child, we often become fully present.
Additionally, if children can't feel our presence as parents and teachers (when they are with us), then they can become clingy and/or act out in such a way to get our full presence. It is our present-moment energy that helps children feel grounded, when they do not yet feel grounded in their own body, because they are still neurologically connecting their mind to their body. A close friend recently taught me that you can always tell, as an adult, if you are in the present moment, because you will feel Curious, Calm, Connected, Compassionate, Creative, Courageous, and Centered.
Giving our children unconditional love (staying present with them even when we are tired or frustrated) is what builds children's self-esteem and protects them from always looking outside of themselves for love. Find lots of activities that you and your child both enjoy doing together and do them, so there is more joy and laughter when you are with each other. Watch your child's pupils when your child is in indoor light for signs of being too stressed. When predominately in the relaxed portion of our autonomic nervous system, our pupils are not larger than 30 percent of the colored portion of our eyes. The autonomic nervous system needs to be predominately in its relaxed state (i.e. parasympathetic tone) in order for learning or movement to imprint in the brain or mind.
23) Some of my favorite parenting books include (see also my full Resource List):
24) Some of my favorite relationship books include (see also my full Resource List):
25) Some of my favorite personal growth books include (see also my full Resource List):
26) Remember to have your children lead you in their play themes. You are mostly there as a present moment observer for them. Let your children do the imaginative work; showing you different things, sharing their ideas with you, and directing you in how to play with them. If you orchestrate and over-direct their play, then your children will always rely on you for their play themes, and they will always need your talking and guidance in order to play. In addition, provide a nurturing space and a calm environment to foster your children's play.
When we keep questioning our children while they are playing, we actually disrupt their play themes. They now have to stop playing, in order to think about a response to our question. Now we have put our children only into their thoughts (i.e. head) and have disconnected them from their present-moment joy (their heart forces) and the physical activity of their play. We want children to stay fully connected in their mind, heart, and body, while playing. This is the present moment place for our children, and it is a healing place. In addition, the play of children also develops their confidence, independence, imagination, and creativity, for life!
Finally, if children seem to only play in their own world, not interact with other children or adults, and do repetitive kinds of play (eg. just lining up small cars in a row), then a parent needs to engage that child in parallel play. In parallel play, the parent imitates the play of the child and slowly engages the child's attention to do more interactive types of play, such as playing catch with a bean bag or rolling a large ball, back and forth, while sitting on the floor. These children often are labeled as having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, which is often caused by gluten-induced brain inflammation from a leaky intestinal lining (Please see the Leaky Gut article for more details).
27) We were not meant to parent children with only 1 or 2 adults. I was taught that we need 4 adults around, for every child, just to provide each adult with resting time, so he or she can be more present in parenting. I did not have extended family around, so I built a network of 2 adult baby sitters and 12 children in grades 4th through high school. The young children I had as parent helpers just to give me a break for 2 hours in the afternoon. They played with my son while I stayed at home. This was how I was able to stop screen time at our home. Prior to having parent helpers, my son's watching of Barney was often the only break I had as a parent. This gives truth to the statement, It takes a village to raise a child!
Also as adults we need to make sure that we do things in our daily life that keep us energized, grounded, and living in the present moment. Find the things you love to do and continue to do them. We sometimes sacrifice our own physical, emotional, and mental health just doing for others (i.e. our children and significant others) while we ignore our needs. If we do not nourish ourselves on a daily basis, we will have nothing to offer others and what we do give them will have resentment attached and will not come from a place of unconditional love. Please see my article on Our Energy- What Enhances It and What Drains It.
IV. ADDITIONAL HEALTH AND SCHOOL-RELATED RECOMMENDATIONS:
28) I usually recommend that children, who are 6 years of age and born after April 30th, repeat another year of kindergarten, so they are 7-years-old when they enter the 1st grade. All children, that turn 6 years of age before March 1, can start first grade in the fall because they are age-ready, and therefore soul-ready, for the first grade curriculum. Some of these age-ready children will need to be supported in the first grade, because they may not, yet, be neurologically ready. This is because unresolved cranial compressions, usually from the birth process, may still be partially blocking the development of their touch, balance, proprioception, and bilateral integration pathways, as well as causing challenges with sustained eye tracking and eye convergence.
Children that turn 6 years of age during the months of March and April, should be assessed for both soul readiness (i.e. age readiness) and neurological readiness for the first grade, since they could repeat another year of kindergarten. Usually children that are the oldest in the class have an easier time socially, emotionally, academically, and physically as compared to those children that are the youngest in the class. This especially holds true for boys, since they are usually 1 to 1 1/2 years behind girls in the development of their proprioceptive, bilateral integration, and phonetic reading pathways.
29) Apply a pea-size amount of Aurum/Lavender/Rose cream, containing St. John's Wort, around your child's heart at bedtime for calming. A tube of this cream can be purchased from Uriel Pharmacy in Wisconsin (866-642-2858) or by calling the Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore in Fair Oaks, CA (916-961-8729).
30) If your child is having challenges sustaining eye tracking and converging his or her eyes, because of unresolved cranial compressions (Please see my article, Visual Tracking, Eye Convergence, Reading, and writing), then have your child sit in the front row, so your child is closer to the board. If your child sits more toward the back of the room, he or she will have difficulties holding the eyes steady, and may skip letters and numbers that are being copied and become very fatigued. Have your child's teacher provide a paper copy of what is on the board, so your child can copy the information into their main lesson book, while at their desk. This way the eyes do not have to converge, so your child won't experience blurriness or double vision while copying, and can use a finger or a ruler to keep his or her place on the paper.
31) If your child wiggles a lot when sitting on a chair, sits on their legs and feet while on a chair, or tends to fall out of a chair, then I would recommend that your child try sitting on a one-legged, wooden stool or on top of a cushion, that is shaped like a large, partially inflated ball, that is placed on the chair. These both provide continuous proprioceptive feedback to your child. Also, make sure that children's feet are firmly touching the floor, when they are sitting at their desks. One-legged stools are now being used in the lower grades at several Waldorf schools, until the child's proprioceptive pathways are more fully developed.
32) If your child still has an overbite, underbite, or crowding of their teeth in the upper and or lower jaw (even after completing biodynamic cranial osteopathic treatments), then an ALF appliance may be beneficial. The ALF appliance consists of a small, wire-like expander that is usually attached to the six-year molars and extends around the inside of the teeth. It acts to gently re-expand the upper and/or lower jaw(s), so there is more room for the current and incoming teeth. Unresolved cranial compressions (which often restrict expansion of the jaw), as well as, chronically enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids (which cause mouth breathing and sometimes even sleep apnea) both impact the shape of the jaws and spacing of the teeth. Please check the website, Alforthodontics.com for more information, and a list of practitioners in your area (i.e. dentists or osteopathic physicians) that are trained in this gentle, jaw expansion technique.
33) Be aware of the immune-suppressive effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Avoid using electric blankets and be aware of other EMF sources from household appliances, computers, and cell phones. Avoid charging cell phones, iPads, and computers in the room, when you are asleep. If you use WIFI in your home, then turn it off while you are asleep or better yet switch back to a cable system. Always keep your cell phone at least 6 feet away from your brain, while sleeping, if your cell phone is kept on. Try to use a landline, as much as possible, especially with long calls or use a speaker phone and texting, instead. If you do place a cell phone next to your ear, then hold it at least 1 to 2 inches away to minimize your exposure to EMFs and an increased risk of brain tumors. Bluetooth does not reduce the exposure to EMFs, though you can purchase a Blue Tube Headset from Mercola.com that does reduce your EMF exposure for approximately $30.
Make sure your home and office are up to code with respect to electrical wiring. Electric companies will screen your home and office with an EMF meter at no charge. If you have a "SMART" meter, then contact PGE to replace it with a meter that is manually read (like it used to be done). There are shields that can be placed over a SMART meter, though I do not know how effective they are. Especially replace the SMART meter if it is attached on the other side of a bedroom wall. Microwave radiation from cell phone towers may also affect the immune system and overall health. Read Katie Singer's new book, "An Electronic Silent Spring", that reviews all the new research in this area. Her website and newsletters can be found at Electronicsilentspring.com.
34) Please call my office voice mail at 916-638-8758 to schedule a phone time anytime, you have questions or want to set up an assessment or a follow-up visit.